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Archive for the ‘Reader Interaction’ Category

News Links: Mother’s Day 2009

A Happy Mother’s Day to my mother and all the other mothers out there …

From the comments on News Links: HKFA Housekeeping

YTSL writes: Re: IP MAN winning Best Film. It just seemed so weird after it didn’t win any of the other major awards (like Best Director, Actor, Actress and even Scriptwriter - three of which went to THE WAY WE ARE).

I agree.  IP MAN’s victory seemed to come out of the blue because it had absolutely no momentum going into the Best Film award.  I bet when Carina Lau and Anita Yuen made their way to the podium to present the award, most people in the room were thinking that it was going to be a sweep for THE WAY WE ARE because it had already won Best Supporting Actress, Best Actress, Best Screenplay and Best Director.  After all that, IP MAN’s win must have been particularly galling to supporters of the Ann Hui film.  For them, this was definitely a 送佛送到西 (if you’re going to escort the monk out West, escort him all the way out West) situation.

You know, I’ve been following the HKFAs for more than ten years now and I’m not sure if it’s good for HKFA voters to have freedom or not.  I’m really confused now.  If you’re too free, you’re like the way the Hong Kong Film Awards are now.  Very chaotic.  Taiwan and its Golden Horse Awards are also very chaotic.

I’m gradually beginning to feel that HKFA voters need to be controlled.  If they’re not being controlled, they’ll just vote for who they want.


Andy Lau, Li Bingbing engaged in war of wits

RELATED: DETECTIVE DEE holds opening lens ceremony

Fortissimo Films checks into Pang’s Dream Home

Fann Wong waits to be a bride while Zoe Tay laughs heartily


Unhappy in retirement and, reportedly, in need of money after spending a significant amount of money on medical expenses for one of her daughters, Faye Wong is rumoured to be on the verge of a comeback.  Speculation bubbled over on Friday when images of an upcoming ad for Royal Wind hair care products made its way on the Internet.  The ads, which prominently feature Wong will supposedly debut later this month.

RELATED: Hair care ad images

More Faye Wong:


Christy Chung Lai-Tai: I want ‘UGLY’ ROLES

Hong Kong hunts its star heritage

Chicago Tribune interviews Kenneth Bi for THE DRUMMER

Fish Leong: New Conquest


Eastweek editor jailed over Carina Lau photos

Carina Lau unafraid of H1N1, but avoids Maggie Cheung

RELATED: Maggie Cheung catches flu in New York

Celestial Pictures Limited donates film library to HK Film Archive

TVB, Shaw Brothers set up film JV

China postpones black-out period to September

Teresa Tang’s memorial park to be completed in 2011

Jerry Yan’s US$20,000 an hour price and his appeal with the ladies

Taipei Times Pop Stop


Karena Lam Ka-Yan, the First Lady of LoveHKFilm, at an event for Care Aids

Big S Barbie Hsu at a promotional event for Tissot

Vicki Zhao Wei

You’d think these shots were for some shampoo/hair care product but, surprisingly, they’re not.

Japanese celebrity Norika Fujiwara

Recent divorcee Norika Fujiwara was in Hong Kong on May 6th to promote Miss Paris Diet Center

Pictures from Nicholas Tse’s THE LAST

Promotional pictures for Raymond Lam Fung’s upcoming HK concert

Promotional photos for a limited edition of Charlene Choi’s debut solo album TWO MISSING ONE

Zhang Jingchu Demonstrates ‘Bazaar Jewelry’

Karen Mok attends the Hong Kong premiere of TRAIL OF THE PANDA with her family

Pace Wu

Zhang Ziyi in Inner Mongolia

More photos of Zhang Ziyi

Kay Tse’s Night at Hong Kong Coliseum

Slideshow: Vivian Chow promotes Aramni


Tom Shales reviews “China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province”

News Links: HKFA Housekeeping

Yeah, I know.  The HKFAs were presented 10 days ago but the Jackie Chan posts got in the way of posting HKFA links.  So, I present to you now — for the sake of posterity — news and photo links from the 28th Hong Kong Film Awards.  But first …

From the comments on Quick Thoughts: 28th Hong Hong Film Awards:

Darren writes: I’m ecstatic IP MAN won.  I never understand why critics hate on popcorn movies so much.  I’m not a film maker but I’d think popcorn movies aren’t as easy to make as most people probably believe.  Why else does America put out so much crap during the summers (really only IRON MAN was superb in my opinion)?  IP MAN was such a fun, kick butt time at the movies that I don’t think it’ll be replicated anytime soon.  And yeah, THE WAY WE ARE was good but the majority (who aren’t movie critics) will find it boring and they wouldn’t be wrong either …

I hear ya.  I hear ya.  I hope I didn’t give the impression that I was hating on IP MAN.  I enjoyed it immensely.  The majority of the time, I go with fartsy over artsy.  After all, I’m the one who would have voted Barbie Hsu over Bau Hei-Jing for Best Actress.  One time, I walked into the video store fully intending to rent Wong Kar-Wai’s MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS but ended up walking out with the DVD for THE HOUSE BUNNY.

haterade.jpgNope, I wasn’t trying to push the Haterade on IP MAN.  Instead, I was trying to get people to drink the Kool-Aid on THE WAY WE ARE because it perfectly captures the essence of Hong Kong.  The characters in the film are characters that I recognize from real life whenever I’m in the Fragrant Harbour.  The situations in the film are situations that I recognize from real life:  the lonely senior, the family gatherings, the dull rhythm of the everyday, the dopey teenager, estrangement, extending a helping hand to a neighbour and so forth.  For the most part, people in Hong Kong quietly move forward the best that they can.  They don’t get involved with triads, they don’t commit suicide by coal and they don’t murder their loved ones.

Yes, the film is boring to most but that’s part of the point of the movie.  When was the last time a goo wak jai attacked you with a machete?  When was the last time you saw a kung fu expert take out ten guys?

The win for IP MAN wasn’t a travesty.  I can get behind it winning Best Film more easily than I can the bloated mess that won the year before.  It’s just disappointing that the Hong Kong Film Awards didn’t reward a film that is quintessentially Hong Kong.  THE WAY WE ARE is like Hong Kong and Hong Kong culture — small, plucky and punches well above its weight.

One last thing:  Not to be a smart aleck but I have a feeling the fun, kick butt time at the movies that IP MAN was will be replicated sometime in 2010 when IP MAN 2 is released. :-)


Variety: ‘Ip Man’ nabs Hong Kong award

Movie on working-class dominates Hong Kong Awards

Screen Daily: The Way We Are, Ip Man top Hong Kong Film Awards

Veterans rule at HK awardsLegendary Josephine Siao Fong-Fong


China Daily photos of the winners


Xinhua Photo Gallery Female Celebrities Photo Gallery

Male Celebrities: Louis Koo Tin-Lok, Louis Fan Siu-Wong, Gordon Lam Ka-Tung, Wong Jing, Donnie Yen, Zhang Fengyi, Julian Cheung Chi-Lam


Fashion at the HKFAs:

  • Tang Wei wore Valentino
  • Barbie Hsu wore Oscar de la Renta
  • Anita Yuen wore Christian Dior
  • Betty Sun Li wore Christian Dior
  • Lin Chi-Ling wore Marchesa

Jacky Cheung Hok-Yau and Sandy Lam Yik-Lin performing at the ceremony

Back in a bit with the latest news links.

News Links: April 23rd, 2009

It’s been twelve days since the last news links post so there’s a huge backlog of links.  I’m going to be attacking the pile by separating the links into two posts: one for the regular news and another for the Hong Kong Film Awards links.  We’ll do the regular news links in this post and save the HKFA one for later.  But first, some reader interaction on the topic of the day:

From the comments on the Jackie Chan “Chinese need to be controlled” post:

phatyou writes:  I’m not trying to condone or justify what Jackie said, but I think Jackie said what he said, not because he was trying to carry favour with the mainland (there was certainly some brown nosing going on, because he would never say the same thing in HK or Taiwan) but in some simplistic way he actually believes in it. Jackie grew up very poor, so poor that his parents had to send him out to the academy, and in the academy that was where he learnt his discipline and his principles, under the iron hand of master Yu Jim-Yuen. Fast forward 40 years, with the prosperity of HK and China coming in bloom, he probably views this generation as soft and spoiled, and yearns for the culture of his youth, where respect for your elders and authority reigns supreme, but minus the torture and the human rights abuses. Maybe I am overthinking it, but that’s the way I see it.

I don’t think our reactions are that far apart.  I still think the main motivation for saying what he said was to look like a cool guy in front of a Mainland audience.  However, I agree that his opinion was formed off the top of his head from just his own experiences.  I don’t think his opinion was based upon deep reflection of today’s society and meticulous analysis of Marx, Mao, Adam Smith and The Federalist Papers.  This is why I’m finding it hard to muster the disgust others are feeling for him.  He’s an actor, a guy who’s famous for amazing, often clownish, physical feats.  He’s not a political leader.  He’s not running for office.  He’s not responsible for creating public policy.  If you’re going to hate him, hate him for being a money-grubbing, pandering indiscreet dope.  Don’t hate him for comments that were clearly made without much thought or conviction.  Jackie Chan isn’t a “Communist oppressor” or a “fascist”.  He’s like an “environmentalist” who makes a big deal out of planting a few trees on Earth Day.  He’s not a greener-than-thou type who wants capitalist economies to die because they’re killing the polar bears.

phatyou continues: As for the nail in coffin for Jackie’s career?  The beginning of the end came when he decided not to do anymore action movies.  SHINJUKU INCIDENT was a bold attempt to remake himself, but in the end, he is who he is.  Jackie is not good enough of an actor to be seen as another character and not as Jackie!.   Maybe he should go into producing, be somebody like Eric Tsang and cherry pick projects and use his contacts in and outside the industry to get them made.

The beginning of the end started well before he decided to quit making action movies.  I think it started around the time of Dragon Seed.  I think that scandal confirmed to many what people had been whispering about Big Brother Jackie for many, many years.  He then exacerbated the situation by doing sequel after sequel in addition to movies like THE TUXEDO.  People started seeing him less and less as a “cool action star” and more and more as a “sellout who has few principles”.

phatyou asks: I haven’t been really paying attention, but how is his relationship weird with his son?  His overcriticalness towards him?  It seems like Jackie always slag Jaycee in the media.  From what I have read or seen on TV, I find Jaycee to be very well adjusted, down to earth guy.   He could’ve very well had gone down Edison’s or Juno’s route as a spoiled rich brat, but I don’t get that from him at all.  Seems like a nice and jovial guy.

I don’t know what his real relationship is with his son.  I was talking about the public perception of the relationship.  I don’t read six newspapers a day anymore so I don’t have my finger on the pulse of public opinion as much as I did in the past but I think people see Jackie Chan’s relationship with his son as “weird.”  Like you said, he constantly slags his son in public while most people in his position would be supportive of their kids.

Also, I think the prevailing public opinion is that Jaycee Chan’s down-to-earth demeanour is a testament to his mother Lin Feng-Jiao.  I don’t think anyone credits Jackie Chan for Jaycee Chan’s upbringing.

David Harris writes: For what it’s worth: Jackie Chan comments ‘taken out of context’

Sometimes, I wonder if PR people exist in Hong Kong.  “He was only talking about the entertainment industry” is just about as bad as “They’re fake!  They’re fake!  The photos are fakes!  We’re calling the cops!”.  The only thing worse would be if he released a video statement in which he mumbled that this whole incident was a “strange, strange ordeal.”  I don’t think anyone with two intact frontal lobes in their brains buys that he was only talking about the entertainment industry.  On top of looking stupid, he now looks spineless.

If I was his spin doctor, I’d have him do something similar to what President Obama did after Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s “… not God Bless America … God Damn America!” sermon leaked.  I’d have him hold a press conference where he didn’t take any questions but read a speech further explaining his comments.  The speech would include some of the ideas that phatyou mentioned in his comment:  the young generation is soft and spoiled, people don’t know the true value of a dollar, people are selfish and don’t value work ethic like they did in the past and so forth.

I’d spin “Chinese people need to be controlled” into “people have become lazy and entitled, they want the benefits of hard work but they don’t want to put in the sweat and tears … people all over the world, not just Chinese people need challenges and obstacles to struggle against” that’s what I meant by “people need to be controlled”.  I’d also have him play the whole “I didn’t go to school, I’ve been working my butt off since I was a child, I’m not an educated man so sometimes my words aren’t refined” card.

A speech like that wouldn’t mollify everyone but it would do a better job of damage control than “he was quoted out of context, he was only talking about the entertainment industry.”

In any case, Jackie Chan’s going to have to do something more than have a spokesperson react for him.  This can’t be dumped into the “Jackie being Jackie” file along with his drunken display at Jonathan Lee’s concert.  This can’t be swept under the rug like Dragon Seed.  There’s too much acrimony for it to just blow over.

One last piece of reader interaction:  To reader Joe, I finished this post before I read your comments.  I’m happy to answer your questions in a future post.  However, I’m not sure if people want to hear me yap about history, society and politics so it may be better if you shoot me an e-mail so that we can discuss your questions without boring everyone else.


Jackie Chan Faces Film Boycott for Chaotic Taiwan Comments

Jackie Chan’s ‘freedom’ talk sparks debate

Jackie Chan trips up over “chaotic Taiwan” remarks

OPINION: East (Jackie Chan’s Remarks) versus West (Jackie Chan: Racist?)

Chan dropped from Deaflympics


More than 100 to perform at Jackie Chan’s Bird’s Nest concert

Dragon Seed, Eight Years Later: Elaine Ng plans for daughter to meet “father”

RELATED LINK: Fast Weekly story upon which above article was based

Singer Coming Back with New Album, and Jackie Chan


Husband and wife directing team Mabel Cheung Yuen-Ting and Alex Law Kai-Yu (AN AUTUMN’S TALE, THE SOONG SISTERS, CITY OF GLASS) were on location Tuesday afternoon in the Central district shooting their new film 歲月神偷 (trans. OLDEN DAYS MASTER THIEF).   Set in the 1960s, the movie stars Simon Yam Tat-Wah and Sandra Ng Kwun-Yu with Ng playing a “’60s era housewife/Robin Hood”.

With the film, Law and Cheung hope to re-create the memories of their youth and inspire the people of today.   Law: “In Hong Kong during the 1960s, everybody was poor but everyone was filled with ambition and determination.   At the time, the economy wasn’t great but everyone still had opportunity.   All they needed was the willingness to work hard to pave a road to success for themselves.  Nowadays, Hong Kong people don’t have that spirit.  If they have any spirit at all it’s ‘negative spirit’.  Many people are depressed or live in denial.  I don’t think that’s healthy.  I think we need to look at the past, see how we did things back then and see if we can apply it to today.”

See, this is the kind of thing I would include in the speech if I was Jackie Chan’s spin doctor.  People would buy this more than they would buy “he was only talking about the entertainment industry”.

RELATED LINK:  Photos from the set courtesy

Carina Lau to play Empress in Tsui Hark’s new film

Chow Yun-Fat:  Kung Fu Confucius

Variety: THE MAD DETECTIVE and THE MISSION to be remade by Hollywood

Post-Olympics, director Zhang Yimou plans new film

Pan-Asian auteurs line up for Chengdu omnibus

New JOURNEY TO THE WEST TV series: Building an epic ‘Journey’ out West

Photos: Tang Wei and Andy On Chi-Kit work on Ivy Ho’s CROSSING HENNESSEY

Photos:  Fan Bingbing works on Peter Chan’s BODYGUARDS AND ASSASSINS


Hong Kong film festival announces shorter run for 2010

Ang Lee’s Woodstock Film Up for Cannes Competition

Celebrity Watch: Items on Daniel Wu, Aaron Kwok, Jacky Cheung and Charlene Choi

Tse Family Drama: Little Lucas’ $2 million offer leads to parental dispute

More Tse Family Drama: Rumoured couple Andy On Chi-Kit and Jennifer Tse Ting-Ting, sister of Nic, deny relationship, share stage at publicity event for a watch company

Taipei Times Pop Stop: Nic Tse and Cecilia Cheung among other celebrity items

ABC gives Zhang Ziyi the creeps

Edison Chen receives threat mail again!

Joe Nieh: Miffty Zhang is “God Sister”


Aaron Kwok: Aaron bags Guinness record for show stage

Fruitful decade for Raymond Lam

Bai Ling promotes CRANK: HIGH VOLTAGE

Jim Chim Sui-Man (LoveHKFilm People Page): Chim fired up over battle of the sexes

Taiwanese star Dylan Kuo: Dylan Comes Clean

Mainland director Lu Chuan: Nanjing! City of Life or Death?, City of Life and Death, a Director’s Odyssey


Channel News Asia reviews THE SNIPER

Hollywood Reporter review of GLAMOROUS YOUTH

Tapei Times review of the Taiwanese horror film INVITATION ONLY


Stars attend Eric Tsang Chi-Wai’s 56th birthday party (April 13th)

Ellen Chan Nga-Lun shows up at midnight bearing gifts

Karen Mok Man-Wai in the Chinese edition of Marie Claire

More Karen Mok

Zhang Ziyi and Gillian Chung promote VEVA cellphones in Beijing on April 16th

Chung was on stage for only two minutes during which she talked about the phone’s functions and how happy she was to be its spokesperson

Zhang Ziyi at an event for Armani

Miriam Yeung at a publicity event for Lenscrafters

Athena Chu, Andy Hui, Simon Yam, others attend 7th Global Chinese University Student Film and TV Festival Awards

Opening lens ceremony for the new TVB series 蒲松齡 starring Steven Ma, Sunny Chan, Fala Chen and Linda Chung

Irene Wan Bik-Ha, Sonija Kwok Sin-Lei, Kathy Chow Man-Kei attend publicity event

Daniel Wu shoots a commercial

Anthony Wong Chau-Sang shoots video for Charmaine Fong’s song “Table For Two” Pace Wu’s ‘Fashion’ Show

Nick Cheung and Esther Kwan’s Wedding Pics

Promotional photos for Leo Koo’s new album STRINGS FOREVER

Promotional photos from Gigi Leung Wing-Kei’s latest album

“Nanking” Actress Gao Yuanyuan’s New Pics

28th Hong Kong Film Awards Preview: Best Film


A little reader interaction before we dive into the topic of the day …

From the comments on the last post:

laicheukpan writes: Sanney you didn’t actually contact Kozo right?

I actually did contact Kozo.  Those are his actual thoughts on Karena Lam and the Best Actress category.  Living here in the Great White North, I won’t be able to see CLAUSTROPHOBIA for another two, three weeks so I needed to get in touch with him to round out the post.

While I’m answering questions from laicheukpan, here’s another from the comments on Happy Year of The Ox!

laicheukpan writes: Hey Sanney! Happy New Year! I got a question for you. Are you fluent in Cantonese?

Yes, I speak a civilized tongue and not just this barbaric language.  I kid, I kid.  Back in elementary school, I had a Chinese friend who had a grandfather who was old-school, hardcore Chinese.  When I was over at his house, I’d hear his grandfather ranting in the other Li Bingbingroom about Chinese people being “civilized” and non-Chinese people being “barbarians”.  Good times!  The guy was a bit scary to a little kid like me:  hunched over, wispy moustache, Emperor Hirohito-type glasses and a creepy, loud and raspy smoker’s voice.

Anyway, yes I’m fluent in Cantonese.  I don’t have a Stephen Chow mo lei tau (無厘頭) command of the language but I can hold my own in a conversation.  A little Cantonese voice in the back of my head keeps telling me that I should learn how to speak Mandarin — just in case I run into Fan Bingbing or Li Bingbing someday — but I’m a lazy, lazy man.

By the way, Kozo really is actually marrying his secret girlfriend of 20 years later this month.  He’s going to be telling everyone that’s he’s going to “Italy” for a “film festival” but he’s really going to Malaysia for his wedding.

On to today’s business …

* * * * *

The nominees for Best Film are:


To me, THE WAY WE ARE is the clear winner in this category.  CJ7 is enjoyably pleasant but it’s a clear step down for Stephen Chow.  It’s not as uproariously funny as SHAOLIN SOCCER nor is it as captivating as KUNG FU HUSTLE.  Honestly, I think CJ7 got nominated because back room folks at the Hong Kong Film Awards Association had the following conversation:

HKFAA Executive #1: You know, ratings for our awards show would really get a boost if we could get Stephen Chow to show up.

HKFAA Executive #2: Well, Tiffany says the guy is “inhumane” and that he once threatened to sue Cecilia Cheung if she didn’t shave her head for a movie.  He’s not going to come if we just ask him.  The only way he’ll show up is if we nominate him for something.

HKFAA Executive #1: What if we play the loyalty card and ask him to come for the good of the industry that’s provided him his millions?

HKFAA Executive #2: Danny says that Chow is the type of guy who drinks water but doesn’t think about where it comes from.  He should know because he helped Chow start up his movie career.  The loyalty card won’t work.  We have to nominate him.

HKFAA Executive #1: OK, let’s throw some nominations to CJ7 and hope he shows up.

I think that’s a big part of why CJ7 is nominated in this category and not THE BEAST STALKER which is just as technically proficient as CJ7 or TRUE WOMAN FOR SALE which has just as much, if not more, grit and heart as CJ7.

IP MAN and PAINTED SKIN are both well-made and thoroughly enjoyable.  They are, however, popcorn movies.  They’re like most of the summer blockbusters that Hollywood churns out annually, a whole lot of fun, but when it comes time for Oscar season, you don’t consider them serious contenders.

With John Woo at the helm, a stellar cast, grand production values and a ROMANCE OF THE THREE KINGDOMS pedigree, RED CLIFF has an epic feel that makes it more than your usual summer blockbuster.  If it weren’t for THE WAY WE ARE, RED CLIFF would win running away.  However, three things — two minor and one very significant — make THE WAY WE ARE more worthy of the title.  First, RED CLIFF is plagued at times by languid pacing.  It feels like it could have been paced with tighter efficiency.  Second, there’s more cheese in some of the scenes than a 12″ Big Philly Cheesesteak from Subway.  Stuff like the Sun Shangxiang nerve tweak or Takeshi Kaneshiro’s Zhuge Liang comic relief face are fine as entertaining bits in a summer blockbuster but they don’t belong if your aspiration is to make an all-time epic.

Takeshi Kaneshiro's comic reflief face in RED CLIFF

Third, and most important, RED CLIFF does not carry as much cultural significance as THE WAY WE ARE.  Now some of you are probably thinking: “Did Sanney get into Jill Vidal’s stash or something?  Along with JOURNEY TO THE WEST (西遊記), WATER MARGIN (水滸傳) and DREAM OF THE RED CHAMBER (紅樓夢), ROMANCE OF THE THREE KINGDOMS is one of the four great Chinese classics.  How can RED CLIFF not have as much cultural significance as THE WAY WE ARE?”

Well, my counterargument is that we are talking about the HONG KONG film awards and THE WAY WE ARE is more culturally significant to HONG KONG than RED CLIFF.  Like it or not, movies tend to reinforce stereotypes and common misconceptions.  For example, I’m sure all those Richard Curtis romantic comedies have left many people thinking that most British guys are charming, self-effacing Hugh Grant/Colin Firth types.  Similarly, I’m sure Hong Kong movies have left many people thinking that HK is filled with kung fu masters, invincible cops and goo wak jai (古惑仔).  Yet, nothing could be further from the truth.  The people that populate THE WAY WE ARE — the produce lady at Wellcome, the lonely senior citizen, the dopey ambition-less kid and the successful businessman who received an education overseas — are the same people who populate Hong Kong.  They outnumber, by a vast margin, kung fu practitioners, supercops and evil gangsters.  THE WAY WE ARE is an almost perfect reflection of normal life in Hong Kong and it deserves to be rewarded with this year HKFA for Best Film.

Still from THE WAY WE ARE

The big knock against THE WAY WE ARE is that it’s boring and that nothing really happens.  People who feel that way are, I believe, missing the point of the movie.  THE WAY WE ARE is saying that Hong Kong is defined not by those whose lives end with tragic murder-suicides but by people whose lives continue everyday in mundane ways like the hard-working Mrs. Cheung and her lonely neighbour.  It’s saying that most people in Hong Kong react to adversity by quietly sucking it up and moving on with their lives the best that they can.  Only in exceptional cases do they resort to violence.  To reinforce that message, the low-key rhythm is necessary.  Moments of high drama or neat resolutions would defeat the purpose of the film.

Reading the tea leaves, I think THE WAY WE ARE, RED CLIFF and IP MAN are the three serious contenders for the awards.  Though RED CLIFF and IP MAN are bigger and flashier, it would be a shame if the exceptional, note-perfect, little local film that’s about local people and local issues fails to win the prize.

Image credits: Universal Pictures (Li Bingbing), Lion Rock Productions (Takeshi Kaneshiro), Class Limited (Still from THE WAY WE ARE)

News Links: April 8th, 2009

Before we begin, a little reader interaction.  I’m going to try to respond to past comments and questions in a future post but I want to get at this one today while it’s fresh in my mind …

From the comments on News Links: Ching Ming Festival 2009

Glenn writes: I saw those Rainie shots the other day and thought they were pretty offensive; who dresses up like an American Indian anymore like that? I’m old enough to remember how dumb it was when Cher did it for her “Half Breed” song.

Again, it’s probably because I’ve watched way too much LAW & ORDER over the years but I find it hard to get worked up about the photos because there is no mens rea (guilty mind) behind it.  They are more stupid than they are offensive.  It’s more a reflection of ignorance than it is a reflection of racism.  The people behind those photos just aren’t aware enough of the cultural significance of an Rainie Yangimage of that sort.  It’s probably just someone’s misguided idea of something that looks “cool”.  It’s happened before — Vicki Zhao modeling that Rising Sun dress and Shawn Yue posing in Nazi-themed clothing — and it’ll happen again.

Plain and simple, some people are just ignorant.  It’s a worldwide phenomenon that isn’t just limited to the East.  People in the West have had their boneheaded moments too.  Take, for instance, the recent “Asian eyes” controversies involving the Spanish Olympic basketball team and Miley Cyrus.  Ignorance and stupidity are just as much a part of the human condition as racism.  So, in all of the above cases, I pity the stupidity rather than abhor the prejudice.

Here’s hoping that with increasing globalization, more and more people become enlightened about racial and cultural issues.  It might take a while to get there because it seems to me that, running opposite of increasing globalization, there is an increase in niche communities where people who have similar interests form insular communities.  More and more, it’s possible to live your life in a bubble and not be aware of anything outside of your little niche.  I am not talking just of nerds on the Internet, I’m also talking about CEOs who take private jets to Washington to ask for bailout money.

OK, I’ll shut up now, you’ve come here for HK entertainment circle news not a discussion of modern society from a Tocquevillean perspective.

Just one more thing, back to the Rainie Yang photos, I honestly believe there’s no malice behind it because parts of the Chinese community (the parts that have limited contact outside of the Chinese community) have yet to evolve to the point where they are aware that these issues even exist.   The notion that they may be offending some people probably hasn’t even crossed their minds.  Walk into the health care section of a Chinese grocery store and you’ll probably find bottles of Hak Gwai Yau (Black Man Oil) for sale on the shelf.  The pain relief/massage oil has been around for decades and the reason behind the name is likely due to the fact that some Chinese people associate black men with physical prowess.  They simply aren’t aware of issues like slavery or the civil rights struggle.  To them, it’s “if black guys use this to relieve muscle aches and pains, then it must be good”.  Again, here’s hoping time and increasing global awareness will rid society of these ills.

Hak Kwai Oil

Speaking of stupidity …


SNIPER reviews: Hollywood Reporter, bc Magazine

Electric New Paper report of Edison Chen’s SNIPER press conference

Edison Chen: “If I made a mistake …”

Edison Chen: Stayin’ alive

Yahoo! Singapore reports: Edison Chen raises voice at reporter, Edison’s PR: Hand over that tape!, Asia’s “most secured” entertainment event?, Richie Ren prepared to be neglected

Straits Times: Drill and grill for Edison photo gallery of press event

Edison Chen braves death threat to promote movie in Singapore


Edison driver tells of 3-hour laptop lapse

Court hears of Edison Chen sex photos

HK Techie Denies He Stole Edison Chen’s Pics

Call me “Naïve Gil”!

Charlene Choi releases solo album

On Monday, EEG held a press event celebrating the release of Charlene Choi Cheuk-Yin’s solo album 二缺一 (Two Missing One). Fellow EEG labelmates Kenny Kwan Chi-Ban and William Chan Wai-Ting were at the event to support Ah Sa.   Gillian Chung Yan-Tung was not present because she did not want to draw attention away from her Twins bandmate.  She did, however, make a phone call to show her support.

Talking about her new album, Choi said that the title “Two Missing One” represents her feelings as it felt strange to perform and shoot music videos without Ah Gil.   Asked if the solo release means Twins has now disbanded, Choi answered: “Twins hasn’t disbanded. Twins is the brand I share with Ah Sa.  There will come a day when we perform together again.” 


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Image credits: China Post (Rainie Yang), Koong Yick Medical Factory (Hak Kwai oil) Copyright © 2002-2021 Ross Chen