Post Star Awards, I was working and meeting up with friends who were leaving. I haven’t got a chance to sit down and organise my thoughts or even let everything sink in.
Two days after the event, I had a long lunch with a friend and confessed to him that I don’t feel much different now and before. He gave me a knowing smile and said most people would expect some kind of response but I shouldn’t let that bother me too much. Be true to how you feel, this veteran said.
Honestly, I don’t really have an idea what I wanted to write in my post Star Awards entry. I had planned on writing a more coherent thank you speech, but realised the moment is over. Not that I am not grateful anymore, but I had pretty much said what I wanted to say that night, albeit in a very jumbled, disorganised manner. At least that was real! It’s almost like how when you’re acting, sometimes the first take is always the best, because the lines are still new, the emotions still raw, and the natural response most, well, natural. Repetitive takes would take the flavour out of the words. Some people liked the way I fumbled for the right words, others thought I could do better. My inexperience showed this time, but I promise I will learn in time.
I turned up for the awards with no expectations and was having fun with Gary’s (hairstylist from Passion) camera backstage. Sounds like fluff, but having missed out for two years consecutively, I no longer take anything for granted. Many people told me I’d get into Top 10 last year, after all, I did five dramas and even starred in the highest rated drama for that year, so they said, but I still ended up by myself in the front row when the Top 10 awards were given out. Disappointed, no, but boy was I embarrassed. I wished I was sitting next to someone. From then on, I learnt not to take what people say too seriously, because we really never know.
I only started to get the nerves just before the opening sequence. Perhaps it’s the words of encouragement from my colleagues or that knowing smile from a veteran that nagged at me to plan what I’m going to say should I win. And so I tried, but the bird and plane and magic tricks were so entertaining that I didn’t manage to move past the first line of thought. When the time came for the award presentation, my mind was in a mess. Part of me wondered what it’ll be like to hear my name, what I would say if I go on stage, but the other part convinced me that it can’t be possible, I was hopeful yet afraid, my mind going back and forth, my heart pounded with anticipation. Even when Ms Zhou’s lips formed the sound of my Chinese surname before Chiang-ge stopped her, I still didn’t want to believe it would happen. But it did. It was like someone yanked the plug in my brain. All the sounds faded and I went into auto mode. I knew I had to get up and go, and tried to buy time from the moment I stepped on the runway to receiving the award from Chiang-ge, so I could come up with something logical to say. Still I struggled. I searched the corners of my mind for words that normally come quickly, but they were jumping around with disbelief I couldn’t grasp hold of them. I rambled, worried I’d embarass myself by keeping silent, worried the alarm would come on and I would be rendered a mute, it was supposed to be a moment of joy and celebration but I was stressed. And I blanked out.
I never understood why winners at award shows always get so emotional. Now I do. It’s not easy at all.
Backstage, I was still in a zone. I never saw my stylist Jeremy grinned so wide before, he was always so cool, but this time he couldn’t contain his excitement. Daddy Ge Ping was backstage waiting for me with open arms, congratulating me and saying “Ger ger, see I told you.” I burst into tears because Daddy has always been there for me throughout the year. When everything didn’t seem to be in my favour, he still held so much belief in my potential, telling me to work hard. Then before I could get a grip of my emotions, my manager held my hand tight and told me to get ready to speak to the reporters outside. I panicked, I didn’t know what to say, I couldn’t get a hold of my bearing and I was still sniffing away. Emotions were running high and wild.
After the mini press meeting, Jeremy quickly pulled me upstairs to change into an outfit I never fitted for. I did as told and everyone was so flustered because the special guests were already giving out the Top Ten Most Popular Male Artistes. As I squeezed into the Hervé Léger bandage dress, I wasn’t even thinking I would have a chance to go on stage. Before I could remember what went through my head, I was already shuffled downstairs awaiting the presentation of Top Ten Most Popular Female Artistes. Then a calm sort of washed over me.
I know I was very lucky at this year’s awards. This journey I’ve taken hasn’t been easy and winning Best Actress is definitely a huge encouragement and boost of confidence. While I received many many congratulatory messages, at the same time I am also aware that there are a group of dissenters who do not feel justified for my win. For whatever reason, most of it aren’t within my control. My work is what I hold a strong grip over. Winning Best Actress doesn’t mean I’m best, (nor do I think this will grant me any special status) and it certainly isn’t just because I work hard or had to eat bugs. Making drama is a team effort and everyone worked just as hard. I see the judges’ decision as a form of guidance, telling me that despite having tripped, fallen and hurt myself, I’ve managed to battle through the thicket and found the right path. I want to take this long journey, and I know there’s plenty of room for improvement and lessons to be learnt. But for now, I will not belittle myself just because of a few naysayers, because honestly, it was a difficult role and I shed my share of sweat and tears for it.
Barack Obama arrived at the White House with a resume that appeared short by presidential standards, there were many people who didn’t believe in him, held certain prejudices, prefer his rivals over him, and still do not like him now even though no one can change the fact that he is President of the United States; Carol Ann Duffy, recently appointed British poet laureate is equally subjected to prejudices against her gender and sexual orientation, and comments from random people that suggest she isn’t worthy of the job. But it hasn’t stopped her from doing what she is good at.
This is life. There are always two sides to a coin (unless you’re Joker) and words will remain as words. Let the actions speak for itself.
So I implore you to wait and see, give me a chance to let my work show.
I will work hard.