Though the Cold Hand of Fate decided to afflict me with cancer, I feel that, for the most part, I've been blessed in my life. Included among my many blessings is the fact that I have one of those TVB families from their light comedy-dramas -- you know, a family that has its squabbles and its foibles but, at the end of the day, they care about one another and frequently gather together for family meals. While the conversation at these dinners tend more toward George Costanza and his fiance Susan talking about shoelaces than witty repartee that includes propitious puns ("Here, eat these long noodles that'll bring you long life"), a good time is usually had by all at these events.
Last Tuesday, the Leung clan got together with the Mak family to celebrate the Tuen Ng Festival (端午節, the Festival of the Fifth Day of the Fifth Moon). According to legend, the Festival celebrates the life and death of Qu Yuan -- a poet during the Warring States Period who drowned himself to protest government corruption. Over the years, the Dragon Boat races and the eating of 粽 ("jung", rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves) have become associated with Qu's death and, subsequently, the festival celebrating it. However, the rationalist in me subscribes to the theory that all this Qu Yuan stuff is used to "tart up" the Festival and that it likely originated in early agrarian society because it coincides annually with the Summer Solstice. If you would like to learn more about the Tuen Ng Festival, here are some links:
- Discover Hong Kong information page
- Wikipedia entry on the Festival
- Wikipedia entry on Qu Yuan
- Wikipedia entry on 粽 (rice dumplings)
The little windfall has since sparked an angel versus devil debate in my mind. The angel is saying: "Save the $100, put it in some interest-bearing instrument, and, like those bank pamphlets suggest, it will eventually turn into $1000 and feed you when you're 64."
Meanwhile, the devil is tempting me to buy the LEGEND OF THE CONDOR HEROES 1983 DVD set that I've had my eye on with whispers of: "今朝有酒﹐今朝醉 (gam jiu yau jau, gam jiu jui or "if you have wine at dawn, then get drunk at dawn" -- the Chinese version of carpe diem)."
I hate to admit this but, right now, there's a 95% chance that the devil will win the argument. First, you only live once. Second, the angel, in my mind, is being played by Hui Siu-Hung while Anthony Wong Chau-Sang plays the devil. As a result, even though the angel has solid arguments, they're being presented in a hapless and ineffectual way while the devil is all cool and convincing. I've already done some shopping around on the Internet and found a place that's selling the set for only $55 -- not bad for a 59 episode, 15 DVD collection. The only thing stopping me, oddly enough, is the potential for getting my childhood memories crushed by buying the DVDs and being bored out of my skull by the extended "emotional" sequences that were de rigueur for the 1980s TVB adaptations of Louis Cha's works. Too many of those sequences marred the 1980s adaptations of RETURN OF THE CONDOR HEROES (starring Andy Lau Tak-Wah) and FLYING FOX OF THE SNOWY MOUNTAIN (starring Ray Lui Leung-Wai).
Does anyone out there have the LEGEND OF THE CONDOR HEROES DVDs? Are they as good as they are cracked up to be: uncut, contains the opening theme sequences and credits, English subtitles, clear picture and good sound?
By the way, I really need to get different people to play the angel and the devil because the devil is winning far too many of these arguments. Actually, what I really need is an Inner Six -- a sexy but belligerent and antagonistic presence. If I had one, maybe you'd see more posts on this blog -- that is if I don't end up unwittingly contributing to the destruction of humanity.
Image credits: Allen Timothy Chang (rice dumpling image), TVB (LEGEND OF THE CONDOR HEROES DVD cover), United Filmmakers Organization (Hui Siu-Hung from IT HAD TO BE YOU), China Star Entertainment (Anthony Wong Chau-Sang from JIANG HU: THE TRIAD ZONE), R&D TV (Tricia Helfer from BATTLESTAR GALACTICA)