World famous Hong Kong film actors Chow Yun-fat and Ng Man-tat were good friends as teenagers and during the early days of their careers. They often worked, played, and drank together. Ng’s versatility earned him many supporting roles during the start of his career, and by the age of 20, he had already become a popular supporting actor in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
His fame and money came easy. As a result, Ng fell into the traps of women, alcohol, and gambling. He was negligent in his work and ruined his flourishing career. With no more film contracts on the horizon, all he had left to his name was $300,000 in debt.
In the meantime, Chow Yun-fat shot to fame with his leading role in the Hong Kong period drama The Bund. Ng felt that Chow was a generous person, so he asked to borrow the $300,000. But to his surprise, Chow refused and said: “Solve the problem yourself.”
Soon afterward, Ng was offered a role in an upcoming movie. He treasured the opportunity and gave it his best effort, and the film was rewarded with positive reviews and ticket sales. Because of this, he not only paid off his debt, but also received the Best Supporting Actor award at the 10th Hong Kong Film Awards.
Chow was in the audience, but Ng ignored him. While on stage, he expressed his gratitude to the film director, but the director said: “I’m not the one you should be grateful too!” It turns out that Chow had emphatically recommended Ng for the role to the director, and that’s why Ng was cast in the movie.
Ng was awakened. He thought he had life figured out, but actually, he couldn’t understand the kindhearted intention of his good friend until now. If Chow had lent Ng the money when he asked for it, then he would not have received the acting role, and Ng says he would have blown the money on gambling and alcohol, with no way to escape his pit of sorrows.
This is a type of kindness that appears uncaring and cold on the surface, but is caring and warm on the inside. Such kindness is there to help a friend from behind the scenes, without saying a word.
Translated by Cecilia and edited by Derek Padula