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HKBU Alumnus Chris Shum Wai-chung (Chinese Language and Literature)

The BUddy Post has interviewed award-winning lyric writer alumnus Chris Shum Wai-chung who will share with us his experience in lyric writing, teaching and learning.

Reporter: Could you share with us your career path?

Chris:I started my study in Chinese Language and Literature at Hong Kong Baptist College in 1987 and obtained my higher diploma in 1990. I then completed the conversion programme and obtained my Bachelor of Arts degree in 1992. For me, this qualification was an entrance ticket to my career. After graduation, I had been a teacher for 5 years while taking post graduate diploma in Education at the University of Hong Kong. Then, I grew tired of my teaching job and I studied full time for an MPhil in Education. In the post graduate diploma programme, I got inspiration from my teachers on the ways to teach students. I realised knowing the subject inside out does not necessarily mean that you know how to communicate such knowledge to others.

I have a keen interest in lyric writing and therefore started my career in this area. I write lyrics for musicals, dramas, movies and TV dramas. But I have not given up teaching. I have been teaching teachers to teach at the Hong Kong Open University for 10 years now. Sometimes, I go for class observations and give comments on the way my students teach.

Reporter: When did you start lyric writing?

Chris: I am very sensitive to the accuracy of pronunciation since young and I already started writing lyric when I was in primary school. But my profession in lyric writing did not formally start until 1994 when I first wrote for the musical Cheng Zhai Feng Qing co-produced by Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, Hong Kong Dance Company and Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra. This is how I established my network with the drama circle, cooperating with them on lyric writing. I worked a lot with Hong Kong Repertory Theatre.

Reporter: Among your lyrics, which one is your favourite?

Chris: My favourite musical piece is The Passage Beyond. It has beautiful melody, touching episodes and most important of all, many supportive audience. I feel fortunate that the lyric has earned me the Hong Kong Drama Award – The Best Original Score. As for movie, my favourite lyric is Fen Mo in Bodyguards and Assassins. I have projected much personal feelings in the lyric. Indeed, the line “I grew up all of a sudden, forgetting how weak I was” reflected the transformation of my psychological state when my father passed away. The song expresses my mournful feelings for my father.

Reporter: Where do you get inspiration when you write lyrics?

Chris: I actually think that a real lyric writer does not need to find inspiration deliberately because it comes out anytime, anywhere. What I would say is, I love to read and I absorb as I read. The information I take up from reading will naturally come up to my mind when I need to write lyrics. I believe in “you give what you take”.

Reporter: What are your hobbies?

Chris: My job is my hobby. I also like to go for business trip because it is fun, looks cool while being useful. I also love movies, dramas and musicals.

Reporter: Any words of wisdoms or advice for our alumni and students?

Chris: Admittedly, the current political and economic environment is less favourable for the younger generation to move upwards. Some people think that the baby boomers are blocking the path of their upward mobility. However, baby boomers will one day retire and therefore we all need to prepare ourselves for opportunities to come. Also, we should do what we like to do and not what people like us to do. This will make us happier in our career. Last but not the least, don’t just play around and forget the important things. We should be serious in every job we do. For example, I am a lyric writer and I will learn to play piano, to fill stave on computer and to find out the original written form of Cantonese words. Doing these, I can write lyric which can be elegant, popular and interesting at the same time.

Interviewee’s Biography:

Alumnus Chris Shum Wai-chung is an award-winning professional lyric writer. His lyrics cover musicals, dramas, movies as well as TV drama series. He has scooped Hong Kong Drama Award – The Best Original Score with his lyric in the drama The Passage Beyond, and the Best Original Film Song Award in the 32nd Hong Kong Film Award with his lyric Ding Feng Bo for the movie The Last Tycoon.





(Pictured 1 and 2) Apart from writing lyrics, Chris has also got talent in design. He designs the shop for his wife.

 Chris and his wife

Chris has scooped a number of prizes in lyric writing


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