Monday, July 27, 2009


In the film PAINTED FACES (CHUT SIU FOK), director Alex Law Kai Yui through Yu Jim Yuen portrayer Sammo Hung Kam Bo read dialogues about China Drama Academy contract content. The hundred words or so summarized the key points, but only until recently did Seven Little Fortune members had the chance to take a look at the 800 words actual contract. They immediately felt Master's contract negotiation abilities were actually as deep as his Beijing opera abilities.

Numerous Rules, Advantage: School

Although when each member enrolled in the China Drama Academy, they without exception had to sign a contract with the school; but over the years losses are inevitable. Now only Yuen Bo and several other students have the actual contracts. Yuen Bo says, "When we were little we didn't know, when we grew up due to a variety of reasons many brothers didn't actually see the contract content. Then for Seven Little Fortunes' 50th anniversary when everyone brought out the related material, we realized actually the contract had so many rules."

In general the sheer number of the rules already made some impatient. Yet Yu Jim Yuen set particularly many rules, like:

* monthly tuition of HK$100, food $500, room and board $20, miscellaneous cost $10, $180 total. If the student is physically unfit for study, party A (school) agrees to the former party's resignation. In case of resignation in the middle or using it as an excuse to escape, party B (student's parents) must pay all cost to party A.

* Party B cannot object to any role assignment to students. Party B has no right to interfere in or charge Party A for any performance or group performance (including performance tour abroad) that students participate in.

* Party B agrees and permits Party A to discipline the child, physically and verbally.

* Party B cannot demand any compensation from Part A for accidental student death

* Party A has the right to return Party B's child to Party B and be clear of any responsibility in times of war or riot

From today's standard, this contract already clearly expresses andhints at strict training. The school has control and all enrolled are willing participants. Yuen Biao says, "No fault for death, no right to interfere. It seems very one sided, but at the time what did we know. We never even thought of threatening to sue Master. That was Master, where would we get enough guts to!"

Opera Troupe Apprenticeship, Nine Year Agreement

Has Master Yu taken advantage of disciples, or was he only following traditions? According to one of Beijing Opera's Four Great Divas, Cheng Yanqiu, in his article OUR LEARNING PROCESS, "When I was six, I was recommended to and joined Mr. Rong Diexian's school. I wrote a seven year note, which stipulated seven years. After that I also had to help Master for a year. That would be eight years. The starting year was not included. Actually the contract was for nine years; in these few years, the instructor was responsible for everything of the student. All performance revenue belonged to the instructor. This was the standard for disciples for the opera troupe at the time." (35)

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