How Hong Kong’s Entertainment Scene Is Evolving

Once the most dynamic and lucrative entertainment industry in the whole of Southeast Asia, Hong Kong’s showbiz scene has lost much of its lustre over the years. At its zenith, the Hong Kong’s entertainment industry was once dubbed “Hollywood of the East”. But with the new millennium, and glitzy Korean pop culture becoming a global phenomenon and deep-pocket Chinese productions taking over, that has changed. However, these three veterans, Kenneth Ma, Ekin Cheng and Frances Yip, in town for a private event at Marina Bay Sands, remain hopeful that Hong Kong will always have an edge over its competitors.

Kenneth Ma

Crowned Best Actor at the annual TVB Anniversary Awards held late last year, 46-year-old Kenneth Ma started his acting career in 1999 and has been a witness to the rise and fall of Hong Kong’s showbiz over the past two decades. While Ma acknowledges that audience are nowadays drawn more to productions from China—especially big budget period dramas—he believes Hong Kong dramas are still very much relevant and superior in their unique ways.

“Of course, we can’t compete with them (Chinese productions) in terms of budget and scale. They can easily arrange a thousand actors as soldiers and hundred horses for a scene, but when it comes to professional genres, like medical dramas, I think we still have an advantage,” Ma elaborates.

Ekin Cheng

Best known for his role as the good-hearted gangster Chan Ho Nam in the 1990s film series Young And Dangerous, the 52-year-old singer-actor remains hopeful that Canto-pop will regain its glory days. Cheng held a full-fledged solo concert last December—21 years after his previous concert here—in Singapore. Although Mandarin is widely spoken in Singapore, Cheng had received numerous requests from local fans to sing Cantonese songs during his promotion tour. For his part, Cheng will  continue to focus on promoting Cantonese music for 2020. “There will be plans for new movies too. I am trying to adapt to the change by taking on different screenplay genres and working with different directors and actors,” says Cheng.

Frances Yip

When not performing, Yip spends most of her time playing the role of a dutiful and doting grandma to her two grandchildren in Sydney. The 73-year-old songstress good-naturedly remarks that she was fortunate to enter showbiz in the ’60s, because during that time, all it took for one to become a singer was to sing well. On the fall of Canto-pop, Yip channels her “c’est la vie” attitude. She admits that she does not keep tabs on Hong Kong’s entertainment scene because her goal now is simply to ensure her fans are enjoying themselves. In fact, she will be returning to The Lion City this May to team up with Singapore’s veteran jazz musician, Jeremy Monteiro, for a Mother’s Day concert, where she will be performing many of her classics, including Shanghai Beach. There’s no slowing down for this songstress.