Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The World of Suzie Wong 蘇西黃的世界 スージイーウオンの世界

Nancy Kwan on the cover of 'Life' Magazine, 1960
This 1960 Hollywood classic box office hit introduced the Chinese dress, cheongsam, to the Western world and inspired a short 'China Dress craze' in the West where the Chinese dress 旗袍 became known as the 'Suzie Wong dress' for awhile. It was the equivalent of what u can say 'In the Mood for Love' in HK and 'Memoirs of a Geisha' in present-day Hollywood did in terms of creating a fashion buzz for traditional costumes.

The story is set in 1960s colonial Hong Kong, where an English artist goes to HK to do some paintings for an english resident there. He rents a room at a seedy hotel/bar in Wanchai and it so happens that the bar downstairs is a popular watering hole for sailors who dock at HK and plenty of Chinese prostitutes engage in their business there. He meets Suzie Wong, a fiesty Chinese prostitute who, on the first occasion, pretends to be a high-class girl from a rich family. He finds out her real identity at the bar and thus starts their romance against all obstacles including class status and racism which was extremely prevalent back then.

The film deals with alot of issues and was very progressive for its time, including delving into the psychological aspect of Suzie Wong and how she pretended to be a rich girl as a means to escape from the harsh reality that she was a prostitute, the poverty in HK at the time which forced many girls into prostitution,the treatment of chinese prostitutes by caucasian sailors, and, not least, racism. The film of course is credited for introducing the sexy Chinese dress to the Western audience and, indeed, the array of Chinese dresses worn by Suzie Wong in the film is numerous and all of them display the dress in its finest form.

The Chinese dresses in the film are an accurate portrayal of how Chinese dresses were like back in the 1960s, to the extent of showing those worn by prostitutes as it was indeed the 'uniform of their profession' up until the late 1980s. It is interesting to note that the HK stewardesses on the former BOAC airlines also wore cheongsams which drew the complain of other air stewardesses for 'unfair competition' and drawing attention away from the other girls due to the sexy nature of the dress, no doubt in part to the high revealing side slits...

The official website of Nancy Kwan, the actress who portrayed 'Suzie Wong' in the film is at: http://www.nancy-kwan.com/index so do go check it out for more information about the actress as well as plenty of pics from the movie...

9 comments:

Chaichakri said...

Uim sure u know that cheongsam or qipao is actually a Manchu costume, it is NOT really Chinese....

however, the high slits were made popular during the roaring 1930s in Shanghai, then the international quarter of Asia...

Oh yeah, I think it would be best if your next post is on a HOT rainbowlander, may i suggest Brandon Wong... hee hee

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

ks: yes i know, i introduced the history in one of my earlier posts already....also i wouldn't know anything about gay celebrities...but i will try to put up more nice male celebrity pics in benefit of my female and gay readers.....

executorlouis said...

Well, my tip would be to link up to other gay bloggers, to widen your exposure. You'll definitely get more comments like that. ;)

executorlouis said...

Oh, i forgot to add that if you visit others and leave comments regularly, they might be more inclined to do the same. Keep blogging! ;)

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

executor louis: yes, i have linked with other people already and actually quite a few have linked to me already. I also do leave comments on some blogs very regularly. Thanks for the support and visit often!

Chaichakri said...

how come no updates one?

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

ks: Busy lah...but will update soon.

Anonymous said...

Hey HC!

How come you dont put in any more posts which say bad things about Japan? Come on...I miss it! I love it when you write stuff about how evil and terrible they are! I am Korean and I love it when you and Plunge write great stuff about how such an ugly country Japan is! Please write more!

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

anon: Pls don't give me that crap....if u can read properly, u must know i have never written anything that says Japan is a bad and evil country...using Japanese in my blog would suggest i am friendly towards Japanese culture more than anything else...time for u to go bck to english school....a warning to others who want to insult koreans by pretending to be koreans, don't waste ur time cos no one believes u...