A surprise encounter

Filed in Entertainment Ind., General, MiscellaneousTags: ,

It was just after the new year, early in January.

I was taking five of our kids for a walk up our favourite hill. We turned around the corner at the round-about near our home and began walking toward the bus stop where the trail up the hill begins. Half way to the bus stop, one of the kids needed to relieve himself. I bent down, wrapped his bi-product in newspaper and stood back up ready to continue down the road.

I was suddenly aware of someone standing on the sidewalk just before the bus stop. He stood motionless, dressed in dark sport clothes, both hands in pants pockets, a pastel blue flat soft hat on his head, standing with one leg vertical and the other slightly leaning outward. He was motionless, and he was watching me, intensely.

I sometimes have a vivid imagination and it began to work at this moment. I had no idea who the man was. He was too far away to recognise. He stood directly in the middle of the sidewalk and his demeanour looked menacing. I wondered if perhaps he was displeased that my kids and I were taking up the whole of the sidewalk. I didn't want trouble so I decided that if necessary, I would direct the kids to the road and walk around him when we reached him.

We kept walking. He remained motionless. We kept walking. He remained motionless.

We were almost there. I was getting ready to direct the kids to the road, making sure that there were no cars approaching, when the man suddenly outstretched his hand toward me, offering to take my hand in his, a handshake. I looked closer. He was smiling at me. I looked closer. I wasn't sure. It was near impossible to believe that I was seeing who I thought I was seeing. I looked closer. It was him. It was him!

We shook hands. He wasn't even the slightest bit nervous of the kids. We talked for ten to fifteen minutes. He asked me a few questions and asked for my phone number. Suddenly, he opened the boot of his car and took out a camera. We crossed the road and he very quickly took two photographs of the kids and me (you can view one of them here). We talked a little more. A few people across the road recognised him and called to him. He replied with the politeness and respect that he is famous for. We talked a little more and he left.

The kids and I continued our journey up the hill. I was in a dream state. I felt like I was floating. It was so hard to believe that I had actually met and talked to this man. It was so surreal!

Yesterday morning, the first day of the new Chinese lunar year, my wife and I were at the theatre watching "Night At The Museum". When I watch movies, I always set my phone to Silent. Even if it rings, I will not be aware of it. I'll then check the phone for missed calls and messages after the movie has finished. This time was no different. After the movie, I checked my phone and noted that there was one missed Unknown call and one message. I rang the message centre and listened to the message. It was him!

He had called to wish me a happy Chinese new year, and to arrange a meeting to give me a copy of the photograph he had taken. He'll call again, probably after the Chinese New Year holiday. It's going to be an anxious week for me. I usually turn my phone off during "They’re Playing Our Song (2007)" rehearsals but I'm going to have to leave it on for a few days in case he calls. I don't know nor need to know his number so I'll just have to wait for him to call me.

We all have our idols, people we admire and look up to. Some people admire Stephen Hawking. Some people admire Li Ka Shing. Others admire movie stars and celebrities. I have no idols, but rather a few select people for whom I hold high regard and esteem. I don't respect people without integrity. I don't respect people who don't respect others. I don't respect people simply because they have money. I respect people who have talent. I respect people who worked hard to get to where they are today. I respect people who have earned my respect. He is one of those people.

He is 周潤發 Chow Yun Fat   ;-)


Comments (Comments are closed)

35 Responses to “A surprise encounter”
  1. Richard Lai says:

    You are one lucky guy! I thought he is usually in the states these days.

    The beginning of this journal was a bit spooky. I thought you were about to be mugged!

  2. yinyin says:

    Happy New Year....
    i enjoyed reading this article...
    when i reading the first few lines... i thought u meet an detective agent ///// very creative/// or some one like that....
    But just could imagine it was him... I like him in the movie he acted with Leslie Cheung... but i like Leslie better.
    Lol havent watch 'night at museum'... i watched ' music and lyric' with my friend last week... i was quite funny, with Huge Grant.... hm... i think i'm writing irrevlant stuff~
    once again, happie new yr/ and best wishes for the ' they are playing our song' too bad, i'm not in Hk cant see it. But if it release DVD, i will purchase it~~ too c ur performance., Good luck~

  3. asget says:

    For some unknown reason, I knew it was Chow Yun Fat before you revealed "him"...

    Does he live around your area or something? or were they filming..?

  4. Peter says:

    Hi Greg, it's Peter from Edinburgh... I just had to comment on this... that's a great story. That must have been the most incredible and surreal experience. Happy Chinese New Year, all the best to you and your wife, and good luck with the play.

  5. Janice says:

    Oh my god you are so lucky! I have so many idols yet I have never ran into any of them... ergh :-/

  6. Douglas Shirase says:

    THAT is something! Lucky you!

  7. shaw says:

    Happy Piggy New Year, Greg !

    I like the way you write this story. And can't disagree with you, CYF is a respected person in HK entertainment industry.


  8. Wade C says:

    The Best ever written in 2007. Lucky You. Waiting for your next encounter with CYF...

  9. Dominic says:

    hey greg,

    you are a very lucky man to see chow yung fat, by the way how did you learn chinese?
    can you read and write chinese? i am British-chinese but only can read and speak cantonese.
    ive just relised your an aussie, and also ive seen you on tv, well... on tvb videos, my parents use to rent them at manchester and sometime you do appear on some of the series. i remember there's a white man in 'fung sei yuk 1994' playing as a vicar, and i dont know if it was you.
    i know i might be asking a lot of questions, but do you ever watch aussie soaps at hongkong like home and away and neigbours?


    from Dominic.

  10. Dev says:

    Wow, great story. It was nice that he had recognized you from far away and stopped to wait and have a chat with you. =)

    Have you two worked together on anything before?

  11. sapphire says:


  12. 河國榮 says:


    I don't think he lives around here, but apparently, he used to swim in the beaches here, and he still occasionally comes over to walk the hills. I think he likes the outdoors. In fact, this particular time, he had just finished walking one of our hill trails and was returning home when he drove past me, recognised me and stopped at the bus stop to wait for me. lucky me!


    long time no see. (for everyone else, we met Peter in Edinburgh during xmas 2005. he leant Cantonese by himself while living in Scotland and speaks it extremely well!) thank you for the word 'surreal'. it's the word I had originally wanted to use but couldn't remember it ;-)


    I learnt Cantonese from a cassette course "Cantonese in 100 Hours" and Canto-pop songs, followed by 20 years of working at TVB and living in Hong Kong ;-) I can read and write Chinese but my writing is weak because I don't write enough.

    方世玉: I believe I was in that but I can't remember the details. I have enough trouble remembering what I filmed last year!!!

    generally speaking, I don't like soapies. in fact, from Jan 1 this year, I stopped watching tv altogether. I'll get more accomplished if the tv isn't there to distract me and provide procrastination excuses for me.


    I worked with 發哥 many years ago for a commercial. I was a Caucasian extra. even then, he was very nice to all of us.


    my plan is to add two photographs to this article; a scan of the one that 發哥 gives me, and a scan of 發哥 and myself taken many years ago when we worked on the same commercial (if I can find it…)

  13. ada says:

    Happy Chinese New Year!

    Totally agree that there are some people who we respect. I also respect people who earned other people's respect. Word hard on the rehearsal~ ^^

  14. YEE says:

    never give up =]

  15. MY says:

    Happy Chinese New Year! Wish you all health and happiness for the Year of the Pig!

    新年快樂! 祝大家豬年身體健康,開開心心!

  16. 123 says:

    Dear Greg,

    Do I surprise you ?

    I thought about making a note in your blog for a long time but did not find a right time. Today, I finally made up my mine to let you know that I'm really proud of you.

    I know you have been making great effort to the play "They're Playing Our Songs" since mid Dec '06 and I'm sure it will be a successful musical.

    Let's celebrate on the 23rd of March.

  17. Edwina says:

    Hi!He's sure one avid photographer... Your blog is definitely one that i will keep re visting. Break a Leg for your upcoming musical!

  18. Christ Follower says:

    You can imagine the joy your fans feel at an encounter with you, an idol, too, in the eyes of many. I'm sure you'll also gain their respect by being respectful yourself. This is actually the attitude required of a harmonious community. It's quite unwise of some movie stars, actually actors and actresses by profession, who tend to feel superior to others and play hard to get at.
    Thanks again for the account of a very amusing experience of yours.

  19. Essie says:


    This is the first time i leave a msg here and it's indeed enjoyable to share what happened to your days :)

    I also have the experience bumping in to Mr. Chow about a year ago! It was quite surprising that he dressed in such a causal way and i cannot imagine that i would meet him near the Victoria Park! As you said, he is really admirable for the way he behaves.

    By the way, good show on the stage!

  20. Sunny Chien says:

    G'Day mate!! Hope you do remember this slang !!! Im from Hongkong but have been living in Australia since 1992. Did you buy lotto the day you met CYF ? Hope you did, then you would have won some 10 000 000 bucks!!

    By the way, something extra about how I found out your HP. I was skimming a random PC mag (e-zone), and the reporter was using your HP as a comparison of the 3-column and 2-column blog. I dashed to my desk and scribbled "An Aussie in HongKong" onto the notepad for tonight's internet time. (Well, because Im in HK at the moment, I don't have regular access to internet, Ive barely touched the computer since the summer break from uni.) Nevertheless, Hope this wouldnt too much 'nothing.' Hope you wouldnt mind my rather detailed thoughts ..

    I ve forgot when I first saw casting in TVB. But I do recall my whole family shouting "Wowww, he's so fluent !!!!" LOL !!! You tend take characters with high respect and position, say, head helicopter officer -隨時候命, foreign minister -Dragon Sabre and Heavenly Sword &C. Hope you will find new challenges and work your way up to the top !!!

    Hope I'll run into you next year when I return from Sydney, from a year of hardship and effort (both of us indeed Haha!).
    anyways, Catch you later !

    PS. Do you mind being my correspondant via email? You can simply send your reply to my email if you think its ok. I really like to talk to someone who is similar to me, who is working/living in a city/country from which he/she is not born in. Expecially, where these references are direct opposites, Australia vs Hongkong!! If you find uncomfortable with my request, I have no problem communicating through your blog.

  21. Sally says:

    I guess the man is Chow Yun Fat before the last line of your blog. I met him twice before, he is really a nice guy!

  22. jojo says:

    Hey Greg,
    I had school tonight at 6:30pm, our regular class end at 8:30pm; but due to some incident, our prof ended at 9:15pm. I was really hungry but lazy so I went to a Chinese restaurant. I sat down, and ordered my food. While I was waiting my food, I picked up a magazine and I read an article that was about you.
    Greg, I really want to scream something out, "Don't give up your dream!" You know, this is my dream as well... Although I am not sure about whether or not I can succeed it... this is gonna be my dream forever. Why? Because I love to sing!
    It was an old article (2006), you mentioned you do not think you are famous in HK, this leads me to think do you mean you think you aren't important in the 娛樂圈? No, this is totally not true!!! 娛樂圈is like a big family... yes, to some people they might think a 腳指尾 is a minor part to a body, but without a 腳指尾, you can't even balance yourself and walk properly!
    You know, you are one of my idol too!

  23. Echo says:

    halo, 我係2月的kidults得知你的網頁, 加油!!!努力!!!如果你有時間的話, 也可到我的blog看看

  24. nicky says:

    Really enjoy this article ! I hope I can meet you and Mr. Chow one day!!

  25. Fiona says:

    When you said this person is famous for his politeness and respect, I thought it has to be either Andy Lau or Chow Yun Fat. Looking forward to seeing the pic from 發哥

  26. Caro says:

    Hi, Greg, it's actually been a while that I keep on coming back to check on your new posts. I never thought I wanted to leave a message here, coz I thought you were not going to reply any of these:-). The way I found the access to this blog was kinda surprising, I was planning on my travelling routes in Lamma Island in early Feb, and just by google search, your blog came out, though this didn't actually give too much info about HK, it turned out to be such a good place to visit and actually I like the way you write.

    This article was indeed a surprise for me, the day I read it was exactly the day I encountered Chen Zhipeng near my school in Shanghai. I was hurry crossing a zebra when I say someone dressing kinda funny to me, I didn't really pay attention to him coz other things were keeping my mind occupied, and then just when we were heading face to face in the middle of the zebra, I noticed this guy actually is dressed up in fashion, but still the name didn't pick up, coz he was wearing a big sunglasses. The funny thing was, he sort of gave me a weird look - saying that how come you stupid girl don't recognize me? and then just after this look, an old lady walking after me shouted loudly: Wow, this is Chen Zhipeng!

  27. sze says:

    Good luck on your show! Work hard and work smart!

  28. Kitty says:

    Hey man! Im also the one who read your story from the kidults. Wow, you are really impressive. I do know you because,you know, you have a good-looking appearance first and you can speak cantonese flurently! xD hmm I just want to encourage you to go on with your dream and hope your show will be successful!
    You inspire me a lot =)

  29. 支持你的人 =]" says:

    永不放棄 * 堅持原則 * 比心機做好你既舞台劇呀 =]"

  30. Rennie says:

    Wow! You met Chow Yun-Fat! How cool is that?!

    Good luck on your performance!

  31. 菁菁 says:

    I don't respect people without integrity. I don't respect people who don't respect others. I don't respect people simply because they have money. I respect people who have talent. I respect people who worked hard to get to where they are today. I respect people who have earned my respect.

  32. Ian says:

    Wow! Holy goodness, thats lucky.. Hey, that means he watches some TVB shows that features you in it.., in a way, this how people usually recognise you with.. :)

    Aww., i really misses your part at TVB, because the 'Kiu Bo Bo ' doesn't look like western people at all, i wonder why TVB chosed him instead of you.. :(

  33. Ang Chee Keong says:

    Hi, my name is Ang Chee Keong (洪志强). Im a Malaysian Chinese.

    I watched lots of Hong Kong TVB drammas when i was a kid. I saw you appearance in many of TVB drammas. I started to get curious of who you are. I look up in the casting list shown at the end of the dramma, and find out your chinese name, then i checked for your detail in the internet and found your blog.

    I read about your story, and i was touched. It takes lots of courage to give up what you have, and persue what you want. Not many people are willing to take the risk.

    Just want to tell you that i admire you for what you are doing to achieve your dream. I wish you all the best in you career and may you get what you've been searching for.

    Yours sincerely,

    C K

  34. Anita says:

    You are one of the lucky guy. I was as lucky as you. I remember in 1998 or 1999 when the movie "Replacement Killer" or "Corroptor" was shot. I saw him walking with his wife at Hudson Bay shoping Centre(Toronto). He was wearing a very casual t-shirt. I approached him and asked for his autograph. Then we started to talk for a few minutes. He signed his name on my bank book. Of course I'll keep this bank book forever.


  35. Shawn says:

    Hi Greg,

    You have a pic of GSD with your signature? (Nice one) And you have a bunch kids not GSDs (Nice ones) from 發哥 photo. Anyhow, lucky you. Wish you continue to have fun and surprise throughout the year of 2007.