Wednesday, May 16, 2007

2 weeks and 1 day after arriving in Hong Kong

Greetings from Hong Kong -- where I now not only live and work but, also (finally, as of only two days ago), have access to broadband at home as well as the office! :)

"Time flies when you're having fun" says the proverbial "they". There've been many a time when I've felt this. From more recent experience, however, here's additionally fully attesting to time being prone to feel like it's flying when you've got lots of work on your plate as well!

Don't want to go into too much details about work stuff since I get the distinct sense that my new boss actually checks out this blog at least every once in a while...At the same time though, I think it's safe enough to report that tomorrow, the latest issue of the bi-weekly magazine which I'm currently staff writer for will hit the streets and that those who lay their hands on a copy will find that five out of the six feature articles have been written by a certain YT(SL)! And that's not even the half of it as other sections of the magazine now have my imprint -- e.g., in the Cinema section, you'll also find my (extended) review of The Go Master. (And yes, if that title seems familiar, it may be because you've seen a previous mention of it on this here blog.)

Alternatively put: Yes, I've spent a good portion of my time thus far in Hong Kong at work. And yes, I've already experienced at least two working days that only ended at around 1:30 the next morning. (So, if you ever wondered, yes, it's true enough that Hong Kongers -- even newly transplanted ones like myself -- work very hard indeed!)

Furthermore, my first few days in Hong Kong were colored by finding myself saddled with the roommate from hell: a young woman who I had agreed to share an apartment with for a month without having met her. I know, I know...and yes, it could have been worse. But it still was bad enough that she turned out to not yet have housetrained her pet dog -- so that on my first May morning in Hong Kong, I had experience of literally stepping into some shit on my way to the bathroom! Oh, and also be the kind of party animal who, unfortunately, doesn't seem to be able to hold her drink all that well; with the result that the bathroom sometimes could smell worse than the parts of the apartment where the dog was allowed free rein. :(

So, to say the least, it was with great relief that my frantic apartment hunting efforts actually resulted just four days after I landed in Hong Kong for this new great adventure in living in my discovery of an apartment that I'd be happy to stay in and settle into for what I hope will be a long stay in the Fragrant Harbor. And on the first Sunday of this latest Hong Kong sojourn (i.e., just one day after said discovery!), I moved into this veritable oasis that's located in one of those actually quite interesting as well as pleasant parts of Hong Kong which I'd previously passed through more than once on a tram but, I must confess, had never stopped to check out.

Some more minor yet significant -- at least, to me -- milestones reached in the past two weeks or so: My getting a Hong Kong phone number to call my own (this on the day that I came across the apartment I now call home); and my opening an account in a local bank (this only done yesterday). On a lighter note: Over the weekend, I also belatedly succumbed to the temptations of a Hong Kong branch of Krispy Kreme that, I've found, not only has a "buy five, get one free" offer in place but also can boast culinary attractions like delectable donuts with a green tea flavored glaze on top of them! ;b

Finally, what's a Hong Kong entry on this blog with movie mentions? Those of you who know me will doubtless understand that I really truly started feeling comfortable, if not yet outright settled, when I finally found the time, energy and such to go and get myself a DVD player (just this past Saturday). (If you're wondering, the apartment came with a nice enough TV set along with some other furnishings.)

And go watch a movie in a cinema. (For the record: It was only this past Sunday and the film was Spider Lilies, an affecting art house offering cum -- oh, heck, I'm not going to hide this fact! -- lesbian drama from Taiwan accorded but a category IIB rating here in Hong Kong which I found to be hypnotic, haunting and very much watchable due in larger part to Rainie Yang (a wonderful young actress who I had previously seen only in the under-rated Merry-Go-Round) than the more celebrated Isabella Leung (of Isabella fame).

Of course, this being in Hong Kong, I caught sight of a major film star many days before these two events occured. On the same afternoon that I landed in Hong Kong, in fact. And no, I really am not kidding when I tell you that the celebrity in question was ex-Shaw Brothers actress Lily Ho; and that I almost literally bumped into the still very lovely looking her -- and her pretty stunning as well young adult daughter -- while waiting to buy fruits at a small corner shop!!

And while I didn't dare to go up and talk to that charismatic female, I did talk to -- indeed, interview for work! -- none other than Fredric Mao last week! Should this luminary's name not immediately ring a bell, here's pointing out that he's the celebrated artistic director of the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, an individual who the likes of Anthony Wong Chau San look upon as a sifu and call "Mao Sir", as well as someone who has made significant supporting appearances in small but worthy cinematic efforts like 9413, A Queer Story and Forever and Ever. And should anyone wonder: Yes, he was very nice and the interview went very well indeed... :)


Anonymous said...

Hurray! You're back! I've missed you.

It sure does sound like you've been busy. But it sounds great. I wish I could get the magazine you write for.

I'm so glad you've gotten your own apartment, and broadband. And that you're already having some adventures!

Anonymous said...

Hi again!

How exciting your new life sounds. Good for you for doing so well in such a short time and getting your own place. I look forward to reading about more of your great adventures.

It sounds like you are very busy, but isn't it true that when you love what you do you don't seem to notice time passing? I hope to have a great job like that someday too.

Hey, now that you're in Hong Kong you can line up at the box office and buy tickets in person for Jacky Cheung's 10 concert dates this August. I've got my tickets!

Take care!

Anonymous said...

Good to hear from you.

YTSL said...

Hi Alejna --

And I've missed being on line and being able to regularly read your blog, etc.

"I wish I could get the magazine you write for."'s available on line over here:-

So...enjoy? ;)

Hi Wanda --

Wow, you are quite the Jacky Cheung fan, huh?? As for myself: I like his music, have a couple of his CDs, and already have seen him in concert once. So am not sure whether I'd want to go for the August one. Sorry! ;S

Hi laicheukpan --

Ditto! :)

Peter Martin said...

Congratulations on the job, the move, the apartment! So glad you're back online, too.

Anonymous said...

AWESOME! While I am happy for you and glad you are back online I am quite disappointed in you for not approaching Lily Ho.

Here I sit in America, watching my Shaw re-issues, presently on a dueling Li Ching/Lily Ho kick, desperately trying to find a DVD of the Lady Professional somewhere since it may now be out of print, and you actually see the legend in person.

I am jealous.

Doesn't she run a restaurant somewhere? Maybe in Macau? If you ever find out, then tell us cause that is the type of thing that I would plan a trip around.

- Glenn

YTSL said...

Hi Peter --

Thanks and I'm glad to be back on-line too. Also, while I won't be updating my blog as frequently, be assured that I'll be regularly checking the comments -- and, also, that I plan a new blog entry for this weekend. :)

Hi Glenn --

Tee hee hee at your reaction but put yourself in Lily Ho's shoes if you can: Apparently, she's not a fan of her own Shaw Brothers movies. So if some thirty years on after she made them some stranger went up to her and started gushing about how great she was in them, she might not be all that appreciative of losing her privacy, etc.

As for the restaurant: Recently heard that Lily Ho has a restaurant in Shanghai. So she actually spends more time there than in Hong Kong these days...

As for things to plan your trip around within the U.S.: Did you know that Angela Mao apparently lives in New York these days? And ditto, for about half the year, Wong Kar Wai? Also, that Pat Ha is now based in L.A.; as in Cecille Tang, the director of such classics as "The Arch" and "China Behind"? ;b

Anonymous said...

u are finally settled down and start blogging again. welcome to Hong Kong! :)
i guess i know which magazine u are talking about. i have the march and april editions at home too. ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi again,

I think you are right about Lily Ho -- though I don't understand why she hates her features as some of them are quite good -- better than most of what comes out of Hong Kong these days.

I don't know if you know who she is but there was a Hollywood actress named Deanna Durbin who was hugely popular from about 1939 to 1950; she was a child prodigy and could sing both classical and popular song and made a dozen or so good, lightweight Hollywood films -- a bit better than Shirley Temple stuff since she was a bit older.

Well she is still alive somewhere in America and for someone so popular it is unbelieveable to a lot of film fans that Deanna Durbin has never done any kind of retrospective or anything. It's not a case of being forgotten; it's a case of her actively avoiding for a good 40 years appearing anywhere.

Once in a while you read of sightings of Deanna Durbin but she refuses to do the usual retro interview circuit even as her films get re-issued on DVD.

On a WKW note: did you see the pictures of Maggie Cheung and Shu Qi at Cannes? I liked the bit in the opening ceremony where Maggie almost tripped on her gown as she climbed on stage in the auditorium.

Maggie is the picture of talent and grace and that made her seem a bit more human.

Shu Qi looked fantastic. I am glad she went and did Three Times instead of a Hollywood feature -- I was afraid that after the dreadful-but-successful Transporter that she would try to have a Hollywood career and get typecast as a sex bomb over here.

And since the guys from visited the set of the Tsui Hark/Johnnie To/Ringo Lam Triangle a few months ago, I fully expect you to be visiting film sets in HK now that you are a resident

...and reporting back on this blog naturally.


GoldenRockProductions said...

Adding my welcome back as well here.

Sorry to hear about your roommate situation. I don't think a lot of people do the share apartment thing in Hong Kong, so sometimes you really do have to watch out who you get stuck with. Anyway, glad you got out of that one quickly.

As for Jackie Cheung concert mentioned in the above comment, I'm desperately seeking tickets too, since I'd have moved to HK by then. Oh well, I'll have plenty of chances to see other concerts.

By the way, does the magazine you work for start with a B and end with a C? ;)

YTSL said...

Hi "Mad Dog" --

Thanks for the welcome to Hong Kong message. Appreciate it. :)

Re the magazine I now write for: here's pointing out that it's a fortnightly, not just monthly, effort! ;b

Hi again Glenn --

Re Lily Ho: From what I've heard, it boils down to her feeling that she had been exploited by the Shaw Brothers. Hence her not being too happy about that period of her life (including the films that remind her of it).

And thanks for telling me about Deanna Durbin -- who you guessed right about my not having heard about previously.

Also, thanks for the WKW and co. at Cannes photo alert. Have read reviews of "Blackberry Nights", etc. but have not gone and checked out any visuals as yet.

"And since the guys from visited the set of the Tsui Hark/Johnnie To/Ringo Lam Triangle a few months ago, I fully expect you to be visiting film sets in HK now that you are a resident..."


Hi "Goldenrock productions" --

Re the roommate from hell: Was figuring "it's only one month". Also, in the past, I've often found it quite beneficial to have roommates -- or, house-mates, if one were to be strict about it -- when in a foreign country. But oooo boy, not this time. And so much so that I'm getting the idea that my time to have roommates has now past!

Anyways, what's this about your moving to Hong Kong soon too??? Also, yep re your getting the title of the magazine I work for right... ;b

GoldenRockProductions said...

I'm moving back to Hong Kong in August for film school, so I might be needing the same advice you got too!

steve said...

Glad to hear that everything went so well (except for the apartment, heh). Your sighting of Lily Ho apparently confirms what a friend once told me after he saw Tsui Hark and Simon Yam on different occasions on the same day - catching local celebrities on the streets of Hong Kong doing everyday things seems to be pretty common. Needless to say, I'm jealous as hell, haha.

I look forward to reading more of your Hong Kong impressions.


YTSL said...

Hi "goldenrock productions" --

Film school in Hong Kong. Sounds interesting! As for advice, hmmm, maybe in a month or so, I'll be able to feel confident to dispense advice to people coming to Hong Kong to stay (rather than "just" for a flying visit). ;b

Hi munin --

"catching local celebrities on the streets of Hong Kong doing everyday things seems to be pretty common."

It can seem that way. Also, I sometimes get the feeling that the trick is to be able to recognize them. The thing is that they can act and look so, well, normal that the likes of me often need someone else to point out to them that that *really* is so and so there, etc.

And if you're wondering, that's what happened with me vis a vis Lily Ho at the fruit stall and, a few years back, Connie Chan Po Chu behind the wheel of her cute little compact car waiting over at the Hong Kong Arts Centre to pick up her son (who had had a part in a play that I had just come out of viewing!).

On the other hand, I can take pride in having successfully spotted Michelle Yeoh sitting a few seats away from a friend and I at the 2006 HKIFF's screening of "Nomad" (whereas the friend took several looks to be convinced herself that it really was Michelle Yeoh so close by as well as so very casually dressed!). :)

Rie said...

Good to read that you've started off on such an exhilarating note in Hong Kong. here's to more adventure and excitement up your path.

eliza bennet said...

Great to have you back!! And even better to read that you are enjoying yourself in the city where you want to live :)

I like bc magazine and very happy to learn that you are part of the team!

Wooohooo for you and I'm looking forward for future blog entries :)

Madara said...

So, is that "party girl" looking for a new roommate now? Just curious. ;)

YTSL said...

Hi "eliza bennet" --

I'm glad to be back in cyberspace myself, even if I'm not spending as much time on it as before. (What can I say other than the lure of Hong Kong itself can be great!) :)

Hi leo86 --

I pity whoever becomes her new roommate. The impression I got is that she would like the financial savings that comes from having a roommate but is not prepared to change her -- and her dog's -- ways one mite to accomodate said roommate... :(

Anyways, for my part, I'm just glad I'm far away from her and that place -- even if that locale was actually very nice. (Let's put it this way: It was on the same street as a Krispy Kreme outlet and I would pass by quite a few places that had featured in Hong Kong movies -- including "Chungking Express" -- on my commute from there to work and back each day.

Anyways, speaking of movies: Another celebrity spotted yesterday -- Jo Kuk/Koo (who's very good in SINGLE BLOG -- a movie whose premiere I attended last night) a couple of tables away from a friend and me at a restaurant in Langham Place! :)

Madara said...

Well, then, is Lily Ho looking for a roommate? (Speaking as someone who would have no qualms about telling her how good she was in THE WATER MARGIN and INTIMATE CONFESSIONS OF A CHINESE COURTESAN and ANGEL WITH THE IRON FISTS and...oh you get the picture.)

YTSL said...

Hi leo86 --

"Well, then, is Lily Ho looking for a roommate?"

I get the feeling no. And even then...hmmm, am getting the feeling that I have quite the different reaction to being in the presence of celebrities than certain -- maybe even most? -- of this blog's readers: i.e., I tend to be content with seeing them in the flesh rather than feeling any need to go interact with them! ;D