8 QUESTIONS WITH Ha Yu
A familiar face in Cantonese serials, veteran Hong Kong actor Ha Yu has been making his presence felt on Singapore TV.
He returns for his third local drama serial, playing a football coach in World At Your Feet, which airs on Channel 8 on weekdays at 9pm. Speaking to Life! after the drama's press conference here earlier this month, he said: "The TV station MediaCorp gave me a chance to act in this drama, so I decided to come back. I heard the response to my first drama here, Love Thy Neighbour, was not bad."
"Not bad" is an understatement, considering that Love Thy Neighbour was the most-watched Channel 8 drama in 2011 with an average viewership of 941,000.
Ha has also starred in local productions, drama It's A Wonderful Life (2013) and telemovie When A Child Is Born (1995).
"I had a good time filming here. Besides, I'm familiar with the crew and cast," added the amiable actor, who has clearly formed a bond with the local actors.
Midway through the 30-minute interview, his World At Your Feet co-star Dennis Chew stopped by to inform his "da ge" (Mandarin for big brother) that he was leaving and would contact him later.
"I haven't seen enough of your Chow Yun Fat hairstyle," quipped the humorous Ha, referring to Chew's trendy slicked-back undercut hairdo.
The 68-year-old actor got his start in acting in the 1970s. After the Guangzhou native snuck across the border to Hong Kong in 1962, he joined acting classes held by Shaw brothers and later signed on to Rediffusion Television, the predecessor of Asia Television (ATV). He became a star when he switched to rival station TVB in 1974, acting in sketches on the now-defunct long-running live variety show, Enjoy Yourself Tonight.
He was TVB's leading man in the 1970s and 1980s, and starred in pugilistic drama The Sword Of Romance (1979).
Audiences today know him from his various appearances in TVB dramas. At the annual TVB anniversary awards, he won the Best Supporting Actor award for drama My Family in 2005 and the Best Actor award for hit drama Moonlight Resonance in 2008. He quit TVB in 2012.
The straight-talking Ha said the low pay was a factor but his lessening workload played a part in his departure too.