其實阿Sa從中三開始，已開始為雜誌當兼職模特兒。當被筆者問起如何分配工作和讀書的時間，畢竟魚與熊掌難以兼得。她想了想：＂其實在我開始做part time model的時候，我的父母也有提醒過我，必須好好分配自己的時間，所以我通常都在放學後才去為雜誌拍照的。我也絕不會因為工作而告假不上學的。」縱使後來“Y2K”的拍攝工作十分繁忙，但阿Sa亦堅持要參與會考，雖然最終會考成績不算十分理想，但畢竟比起讀書，她說她更享受演出”Y2K”的過程。
性格活潑外向的阿Sa，在中學時代表演慾就已經很強，她回憶說：「我每年都有參加學校的歌唱比賽，記得中四那年還拿了第三名呢！＂在旁的Ms.Lo瞪大雙眼說：「我記得那次歌唱比賽我是初賽的評審，當你唱完過後我還很驚訝地跟你說想不到你會唱歌！」即時引得一陣哄堂大笑。這時筆者翻開「那些年」阿Sa的畢業同學錄，看到阿Sa最敬愛的老師是Ms.Lo和區妙玲老師 - 一位是班主任，另一位是的任教服裝設計的老師。這時候阿Sa突然想到：＂記得以前的訓導主任是很嚴厲的，但卻也能和同學打成一片。記得得有一次因為和同學發生些口角才被罰到訓導處，不然平時都很遵守校規。＂但被問起是哪個老師，阿Sa頓時有點吞吞吐吐，但經過在場人一番討論後，才知道這個訓導主任就是鄧麗萍老師（Ms.Elsa Tang）。
最後阿Sa藉此鼓勵學弟學妹們：「要 “work hard,play hard”！現在讀書壓力雖然很大，但中學階段卻是人生中最精彩的時間，希望學弟學妹們能好好享受這段在將來最值得回憶、最寶貴的日子！」
It is the pleasure of RHSOSA’s Editorial Team to have the opportunity to conduct an interview with one of our celebrity alumnus: Ms Charlene Choi.
Joining RHS family
Sitting in the room in the New Wing that was named after Charlene Choi, she shared with us how she joined Rosaryhill School. ‘I actually studied at Marymount Secondary School from Form 1 to Form 3 first before I came to Rosaryhill School to continue my secondary education. I decided to come to this school since I was not allowed to be promoted to Form 4 in Marymount because my academic results were not very satisfactory. I chose Rosaryhill School by myself after having conducted some research on different secondary schools in the district. At that time, there was a subject called ‘textile design’ that interested me and since I was always fond of art subjects, I then decided to give Rosaryhill School a try.’
As a new student of Rosaryhill School, it was certainly quite a big change for Charlene to adapt at that time. ‘When I first came to this school, I said to myself: “Wow, this school is so big….” and I actually was a little scared. Although I did have a few friends who also were transferred to Rosaryhill from Marymount, afterall it was still a new environment to me and I also did not know that many people in this school, I was feeling quite insecured in the beginning. Moreover, I had always been studying in girls schools before; therefore, my parents were quite worried at that time. I still remember my parents always asked me lots of questions whenever I received phone calls from male classmates.’
When we asked Charlene about what she felt about Rosaryhill School, she said ‘ I felt that the teachers in this school were all very friendly. They always treated us as their friends. Ms Harriet Lo was one of them, we always thought she was very lovely teacher. As you know, Ms Lo is a mathematics teacher, she picked me to be the class’s treasurer for some unknown reasons…to be honest, I was really shocked because mathematics was always my weakest subject. However, Ms Lo told me that she had faith in me and that in fact strengthened my sense of belonging for Rosaryhill School. Furthermore, Ms Lo was extremely popular in our class. She always taught us with lots of patience. Although she was our teacher, she always talked to us shyly and that made her even more lovely….so even the naughtiest student in our class listened to her. It was all because Ms Lo never got mad at us and she never scolded us for anything. We all knew she used her heart to teach us so we all respected her a lot.’
Charlene first gained public attention from a TV drama series produced by RTHK called “Y2K” but she said she had yet joined the show business officially when she filmed “Y2K”. She said she formally joined the entertainment industry after her participation in “Y2K”. Then how did she get her part in “Y2K”? She told us ‘Actually it was in Form 5 when one of my classmates called Wendy invited me to act in a movie directed by Francis Ng Chun Yu as an extra. Eventually about half of our class took part in that movie. Subsequently, the production assistant of that movie joined RTHK’s television department and he invited us to attend an audition for a show called “Y2K” and at last I was the only one who was picked.’
Star in school
Actually before Charlene started her acting career, she had already been working as a part-time fashion model for various fashion magazines. She admitted that she always knew that it would be difficult to work and study at the same time but she had promised her parents that she would always give priority to studies when there were conflicts between the two. At that time she only did her part-time modeling jobs after school and she would never take leave from school for work reasons. Despite the subsequent filming work kept Charlene very busy, she still insisted to sit for the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination. Although Charlene’s examination in HKCEE was not very satisfactory, she admitted that when compared study to filming, she still preferred the enjoyable filming experience she had when she filmed “Y2K”.
A part-time fashion model immediately got a lot of attention from other students in the school and her class teacher Ms Harriet Lo provided us with more information: ‘She was very outstanding at that time and I still remember I always found many boys hanging around her classroom trying to take a peep at her from afar.’ At this juncture, Charlene contested ‘I think it was only because I had natural curly and thick hair and they might wonder why I still made pigtails on both sides of my head at that age….’
On the other hand, Charlene admitted that she always enjoyed to perform in front of others, ‘I participated in singing contests every year and I remember I got 2nd runner-up when I was Form 4!” Ms Harriet Lo also said ‘I remember that too! I remember that I told you “Wow, you actually can sing!” The Editorial Team also found Charlene’s graduation year book and she put Ms Lo and Ms Au Miu Ling as her most respected teachers in it. Ms Lo was her class teacher and Ms Au was the teacher who taught Charlene textile and design. Charlene shared with us that she did remember the teacher in charge of discipline, Ms Elsa Tang, used to be very strict but she also could be quite friendly and approachable. Charlene said apart from the only one occasion in which she had had a verbal argument with her classmate during the class and eventually she was punished by Ms Elsa Tang to stand in the Discipline Office, she considered herself to be a well-behaved student in school.
After her completion of HKCEE, Charlene did try to continue her studies in our school’s Business Section; however, at the same time she also signed an artiste contract with Emperor Entertainment Group (“EEG”); knowing it would be hard to do well in both studies and entertainment business, she had to make an important decision which path she would take and eventually picked the latter. Charlene told us that she did not regret what she decided, ‘I really think I was very lucky to have found a job that I really like. Sometimes my friends would vent in front of me and complained how boring and meaningless their jobs were and so I really treasured that I got to do what I enjoy doing.’
It had been 8 years since Charlene came back to Rosaryhill for a visit and Ms Harriet Lo vividly remembered that ‘Charlene came back to film something for RTHK and she came back at the time when the school finished so Charlene’s car was immediately surrounded by students and it was quite a scene! “When I went to her car to greet her, so many students requested me to get Charlene’s autograph…they just followed us wherever we went and I truly realized what “star power” meant….”, Ms Lo said. Charlene, on the contrary, did not remember much about that visit except that it was only until during that visit she realized that there were many places that she had never been to when she was still a student in RHS.
Charlene still maintains contact with her old friends from RHS: ‘I really miss those days in RHS. I am an outgoing person by nature and generally students were also very outgoing so I made a lot of close friends here. We liked sitting next to the basketball courts during lunch periods eating lunch and having chats together….We still would have gatherings from time to time and whenever we talked about the school, we always said we should come back for a visit. We can take photos at the same places where we had taken photos and we can then compare the photos, I am sure it would be really funny when we see the comparisons….’, Charlene told the Editorial Team.
Over the last few years, Ms Harriet Lo had approached Charlene for a few times asking Charlene to make donations to the school. Charlene told us that in fact she felt it was her honour to do that and she was really glad that she had the ability to help the school so that the students could have a better study environment.
Words to share….
For the students who are interested to join the entertainment profession, Charlene shared with us the following advice: “I believe in destiny. I actually had never thought I would join this profession and whenever I was required to attend in some international activities, I always regretted that I did not study English hard enough in the past…therefore, I am still taking lessons to improve my Putonghua and English. Competition in my profession is getting more and more severe , so although giving a professional performance itself is very important, I still keep reminding myself regularly that I need to keep improving myself to prevent myself from falling behind in the fast developing and demanding entertainment industry. I know it very well that people would give you more opportunities outside Hong Kong only if I am widely recognized and respected by fans in the local market,” Charlene honestly shared with us.
Charlene was also aware of various incidents in our school that attracted negative publicity. “I believe they were only isolated incidents. I just think the culture within the school changes with the time. Not only our school had those problems. I think every school has its own problems too. Charlene said.
At last, when we asked if she had anything to share with the current students in RHS. “Just work hard and play hard. I know students are facing heavy pressure from studies and exams but secondary school life is the most precious period in our lives and I really wish that the current students would try to enjoy every second of it. It will become the most precious memories in their future.” Charlene sincerely shared with us her thoughts.
Despite the heavy work schedule, Charlene still tried her best to do this interview with RHSOSA’s Editorial Team. We hereby express our most sincere gratitude and we also wish Charlene all the best in her career and personal life. Charlene, we are all proud of you!