May 2017 was a month of what mainland Wallace Chung fans in China call “drama famine.” No new drama was aired. No new film was realeased. Not even a variety TV show featuring Wallace came around. Fortunately, the famine will be over soon. Better yet, Wallace sent a Mother’s Day message on behalf of Ecovacs, busied himself with the filming of Healing Love, and posted the longest weibo EVER for his longtime assistant.
Wallace and Healing Love (in the Staff’s Words)
When Wallace is not in the public eye, the hidden spies among the Wallace fans always come to life. They search high and low online and off to bring us the latest news about Wallace, but don’t worry, they know how to protect Wallace’s privacy despite their insatiable curiosity.
While Wallace was busy filming Healing Love in Shanghai, the fans spotted some extras and staff members on Weibo, bombarded them with questions about Wallace, and got plenty of info.
At the beginning of May, an extra wrote:
“I’m gonna answer everyone’s questions in one comment! Today I took on the task of performing as an extra! Wallace explained to me [what to do] for a long time and the outcome was quite a success! When [Wallace] was on the set, he sometimes carried and moved things by himself. Doesn’t really look like a boss (but everyone calls him “boss”)! He is a fun-loving person. For example, in a drumming scene, although the director had approved the take, the boss and the extras had so much fun with the drums that they simply could not stop!”
Later two other staff members were discovered posting on Weibo about Wallace. They didn’t know Wallace very well in the past, but Wallace left a nice impression on them.
1. Wallace has many lines as the male lead, but he completed many scenes with one or two takes! The secret? His script is covered with notes in traditional Chinese, including the ones about the tone of voice and the facial expressions. He even draws funny doodles on the script to help himself interpret the script. When he practices for a scene, he paces in the hallway to practice the lines. His bodyguard stays with him but sits far away by the staircase, “as if he were babysitting a kid.”
2. It is very cool to see Wallace act on the set. He can get into his character instantly. The expression of intense emotions, the volume of his voice, the control of the tone, and the change of nuanced facial expressions are all magnified in the HD monitor. Everything about him in character is very appealing.
3. Wallace is knowledgeable about TV and film production. The comment was made by a young staff member whose major is related to the area.
4. Wallace has a habit of working out in the morning. He is also observant. He noticed it when the above staff member did not go running as usual.
5. She is also amazed by Wallace’s physical stamina and nice skin though he works for long hours every day in a fast-paced environment. He looks very cute when he blinks. His eyes are amber-colored. She said Wallace was born to be a star. “When you are close to him, you are stunned by his face. When you are far away from him, you drool over his figure.” He looks better in person than in videos and photos.
6. The other staff members call Wallace “Fang Haosheng,” the name of his character. Fang Haosheng has a big mirror. He looks adorable when he obediently allows the makeup artist to fix his hair, makeup, and clothes. He always makes sure he looks fine. Fang Haosheng is a fashionista. His own clothes are usually of black, white, and gray, and they look great. When Fang Haosheng wears a simple sweater, he looks so young—no more than 20 years old!
7. Wallace is nice to people working around him. He takes the initiative to greet the staff. He always says “Thank you,” “Sorry for the convenience” and “Thank you for your hard work.” He is humble, approachable and thoughtful.
8. Wallace is humble and polite, but that does not mean he does not have personal opinions. He expresses his opinions and suggestions very appropriately. He doesn’t speak much but he often insists on re-shooting because of tiny imperfections which others might be fine with. He is very serious at work and practices all kinds of skills during the breaks. He does not play with his phone on the set.
9. A professional violinist who is young enough to refer to Wallace as “uncle” on Weibo said she was amazed by how well Wallace played the violin. She thought the instrumental ensemble would never be recorded on the set but she was wrong. She was also impressed by Wallace as a conductor. Although Wallace is by no means a pro, the fact that he should impress a professional violinist is a testament to his hard work and learning ability.
10. Wallace kept thanking the above violinist for teaching him to play the violin. She told him, “You guys pay me [so you don’t have to be so polite].” Wallace collapsed in laughter. The staff members were served snacks but Wallace does not eat them. Wallace told the violinist and other staff members that girls should play with the phone less and smile more (or laugh more? I am not sure because the Chinese word she used in the weibo was not specific.)
The two staff members mentioned above posted some pictures and videos they took on the set, but Wallace’s fans requested them to set those pics and videos private because they know Wallace is very serious about copyright issues. Also, training the phone on Wallace and the Healing Love set without permission is a violation of the code of ethics in the industry. Although I feel sorry for missing those pictures and videos, I think the fans were right. I read in the past that many years ago, Wallace told the fans not to take pictures of the set. He said only the hired photographers are allowed take photos during a TV drama production.
Wallace “Fired” His Mom
On May 10, Ecovacs claimed that if you followed them on WeChat, you would receive a message and a phone call from Wallace. Later, this video was released. Wallace, along with six other stars, “fired” their moms. My translation of the video explains why.
I want to fire you.
I say I will go home after I am finished with all this work.
only when I feel unwell
will I think of my mom: She is probably fine, right?
I am busy day after day.
Only when I stop working will I think:
you must have toiled a lot too, right?
Love and cherish yourself.
Now you have the Ecovacs robots to help you.
All these years, you have travailed a lot
May the mothers all over the world have a happy Mother’s Day.
They are robots, they are also your family.
Weibo Update (Longest Weibo Ever!)
On May 27, Wallace posted a long weibo for his longtime assistant Zhang Zhen. It is the longest weibo he has ever posted (Yes, he wrote more partly because Sina Weibo updated the weibo word limit from 140 characters to 2,000 characters, but still!)
Just finished filming [for the day]. Xiao Zhen [Little Zhen. “Little” is used before someone’s first name to show affection.] handed me the script for tomorrow’s filming. I recalled that the day before yesterday we finished work around dinner time. Someone said that we had not had a group dinner for a long time, so we decided instantly to go have dinner together. Xiao Zhen still kept herself busy while everyone else was joking around and stuffing their faces. They were hungry so they ate to their hearts’ content, which explains what the word “satisfied” means. Xiao Zhen suddenly spoke of what happened when she first met with me. She said, “That day was May 25, 2007!” The other people screamed, “Wasn’t that today ten years ago?” Everyone was happily stunned! Xiao Zhen said, “I went to a beauty salon near Jing’an Temple to meet you. You were getting a haircut there. You were wearing a white T-shirt, dark-colored jeans, and a pair of very [the original word was “hin” instead of “hen” because Xiao Zhen said that word with a funny accent, and Wallace naughtily kept that in his original weibo] white sneakers. Later you took me to work. In the car, you turned around and asked me what my name was, and after thinking for a long time you said you would call me Xiao Zhen.” When Xiao Zhen talked about those things, I immediately felt I went back to those days, all the memories replayed before my eyes vividly. It turns out that it is going to be the 11th year for Xiao Zhen to work as my assistant. We experienced so many things together…We went to the set with the extras in a Jinbei [Chinese car brand] van; the place we lived in back then had a leaking problem when it rains; we huddled together in a small corner and had lunch served in partitioned boxes; she held the script and rehearsed the lines with me; we had contests of memorizing the Tang dynasty poetry and the ci poetry of the Song dynasty. Since I started filming [in mainland] in 1999, I had been used to taking care of myself. Then Xiao Zhen appeared. To this day the macro environment for filming is constantly changing, but we still keep learning. It is so nice to feel motivated like this. There is a sentence [Zen proverb] that goes, “The person who drinks it knows best whether the water is hot or cold.” At this moment I think of the staff members working around me. Grateful. Thank you all.
The weibo was written in plain words but it is pretty moving. Wallace coupled the weibo with nine pictures of or with Zhang Zhen over the past ten years. The one at the center has a caption, “Don’t look down—the crown will fall.” The caption is an alternative of “Keep your head up, princess, or else the crown will fall.” The alternative got popular about two years ago in China. You can see the original weibo here.
I remember Zhang Zhen wrote an essay in February, 2015 about her life on Weibo. She briefly mentioned how she met and started working for Wallace at 21 years old. Before meeting Wallace, she had worked in the service industry for seven years. She is kind, down to earth, independent, thoughtful, and hardworking. She gratefully wrote that she learned a lot about how to conduct herself and treat others from Wallace. She described herself as “cold on the outside but enthusiastic on the inside.” She didn’t mention Wallace’s name in the essay but she thanked him for trusting and helping her. She wrote she wished Wallace all the best “silently in her heart.”
By the way, I am glad Wallace confirmed in the weibo that Zhang Zhen is the assistant who had poetry memorization contests with him. Wallace said in interviews that they memorized about 60 poems while waiting on the set. Wallace memorized the poems faster but Zhang Zhen remembered the poems for a longer time.
Wallace Fans’ MV Contest
Wallace’s fans have been no less busy than their idol–they channel their creativity and love for Wallace through the sixth annual MV contest hosted by the Wallace Chung fan forum on Baidu Tieba . If you are on Weibo, search 钟吧第六届MV大赛 to check out those videos. If you are on YouTube, click here. As of this writing, there have been 133 MV entries and even some non-competitive MVs just to cheer up the contestants (What?!? Wallace’s fans are so adorably crazy ).
A Book about Wallace
Wallace’s fan @伦敦的安 published a book about Wallace last summer. The book title was 《我们可以很钟汉良》 We Can Be Very Wallacian, but the publisher changed it to 《骄傲的女人爱钟汉良》 Proud Women Love Wallace Chung. The book analyzes in eight chapters why Wallace has charmed so many fans over years.
Chapter I An Ideal Young Man
Chapter II Break Free from the Comfort Zone
Chapter III Personal Goals
Chapter IV The Power of Simplicity
Chapter V The Charisma of a Gentleman
Chapter VI Aesthetic Ideals
Chapter VII Give Love a Sense of Security
Chapter VIII The Art of Time
The author is a Chinese living in the United Kingdom. To write the book, she reviewed Wallace’s past works and interviews and interviewed several fans about how Wallace influenced them. I love her analyses of the precious qualities Wallace possesses and many Wallace fans can draw inspiration from. For example, in the first chapter, she pointed out Wallace’s diligence, courage, stamina, and innocence are essential to his success., a Wallace fan with over 4,000 followers, wrote a book review. She concluded that the book reveals the reasons why people fell in love with Wallace: It is because he is wonderful and thinks that the world is wonderful and full of hope. He empowers the fans to become a stronger and better person to make the world a even more wonderful place.
Unfortunately, after the book came out, it was protested by some of Wallace’s fans in mainland. They accused the author of taking advantage of Wallace’s fame and success and suspected she published the book without Wallace and the Liang Family’s permission because Wallace or his staff did not promote the book on Weibo. Some of them also disliked the new book title.
The author decided to post a few book chapters under the original title on Weibo and WeChat. Last November, an anonymous fan bought 8,000 copies in stock to give out to other fans practically for free. The interested fans just need to go to the designated online shop to order a copy for 0.01 RMB.
The author stopped posting new chapters online after the giveaway started, but the readers continued giving positive feedback after receiving their copies. Some of them even organized a panel to discuss the book in their company! (Crazy fans again! )
The good news was that this month, the author resumed posting the remaining chapters of the book every Sunday on Weibo. If you read Chinese, you can read them here.
I love the book. I was stunned when it came out (another crazy fan!) but after reading a few chapters, I was blown away. It was well-researched and beautifully-written. I learned more about Wallace and felt inspired. Hopefully more copies will be printed. I want to buy one at its original price.
Recently I read more about gender equality and LGBTQIA issues. Sometimes I ask myself why I like Wallace and why my favorite entertainers are all men not women. Also, why did Wallace’s fans praise Wallace without reservation but often criticize some of the actresses working with him? Were they somehow acting like the unconscious followers of patriarchy and misogyny? Even if some actresses are indeed unprofessional and unethical, is there a better way to help solve the problem other than insulting them with acerbic comments?
It takes time to answer those questions thoroughly, but in general, Wallace is a good role model. He is male, but he has many qualities that were traditionally considered feminine, such as his gentle voice, perfect skin, and interest in personal hygiene and beauty products. He is meticulous and considerate. He and my other male idols transcend the male stereotypes and stay authentic for decades. Most importantly, his intellectual curiosity keeps him open-minded and progressive. May 17 was the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, which reminded me of one of Wallace past interviews. When asked if he was gay, he did not say no immediately or take it amiss. He tactfully said although he has some gay friends, after careful self-observation, he realized that he was not gay. Compared with some homophobic men, Wallace handled the question very appropriately. If I have any more expectations for Wallace, I hope he will have more freedom in the future to do the projects he likes. He is smart and mature. He has the ability to direct the public’s attention to the marginalized people (such as people with hearing impairment like Fang Haosheng) and the beauty of humanity through his performance. Good luck, Wallace!
P.S. Do you remember Wallace’s last one-word weibo “声 (sheng)” ? Maybe we were overanalyzing his intention…I realized last week that perhaps he used the word only to represent Fang Haosheng…