SINGAPORE - Recalling her last year with her former employer Mediacorp, veteran actress Jin Yinji said she was shown no respect during contract talks but has since let it go.
In a farewell interview with Lianhe Zaobao, the 70-year-old said she had been in talks in January last year about extending her contract. Although she had three dramas on her plate, the artiste management not only wanted her to take a pay cut of two-thirds or more but also hurt her self-esteem, she said.
Jin, whose husband runs an antique shop, does not need the money, but she wanted to be respected. She was in tears as she recalled the talks, said Zaobao. "You can talk to me nicely," she said. "You don't have to say, 'If I have to hire you to act, I might as well hire a $50-an-hour bit player.'"
Jin, who was with Mediacorp for 30 years, was voted one of the company's Top 20 Most Popular Artistes more than once. She felt she could still do her job. Also, producers were using her, and she did not understand why she had to take a pay cut.
"I can still dance and sing," she said. "I can be hunchbacked for a long time, I can lie on the ground for an hour, and you can brush my hair however you like. I'm also very obedient. I never ask the director, 'My scene is finished, can I go?'"
The talks broke down and she left Mediacorp three months ago, after filming her last drama, The Lead. But she has put the unhappy episode behind her.
"Actually, in the blink of an eye, I'm 70! Heaven wants me to rest at home and enjoy my leisure," she said. "I'm not short of money. But having my own income and not using my husband's money, the feeling is just different."
Actors Vivian Lai and Mark Lee, who have their own production companies, have asked Jin if she wants to sign with a new agency.
She has not decided, but is still passionate about acting. She said: "I want to act till the audience doesn't want to watch me any more."
But she also gave young actors her advice: "It can't be your long-term meal ticket. I'm glad I have a husband."