在香港的有名外國人 – famous foreigners in Hong Kong

Everyone around is crazy about Christmas including me. Magic time when dreams and hopes come to life. Of course if you don’t count endless hours in kitchen, fighting in the shopping mall for perfect gift and protecting your christmas tree from a crazy cat.
When it go to my dreams, as probably every young person, I dreamed about being famous. My first choices were Sailor Moon and reincarnated Athena but at least for today I don’t possess Silver Crystal neither have my Saints around me. Honestly my closes ‘famous’ experience was seeing my dad on the TV every year on National Independence Day but there are foreigners who got really successful in Hong Kong, especially thanks to TVB Station.Let’s take a look and see if you know anyone of them!

Gregory Charles Rivers 河國榮

Born in 1965 in Australia moved to Hong Kong in 1987 before he finished his medical degree at University of New South Wales. Of course he fluently speaks Cantonese which helped him to become a TVB station actor. Practically every major character who is a gregoryforeigner (no matter the time period or whether French/English or Persian) in TVB dramas is played by him. Before 1997 he usually played British officials, chief of police, governer etc.
His Chinese name is made up of the Chinese equivalent of his surname Rivers (河) and the name of his idol Leslie Cheung Kwok Wing (張國榮). Some sources say he is also a frequent YouTube poster, having his own prolific number of video clips of himself and his many colleagues within the Hong Kong media industry but beside videos of him speaking Cantonese (I was jealous how good he is!)
Gregory Rivers mentioned his reason for learning Cantonese was his association with Hong Kong Cantonese speaking friends during his time at university at the age of 20 years old. It was this close friendship which led him to become more interested in the learning the language when he first heard the songs sung by Leslie Cheung Kwok Wing inspiring him to learn the words so he could sing it.
He played in Detective Investigation Files, The Criminal Investigator Virtues of Harmony, To Get Unstuck in Time, The Gateau Affairs, War of In-Laws and more.

Brian Thomas Burrell  布偉傑

Born in Salt Lake City in 1972, he graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Chinese Literature and Asian Research. He first went to Hong Kong in 1995 to teach English, and permanently left the US for Hong Kong in 1999. He can also Brian Thomas Burrellspeak and read in Cantonese, Mandarin and Cambodian – is there anyone of you who is not impressed by this?
Burrell began his acting career in 2000, when he took a minor role on TVB’s A Case of Misadventure (騎呢大狀). He eventually gave up his job in the information technology sector to become an actor, and was later signed on by TVB as an artist.
To make it more funny –  was introduced to television acting by a guy you just read about, Gregory Charles Rivers.
Since entering TVB, he has acted in many different television series, participated in a number of advertisements, and been an emcee and guest for a lot of variety shows and company events.
Besides ‘A case of misadventure’ he played in Bar Bender, Best Selling Secrets, Emergency Unit, Ip Man 2 (I hated him for that role!), my husband’s favourite Master of Play and many more.

Anders Nelsso 聶安達

Born in 1946, came to Hong Kong with his parents in 1950 has been a part of Hong Kong’s entertainment scene for over 50 years. His first professional singing performances were with The Kontinentals, and he continues singing, composing and recording to this day. He has acted in countless episodes of Chinese TV dramas on all Hong Kong’s TV channels, including CTV, RTHK, RTV, ATV (with famous bun-throwing 20121108031720anniversary show my husband told to mention you so you can find it on YouTube and laugh – it’s not that funny as he think it is) and TVB and has recently been discovered by TV stations in Mainland China. His first and most famous acting job was in the Bruce Lee film Way Of The Dragon, in which he played a thug in a back alley. Lucky him!
Behind the scenes he has worked as a journalist writing about entertainment, music publisher, and as A&R Manager at EMI (HK) Limited and Managing Director of BMG Pacific Limited. Nelsson has been working as a radio DJ since winning several DJ contests. He also DJs ‘live’ and acts as Master of Ceremonies for events of all kinds. He currently runs his own Anders Nelsson Group of Companies, working with music publishing, event production and sourcing of products for the entertainment industry. That is someone I can call really successful!
He has written many jingles and film soundtracks, including the main theme for the award-winning Cantonese movie Mr. Vampire – I cannot say if they were good since I still haven’t seen the movie.
Among his roles have been Divine Retribution (ATV), Wiselee (TVB) and feature film Journey To The West with Nicholas Tse (lucky again!), released in late 2005. During late 2005 and early 2006 he taped several drama serials for HK-TVB including Stanley Story. He has also appeared as a guest in Jade Solid Gold and is currently seen as an expert promoting HK-TVB’s HD-TV channels. He finds that having his face appear on TV on a regular basis opens many doors, especially in China, and keeps this aspect of his career as a business tool as well as hobby.

Gill Mohindepaul Singh 喬保羅

One of my favourite foreigners in enterntain business in Hong Kong. Why? Because he’s NOT white! That makes him kinda Gill Mohindepaul Singhunique. That Hong Kong-born Indian man became an actor for TVB after participating in the TVB game show Minutes to Fame (too bad it was aired in 2005 – no chance for me!) hosted by Hacken Lee and Joey Leung. He worked for the Correctional Services Department as a guard before becoming an actor.
He’s also the first Indian actor signed by TVB, Gill played one of the regular cast on the TVB sitcom Welcome to the House. In an in-depth interview with Muse Magazine in 2007 (with other foreigners mentioned here – try to google ‘Hello Neighbour‘ ), Gill discusses his cultural identity and confesses to seeing himself “like an ambassador for my people“.
Due to personal situation with his wife he announced in 2012 he will move to Scotland.

Corinna Chamberlain  陳明恩

She is a Hong Kong-based singer and actress, musical theatreperformer, model, and an occasional TV host for TVB. Multitalented. Born to an Australian mother and a New Zealander father, she was born and raised in Hong Kong and speaks fluent Cantonese. I saw a few videos from her singing shows and I must say even her behavior is very Asian when it goes to relations with other people, not so open and huggy as you could expect. 1
In August 2013, she became a contestant for TVB singing contest for actors: The Voice of the Stars (星夢傳奇) and placed third.
Corinna’s musical performances include Leaving as Sally, Vision Party as B.B. Tang, Disco Inferno as Lady Marmalade, The Boyfriend as Masie. She has participated in numerous shows including “Side By Side”, “On The Edge”, “Yeah Show”, Eternity’s 20th Anniversary Concert, APM shows, Sandy Lam’s 2007 Concert, “Q Zoo Zoo”, “What’s Up The World”, “R’s Adventurous Drift” and many other commercial productions for companies including for Rene Martin, Hennessey, Addidas, Gucci and Miss Sixty.
20130301Her choreographic work has included being assistant choreographer to Pewan Chau for Goodnews Communications International’s musical, Burning My Life 201, choreographer for the musical, Moses, produced at United Christian College Kowlown East for Media Evangelism’s musical, An Ark Sparks in the Dark and co-choreographer for Eternity’s concert performance at Queen Elizabeth Stadium with Morethandance, for a dance performance at the release of Gucci’s 2004 watch collection, for Millennium Centre’s ETV production, for Tsang Shui Tim Secondary School’s production of “The Sound of Music” and for Millennium Centre’s primary school musical production.
Chamberlain is a TVB artist as of May 2008. Corinna appeared in Best Selling Secrets (note: with Brian Burrell), demonstrating her excellent cantonese speaking ability as well as good acting and some martial arts skills.
Some viewers have likened her looks to Nicole Kidman – because all white people look the same. I seriously don’t see anything that could link this talented girl to Nicole beside that both have Australian blood and talent.
In 2009, Corinna was the guest artist who sang both the Australian and New Zealand National Anthems at the Bledisloe Cup Rugby Game between Australia and New Zealand which was hosted by Hong Kong.

Last but not least – me, Lina 麗

Born in 1991 in Poland, fell in love with Hong Kong man and Hong Kong city. Author of MyHongKongHusband and not very 2013-12-16-17-00-21_decosuccessful housewife. Has no particular talent, besides the skill of ‘How to food-poison your friends and family in one or less meal‘. Don’t laugh – it might be a bestseller one day.
I’m not famous now, beside few articles spreaded around the Internet and a topic on HKgolden. Probably I will never be but for today I have wonderful 1173 followers, 313 likes on Facebook and lots of your positive energy which works perfectly for me!
At this point I want to thank you all for being with me that little bit more than a half a year, I want to wish you all Merry Christmas, delicious food on your table, beautiful gifts under the tree and I hope you can spend them really happy! Thank you once again for making me smile and keep on writing this blog! 🙂

Who’s a famous foreigner in your country? Or maybe you are the famous one? Share your experience! 🙂

17 thoughts on “在香港的有名外國人 – famous foreigners in Hong Kong

  1. We got many famous foreigners in Indonesia. Most of them are either television stars or soccer players. Interestingly, most of them ended up as Indonesian citizen. 😀


  2. There’s one particularly famous foreigner in Taiwan names Chris Downs (夏克立). He’s from Canada but has been in Taiwan for a very long time. He speaks fluent Mandarin and has been in many TV series, and is often a guest on variety programs, especially cooking programs. Recently he has also been doing TV commercials.
    Thanks for the good post, merry christmas!


  3. Very interesting. I believe there is a famous Canadian in mainland China with first name of Mark. He’s fluent in Mandarin and knows how to be graciously funny to audiences…

    In Canada Jackie Chan is still popular, but he will most likely be replaced by Bruce Lee’s son..can’t remember his name who starred in a Tai Chi movie.

    I bought and read Chan’s biography: really impressive background since he was an acrobatic trainee/performer for circuses as a teen/child! My half-Chinese nephew also read the book that I gave away to him.


  4. My friend and I had to perform “Love the Way You Lie” in front of 300+ people Linyi University in China (I’m white, American). Yes I was the rapper! Someone video tapped it and put it on Youku. The video is gone now, but everywhere I went in the city teenagers recognised me. They would run up to me saying “Love the way you lie. You are love the way you lie.” I had to take a lot of pictures with strangers for about six months. It was cool. So glad the video is gone now because the girl’s rapping skills ain’t very good.


  5. I’ve seen some of the videos with Corinna Chamberlain. HOT! As I love Australia and New Zealand, that naturally checks off the first 2 “tick boxes”, and her fluent Cantonese is the third check in the short-list. 🙂


  6. Interesting post! I’ve seen first two actors a couple of times in some TVB dramas.

    Indeed now there are a large number of foreign singers/actors/idols who speak fluent local language in Korea. I am always impressed by those multi-talented ppl.


  7. Lina, I am sad to hear that a person born and raised in Hong Kong is still referred to as a “foreigner”. I think Hongkongers need a lesson in social inclusion and PC thinking.


    1. As far as I know most of them migrated to HK and were not born there – I don’t know if the law at that time was like now but even if I spent in HK all my life from now on I would be still treated more or less as a foreigner and can only get permanent residency as I have no so called ‘Chinese blood’. The title is just referring to that as ‘foreigner’ and not their actual blending into society and love for HK 🙂 I hope you get why I try to say!


  8. Wait, why are people born in Hong Kong considered foreign?

    I was not born in HK, I should be considered a foreigner despite descending from Ethnically Chinese.


  9. Q Bobo is listed as a foreigner despite being born in Hong Kong, was that intentional?

    I’m not born in HK but regarded, due to my Chinese appearance, as one and the same. Is that fair to Gill Mohindepaul Singh 喬保羅 (Q Bobo)?


    1. Valid point for both Q Bobo and Corrina – she was also born in HK. I wouldn’t say that was intentional, I never mean harm – I guess just young stupid me couldn’t think of a better title for famous non-East Asian in HK. Need to revise either the title or the post so I’m opened for suggestions 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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