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Few people enjoy public speaking. But for Ken it came naturally. From a young age he reveled in the task of standing up in front of the whole school at assembly and reading out announcements. At the time, he had no idea how this might translate into a career.
Later, he decided to focus on Physics. He says, "When I was young, I liked watching Gundum (a Japanese science fiction and military franchise). There are many robots in it. I thought that if I studied Physics I could build a Gundum, too."
That may not have happened, but Ken did develop an interest in astronomy, joining the University’s Student Astronomy Club where he would host events and draw on his talents as an emcee. Before his graduation, a chance arose to apply for TVB’s training program for voice actors.
TVB runs its voice actor training courses infrequently and only rarely recruits students. But Ken was alerted to the opportunity by Tam Shing Chu, his Putonghua teacher at HKUST, who saw potential in him for such a role and helped him book a studio to record a demo. A successful audition saw him enrolled on the course, which provided him with all the skills necessary to act in films and television, as well as teaching him about the history of voice acting and the various production skills and operations involved.
He also learned that your degree does not define your future. "How you are educated does not determine your job," he says. "Your education is a weapon, not a limitation. It should not limit your choices."
After graduation, Ken embarked on a career with TVB that continues today and has seen him work as a voice actor on shows as wide-ranging as Doraemon, in which he plays Gouda Takeshi(胖虎); various Korean dramas featuring Lee Min-ho(李敏鎬) and Cha Tae-hyun(車太鉉); and popular Japanese television series Hanzawa Naoki(半澤直樹).
Ken’s job is rarely straightforward. His role requires a lot of preparation. He watches the whole season of a series in his own time before recording his part in order to prepare properly, though as a television lover he is delighted to be able to watch the shows before anyone else in Hong Kong. "It’s a dream job," he says.
Whatever the challenge of the day, communication is one of the key skills. "My profession requires good cooperation with my teammates and with the characters in the drama," says Ken. "The actors on the television do the emotions and I do the voice, so it’s a collaboration. It’s easy to learn, but hard to do well."
Ken is keen to expand his work outside television and into video and mobile games, and to potentially launch his own YouTube channel. But most of all he wants to tell the world more about his chosen field, the process involved in voice acting and the skills required. "People think it’s simple but behind the scenes there are many parts and many parties. I want people to know how we make a program and to see that it is a very hard and complicated procedure."
Know more about Ken's story from HKUST Alumni Magazine – Winter 2020 Issue