Mei Ting takes on new role for chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFE - By CHEN NAN chen­nan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Chi­nese ac­tress Mei Ting has played many com­plex roles on screen in the past two decades.

In the 2001 TV drama, Don’t Talk to Strangers, which re­volves around do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, she was a bat­tered wife. Then, she ap­peared as a masseuse in the film Blind Mas­sage, a big win­ner at the 2014 Golden Horse Awards held in Tai­wan.

The film also won her a best ac­tress nom­i­na­tion at the Ber­lin In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val the same year.

Of late, Mei, 41, has added a new off-screen role as an ad­vo­ca­tor of chil­dren’s pub­lic health.

On Dec 3, which is marked as the In­ter­na­tional Day of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties, Mei ap­peared at the Bei­jing Record Fac­tory in a hu­tong (al­ley) to record po­ems along with chil­dren with hear­ing prob­lems.

They read po­ems such as Farewell to Cam­bridge by the late Chi­nese poet Xu Zhimo.

The record­ings are part of a project called Joy Wave by China Chil­dren and Teenager’s Fund, a lo­cal non­profit founded in 1981.

“Mother­hood has changed me. I now want to speak for un­der­priv­i­leged chil­dren,” says Mei, whose daugh­ter is aged 4 and son is 1 year old.

“I feel con­nected with par­ents who share anxiety about their chil­dren’s health with me.”

The soft-spo­ken ac­tress says she was short on pa­tience ear­lier but since her chil­dren came along, her outlook to­ward life has changed.

Ac­cord­ing to Zhu Xisheng, sec­re­tary-gen­eral of China Chil­dren and Teenager’s Fund, among the coun­try’s ear­li­est foun­da­tions to help chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties, there are cur­rently more than 130,000 chil­dren with hear­ing im­pair­ments un­der the age of 6, and ev­ery year, the loss of hear­ing is re­ported in more than 20,000 in­fants.

Mei is the first celebrity to join the project, but more are likely to record their voices for it, which is a good way to bring pub­lic at­ten­tion to chil­dren’s health is­sues, Zhu says.

The film, Blind Mas­sage, also gave Mei a closer view of the hard­ships faced by peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties.

“We spent months liv­ing with them and they were funny, smart and pos­i­tive although they couldn’t see,” says Mei of the film’s shoot­ing in 2012.

Mei met her pho­tog­ra­pher hus­band, Zeng Jian, on the sets of the movie. They got mar­ried in 2012. The cou­ple will work on a new film next year.

Pre­vi­ously, Mei was mar­ried to film di­rec­tor Yan Po.

Born in Nan­jing, East China’s Jiangsu prov­ince, Mei joined a chil­dren’s dance troupe when she was 7. A few years later she be­came a pro­fes­sional dancer with a troupe of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army.

Sub­se­quently she quit danc­ing and moved to act­ing.

In 1996, Mei was ad­mit­ted to the Cen­tral Academy of Drama in Bei­jing and her class­mates in­cluded Zhang Ziyi and Qin Hailu, some of the coun­try’s ac­tresses to­day.

Mei’s per­for­mance in the 1997 Chi­nese movie, A Time To Re­mem­ber, which was directed by Ye Day­ing and had the late Hong Kong-based singer­ac­tor Les­lie Che­ung in the co-lead role, won her the best ac­tress award at the Cairo In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val the fol­low­ing year.

She didn’t fin­ish col­lege as many act­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties came her way and she wanted to fully de­vote her­self to them.

Rather than choos­ing com­mer­cial movies or in­ter­na­tional pro­duc­tions, Mei prefers art-house films and the­ater pro­duc­tions in China, which she says makes her feel “free and real”.

“I am not am­bi­tious. But the roles that at­tract me al­ways of­fer me new in­sights into my work,” she says. best-known

at­tends a char­ity event in Bei­jing to help chil­dren with hear­ing im­pair­ments.

PHO­TOS BY FENG YONGBIN / CHINA DAILY

Ac­tress Mei Ting

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