‘Please Do Not Graffiti’ – this is a polite request for you not to write or draw on the wall. In this context, we can also use it to ask you not to put the blame or tarnish someone’s name and leave a blemish on their pure soul.
If Bosco was originally a pure white wall, after many years in the industry, that wall has since become coloured with a little green here and a little yellow there. Those colours have been left by the mixture of true or untrue rumours and the artists are the Hong Kong media.
Truly, seven years in the industry has brought Bosco an endless string of gossip, being attacked in a mainland nightclub, then being accused of living off a woman by an ex-girlfriend and then two-timing and the latest suggestions that he was stroking Fala Chen’s arm in some dubious footage on the internet. You want negative press? There is plenty here.
Call me nasty, but even before the interview, I had made it clear to Bosco’s manager that I would ask about gossip, but the response was just a calm: "Just don’t take it too far and you will be ok."
When the interview came round, I went straight in with the question to Bosco about whether he has ever minded the gossip. Has he been angry at the media? The response was not as solid as expected and there was no swearing or cursing, just simply: "I will overlook most of it and just treat it as a joke. After reading it and laughing, then it is over."
Continuing, I told Bosco about the concept behind the shoot and he immediately took off his leather jacket and picked up the spray paint and sprayed the words ‘Please Do Not Graffiti’ onto the walls of the set, intentionally writing the last character incorrectly for authenticity, despite the risk of me criticising his level of literacy.
As a result, I do truly believe that Bosco is very easy-going about his rumours and he is clear that this white wall will never be as snow white as it was before, so the words ‘Please Do Not Graffiti’ have come a little too late for him.
Black Faced vs Opening Up
Among the new generation of male leads, Bosco is the most provocative. The endless gossip and the maybe-true-maybe-false romance with Myolie Wu of recent times has become something that the media will not easily let go of. For this to happen, it is not only down to a rise in his popularity and the value of his news, as Bosco puts it down to him not knowing how to handle the media and build relationships with them when he first entered the industry, so he was labelled as being arrogant and ‘black-faced’ and the press were not going to let him off so easily.
Not knowing Bosco very well at the time, when I met him at press conferences, then I did not even say ‘Hi’ to him. Our first proper encounter was last year when he was filming for "Devil’s Disciple" and I went to visit him on location at Ma On Shan. As the journey was quite long and the location a little tucked away, I drove there myself and when I parked my car, Bosco noticed me and ran over asking: "Wow, you have come out so far to visit us? Have you had dinner yet?" Whether this was from the heart or just humouring me, it left me with a deep impression. It is hard to believe that when he first started out, Bosco was like his character Ah Fu in "Dicey Business", living in his own little world.
"I am an only child and since I was young, I have only had myself to play with. I could play with a little car all day and sometimes my mother was afraid of me being autistic, so she would drag me out into the streets. I would cry and whine to go home and even when my friends came to my house to visit, I would just play on my own and ignore them. This left me being a loner from a young age and because of this, I found it difficult to get along with people.
"When I first entered the industry, I did not know the reporters very well and if you asked me to go and greet and chat with people I did not know, I would find it very brash and think people would wonder what I was after. So at the time, I would just stand to one side and think that if I didn’t bother you, then you wouldn’t bother me. However, people still mistook that as being arrogant, black-faced and being proud before I was famous. When the first gossip broke and I had to comment, the phone calls kept coming and coming and I became afraid of the phone ringing and even switched it off to avoid the hassle, evading what I could.
"About three years ago, many senior artists and colleagues said to me: ‘Hey, you can’t carry on like this, in this industry, you have to build good relations with them (reporters). If you keep silent all the time, then who else will they make up stories about?’ I finally let go of myself in the end and when I see the press, then no matter if I know them or not and even if I am learning my lines or rehearsing, then I will greet them. At least it lets them know that I mean no harm."
Stubborn vs Letting Go
After seven years in showbiz, faced with mountains of gossip, Bosco has gone from caring about everything to the point now where it is all just a joke. From avoiding the press by switching off his phone, to openly answering any question you dare to pose. Bosco openly admits that in seven years, his personality has undergone many changes.
Bosco’s attitude to the media has changed, but this does not seem to have reduced his rumours, which still surround him and keep him on his toes. In response to the changes not bringing the right results, Bosco has not been unhappy: "A lot of things can’t be blamed on you. Take for example the news about me taking advantage of Fala Chen, I know it was not the fault of the media because if someone puts it on the internet, then you have no choice but to follow it up, everyone has a job to do. I honestly have not been angry at you (the media), I do a job and you do a job, I understand that a lot of things are not decided by you, so when you need a response, then I will answer if I can. The most important thing is that then everyone won’t be unhappy.
"Take this gossip about Fala, it is no big deal, but it was the one that made me the most unhappy. But then what does that do? I just have to realise what I can do to prevent this next time and when I meet female colleagues in the future, then I know to be more reserved and avoid trouble."
Bosco says that he has never liked going out late and even if his friend is celebrating a birthday, he will only appear for a short while, show his face and leave. However, he was still unable to avoid getting caught up in a brawl and being injured. "Before I entered the industry, I felt that artistes are just another human being and sometimes if you are out to relax, then there is no problem. However, this is not the case and even if there is a fight on the next table and I happen to be there, then even if I leave straight away, then it will be linked to me and there will be reports that I was involved in the fight. As a result, I rarely go out late and if I do, I will go to a lounge in a hotel, where the guests are more refined, or go to my friends’ homes, where there will definitely be no trouble."
Awards vs Recognition
Last year, Kevin Cheng took the TVB anniversary Best Actor award for his role in "Under the Canopy of Love", but co-star Bosco did not even get into the top five, his popularity seemingly down from the previous year when he won Most Improved Male Artiste for his role in "War of In-Laws". Bosco admits that he is longing for awards in the same way he wished to come top of the class when he was taking exams at school, but he has never wished too hard for it. If you win an award, but are booed for it, then he would rather have no award, but win the recognition from the audience.
Although he would like to win awards, Bosco still knows his limits. "Of course you want to be famous in showbiz, you want to find fame and fortune, but a lot of things take time and cannot be rushed. Take the Best Actor award, I have never even thought about winning this because I know I am not at that standard yet. Everyone else has worked for many years, such as Moses Chan, Bowie Lam and even Kevin and they have built up their experience, I feel that I am still quite new. I have plenty to learn, but acting is not something that you can perfect in one day. You have to build up your experience a little by little. For now, even if someone praises my performance, then I am already very happy. I would rather have someone recognise me than have an award that I am given for no reason. What I look for is to be deserving."
With a good response to a series, then a sequel is inevitable and so "Under the Canopy of Love" has regrouped its cast and crew for "The Seventh Day". Things are not the same as they were though, with Kevin being crowned the TV King and putting even more pressure on Bosco. "You can’t say the pressure is especially big, I am just doing my own thing. The most important thing is to have given my best and a respectable performance to myself and to others. The only thing I worry about is for someone to say: ‘Bosco was only so-so this time.’ Anything else is beyond my cares."
Love vs Career
The saying goes: "When you are bitten by a snake, you will fear a rope for three years." An old relationship, where there was once love, has brought Bosco to be branded as being a player who spends women’s money. Since then, Bosco has not dared to re-enter the realms of romance, but the rumours have been surrounding him endlessly and his alleged relationship with Myolie has appeared in countless magazines.
Artistes are still humans, they still need a love life. Asked if he has become afraid to start a new relationship after the ‘kiss and tell’ antics of his ex-girlfriend, Bosco says very firmly that dating is somethi
ng he will do, but he has not met the right person yet. "I will not avoid dating just because of something that happened in the past, but I will not date just for the sake of dating. I have just not met anyone who I cannot resist. To be honest, at this moment in time, I just want to put more of my time on my career. I want to make more money, so romance… it can wait! Haha!"
Good, with Bosco so freely saying this, I asked him directly whether there is a chance of his relationship developing with Myolie: "I get on well with her and we have a lot of common topics of conversation, but a man and a woman do not have to become lovers. I am good friends with her at the moment. As for whether there is an opportunity? Hmm… I really haven’t thought about it."
In the past, there has been a strange phenomenon in showbiz, where the fans have been very against their idols dating and to avoid upsetting their ‘bread and butter’, many artistes would not reveal their relationships. Things are different nowadays and fans will even turn to their idols and tell them to hurry up and find a girlfriend, Bosco’s fans are a prime example. "I feel it is very strange, when my fans meet me, they will ask me when I will get a girlfriend. Then they say to make sure that she is a respectable girl. If I do start dating, then I will not purposely hide it, but I will not reveal it myself. If you photograph me, then I will admit it, after all dating is nothing to hide. I also have no criteria as to whether the girl has be from within or outside the industry, the most important thing is how it feels."
A Story of Punctuality
Before the interview, a colleague of mine who had previously interviewed Bosco said that Bosco is renowned for being a punctuality king. And living up to this, for the 3pm interview, Bosco and his entourage of three people arrived at 2:40 pm at the studio, five minutes earlier than me. Having arrived early, Bosco did not call to rush me, but just sat quietly waiting and reading.
Bosco says that rather than have other people wait for him, he would prefer to wait for others because to reap rewards, you first have to make sacrifices.
After hearing this, I thought of a friend’s story:
This friend would be forever turning up at least half an hour late to any appointment. His explanation would be: "Rather than stand and wait for you in the street, I listened to a few more songs at home instead." In the end, his friends became fewer and fewer and even I hardly ever contact him.
One day, this friend met with financial difficulties and went around to everyone asking for help, but the response he received was: "Rather than lend you money, I would keep it in the bank and earn interest instead." However, he was still able to raise the money from his friends, including me. From then on, he would always be at least half an hour early for appointments.
If you want to reap rewards, you must first make sacrifices.
Easy to say, but how many people can truly do this?