In light of the Elvin Ng vs. Patrick Lee saga, Singapore-based actress Sora Ma has spoken up about allegedly being bullied during the filming of 2016 Channel 8 television series "118 II".
The actions of an unnamed veteran artiste had caused Ma to cry in her car every day after filming.
After a telling interview with Ma, Shin Min Daily News (SMDN) reached out to the cast members who appeared in "118 II" for their comments.
The artistes SMDN managed to reach are Chen Tianwen, Chen Hanwei, Liu Lingling, Li Feihui, Brandon Wong and Zhu Houren.
Some of the questions SMDN had asked included the following:
- Did they know who this veteran artiste was?
- Had they heard about this bullying incident?
- What impression did Ma give them during filming?
Chen Tianwen told SMDN, "I have indeed heard about the incident whereby Ma was bullied by a veteran artiste during the filming of '118 II'. I don't know what the reason was either."
The 57-year-old actor has been in the industry for 37 years.
The impression that Ma gave him was "very okay." He described her as "easygoing, respectful of seniors, and not arrogant."
"Perhaps due to an inability to integrate with cliques, I have also experienced a similar incident. Indeed there is bullying but it can't be helped," Tianwen added.
Hanwei described Ma as a "quiet and genuine" person.
The 51-year-old actor has been in the industry for 33 years.
He added that Ma takes her work seriously, and does not indulge in affectations.
Hanwei revealed that Ma had spoken about her unhappiness with him, but in his view, it was perhaps not harsh enough to be considered "bullying".
"It's about affinity. If you can get along with this person, you may chat a little more than usual. If not, there's nothing to be said."
Hanwei added that if he spots "anyone sitting quietly in a corner" on set, he would try to include the person.
"Numerous artistes in the industry would approach me for a chat when they are unhappy," Hanwei added. "I would offer my views. Of course, they decide how they wish to handle the situation."
Hanwei told SMDN that he has not experienced any bullying incidents while working in this line for many years.
He also shared his philosophy on interpersonal relationships in the workplace:
"In order for others to respect you, you have to respect others and make the first step. Bullying is related to mentality. Sometimes after something has happened, one should self-reflect first. If you have acted within reason, there is nothing to worry."
Liu described Ma as "a person who knows how to respect her seniors".
The 54-year-old actress is also a getai singer.
"To survive in the entertainment industry, one needs to adapt," Liu said.
According to Liu, the local entertainment scene leans towards the more peaceful side.
She added, "However, if certain actions really cause artistes to feel emotionally hurt, it constitutes as 'bullying.'"
Liu added that she did not encounter any bullying during the filming of "118 II," and echoed Hanwei's sentiments about self-reflection.
"In society, one needs to understand individual personalities. If one is bullied, one should self-reflect first to see if it was their own fault. If you are not at fault, take ths opportunity to turn grief into strength. If the other party bullies others, they would not have a good outcome."
Li said that he "may not be sensitive enough" and did not notice any problems that Ma had described regarding her bullying incident during the filming of "118 II".
The 55-year-old singer has been in the entertainment industry for more than 30 years.
According to Li, he had few scenes with Ma and had always been very happy working with the team during these years.
"Most of the team members were harmonious and would not hold grudges even if there were little misunderstandings. Filming requires team effort. Sometimes, one needs to be more open-minded and magnanimous to feel relaxed at work."
Li added that there were different definitions of bullying, and questioned what constitutes bullying.
Wong admitted to hearing about Ma's bullying experience but said he has never personally experienced any bullying during the filming for "118 II".
He said that he had a pleasant time working with his co-star, Zhu, and they would often send each other home.
The 49-year-old actor has been in the industry for 26 years.
However, Wong said throughout his years in showbiz, he has also met colleagues who formed cliques and "ostracised" him.
"There was a lot of dialogue during filming "118 II" with Wong. If I asked Wong to say the lines instead, would it be bullying? I don't think so because Wong feels that the performance outcome was better and the director also accepted it," Zhu told SMDN.
The 66-year-old actor has been in the industry since the 1980s.
According to Zhu, artistes need not be too sensitive about bullying incidents, lest they cause themselves to be very miserable everyday.
SMDN was unable to procure statements from three other artistes who acted in "118 II".
Chew Chor Meng and Dennis Chew did not respond to SMDN's queries at the time of writing.
Pan Lingling responded to SMDN's queries via a voice message to politely inform them that she was unable to pick up the call as she was in the middle of a styling session.
Top images by @the_celebrityagency, @chenhanwei1969, and @soramayx on Instagram.