Because of the pandemic, the aviation industry was one of the work forces that was hit the hardest. Hong Kong’s biggest airline, Cathay Pacific, recently did a major global layoff, while their subsidiary airline, Cathay Dragon, ceased operations in October. TVB recently did a competition to show support for the airline industry called, “See Me Fly Again” (衝上雲霄大選), which invited laid off or furloughed aviation workers to compete. The winner is 34 year old hapa, Derek Mackesy (麥大力), who used to work for Cathay Dragon as a pilot.
On December 30, the winners of the competition were present at TVB to accept their awards. Derek Mackesy won $100,000 HKD as the first place winner. He said he would treat his family and friends to a meal, but his family is currently in the UK. The Irish-Hong Kong pilot studied in Britain at 16 and returned to Hong Kong at 22 to become a pilot. Before he quit his job, he made over $200,000 HKD a month as a pilot. Derek Mackesy revealed he didn’t have income for the past two months, but says it hasn’t been an issue as he only spends around $3,000 HKD a month and has savings to fall back on. He says his biggest expense is eating.
At the press conference, a TVB executive revealed there were plans to do a short spin-off series based on “Triumph in the Skies” and wanted to have the winners participate in the series. Derek Mackesy said he would want to portray his prior occupation in the series. When asked which female celebrity he would want to collaborate with, Derek Mackesy said Katy Kung and Lisa-Marie Tse (謝嘉怡). He explained working with Lisa-Marie Tse would be good as they are both mixed, so there would be some support. Derek Mackesy also said since their Cantonese is lacking, so it would be kind of cute to see the two of them talk in broken Cantonese. Lisa-Marie Tse said she would also want to work with Derek Mackesy and it would be fun because their Cantonese is so bad.
While Derek Mackesy revealed he was excited about the prospect of being able to work in front of the camera, he said he has to work harder on his Cantonese. He said he has already lessened his use of English to communicate with his friends and they’ve been teaching him Chinese at the same time. When conducting interviews, Derek Mackesy is able to converse in basic Cantonese with some English words thrown in.
Derek Mackesy is also planning to fully invest his time working in the entertainment industry as he has already quit his job. When asked if he was worried about the big income disparity now that he will be working with TVB, he said money isn’t that important. He said the most important thing is being happy at your job and fulfilling your passions. He is currently single, but is focusing on his career first before considering his personal life.