Shu Qi and
The Webmaster's mixed feelings
diving into this column, I must preface this by saying that
I DO NOT KNOW SHU QI. And, it goes without saying that Shu
Qi does not know me. I have had the lucky fortune of having
spoken to her on the phone. And she has had the lucky (?)
fortune of having spoken to me on the phone. You see, everything's
equal out there. Sort of.
This past weekend was Shu Qi
weekend here at LoveHKFilm.com.
The reasons are as follows. One, her American debut film The
Transporter just opened. Two, her People Page on the site
recorded over 4500 pageviews in a seventy-two hour period.
Three, I have received numerous e-mails asking me how to contact
Shu Qi. And four, I will have to shell out money thanks to
So, I must thank Shu Qi. And,
I need to ask her for some cash. One hundred dollars would
Backing up, I should clarify
that I think Shu Qi is great. Fantastic. Easily one of Hong
Kong's - if not Asia's - top talents. And, I'm not just talking
about her physical appeal, which as everyone knows is celebrated
by heterosexual males worldwide. Sure, she started as the
next Category III queen, but who knew she would become such
a compelling actress?
Heck, she even stood out in For
Bad Boys Only, which was one incredibly terrible movie.
Of course, that could be because she was acting next to Ekin
"Rock" Cheng, but the girl has talent. And I'm not
talking about that "It" girl talent which is thrown
on at least four-five "hot" girls a year in Hong
Kong. No, Shu Qi has natural, magnetic screen talent - the
kind which can make or break films, and is not limited to
any sort of genre. I would venture to say that not since Maggie
Cheung has a Hong Kong actress been so versatile.
However, this column is not
intended to be a Shu Qi lovefest. No, it's supposed to be
about Shu Qi and me. Or, more precisely, Shu Qi and LoveHKFilm.com.
She's actually been the most popular of the "People Pages"
for months now, and I don't see that changing. However, the
traffic to her page - and the site - literally went nuts this
past weekend. The site's bandwidth usage went up by probably
60%, which isn't a small number. Even more, the second most
viewed "People Page" was Louis Koo...who was viewed
less than 250 times all weekend. Shu Qi: 4500 views. Louis
Koo: 250 views. Eric Kot: probably 5 views.
So, Shu Qi has made traffic
history on the site, which isn't really a great thing. While
Shu Qi was viewed 4500 times, and the Sex and Zen 2
review was viewed about 1800 times, LoveHKFilm.com's
home page was viewed only 600 times. That's actually a fine
number, and one I'm really happy with. But when Shu Qi is
viewed over seven times more than the homepage of the site,
I have to admit to some annoyance - especially when you consider
what this site's about.
is a film site. It's not a Shu Qi site. Everyone who stopped
by to check out Shu Qi's page came for reasons which are not
too hard to figure out. Let's see: the number one page was
Shu Qi. The number two page was Sex and Zen 2. The
number three page was Viva Erotica. See a pattern?
And frankly, most of those people looked at Shu Qi, then Sex
and Zen 2, then Viva Erotica, then went to some
other Shu Qi page - which probably has "better"
pictures than this one. You know what I mean.
The bandwidth overage charge
will probably total about $30-40 dollars this month due to
this traffic spike. So yeah, I'm annoyed at the fact that
I have to pay for Shu Qi's Internet stalkers. This is in addition
to all the people who regularly use LoveHKFilm.com's
webspace to get pictures for their forum postings, personal
webpages, and other assorted Internet endeavors. Frankly,
I have no problem with people taking pictures from the site.
However, I'd prefer it if they actually took them (i.e., right
click and "save as") and didn't just reference the
file on my host's server. That's because...you guessed it,
I have to pay for it.
Maybe I shouldn't be so grouchy.
After all, it was thanks to LoveHKFilm.com
that I even got to talk to Shu Qi. Yep, the lovely folks at
Gear Magazine contacted me based on a Google search, which
led to a phone call to China and a twenty-minute interview
with Shu Qi. Actually, my cousin Scott (who's actually fluent
in Mandarin) did most of the speaking, but I got to speak
to her, too. And, she was very personable, sweet and seemingly
genuine. There was no limit to the questions asked or the
time spent on the phone. And her reaction to the Crouching
Tiger question ("Do you regret not doing Crouching
Tiger Hidden Dragon?") was very endearing. For the
record, her response was "Wow, you guys know about that,
So, I have every reason to like
Shu Qi - and what she's done for this site. Thanks to her,
the site gets tons of exposure. I got solicited to interview
her. But, I continue to get lots of e-mails asking me how
to contact her. Plus, I still haven't been paid for the interview.
And, when I asked Shu Qi's management if she could autograph
a picture and address it to the readers of this site, I was
told that "contractual obligations to another website"
made that a bad idea. I guess I should have scheduled a meeting.
Now that I've rambled for so
long, I think my annoyance boils down to this: LoveHKFilm.com
is a fan site. It's a labor of love for people who love cinema.
It's not a commercial enterprise, and it makes no money for
me or anyone involved. And it takes lots of time to keep the
site going. The rewards of doing a site like this are waaaay
eclipsed by the negatives. I do get some compliments here
and there, and I'm grateful for every one of them. I also
get lots of "how do I contact this celebrity" questions,
and e-mails disapproving of my take on Para Para Sakura.
And I get junk mail.
I suppose that what's being described
here is "webmaster burnout." It's what happens when
someone spends an inordinate amount of time doing something
for no reward other than their own satisfaction. It's something
that's closed many a Hong Kong film website, including Joseph
Fierro's late, great Hong Kong Cinema Database. It nearly
closed HK Entertainment News in Review. My hope is that it
won't close this site.
But, despite the words above
and the ire implied within, I must reiterate: I still love
Hong Kong Film. And I still like Shu Qi.
So, a message to Shu Qi: thanks. -