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Hong Kong Story - I am Ha Quoc Vinh

(Reading time: 6 - 12 minutes)

My name is Quoc Vinh. I am from Queensland - Australia. When I was in High School I got very good grades, with this score I can apply to any University in Australia. At that time, I hoped that I could become a doctor, because I could help others. I was accepted into the University of New South Wales and studied Medicine.

The first year I lived at a friend's house in North Sydney. Then, move to the university's international dormitory for the second year, where at least half of the students are international - non-Australians. During those years, I met many friends from Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and were very close to them.

But the most important thing is that after moving into the dorm, I was able to listen to popular Hong Kong songs

One day, as I was walking through the hallway, I heard a very soothing music. I asked her what song it was and if she could lend it to me to enjoy, and she lent it to me. I forgot it was a Leslie or Alan song, but it was definitely their song. Because I really like these songs, I bought them in Chinatown. Later, I listened to and watched the lyrics of the song, so gradually I learned a lot of kanji.

Because I love singing, I started singing Cantonese songs during university activities. I also signed up for a singing contest organized by the Hong Kong Students' Union, the contest song was "愛的根源", and I won runner-up.

I clearly remember that international dormitories often have cultural exchanges - held periodically once a year, in the hope that students of different races can perform and share their culture. chemical.

In 1985, Leslie's song "Monica" won many awards. It's also a song that I really like, so I chose to sing Monica at the cultural exchange party. At that time, my classmates were very surprised, how can I sing Monica. I watched the video to learn the dance steps and how Leslie sings. Continuing to practice at places on campus, other classmates saw me working hard and also came to help me. Some of my classmates even helped me dance on stage at the concert that day. My show was very successful.

The name "Ha Quoc Vinh" was actually translated for me by my Hong Kong friends at the university from this Monica performance. My real name is Gregory Charles Rivers, they changed the surname Rivers to He (河) and Kwok Wing (國榮) taken from my idol's name.

In the same year, Leslie and the giants of Hong Kong went to Australia for a concert. The company hosting the concert is looking for a volunteer driver. My friend asked if I could volunteer as a driver. I agreed, and fate let me be Leslie's driver.

Hong Kong Story - I am Ha Quoc Vinh

(Ha Quoc Vinh at Truong Quoc Vinh's funeral, taking his idol on the last bus)

Leslie had a break from rehearsal one day, so we drove to Canberra. It was cloudy that day, there was light rain and I couldn't see anything clearly. The return trip was driven by Leslie, his English was very good, we talked happily all the way. This trip for me is a memory that I will always cherish.

Hong Kong Story - I am Ha Quoc Vinh

When Alan came to Australia in 1986, I became his driver again. At the hotel where he stayed, standing in front of his idol, for some reason I was introduced to Ha Vinh Lan. At that time, I didn't know how to explain it. For about two years, many people thought I was Ha Vinh Lan.

Alan's four female vocalists knew that I could sing Alan's songs, so they suggested to Alan that on the day of rehearsal they could join me on stage.

Meet the two superstars Leslie and Alan, who had a huge influence on my life

I gradually became very serious about singing, often went to Chinatown and sang clams, did not study hard, so I failed the exam in my third year of college and had to study again. After three months of studying again, I decided to drop out.

I started saving money, raising my dream to come to Hong Kong

I worked as a dishwasher and a bricklayer. After working for over a year, I took my savings, bought a one-way ticket and brought a thousand Australian dollars, flew to Hong Kong.

I didn't prepare anything, I just asked my friend, can I stay at home when I come to Hong Kong - My friend's father reluctantly agreed, I also helped pay the rent. Other than this, I don't have any other preparations. I purposely bought a one-way ticket because I didn't want to have to go back to Australia when I encountered difficulties and discouragement.

When I first arrived in Hong Kong, I had no idea, no plans and no friends. I live on Broadcast Drive, but my friend is not here, because he has to stay in Australia to continue his studies.

I just arrived, there was nothing to do, so I often went out for a walk. One day I accidentally went to Hong Hom (紅磡) Coliseum, four men sitting outside the gate were smoking, they called me "He Vinh Lan". Turns out they were in Alan's band, we met in 1986, but after a year they still remember me, this is probably fate. At that time, Alan was rehearsing for the concert, and they took me inside so I could see Alan again.

In 1987, Alan held a lot of concerts, and my place was closed at 10:30 pm and no one was allowed in. But the concert won't end so soon. So every night when Alan's concert ended, I went back to Broadcast Drive, took a nap on a park bench, and waited until 5 a.m. when my place opened.

Once Alan suddenly asked me if I could come on stage to sing tonight, I said of course I could. I'm so excited to be performing with Alan for the first time.

Hong Kong Story - I am Ha Quoc Vinh

But the second time Alan introduced me on stage: "There is a foreigner who sings my song very well". When Alan called me to show up, I wasn't there because I was tired after sleeping in the park. 

The next time Alan asked me why I didn't show up, I explained the reason to him and Alan arranged for me to stay in a hotel when the show was over.

The third time, Alan called me on stage, I became a guest and sang "朋友" with him. I am really excited. Alan also invited me to his birthday party in August. In fact, everything that happens is related.

Later, I rented a small room at Kieu Quan building, Bac Giac

Once I went from Bac Giac to Trung Hoan, I saw a recruitment message board of a job company, I went to apply. At that time, I knew that the company needed an English teacher, but I am not a teacher, the recruiter said there was no problem so I went to a supplementary school. After working at the school for a few months, a colleague saw a TVB poster that was looking for a Westerner who was required to speak Cantonese. 

I called to apply, and told them that I have no acting experience and can't speak Cantonese very well, the person said there was no problem. I was scheduled to meet a female producer of the station - Zeng Lizhen (曾勵珍), she gave me an English script and asked me to read it. Because I was so nervous, I couldn't make a sound for five minutes. I told myself that if I didn't try now, it would be a real shame in my life. 

Hong Kong Story - I am Ha Quoc Vinh

In the scenario is a dialogue between the policeman who blames his subordinates. Blame is loud. So I yelled. At the moment, she is doing her own thing, not paying attention to me anymore. But my scream startled her. Because there were no other foreigners to choose from, she reluctantly hired me. From there, I started working at TVB for 20 years.

Hong Kong Story - I am Ha Quoc Vinh

In September 9, I was a guest on a music program on Now TV. In a music room, three hosts and I sang and talked about music. Only recently did I learn that three of them are 2014毛 magazine owners.

At Christmas, 100毛 invited me to take a magazine cover, somehow invited me again, it turned out that my boss knew me but I didn't know them myself.

Hong Kong Story - I am Ha Quoc Vinh

In August 8. There was a program that invited me to sing. I'm familiar with that song. The lyrics are very common and I can learn them. But it was Friday, and the show was on Sunday, it only took two days to prepare, so I practiced really hard. There is a TV screen on the stage so I can see the lyrics, but I try to avoid watching the TV screen, I only watch it when I need to, so I can sing with confidence. I'm happy to be on stage, to be role-playing, and to sing a sweet song. Unexpectedly, the audience was very lively and interested, which is rare.

I know that life only comes once, it's not something I can do on my own, but they gave me a chance. That song was very popular and was on the pop charts. They contacted me before Christmas and said that a general election would be held, and asked if I would participate, I readily agreed.

On that day, each performer will have two songs. I got a new song on December 26th. I've never heard that song, it's a rap song and the lyrics are weird. That is very difficult for me. So I practiced a lot, sang more than 12 times.

The show of the night was streamed live on Now TV and was watched by 700.000 people. I didn't expect that I would win the Hong Kong Most Popular Male Singer Award. 

Hong Kong Story - I am Ha Quoc Vinh

When my name was announced, I was extremely happy, no one would have thought that a Westerner singing a real Hong Kong song could move others.

Because that song wasn't chosen by me, it was given to me by someone else. When I practice this song, my eyes often get teary and emotional. It is very difficult for Westerners to develop a performing arts career in Hong Kong. Not many opportunities, just to play some unimportant role. But I never thought about giving up.

Hong Kongers in my mind are doing what Hong Kongers do, eating what Hong Kongers eat, caring about Hong Kong and not looking at skin color. I hope people like me can speak Cantonese. The most important thing is to feel Hong Kong as one's home. This is the real Hong Kong people.

Hong Kong Story - I am Ha Quoc Vinh

Ha Quoc Vinh said that his life is like a roller coaster, with ups and downs. He has experienced countless disappointments, but he has never thought of giving up, because he believes that God will not disappoint those who are steadfast in their dreams.

He said, even if you lose everything, don't lose your smile!

Hong Kong Story - I am Ha Quoc Vinh

Article copyright belongs to TVB - A Time to Remember, Be Ready Education Australia. Cannot be copied without approval.

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