Quoted from Straitstime
THE E-MAIL INTERVIEW: MARK LEE
Who says I'm a Chinese helicopter?
By Wong Kim Hoh
THE way Mark Lee sees it, it's harder to make a person laugh than to make him cry.
'Simple if you want to make him cry. Just give him a slap lor. But it's very difficult to make someone laugh. You must tell a joke and you must tell it differently. If not, no effect. If that person is sad, lagi jialat (Singlish for more difficult),' he said.
He seems to have no problems tickling the funny bone though. One of the most successful comedians on the Chinese entertainment scene, the self-professed Ah Beng and Chinese helicopter (local slang for a Chinese-educated person who speaks poor English) has made a successful cross-over into the English medium with his new sitcom on Channel 5, Police And Thief.
He is a lark, playing a reformed gangster turned hairstylist who speaks fractured English.
In real life, the 36-year-old and his wife Catherine, 30, a former air stewardess, run a successful hair salon called Storm. They have been married for four years.
Wooing her, he joked, was not easy. 'Very hard. At that time, my look even more Ah Beng than now. Also not so famous. But little bit by little bit, I make her fall in love with me.'
Q First, Mark, an English test and please don't cheat by checking your dictionary. What are the meanings of ejection, erection and election?
A I see the word 'Eject' on my video player so ejection means draw out. I asked my wife the meaning of erection but she won't tell me. It reminds me of the word correct, so maybe I think erection means to improve. Everyone knows election, it means voting.
Q Are you really a Chinese helicopter? You were a student at Jurong Secondary School which is an English-medium school, no? So how come your English is so like that?
A My first language is Hokkien and I was the last batch of Chinese-educated students in the school. So really, I am really Chinese helicopter.
Q You once told a newspaper that you have many friends - from lawyers to gangsters. If I got into trouble with gangsters in Choa Chu Kang, can you use your connections to help me?
A All the gangsters above 28 years old are now businessmen. All the gangsters below 18 years old are not gangsters - they just like to fight over money. So if you have money, can. Money can settle everything.
Q You keep telling everyone that you are an Ah Beng but you also wear high-class brands like Miu Miu and Prada. Do people ever say: 'Aiyah, sure bluff one, buy from Thailand' when you wear your expensive shoes and clothes?
A No, but I am a different kind of Ah Beng. I am an entertainment Ah Beng and when I go on stage, I sometimes have to wear the branded things.
Q You own a hairdressing salon. Does it mean you get a new hairstyle every week? And can you actually cut hair?
A No. I do treatment for my scalp every two weeks or when I am not working. Got dandruff because not enough sleep and work until midnight. I can't cut but if you want, I can cut for you.
Q So which is more enjoyable? Being an actor or being a boss?
A Actor because it's my hobby. I can be many different types of people. I can be Shakespeare. When I am boss, how to be Shakespeare? When you are boss, people will treat you as friend because of money. No money, no talk.
Q Can you do a Shakespearean soliloquy?
A Simi (Hokkien for what is) soliloquy? Very cheemology. I don't know. If I don't know, I cannot do. But I think if Hokkien soliloquy, I can do.
Q You are apparently very filial to your mother. Can you give three very good reasons why no man should be shy about being a mother's boy?
A i) Because mother nine months pregnant; ii) because mother raise you up and give you everything; and iii) because she is your mother.
Q In last week's episode of Police And Thief, your character got very worried that your son would turn gay. In real life, how would you feel?
A Give him money to go for operation and ask him to work in Bangkok cabaret as actress.
Q You have been married for many years now. What is the most important thing a man must know to keep his wife happy?
A Very easy this one. Don't have love affair with other women. Then your wife sure happy.
Q Finally, what is the craziest fan encounter you've ever had?
A They want to tear my shirt, hold my hand, kiss me. All these happened in Hollywood, oh Malaysia. [/i]