Love of Sammi -
or "Hold the drool"
am a huge Sammi Cheng fan. Anyone who knows me knows that.
I've been to two of her concerts, own numerous CDs in sometimes
multiple versions, and have seen all of her movies at least
twice. Yep, on the scale of 1 to 10, 1 being an absolute indifferent
viewer of all things Sammi, and 10 being a dedicated fan of
that which is blessed by even a smidgen of Samminess, it can
be said: Kozo, the webmaster of LoveHKFilm,
rates a good 11.
So it probably seems weird that
I'm writing this column to complain. Or grouse. Or to act
generally dissatisfied with the state of things. Actually,
the state of the world generally dissatisfies me, be it Sammi
Cheng-related or not. Call me weird, but when people are fascinated
by an IQ-challenged bohunk lying to the ladies about his supposed
financial fortune, I do wonder about the state of things.
It hardly seems right, or even sane.
But I digress. This column is
supposed to be about Sammi. Or something Sammi-related.
So as I was saying, I really
dig Sammi. I think she's really very pretty, though she's
definitely not the most beautiful woman out there. Kelly Chen
rates higher on the beauty scale, and is much more aesthetically-gifted
in ways pleasing to heterosexual males. Cecilia Cheung possesses
an appealing sexiness which outshines Sammi's, as does Athena
Chu, Kelly Lin or Shu Qi. And Sammi is not either of the Twins.
But I like Sammi more than the
others. She's got a winning personality and a genuine charm
which seems to shine through no matter what she does. I've
been a fan since Feel 100%, which she stole from Ekin
Cheng and future girlfriend Gigi Leung. She gave Cherie a
girl-next-door loveliness that made her much more appealing
than Gigi, who at the time acted like Daniel Chan in drag
(note: Gigi Leung has improved considerably since then).
And, Sammi seems to make three good
movies for every bad one that she does, a feat which most
other Hong Kong actresses really can't touch (in Shu Qi's
case, you may have to invert those numbers). Sammi has made
rather canny career choices, as none of her films can be considered
complete and absolute crap. I actually feel glad that favorite
HK popstar became Hong Kong Cinema's top leading lady. I applaud
However, that's all I do: applaud
her success. There really isn't much more to it. I see her
movies, I keep up with what she does, and I generally like
who she is. When her movies are good, I say they're good.
When her movies aren't so good, I say they're not so good.
And when I say that none of her films is truly bad, I mean
it (though Feel 100%...once more comes pretty damn
close). Despite the fact that I am clearly in favor of Sammi,
I try not to let the drool short circuit my keyboard as I
review one of her films.
But is that the nature of fandom?
This question occurs to me because
of some recent events, none of which qualify as matters of
great importance. But, as I've earnestly stressed since the
dawn of time, Life with Kozo is not about matters
of great importance. It's just one man rambling about whatever
comes to mind, which in this case is Sammi. Or something Sammi-related,
which I'm getting to.
runs polls. I'm sure you've seen them, as they populate the
home page every Friday. Usually they're questions of little
consequence, i.e. what is your favorite film, who should play
a Chinese James Bond, and do you think Cecilia Cheung is anorexic?
Stuff like that. It's usually all in good fun.
But it annoys me that Sammi
Cheng wins too much, and I suspect her victories have not
been entirely fair. My reasoning behind this: web statistics.
Thanks to the magic of tracing hits, I discovered a Sammi
Cheng forum that had been announcing my polls on their own
message boards every week. The messages were simple: "Hey
everyone, here's a poll with Sammi on it! Go vote and make
sure she wins!"
And, not surprisingly, Sammi Cheng
did. She won two consecutive awards, one of which asked who
2002's most lovable female was. I personally didn't vote for
Sammi in this category because I didn't feel she was the year's
most lovable female (I gave my vote to Charlene Choi for My
Wife is 18). Yeah, the poll was a silly one so stuffing
the ballot box really wasn't such a big deal.
However, the second question
asked what was the best female performance of the year. And
the winner was...Sammi Cheng. I actually voted for Sammi Cheng
on this poll, as I did feel her acting in My Left Eye Sees
Ghosts had some real merit. But still, there was a message
on that forum asking people to vote to make sure she won.
Did their call to arms work? Well, she won, so you tell me.
My feeling is that someone clearly
had an unfair advantage in the poll. And even though it was
my favorite Hong Kong popstar that benefited, I was bothered.
Maybe I felt that no one on the Sammi Cheng board took that
particular poll seriously. Or maybe I was bothered because
someone on the Sammi Cheng board posted my entire review of
Marry a Rich Man, announced that they liked the last
two lines where I praised Sammi, and then said the review
was too long and that "no one could be bothered to read
the whole thing." Obviously, that forum is now my favorite
place to hang out.
But then there's this factoid:
Andy Lau also won both Most Lovable and Best Male Performance.
I guess what I'm asking is this:
did anyone bother to read the polls and consider the choices?
Or did they just vote for their favorites? As a "reviewer"
of films, I try to be objective, even to the point where my
sense of enjoyment is deadened by the need to be fair. But
from the poll results, I would surmise that the vast majority
readers are Sammi Cheng and Andy Lau fans first and foremost,
and their actual performances really have no importance because,
after all, "Sammi Cheng/Andy Lau is always great!"
It's almost like the Presidential election.
This is not a knock on that
fabulous Sammi Cheng forum (though I hope they don't post
any of my reviews in the future). I respect the fact that
they're fans, and as fans they have the right to adore, compliment,
and generally drool over their favorite popstar. Heck, their
favorite popstar is my favorite popstar, so I guess I feel
some weird sort of kinship.
But then there's all the other
stuff: speculation over who the star is dating, or of how
other people feel about that popstar. Or how Miriam Yeung
fans may dislike Sammi Cheng, or how Miriam herself may not
like Sammi. Or how those people are obviously screwed, because
how could anyone dislike Sammi? It's a part of fandom that
I don't really get. Then again, I don't get the entire Hong
Kong entertainment scene, where reporters try to create controversy
by point-blank asking "Don't you dislike this person?"
or, "When's the wedding to this rumored flame of yours?"
Is that really cool?
Regardless of how public this
stuff is, Sammi Cheng is, like me, a person. And would I want
people talking incessantly over all the minute details of
my personal life? Probably not, though I'm not famous so I
can't accurately give that answer. Maybe I'd like it. And,
as the high circulation of the Enquirer and East Weekly is
sure to tell you, Vanness Q. Public likes it too.
But I like to think that being a
fan involves respect too. As much as I'm a Sammi fan, I respect
her and hope she has all the privacy that she desires. And
I want to personally assure her that if I ever run into her
at the Gap, I will let her continue buying that fluffy pink
sweater in complete anonymity. I won't even stare. Or at least
I'll try not to.
Does that make me a fan? Or
am I merely just a respectful admirer? Maybe on that scale
of 1 to 10, I'm actually just a 3. I don't seem to be as overly-involved
as the rest of Sammi-fandom, and couldn't care less if she
chose Andy Hui or Louis Koo as long as it doesn't lead to
a messy Dennis Quaid/Meg Ryan divorce. Heck, I don't even
belong to the official fan club. Is the point of fandom our
absolute and undying devotion to a person, place, thing and/or
amorphous entity? In Hong Kong, it sure seems that way.
And if pop fandom really is
so blind, then perhaps I am not a part of it. Maybe, in the
truest sense of the word, I am not really a Sammi Cheng fan
Anyone want to buy some CDs? -