Money talks: Actresses in TVB drama learn jargon

Money talks: Actresses in TVB drama learn jargon
Actress Elena Kong's pet poodle Teddy Boy starred in TVB drama The Ultimate Addiction alongside its owner.

Money-savvy Hong Kong actress Elena Kong got some extra cash, on top of her own salary, for starring in a new TVB financial drama making its debut on a new cable channel.

No, she did not make a profit from investment know-how she picked up on the drama, The Ultimate Addiction. Rather, she was paid for letting her three-year-old pet poodle Teddy Boy play a role in it too.

Kong, 42, says: "It was great that 'mother' and 'son' could work on the same film set. Teddy Boy plays my character's dog in the show and it's a critical role too.

"It was his first time acting and he was really good on set. He's not really afraid of strangers. Perhaps it's because he's come along to meet reporters since he was little."

She donated Teddy Boy's HK$5,000 (S$811) acting fee to animal charities in Hong Kong.

Kong was in town on Friday with co-star Kate Tsui to promote TVB First (StarHub TV Channel 860), a subscription video-on-demand channel that airs TVB dramas concurrently with their telecast in Hong Kong.

The channel was launched on Monday, together with the premiere of The Ultimate Addiction. New episodes of The Ultimate Addiction are available on weekdays at 9.30pm.

On the drama, both actresses had to spout numbers and financial jargon convincingly.

Kong plays economics-trained Chai Pui Fun, heir to a bank and seen as the creme de la creme of the finance industry.

Tsui plays, Chi Nga, an inspector with the Commercial Crime Bureau bent on revenge on an unscrupulous businessman portrayed by Bosco Wong.

"In the drama, I'm supposed to be really sensitive to numbers. But in real life, I'm bad at maths," says Tsui, 34.

She adds: "I had to go online to research the financial terms and do a lot of homework to understand them."

Her 57-year-old mother is the one who handles her investments in real life.

Tsui, who is not dating anyone at the moment, says she will probably not be the one holding the purse strings after marriage.

In contrast, Kong says she has made it clear to her long-time beau that she is the one in charge of the dollars and cents.

It has been widely reported that Kong has been dating Vincent Ng, the younger brother of comedic actress Sandra Ng, for eight years.

Kong has repeatedly emphasised, even during this interview, that the couple are happy the way they are and have no intention of marrying.

In 2012, the couple set up entertainment company Golden Age, that produces micro-movies, commercials and music. Her boyfriend is also her manager.

"I don't think he has a good concept of money," says Kong. "He really knows how to enjoy life and buy things. For a woman, money provides a sense of security. So I'm in charge of the money at home."

"His money is my money, but my money is my own money," she adds. "I've drummed that concept into his mind."

Catch new episodes of The Ultimate Addiction on TVB First (StarHub TV Channel 860), weekdays at 9.30pm.

This article was first published on June 5, 2014.
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