Wednesday, June 27, 2007

How I Spent My Summer Solstice

When I started this blog, I promised that I wouldn't bore you with details like what I ate for breakfast or what colour shirt I was wearing today. So, I hope you'll indulge me as I talk a little bit about a banquet I attended last week. I promise that it'll eventually lead to something entertainment circle-related.

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:
While my saliva-deprived self sipped tea and watched everyone else chow down on their rice dumplings (don't cry for me, Argentina, the truth is I never really liked rice dumplings in the first place), kindly Granny Mak walks up to me and hands me a "get well" lucky money packet. When I got home (it's impolite to open a lucky money packet in front of the person who gave it to you), I discovered a nicely-folded $100 Canadian dollar bill tucked inside the red envelope. Considering that I spent Summer Solstice 2006 lying in a hospital bed getting shot up with Cisplatin and 5-Fluorouracil, this year's Summer Solstice was exponentially better than the one last year.

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)

8 comments:

jenniferlam said...

ah gil should be your angel and ah sa should be your devil, then you would have even match.

lissa said...

I just brought the Condor Heroes DVD set two months ago and I really enjoy watching the series. The pictures are clear but the way they divided the chapters- it's kind of confusing since there are no english translation for the menu (I don't read chinese that well). The english subtitles are pretty good but they ran by the screen too fast. The theme songs - there were two- has no chapter to skip them - so I usually have to fast forward each time - which is a lot since there are about 50 chapters or so. The box set seem bulky compare to those slim dvd case American television came in with. I didn't think it was necessary to box the dvds like that.

Still I don't understand why a girl as smart as Huang Rong would choice to be with someone as dumb as Guo Jing but then what do I know?

Anyway I will stop babbling now. This is wonderful post you have written. I had visited your original site ( Hong Kong News In Review), and really enjoy it. Glad that you are doing well and still have your wits.

Sending you good wishes.

lissa.

Christopher said...

Sanney,

I have the Duke of Mt. Deer DVDs and they're great quality. The Condor Heroes ones should be just as good.

Christopher Wong

PS: Your angel and devil was very funny.

PPS: Live Free or Die Hard is good.

eliza bennet said...

"Still I don't understand why a girl as smart as Huang Rong would choice to be with someone as dumb as Guo Jing"

Guo Jing is my favorite martial arts hero! He is kind hearted, generous, honest and loyal. What is there not to love? Sure he may not be quick witted or intelligent but he is not stupid.

glenn (kenixfan@hotmail.com) said...

Nice post.

I think Anthony Wong would be my angel and maybe the ever-fake-tan Louis Koo would be the devil -- that tan cannot be his normal skin color.

Hey, I paid $20 for my friend and I to see Election in a theater here even though I already own the thing.

Was surprisingly full for a Wednesday night.

The parts that I thought were funny did not get a single laugh apart from mine in the theater -- something about Tony Leung (Ka Fai)'s performance in Election 1 just cracks me up -- especially when he gets cuffed and the other guy takes off and gets hit and Tony goes "Justice served!" That cracks me up in a very inappropriate Joe Pesci-kinda-way.

Anonymous said...

Great blog. Thanks for your review of "Isabella" and other movies. I've just seen "The Mission", "Exiled", "Colour of the Truth" and "Infernal Affairs 2", and am now looking to find "Big Bullet" SOMEWHERE...
Gabriel
Sydney, Australia

Anonymous said...

Great blog! I enjoy reading it.

When will you write the next installment? We are all waiting. Hope you're doing well.

Anonymous said...

Sanney, I hope you're doing well. Haven't seen an update on your blog in more than 2 months. Hope everything is OK with you.