Mei Ting takes on new role for children with disabilities
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.
Actress Mei Ting