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October 14th, 2002

 

Shu Qi and Me -
The Webmaster's mixed feelings

     Before 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 Shu Qi.
     So, I must thank Shu Qi. And, I need to ask her for some cash. One hundred dollars would be fine.
     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.
     LoveHKFilm.com 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, too?"
     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. - Kozo 10/14/2002

 
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  Disclaimer*
The opinions expressed within are merely the musings of the Webmaster, and as such should be taken with the requisite grain of salt. If you disagree with an expressed opinion please feel free to contact him here. If you feel he has insulted your favorite popstar, you can still contact him. However, your chances of receiving a reply will be reduced by half.
 
 
 
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