Why Timmy Hung, son of Sammo, wants to be a hands-on dad

Hong Kong actor Timmy Hung and a photo of his second son (above), nicknamed Little JT.  -- PHOTO: TIMMY HUNG’S WEIBO
Hong Kong actor Timmy Hung and a photo of his second son (above), nicknamed Little JT.  -- PHOTO: TIMMY HUNG’S WEIBO
Hong Kong actor Timmy Hung (left, with boxing gloves) and a photo of his second son, nicknamed Little JT.  -- PHOTO: TVB
Hong Kong actor Timmy Hung (left, with boxing gloves) and a photo of his second son, nicknamed Little JT.  -- PHOTO: TVB

Actor Timmy Hung's gongfu-star father Sammo was always busy when he was young, but he wants to be there for his kids

Growing up with a legendary action-star dad, Hong Kong actor Timmy Hung was used to not having his father Sammo Hung around most of the time.

The junior Hung, 40, a father of two, is determined to be a hands-on dad.

He says: "When we went to school in the morning, dad was usually sleeping. When we came home from school, he would be working. On weekends, we would go to the film set just so we could see dad.

"I want to be a father who is there for his children. A dad who is there to watch his son's soccer game or performance."

The oldest of four kids moved to Vancouver to study when he was 10 and would return to Hong Kong during school holidays to visit his father on film sets.

A hectic filming schedule meant that his father had no time to pick him up from school. Such situations are not uncommon for children of busy celebrity fathers.

Hung brought up an infamous anecdote about gongfu star Jackie Chan.

In a rare gesture of fatherly affection, Chan went to pick up his then school-going son Jaycee. It was only after a long, futile wait at the primary school that he realised that he had gone to the wrong place - Jaycee was already in secondary school.

Hung's interview with Life! took place about a week before his son - nicknamed Little JT - was born. He is married to Hong Kong actress Janet Chow, 31. The couple also have a two-year-old son, Da Ren, nicknamed TJ.

He is happy to take on diaper changing and feeding duties. He says: "I really treasure the time I spend with my son. I enjoy the process. Other mothers complain that their husbands don't help them out.

"Even if I'm really tired, I feel so happy when I hear the sound of my son drinking his milk."

Though he is keen to spend more time with his children, it is tough to achieve work-life balance.

An ideal situation is to combine both work and family time by starring in the hit reality series Dad, Where Are We Going?, where celebrity fathers take trips with their kids.

"If I join the show, I could spend three days a week with my son for the filming. My son will learn new things from the travels, it's good exposure for him," says Hung, who has yet to receive an offer from the show's production team.

Though quality time with his dad was scarce, he appreciates his father's nurturing ways.

His father stopped using physical punishment when he turned 16. Instead, he would have a chat with his son to explain what went wrong.

"Dad knew that I was mature enough by then," he says. "If he hit me for my mistakes, I would just get upset. What's important is that I reflected on my mistake. I will adopt this method to teach my children in future."

His dad may have taught him life lessons, but the gongfu expert did not impart martial arts to his son.

"My father wasn't keen on us learning martial arts. He knew how tough it was to undergo training. Because he knew gongfu, he often got into fights when he was younger," says Hung, who learnt martial arts only for action sequences in films and dramas.

He has starred in action flick Ip Man - The Final Fight (2013) and martial arts-themed TVB drama, Wudang Rules (2015).

Still, his acting career has yet to reach the international acclaim of his father's. His roly-poly father is best known for his leading role as a cop in American series Martial Law (1998 -2000).

Living in his father's shadow was upsetting for him when he made his show business debut more than 20 years ago. However, the close association is something that he has come to terms with.

He says: "It's a fact that he is my dad. He's a great and famous actor. I don't mind it now. In fact, I'm really proud of him. I just have to work at my job and audiences will gradually recognise me. Now some people refer to my dad as Timmy's dad."

nggwen@sph.com.sg

Wudang Rules premieres on May 25 at 8.30pm on TVB First (StarHub TV Channel 860) concurrently with Hong Kong's telecast.