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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Flora Chan's Christmas Spirit

It has been over 10 years since Flora has spent Christmas with her family. Many people say that Flora Chan is cool, that while she has been acting for 10 years, she has been hiding her true personality.

When Flora wanted to go to HK to work in 1994, she had a big disagreement with her family. Her ex-husband was the only source of support, but their marriage ended as well. Flora has returned to the unconditional love of her family. In the past, she would only go back home once every 3 years. This year, she has returned twice. "The last time I went back was in the summer. I held on to my father and mother's hands and we walked on the beach together. I will always remember that moment."

This year, when the Christmas tree was lighted, Flora did not have her husband nor boyfriend beside her. "I know hold to handle things so that I am happier now. I still believe that I will get married again one day. I like children a lot and I think I will become a mother. Besides, I still have time."

Fighting With Parents
Flora's Christmas tradition is like this: her parents, elder sister, younger brother, and kids all get together. Her elder sister is the best cook and would usually prepare Christmas dinner. After dinner, they exchange gifts. They do a Kris Kringle and each member of the family draws a name as to whose gift they would buy. This year, Flora drew her parents' names. She already bought gifts in Hong Kong for them.

Flora say that she has learned to communicate with her parents only in the last 2 years. When Flora was only a few years old, her father immigrated to the U.S. Flora lived with her grandmother and didn't see her parents much. Her father originally worked as a Chinese dance choreographer. After he arrived in Boston, he labored in a restaurant. He learned English, finished his degree, and returned to teach dancing. Flora is proud of her father for accomplishing everything on his own.

Flora got married when she was 23 years old. Later she decided to go to Hong Kong to work. Flora's parents protested vehemently, as they had struggled very hard to settle down in the US and didn't want Flora to return to the old world [Asia]. They were worried Flora would fail. "My parents thought my personality was too stubborn and didn't listen to others. I wanted to explore the world, that's why we argued a lot."

Parents Want Granddaughter
After arriving in HK, Flora hosted a program on TVB's Pearl channel. Then she became an actress and was extremely busy in the next few years and could only see her family once every 3 years. Last year, Flora left TVB and found a new manager. She now has more personal time and has been able to return to Boston in the summer and winter, staying 2 weeks for each visit.

"Now I have more time to spend with my parents. They have grown older and I want to create more memories with them. After people retire, they tend to be more lonely. When they are sitting home, I want them to be able to think about the happy moments with their daughter."

This summer when Flora returned to Boston, she wanted to surprise her parents. She only notified her friends to pick her up at the airport. However it's been 2 years since Flora was last back and she got lost on her way to her parents' new house. It's been a long time since the last family reunion. When she saw that her sister-in-law was pregnant, Flora was tearful. When she took her parents to the beach, they had a long conversation. "My brother is having a son and my sister has a son as well. My parents said they want a granddaughter and the hope rests with me."

Flora tries her best to make her parents happy. When they came to visit her in HK, she covered all the expenses. But as for a granddaughter, this is harder to achieve in the short term.

Not Having A Boyfriend Is A Shortcoming
When we asked Flora if she has a boyfriend to spend Christmas with, she said a bit disappointedly, "No. Having a companion in life makes it more beautiful. Sharing is very important. My life is 95% complete and just lacking the remaining 5%. It's just a matter of how you look at it. I tell myself I have achieved 95%, instead of focusing on the 5%."

Flora likes children. She believes that she will become a mother. In 2000, she separated with her ex-husband. Five years later, her ex-husband has found another girlfriend, but Flora hasn't yet. Past rumored relationships include Moses Chan and her manager, Chung Ka Hung, and Flora goes on the casual date, but she has not found that special someone yet.

"Whether it's being an actress, a daughter, or a friend, I have improved in all these roles. I believe that if I were to get married again, I will be a better wife."

Acting As A Traditional Woman
After leaving TVB, Flora acted in "Great Adventurers" which is being broadcast on ATV now. The impression of her character is that she is very traditional. In the past, Flora would not have accepted this image. Since her first series, "Files of Justice V" to "Triumph in the Skies," Flora has acted in many roles; playing intelligent women is her trademark.

"The big difference acting outside of TVB is that when I sign on to a series, there is just a sketch of the story. During the development of the script, I can add my input, which increases my enjoyment of acting. In the past, at TVB, I sign on after the script is finished, so there is not much room for suggestions."

Flora received the "My Favorite Female Actress Award" at TVB. During those 7 years, she has enjoyed fame and fortune, but she did not want a structured routine for work. She wants to explore opportunities outside.

Like A Farmer Farming
"For the past 9 months, I was not in HK. I went to China and filmed an English series in Singapore. It was the first time I acted in English and it felt much more natural." When Flora first returned to HK, she had difficulty reading the script in Chinese. Her ex-husband helped her translate. Following Cantonese, Flora wants to learn Mandarin and continue to improve. She realizes that her popularity in HK is slowing down, but Flora feels it is worth it.

"When I was filming in China, everyday I had to travel to the movie studio. I would pass a road and see a farmer working very hard on a small plot of land. He was very focused and content." This observation made Flora want to focus on her own miniscule, non-attention-getting work. It is like the farmer whose hard labor results in crops that grow taller each day. Lately, Flora has started to write her own English column. In China, many music companies have wanted to sign with Flora. She hopes that during her Christmas break in Boston, she can compose a song so that for her next album, she can pursue a creative track.

"TVB has been contacting me to film for them, including 'Triumph in the Skies II' (the sequel has been abandoned now). But I didn't accept the role since I didn't have time in my schedule. There is a big possibility that we will collaborate again next year."

In the TV world, there is a new generation of fa-dans every 3 years. In 2006, Flora will have left TVB 3 years and a new generation has arisen. Flora, who likes to rise to the challenge, can treat it as a new working environment then.

Flora has a very distinct opinion, especially in fashion. She may not wear the borrowed designer clothes for a photo shoot. In preparing for the shoot, we e-mailed her in advance the clothes that we had selected for her. Flora's answer was that she would prefer to wear her own clothes. While shooting the pictures, Flora didn't want to pose like a model. "It's very unnatural; I can't do it."

Finally I saw a side of Flora that was uncool during the shoot. Her assistant went to buy egg tarts and Flora, biting into the hot egg tarts, looked so cute. If only Flora had allowed us to take a picture of her eating, her image would be much more personable, but she didn't.

[X] credit: Jayne @
Ming Pao #1936


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