HONG KONG – Hong Kong superstar Chow Yun Fat received an honorary doctorate from Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) on Saturday August 7 for his outstanding professional achievements and outstanding contributions to society.
During the ceremony, Chow, 66, shared his experience of over four decades in the entertainment industry and thanked Hong Kong and its people for their encouragement, tolerance and love for him.
It was the third of those honors for Chow, who is affectionately known as Fat Gor (Big Brother Fat). He was made an honorary member of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in 1999 and received an honorary doctorate from the City University of Hong Kong in 2001.
Born and raised on Lamma Island, he remembers going to Hong Kong with his mother by the seaside as he grew up in the 1960s.
With several families and over 30 people living in a housing complex, a young Chow went to the movies to escape the living conditions and enjoy the air conditioning, even though he didn’t know what the movies were about.
He trained as an actor in the 1970s and began his acting career, filming from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, he said.
“I recited lines when I went out to film and when I returned to the studio. I even recited the lines when I was asleep,” Chow recalls.
“I did this every day for nine years, and I really don’t know what I filmed if you ask me (that question).”
The actor said that the person he saw the most during this time was not his mother, but actress Carol Cheng, now 63, with whom he appeared in several television series such as as The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1979), The Frères (1980) and Le Destin (1981).
Chow started focusing on movies in 1984, then went on to shoot the gangster movie A Better Tomorrow (1986) with director John Woo, kicking off his “bullet” career for the next decade.
“I can say I fired more bullets than the police commissioner at the time,” he joked. “I shot up to 10,000 bullets a day while filming.”
He moved to Hollywood in the 1990s after his contract with the television and film company ended and shot films such as The Replacement Killers (1998) and Anna And The King (1999).
He worked with director Lee Ang in Oscar-winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), and his acting career has blossomed ever since.
At the ceremony held on Saturday, Professor Alexander Wai, President and Vice Chancellor of HKBU, praised Chow for being an icon and popular figure abroad who has demonstrated the unyielding and combative spirit of Hong Kong and shaped the golden age of the Hong Kong Kong film industry.
“Most importantly, he remains humble and grateful for what he has, and his persistence and humility make him a great role model for the younger generation,” said Prof Wai.
This article first appeared in The times of the straits. Permission required for reproduction.