I heard about this movie from a friend back in 2007/08 but never had a chance to watch it...until now. Someone uploaded it on Youtube with Chinese and English Subtitles.
It's one of the best South East Asian Films I've ever seen (and I watch many!!!!) and definitely can squeeze into the top best 15 South East Asian film list of mine. It uses alot of Singaporean English (Singlish), Hokkien Dialect, Mandarin Dialect in the conversations and is really very very authentic with its characters, their conversations and the setting. Coming from Malaysia myself, the entire film felt very homely given that Singapore and Malaysia share a common history, culture, language, and people despite being two different countries since 1965.
The opening song is a famous Taiwanese Hokkien Song from 1933 called 'Ban Chun Hong' and its used as a background theme throughout the film which I really really like. The idea of using the song came from one of the director/writer's mother as the Director had called her mother and asked her which songs were popular during her times, and the mother's first suggestion was this song.
The Taiwanese and many Southeast Asian Chinese share a common dialect background of Minnan/Hokkien Chinese dialect and thus many Taiwanese Hokkien songs and popular culture were very popular with the older generation of Southeast Asian Chinese, especially in Malaysia and Singapore. I still remember my own now deceased Grandfather on my mother's side renting vhs tapes to watch Taiwanese Hokkien Chinese Operas at home.
The film has many themes and issues covering a wide range of topics such as the traditional egoistical man of the house, the docile housewife belittled by the husband from the generation now in their 50s and above, class aspirations, sexism in the family in favouring the son over the daugther, materialism,etc. It also has many well written and clevely emotional moments. My personal favourites include the scene where the elder father gives the wife pearl earrings but she isn't that happy and you find out why which was very clever writing and true too.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%C4%81ng_Chhun-hong)
I would like to introduce something close to my heart, which is the state of society and social issues and human stories in Asia. I watch entire Hong Kong TV current affairs programs on Youtube on a biweekly basis and so am pretty up to date with Hong Kong's current societal issues and challenges facing the society there. Many years ago, I stumbled across this reality program which put individuals from wealthy and privileged backgrounds for 1 week or so in the position of a poor person and see how they live. This allows both the individuals and the audience to engage in and gauge the magnitude of the problem of wealth inequality and societal imbalances in Hong Kong as we follow these characters in various roles and positions over the course of an episode. This reality series started in 2009 and came back again in 2011. I watched the first two series (as I had discovered it when they had finished broadcasting) and was totally absorbed with it. I waited for the third series to come as I knew there was a gap of over 1 year between the first two series but by mid-2013, I lost hope and thought the series was not going to have a third edition as maybe funds ran out or they lost the ability to find new wealthy individuals interested in participating. However, low and behold, I found out on Youtube (as I subscribe to RTHK's Youtube Channel) one night that the Series' Third Edition was coming back!!
Previous editions had about 4-6 episodes for each series and this time, there were 5 episodes for the 2013 series. This time, similar to previous editions, wealthy individuals would live in squalid and cramped housing conditions and work low-end low paid jobs in difficult and harsh conditions like many lower rung Hong Kong people. However, this time, they have to come up with a plan to help the lower income residents and each episode is themed with a focus such as housing issues or education access,etc.
Please have a watch if you understand Cantonese or can read Chinese subtitles. It's really well-worth it. Each episode of each series has managed to touch me profoundly and is extremely insightful. You come to realise we're all the same as human beings and there is nothing different between us..all pain is the same, and all love is the same, or similar. Like I like to say, the human spirit and determination knows no end, and nothing is impossible to the human capacity for endurance and perseverance.:)
Charlie Yeung Choi-Nei (whom like me has half-Taiwanese heritage-her mother is Taiwanese) just got married to her Singaporean boyfriend of almost 20 years in Singapore at the W-Hotel Sentosa this past weekend!!:) I've loved her since she became famous in the early 1990s and me being a self-admitting 90s child, am both very surprised and happy for her:)
I came across this documentary about growing up gay in modern Hong Kong by chance last night and watched it on Youtube...given what day it is today (IDAHO-google if you don't know what that means!!) I thought I'd share it...I couldn't believe this kind of bullying and discrimination was still so rife in modern-day Hong Kong! It's heartbreaking and at first I wasn't even really into the documentary but then they started talking about the boy called Issac and I was just SOOOO super heartbroken at his experiences:( I almost felt like tearing up at one point hearing his super sad story...
Another reason why I don't like Christianity and organised religion and their viewpoints on social issues such as abortion and homosexuality...Issac went to a Christian highschool in Hong Kong and was forced to quit in his final year in highschool due to the unaccepting attitudes of his classmates (not to mention their horrible bullying!) as well as his respected teacher and even the school social worker (my god, don't they have ethical standard requirements in HK to become a social worker?!) whom all told him he could change his sexuality....I'm glad he seems to be leading an open and happier life now:)
The documentary is unfortunately only in Cantonese with Chinese subtitles so please go ahead and have a look if you understand Chinese..it really is very insightful and informative:)
Do be compassionate, accepting, and respectful to everyone, for everyone, regardless of race, gender, age, religious, social status, sexual identity, or sexual orientation, are all human beings with feelings, hurt, want, as well as hope, who deserve to be treated equally and with dignity and compassion.:)
I haven't been blogging much recently as lack of motivation...will try to do more soon..a long postponed blog post first...I went back to Malaysia in Dec 2012 (last year) after 2.5 years away and met up with many highschool friends and relatives and was very very happy.:D It was nice to catchup with people and friends in general again, especially those I haven't seen in ages.:D
I also visited Taiwan after almost 4 years to see my grandpa and Taiwanese relatives from my Dad's side and it was really really good and great to catchup with people after 4 years! I (re) visited many places in Taiwan again, doing a little round island tour again, being Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung this time. I also attended my cousin's main wedding in Kaohsiung (and the one in Taipei too!) which was quite an experience as I have never attended a Taiwanese wedding in my entire life, and on this first occasion, I got a closeup of the 'real deal' with my own cousin getting married and I was given the opportunity to have a close-up look at the intricacies and customs of a Taiwanese wedding.
Taichung Again!: D ps: I finally got to visit and try out the delicious Taiwanese pastry and Ice-Cream Store 'Miyahara's' near Taichung Station-Sooo unique and worth it!!:D
They are quite traditional with us all having to get up really early in the morning (like 6am) to welcome the groom and his entourage to the house (pity them, it meant the groom's entourage had to get up even earlier to come to the bride's place!) and played some typical Chinese wedding games and rush the bride (my lovely cousin!) off to the groom's place as they had this 'lucky timing' thing going on...
As the main wedding was situated in the south in Kaohsiung, I got to experience the typical 'Southern Style' Taiwanese wedding banquet with a makeshift stage and performers dressed scantily belting out local Taiwanese and Mandarin songs as one dish after another dish came out...it was surely an insightful experience and the Taipei lunch banquet was held in a special ceremony/weddings hall with modern style decorations,etc...was lovely!!
I took time out to visit Hong Kong again for New Year's Eve and got to see the fireworks (albeit very blocked!!) at East Tsim Tsa Tsui Area with the crowds...was an experience and had supper had Tsui Wah Chachaanteng on Hong Kond Island afterwards at like 1am or something...there was crowd control and it was quite an experience to witness and experience New Year Eve's in Hong Kong with all the masses and throngs of people in the MRT and on the streets of HK's Central and especially the crowd control which forced everyone to walk in long-winded routes around Central in Hong Kong, as I attempted to make my way back to the hotel passing Lan Kwai Fong with all the party-goers!:D
Central, near Lan Kwai Fong/NYE 2013.:D
I visited other places in Hong Kong this time which I had missed out on previous trips, such as Stanley Markets area, and Tai-O fishing village. I skipped the Lantau Big Buddha and other places which I had visited last time...overall, was a fantastic and memorable trip, not least cos I got to see my 'Hong Kong Aunt' whom I hadn't seen in over two decades I think (she is the only foreigner on my mum's family's side whom married my uncle, they divorced in the early 90s) and had a nice catchup lunch with her during her lunch break at the classy and nice Lounge restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel near the IFC in Hong Kong..it was certainly an exquisite and memorable meal to remember for years to come...:-D
Going back to Malaysia and Taiwan, I had a wonderful time pigging out and enjoying myself, spent Christmas at my aunt's potluck in Penang and had wonderful homemade 'Chai Buey; and 'Tempura Prawns'...yummy!! I got to meet my cousin-in-law for the first time as well there...was great!
Christmas Potluck in Penang 2012:D
'China House', one of several cool and hip places that have sprouted up in Penang since these past 2.5 years.:D
I managed to meet one of my uncles and his family after several years too, in Taipei, as they moved to Chile as diplomats several years ago and I never met them on my previous trip back to Taipei...and it was like time stood still, they hadn't changed much although their children are all grown up now!:D
I slept over at one of my Aunt's place for one night again this time, like all my previous trips (she's also my Taiwanese 'Godmother' besides being my blood aunt) and her husband took me around touring ala Taiwanese 'style' on his trusty Taiwanese motorbike, and we managed to take in the sights at several places, in a quick and effective manner..my greatest thanks to him..:)
Taipei-Aunt Precious's Place-Homecooked Macaroni with tons of cheese!!:D
Anyways, too many good food, places, and people to talk about in this very concise blog post, but that sums up my vacay back home I guess after several years...already planning to go back again within 1 year, during end of this year's Christmas break actually...till my next blog post then:D