Steven Ma:The Bitter before the Sweet

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Steven Ma:The Bitter before the Sweet

Post by summer7879 on Sat Jul 03, 2010 6:27 am

Credit ; Source: http://www2.mingpaow...ntents/?id=6909
Credits: http://tieba.baidu.com/f?kz=811888777
Translator: Tamaya @ AsianFanatics

Steven Ma:The Bitter before the Sweet



Steven Ma entered the industry through his participation in the 1993 singing competition, began filming tv series in 1995, and is now a popular TVB siu sang. The series he was in all maintain a certain standard in ratings. The currently airing series, "Ghost Writer", has garnered an average rating of 30 points. Although it is pitted against World Cup, it still has audience support, this evinces he does exert a certain pull in viewership.

Steven's accomplishments in his career notwithstanding, he has in actuality endured quite a bit of hardship. Forced by stark reality, he was well-behaved and obedient from young, never causing his parents to worry over him. He entered the industry, and after five years of hard work, he already had the ability to enable his father to take early retirement so that he could concentrate in taking care of Steven's mother, who had nasopharyngeal cancer. It is precisely his mother's illness that had Steven, young as he was at a tender age of 6 years old, tasted the pain and suffering brought on by diseases and death.

Despite the family poverty-stricken circumstances, the disposition of his disease ridden mother remained positive; his father utterly devoted to her. In his eyes, his mother is the paradigm of a heroine (女中豪杰), while his father, a real man of the world. (江湖好汉) His attitude towards marriage is greatly influenced by his parents; marriage to him means sticking to each other through thick and thin, for better or for worse, taking care of and loving each other for a lifetime.

How about letting you experience the taste of bitter from young? Bitter before sweet! Just like Steven Ma.

Because of his mother's illness, he was in and out of hospital since six years old. Queen Elisabeth Hospital (QEH) became his second home at that time. He looked upon the compassionate attending physician as 'uncle'. At any time, he would see the adjacent bed patient checked in walking upright but checked out lying horizontal, even at such a young age he had already been exposed to an overload of life and death circulation. He already knew: "Life is very bitter." And even uttering it now can still impart an astringent taste to his lips.

When grown up, he suddenly realized that an aspect of him was a complete vacuum because of his early entry into the workforce. "That youthful frivolity and recklessness, they had nothing to do with me." Thinking back, Steven recounted his early life experiences: "Grade 9 (Form 3), school ended at 3:07 pm; spent an hour doing homework; 6 pm, sold ice cream at 星光行 until 12:30 am when it closed. The next day, school started at 7:15 am. Going to work everyday, earned about a thousand dollars or so. During summer break, worked around the clock, and earned 3 thousand dollars." He was extremely overjoyed. Because he knew that life was tough, he paid for his own school fees, books, shoes and socks.

"Even though exhausted, but was young, so treated it as physical exercise. From young I had always been very thoughtful, a very discipline person. And well aware of my own bottom line." Now at 38 years old, he more than ever will never permit himself to be reckless, "because as youngster if you did something wrong, your family may still be able to forgive you". As such, he would occasionally let himself roam free within the realm of his own thoughts, and be absorbed in his own world; "contented to just imagine."



Diligently maintains a balance of equilibrium

After graduating high school, he worked as a clerk in a publishing company, and was very mature for his age. Those days of bar hopping for young people seeking intoxication? He never had them. He preferred discipline and order. In 1993, after five years of working, it was with a sense of pride he told his father to retire from his job. His father is 70 years old now; that he is in good health gives Steven his greatest gratification.

"I don't like surprises. I worry I can't stand them. For my birthday, I don't want my friends to spring a surprise party on me." He strives hard to maintain a balance of equilibrium on his emotions. "I'll not let myself be extremely happy or extremely sad." All things must have their originating causes. "I've had enough of them during my mom's illness. 3 o'clock in the morning, because of seizure was sent to emergency care; after urgent treatment, everything was fine again. Since I was six years old until 28, I constantly endured this feeling of impotence, fear and heartache."

In 1999, his mother died of illness; his whole inner being felt hollowed out. "After she left, I got into the habit of not answering the phone. I had the ringer turned off." The prior fear cloaked him like shadow just like it did before. "Every time something happened to her, I became very scared; but if she got well, I became extremely happy." For a prolonged period, the emotional ups and downs in him fluctuated immensely. And then his mother passed away. "During those days, I never shed a drop of tears; I was like a robot." He took to drinking, got drunk and slept it off. Some friends were disturbed by his abnormal behavior and sought him out to talk to him so that he could release his suppressed feelings. Only then did he cry bitter tears. "From 2000 to 2001, my emotional condition was very erratic."

One turbulence after another

His emotional state besieged; depression insidiously crept in; admit it or not, it came knocking on his door anyway. He consulted a mood swings therapist who prescribed a blood serum drug for re-balancing. However, he was more susceptible than other people to its side effects. "I vomited so badly." And soon a new problem arrived before the old was solved. Before the depression was fully treated, anxiety attacks looked him up. With much experience, Steven recounts: "When the attack sets in, the heart turns 'cool' (心就會涼一涼(?)), after which, a crippling feeling of unease, begins to panic and hyperventilate, the hands turn numb, and the head feels woozy. Had sought out emergency care several times."

I, too, have suffered panic attacks in the past but compare to Steven's symptoms, they truly paled in significance. He tries to explain further: "I've experienced having my heart beat extremely fast. So rapidly my whole body trembled from top to bottom." He was so scared he could only lie down on the floor and dial 999. After a 24 hour ECG monitoring in the hospital, it was discovered that two of his heart blood vessels are congenital short circuits.

In the past, he used to bottle up his feelings. He self-analysed that when young he must have had a slight case of withdrawal. "My eyes never looked directly at other people, only looked at the ground. Detached from worldly affairs, and withdrawn from worldly struggles. Got A for student conduct. " He kept his love buried in his heart, and was not too good at expressing it. If going deeper, it was probably due to low self-confidence and the fear of rejection. But then he would ask himself: "I have a warm family, so no reason to feel inferior."

Parents are the classic husband and wife model

Steven's memory is extraordinary. He can even vividly remember the time when he was two years his mother almost dropped him because she dozed off; the time in the kindergarten when he threw a fit looking for his mother; his deceased maternal grandfather with his heavily made up face lying inside his coffin. He only wants to tell me that during that time how much he enjoyed been lost in his own world, and that he did not know how to communicate with other people. "I felt that I couldn't do things as well as other people. Only in solitiary activities was I better, such as: arranging the books on the shelves in the library, so very neatly and orderly. Also learned to draw; I was a member of the Arts Society."

Rumors had it that Steven will soon marry Vivian, his girlfriend of seven years. He explains: "All this time, our dating was very low-key. Seven years already, no reason not to know acknowledge her. But the acknowledgment brought on a lot of ensuing consequences, many people called me up offering their help to assist us, including hotels and wedding photography." He adds: "I will for sure get married, but I never said I would do that next year." Even his younger sister when she read the report retorted: "Ah Goh, aren't you being a bit too secretive?" (T.note: Re: An earlier news article reported that Steven will marry girlfriend next year, which he has since clarified to be erroneous.)

He wants to apply his parents' formula of living together through thick and thin, and their mutual cherishing of each other for himself. Steven also has great expectation and hopes for marriage. "In my eyes, they were the classic husband and wife, the most perfect husband and wife. All those years Mom was sick and suffered physically, but she was always optimistic. Dad stood by her and got her through. Her cancer relapsed three times, towards the end she couldn't see or hear. For a stretch of four years or so, the whole family had to rely on the writing board to communicate with Mom. The initial radiotherapy was extremely harmful to the patient. Its side effects were pervasive. Once applied, good or bad tissues would be adversely affected. The tissues next to the pituitary gland were damaged by the radiation causing the joint of the mandible (lower jaw) to lock up as it became increasingly tighter and tighter. No matter how much force was applied, it was impossible to get the mouth to open up. Mom had no way of eating." The doctor recommended drilling a hole into the stomach to infuse nutrients into her.

Couldn't Bear to see Mother die of Starvation

The extremely strong mother having undergone all kinds of torments refused to have the operation. The doctor said: "Without the operation, she will die of starvation within a week." As her son, how could Steven bear to see his own mother slowly dying of starvation? He could not stop his tears from falling. His mother felt her son's pain, and helplessly she agreed to the aperture operation on her stomach. "Maybe her body was too weak because during the post operation, she caught pneumonia and passed away." Eleven years have since elapsed but that feeling of guilt has imprinted into an indelible pain in his heart. During his recounting, his eyes turned red and brimmed with tears; he blames himself: "After she passed away, I could still cope at first but later I collapsed; my demons had stayed inside me; always blaming myself. Maybe Mom could have had lasted a few more days."

Because his mother was sick for 22 years, Steven understands more than ever the significance of good health and life. "I've never sympathized with suicide victims; only feel that they were pitiful, since they had the courage to commit suicide, why then didn't they have the courage to face life? Death is not scary, but I am horrified to see some parents carrying their kids seeking death. Your death will end it for you, but you leave the pain behind to the ones who love you." Regarding the suicide news (especially the students') the media tends to milk it to the max. "When watched by impressionable kids, its imparts an adverse influence on them. They really think they could use death to control their parents. I hope the HK news media can understand this."

He also advices those who are considering killing themselves that before doing it to first "visit a terminal patients ward, to see how these patients struggle to live, and how they undergo the whole gamut of treatments all for the very hope of seeing the world for an extra minute, or to live another day."

Extra strong sense of time

Because of a sickly mother, the connection between Steven and the illness demon cannot be detached. He is not scared of death, and he understands the pain from illness. "If truly fallen sick, no option to panic. If sick, you have to face it positively, see it as character building, could only use a positive attitude to accept it. Like my Mom, she accepted her illness and was very strong. She was a great mother. She was always smiling even when radiation made her hair all fall off. It hurt us to her as such but she treated it as nothing. "There was once when Mom was eating, halfway through she put down the rice bowl and went to the bathroom. After a while she came out wiping the trace of blood from the corner of her mouth. Seeing her son's concern expression, she calmly answered: "It's nothing!" Steven rushed into the bathroom and only then did he see the traces of blood that stuck to the sink. Turned out that she had just vomited blood. That is why Steven described his mother as a heroine.

During his second older sister's pregnancy, she had Toxemia. When she arrived at the hospital, her whole body was swollen up, and the fetus was asphyxiating. He uses his hands to illustrate: "A seven month old baby, only slightly bigger than my palm. When born, had a heart surgery immediately; at the time, scared to death, but now, already this big." His younger sister also has cancer but is in remission right now. Like their mother, she has an optimistic attitude. "That's why I don't want my mood to swing high and low. Strive for moderation per the Doctrine of the Golden Mean. I don't want to go through too much excitement." He takes an extraordinary strong stance on time. He is annoyed if someone is tardy. "Maybe they don't have the same concept on time. Because a minute can save a human life. With my own eyes, I saw Mom in seizure. Within a minute, the doctor came and promptly gave her a shot, and she was fine again. If within that one minute the doctor did not appear, she would have been dead. I understand the significance of one minute. I always respect time."

Risk-aversive in finance management.

The media says he has a girlfriend with a half-billion dollars net worth. Steven's point of view is: "What's her net worth, I've no idea. Though I was not born of a rich family, but after working hard, I now at least have my own vehicle, flat and money. And my lifestyle is stable. But some people said my education background is poor." Though he did not come right out with it but reading between lines, he was slightly put out: "Although I only graduated high school but I never give up on learning. I enrolled in the history course offered by a public university, and did self-study for two years. The more I studied, the more I became alarm. I felt that I have so much room for self-improvement."

He has a strong sense of family. Currently, he is living with his family, including his father. Whenever he needs a quiet time for meditation, his family and girlfriend will oblige him with their understanding and consideration. "I'm very thankful to her. She is also very busy with her own work, always flying here and there. We have no conflicts. I,too, look forward to the day we can tie the knot. But before marrying, one must think it through carefully such as: their love for each other, and the degree of tolerance for each other. I'm an emotional person with fluctuating mood swings, very perceptive; aside from handling work, not all that realistic towards daily life, human life and life itself; more self-absorbed. And she is tolerant of my personality. I would not be able to stand someone who wants to constantly control me. I need a lot of personal space." And his so-called space is to just let him be alone inside a room for quiet time with a desk, a television and internet.

Seven years already, their dating has already passed the passionate love stage. He, on the contrary, rather appreciates the feeling of a long flowing kind of relationship. "No need to be anxious ma. Anyway, I'm not going to find another." He is also fond of children. He will certainly be a good father in the future.

When he first entered the industry, the recording company told Steven to conceal his public housing residency background. Later, Chiu Chung Man (趙崇文) said to him: "Grew up in the pubic housing, and yet have such accomplishments, should feel proud instead. Whether a person is successful or not is unrelated to his background." After a journey of 38 years, Steven is without regrets. Since his teenage foray into society he has been self-sufficient and has fulfilled his filial obligations. His self-evaluation of himself: "I guess it's all right lo! (都算系咁喇!) I will not compare myself with other people; whether they have more of this or less of that; somehow or another, people always have to pay. I'll not envy other people; it would be better to do well by myself. Let my inner light shines to the max, and live life wonderfully. Then at least, I did not live in vain. And in the end, to leave with a smile."

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