Jackie Chan has spent most of his 60 years on Earth fighting, breaking bones and getting injured for your entertainment. He’s a living legend and a Chinese national treasure. He’s also very funny and entertaining.
During his talk at the BFI Southbank this week, he regaled the audience with tales throughout his career from working as a young stuntman with Bruce Lee to nearly getting himself killed several times to working with Jaden Smith on Karate Kid.
Here are some things we learned from the night.
He’s loves action films. He really does.
I love action movies. I don’t think the audience after watching my drama movies think, ‘Wow, that kiss scene was so good.’ That’s why action always makes me proud.
Err, he didn’t actually mean it when he announced his retirement
I’ve been lucky for so many years. I should’ve died a long time ago. I asked myself when I should stop. When is the good time… Until two years ago, I was at Cannes Film Festival. I think probably I should announce something. The press misunderstand. They thought last action movie. I said that’s my last big action movie!
He wants peace not war, man
I just need to promote love, peace, no war so even my last movie Dragon Blade talked about peace. It’s not like the old days like Drunken Master just drinking, fighting and laughing. These days I more care about the environment.
He flopped in America initially
I said forget about the American market, just go back to Asia and do my own thing but 15 years later the whole of Hollywood learn from Asia. They hire my stunt guys. They call me up and I send all my Jackie Chan Stunt Team to America to teach the actors. I think it was wrong time, wrong moment. Right now is the right moment.
Bruce Lee kicked his a** big time on the set of Enter The Dragon
As a stunt guy you get used to being hurt but in school my teacher hit me more, hurt me more than this. I was lying down, I didn’t move and I looked at Bruce Lee. As soon as they said cut, I hear Bruce Lee drop his sticks and say, ‘Oh my God!’ Actually it’s nothing for me but I see him running to me and checking, ‘Are you ok?’
Martial arts is about helping people
Martial art is about respect. I fight with a guy and in the end we become friends. I just don’t like it how now they have a lot of competition. When I was young, I had the same thing. I want to be a bouncer, I want to beat people on the street, I want to show how quick I am but the more you learn, the more you get hurt and then you realise martial arts is about helping people.
Rush Hour 4 will only happen if there’s a good script
Like lately they want to make Rush Hour 4. I said ‘No, show me the script first. I don’t need another Rush Hour 4. You need Rush Hour 4. Show me the script.’ I don’t want to do a rubbish script just because they want to make the movie.
And then he sung
BFI’s A Century of Chinese Cinema season runs until 7 October at BFI Southbank http://www.bfi.org.uk/china
The Karate Kid: Which version do you like better, 1984 original version starring Ralph Macchio/Pat Morita or 2010 remake starring Jaden Smith/Jackie Chan
For everyone that is a fan of karate, they should automatically know this is a Japanese artform of self-defense. The title does no justice to the movie. I will give you several examples. Jaden Smith’s character(Dre Parker) moves from Detroit to China with his mother played by Taraji Henson. Dre is trained by maintenance man and kung fu master played by Jackie Chan. As we all know, Jackie Chan is one of the most popular action stars in the world.
In the original version, Ralph Macchio’s character(Daniel LaRusso) moves with his mother from New Jersey to California and learns karate from Mr.Miyagi(Pat Morita), a maintenance man from Japan. Even though Jackie Chan portrayed his role well, he can never fill the void left by beloved Japanese-American actor Pat Morita. He played a major role in making “The Karate Kid” series one of the most successful series in movie history starring Ralph Macchio.
For example, my favorite movie from the series is “The Karate Kid Part II” because it gets the setting right. During the scene when Mr. Miyagi receives a letter from his dying father in Okinawa, Japan it sums up where karate comes from.
Therefore, coming back to my earlier point, the title and plot does not match up with each other. The movie would be much better if the producers had changed the title to “The Kung Fu Kid” in reflecting Chinese culture. Another solution would have been to set the movie in Japan and create the plot around the theme of karate. In staying true to the art of karate, they would have cast a Japanese actor to play the role of a karate teacher to Jaden Smith.
Many people do not understand that Chinese and Japanese are two completely different cultures. Whenever Hollywood casts a movie from a cultural standpoint, they are mostly concerned about how much money it will make at the box office.
As a result, the movie going public becomes unaware of what they are watching on the screen in thinking all Asian people look alike and sound Chinese or Japanese. Whenever Hollywood does a movie that deals with a specific culture, they should educate themselves about the culture first before putting something out there.
When you need a good getaway from your busy and hectic daily life, stepping in to a game arcade can be an excellent choice. There are some weird, funny and cool games out there that can let you relieve stress, at least for a short session. Here are some of them.
The 1995 classic Jackie Chan: Fists of Fire (ジャッキー・チェン FISTS OF FIRE 成龍伝説)is a Mortal Kombat style beat-em-up game in which the player has to win a series of fights with AI controlled character. The player choose his avatar from various options, including three versions of Jackie Chan.
In Hatoful Boyfriend: A School of Hope and White Wings (はーとふる彼氏〜希望の学園と白い翼) the player plays as a female bird that tries to find a suitable boyfriend from a school of birds. The game is a basic dating simulator with a difference that it uses doves, pigeons etc. birds as protagonists making the game one of the weirdest in its genre.
For multiplaying purposes, aka the games to play with your friends or colleagues, air hockey games are a must. The Japanese game company Sega has developed a futuristic air hockey simulator that displays moving digital images on the hockey table. Despite the localization in English, Heat Up Hockey can only be found in Japan.
If you are really sick of your supervisor bossing you around, you might want to play Sonic Blast Heroes. It is a punching simulator in which the player literally punches everything on his way. The game comes with a boxing glove and a pad that rises out the cabinet to let you know that it is punching time. By playing it you also do physical exercise and develop your physique.
Some game machine structures are made of Galvanized Steel Coil. In Shanghai Metal Corporation we also offer Multicolored Prepainted Galvanized Steel Coil that is excellent for building game and vending machines. To know more about our products, please visit our website. Please also follow on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. You can also try our new mobile application by scanning the QR code below.
Tuomas P. // SMC Editor
Se7en- Passion Korea
G-Dragon- Crayon + Fantastic Baby (Live) Korea
ONE OK ROCK- No Scared (Live) Japan
Super Junior- Sorry Sorry Korea
PSY- It’s Art Korea
Nightmare- Friend Like Me Japan
Fact- Ape Japan
Lil’B- Orange Japan
Anime Track of the Week: The Back Horn- Wana Japan (Mobile Suit Gundam 00)
Nami Tamaki- Umi Yori Mo Fukaku Japan
Lee Hi- It’s Over Korea
Kara- Damaged Lady Korea
AKB48- Koi Suru Fortune Cookie Japan
Babymetal- Uki Uki Midnight Japan
Tempura Kidz VS Charisma.com- Miira Killer Japan
Leehom Wang- 12 Zodiacs China
Jaycee Fong ft Jackie Chan- I Don’t Want No Trouble China
T.M.Revolution- Tsuki Yaberu- Time To Smash Japan
Iwa K- Batman Kasarung Indonesia
JJ Lin- Cao Cao Singapore
Vocaloid Track of the Week: Last Note ft GUMI, Kagamine Len & Kamui Gackpo- DEADLINE CIRCUS Japan
Sawano Hiroyuki- Counter Attack Mankind Japan
Brown Eyed Girls- Sixth Sense Korea
Samuel Tai- 999 Roses China
I really loved this movie. It was well written and well done. The scene where they were on the playground stood out in my mind. If you’ve ever been singled out by a group of bullies and had to fight back, this scene will resonate with you. No friends to have your back. Your just solo.
A princess is captured from China and Jackie Chan goes to save her. He takes a train, which is robbed by a group of criminals who works for Owen Wilson. After some rivalry between them, they eventually join sides and set out to save the princess together and her gold.
Jackie Chan plays a guy with some character development in this movie. He is bound by regulations set up by the Chinese government, but Owen Wilson tries to get him to break free of those restrictions. It kind of reminded me of the influence some of my friends had on me in college. Owen Wilson is a funny, no good outlaw who also has character development. Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson teaming up together seems to have a positive effect on both of them with Jackie Chan getting Owen Wilson to straighten up and fly right while Owen Wilson gets Jackie Chan to be less of a tight ass. The princess is not shown much since she is the damsel in distress that they try to rescue but is nice.
There are many criminals in this movie. Owen Wilson’s old gang wants him dead. There is a sheriff based off of Lee Van Cleef with a first for blood. There are also several Good, Bad and Ugly references in this movie with their escape from the noose and the Mexican stand off, although they don’t have any Mexicans. There is also a skilled martial artist who plays the main villain and should not be screwed with since he can use even an oyster shell to kill.
The action is pretty good. Unlike most of Jackie Chan’s movies it not only has good stunts and martial arts, but also a lot of gun fights because it takes place in the old west. There is a good bar scene, which is a free for all, and they have another free for all at the end of the movie in a church.
Owen Wilson provides most of the comedy as the comic relief, but his group of rag tag backwoods criminals are comical as well.
Some of the songs in this movie are great. Back In the Saddle by Aerosmith plays when they escape from the noose and La Grange by ZZ Top plays when they have the bar fight. Most of the setting is the wild west, which’s pretty interesting. They move from trains to bars to old churches.
Action is a critical part of any film adaptation of a shonen manga, and in this aspect the stunts in “Kuroshitsuji” (Black Butler) and “Rurouni Kenshin 2: Kyoto Inferno” (Samurai X) at once made these films worth watching.
Incidentally, both movies had the same stunt coordinator — Takahito Ouchi. See the opening fight scenes in “Kuroshitsuji” as well as the wealth of stunts in “Rurouni Kenshin 2″ to witness how well choreographed they were.
Other Japanese feature-film and TV titles on which he served as action director include “Security Police: The Motion Picture Yabo hen,” “Security Police: The Motion Picture Kakumei hen.”
Ouchi handled sword-fight sequences for Sarutobi sansei (NHK Satellite) and was nominated in 2013 as Best Stuntman in the inaugural Japan Action Awards.
Born in 1976, Ouchi studied his craft in Hong Kong, where he worked with Jackie Chan and Donnie Yen on such films as “The Myth” and “Flash Point.”
Rush Hour 2 is about Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker taking a vacation in China but really they are working on another case, much to the chagrin of Chris Tucker. They go up against a man who had worked with and betrayed Jackie Chan’s father. They also try to get back some plates that are counter feit and criminals are using to launder money in a casino.
Jackie Chan is back in this second installment of the Rush Hour series as the action packing hero while Chris Tucker is humorous as his partner who is always getting knocked off of buildings and getting his ass handed to him by women. There is also a woman who always seems to be working on either side. They don’t know whether to trust her, but in the end she ends up saving Jackie Chan.
The villains in this movie are not particularly memorable. The main villain is a man who has a decent back story. He worked with Jackie Chan’s father, betrayed him and seems to be very ruthless. He has a cold blooded woman who is good at martial arts working for him. There is also a rich white man waiting for his cut named Steve Reign.
The action in this movie is pretty good, taking place in massage parlors where Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker have a great fight against a whole bunch of villains and in a hotel at the end of the movie. They have an explosive escape from a bomb.
The humor is pretty good. Chris Tucker is funny as always with his dry one liners and over reactions. We have a moment of confusion with Jackie Chan thinking Chris Tucker is dead and then finding out later he is alive with a scene similar to another scene that shows up in their third movie.
The music is actually pretty exciting and engaging right from the opening title screen. The setting moves all over the place from China to Las Vegas. Both places are used well. Rush Hour 2 gives a better presentation of Las Vegas than the dry as a martini Bond movie, Diamonds Are Forever.
Shanghai Knights is about a villain who kills the father of Jackie Chan and takes the royal seal for another villain played by Donny Yen who will in exchange murder the entire royal family, so that the prince can take over the throne. Jackie Chan and his partner this time played by Owen Wilson, who I don’t like nearly as much as Chris Tucker but is still funny sometimes, try to stop the criminals.
Jackie Chan plays a sheriff. His partner played by Owen Wilson is sometimes funny. They also work with Jackie Chan’s sister who is attractive and a skilled martial artist. There’s a kid who picks pockets and is a little annoying, but tags along anyway.
The villains are pretty good. Donny Yen is great as always as the villain while the duke makes you dislike him with his cheap tricks shooting a detective in the shoulder with a hidden gun and knocking Owen Wilson out of a window when he isn’t looking.
Despite being highly juvenile, this movie does boast some clever action scenes such as when Jackie Chan does a parody of Singing In the Rain with the umbrellas. The final fight scene between Jackie Chan and Donny Yen is pretty good. Quite frankly any avid martial arts fan would tell you Donny Yen would defeat Jackie Chan in a real fight, but fortunately the plot was on Jackie Chan’s side and Donny Yen gets blown up by fireworks from Jackie Chan’s sister. It’s another example of a fight scene that the villain should’ve won along with Roger Moore vs Christopher Lee in Man With the Golden Gun. Oh, well, I digress.
There is a lot of humor in this movie. It’s one of Jackie Chan’s many comedy action movies, aided by the fact that this time Hollywood is in charge and the humor actually kind of makes sense. Owen Wilson is a decent comedian I guess. Jackie Chan’s sister beats the crap out of Jack the Ripper by knocking him off a bridge and endearingly calling him a bad name in her native tongue.
The music is dramatic and sometimes fits the mood pretty well. The setting this time is Britain. Jackie Chan seems to travel all over the world, particularly when he ends up in a movie like Around the World In Eighty Days. Whether he is in a different dimension, a German military base, France or Britain, though, he is almost always entertaining.
I’ve gone over my issues with The Expendables series multiple times. But if there’s one thing I can say the franchise has done right is bringing together a great cast of stars. For all of Expendables 2’s faults Jean Claude Van Damme’s turn as a villain is totally brilliant. Seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger coming out to kick ass after his run as the governor ruled the first time around. Moments like these are what have turned a silly concept into a full fledged franchise with a silly concept. What makes things even better is the fact that due to how the movie works they can swap members in and out as they see fit (or how schedules work out). Being in the Expendables seems to be a right of passage for any action stars past or present. Still there are some names that, for whatever reason, just don’t seem to come up. With a a spin off and no doubt another movie in the future here are some names that deserve to be looked at. Especially since Steven Segal is a massive doucher that nobody wants to work with.
Chow Yun Fat
When it comes to late 80’s/early 90’s Chinese action there is nobody more recognizable than Chow Yun-Fat. Chow has starred in some of the best action movies ever as the lead in The Killer, Hard Boiled and A Better Tomorrow. He’s an absolute legend and is still kicking but in China with movies like Let The Bullets Fly. I can see it being hard to fit him into his still busy schedule of movies but if anybody deserves to be there it’s him.
Between Thor’s brother being in the last movie and Ronda Rousey in the new one this week one of the big things they are trying to push are current/future action stars. As far as I’m concerned they have generally failed at this. While they may have been in action roles they haven’t really delivered in the long run. That’s why I think they could take a step back and go with an established modern action guy like Tom Hardy. His first major role in 2001’s Black Hawk Down he has more than proven his status in the genre with Inception, Warrior and The Dark Knight Rises. With a potential franchise in the new Mad Max it would be a big coup to get Hardy in a movie.
For those that don’t know there is a planned spin-off focusing on a team of a female team called The ExpendaBelles in the works. In fact there are two with one being helmed by producer Avi Lerner starring Gina Carano, Sharni Vinison and Katee Sackhoff. The other from the director of Legally Blonde starring Milla Jovovich, Meryl Streep and Cameron Diaz. Guess which one I prefer. Either way there’s a major star both should have their eye on, Michelle Rodriguez. Doing nothing but strong, ass kicking type roles she could work as the lead in either franchise. More importantly she has shown time and again that she can kick just as much ass as the dudes and would be the perfect person to connect an ExpendaBelles style spin off with the main series.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Who doesn’t love The Rock? Since debuting as pro wrestler in the 90’s he has crafted a fun and likable persona that makes him a star to everyone. Heck my mom still tells me when he makes appearances on The Today Show or whatever. It’s easy to understand too; The Rock has a unique charisma that works for action and comedic roles perfectly. With the Expendibles franchise being a balance of action and comedy already this is perfect for “The Great One.” At the very least he’d make for a better cameo than the one Schwarzenegger did in The Rundown.
And yes I am astounded that I still remember The Rundown.
Of all the people on the list Donnie Yen is probably the least known which is a shame. Acting since the 80’s he has is a big star in his native China for movies like SPL, Flash Point and Iron Monkey. While he had some minor roles in Blade 2 and Highlander: Endgame he is probably most known in the US as the lead in critical and commercial hits Ip Man and Ip Man 2. Since then he has slowly but surely been gaining a cult following in the United States for his martial arts prowess and being one of the top action coordinators in the world. Seeing him get proper recognition in an American movie would be great. Plus there’s be the chance of Yen vs Statham which could be epic.
You don’t really think it but Keanu Reeves is one of the biggest action stars in history. With starring roles in Speed, Point Break and The Matrix series of movies he has been involved with some of the highest grossing and most popular action movies of all time. Not only is he a good action star but he has proven that he “gets” action with his surprisingly good directing in Man of Tai Chi. Funny thing is I bet he’d be the hardest of the actors to get. At this point in his career Reeves seems to do movies he wants to do as opposed to things that are guaranteed hits. I actually find this pretty admirable all things considered. But the chance to see Keanu as the villain opposite Jet Li is too good to miss.
Yeah, I totally have a plot laid out for Keanu Reeves as the villain. I assure you it’d rock.
A star since the 70’s Jackie Chan is not only the most obvious pick but the one closest to happening. With both Stallone and Chan showing interest there have been rumors of a Jackie role for quite some time. Unfortunately whether it’s due to money or scheduling things just haven’t worked out. Which is a shame because in this pseudo-action hall of fame he’s an obvious omission; especially when Kelsey Grammar is getting a character poster. At 60 Chan not only is he surprisingly agile but has one of the best eyes for fight choreography going today. Despite slowing down over the years he still puts most action stars to shame. With more than 40 years in the film industry and being known the world over he’s clearly the biggest missing piece to the Expandables world.
Now there tons of action stars out there that for one reason or another I didn’t list for one reason or another.
Michael Dudikoff- I’ll be honest I have no clue whether the dude can still go into full blown action movie mode. But I’d love to see American Ninja get some love.
Iko Uwais- Of all the actors Uwais seems like the most obvious. The thing is my blog is such a lovefest for The Raid already that this just felt redundant at this point. You know I’d love to add him and I know I’d love to add him. Just consider him the unofficial #8 entry.
Tony Jaa- On the surface Jaa seems like an obvious pick. With hits like Ong Bak and The Protector under his belt the dude seems like a lock. My concern is that he seems very flaky as far as an actor. His output ebbs and flows with a varying quality. Still he seems to be on a big comeback with Fast & Furious 7 and SPL 2 so maybe I’m wrong.
Jean Claude Van Damme- I know he has already been in the series. Heck he was the major villain of The Expendables 2. But I remember there were rumors that Van Damme return as Claude Vilain, brother of Jean Vilain who he played in Expendables 2. Not only would this be amazing but it’d totally work with the clone/twin movies JCVD did all the time. This is the kind of tongue in cheek, wink at the audience insanity I’d love to see more of. Plus the Muscles from Brussels is surprisingly great as a villain. Getting to see more of that would be great.
Hong Kong is probably one of the easiest nearby places a Pinoy can go to outside of the Philippines, along with Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and another Special Administrative Region, Macau.
For someone who’s “merely” a part of the working class, it takes savings, extensive research on DIY trips, and, (thanks Cebu Pacific) waiting for the right piso fare to come.
Tip #1 (Airfare): Booking months ahead could save a lot of money in airfare. Joy and I booked this flight 4Q of 2013 and took the flight July 2014. It only cost us below PhP 4500 for our RT tickets, all in.
From Macau, we ferried in to Hong Kong a little before midnight and and hailed a cab to get us to our hostel in Tsim Sha Tsui (Kowloon).
Tip #2 (Public Transport): When going to Hong Kong from Kowloon and vice versa, it is best to take the ferry or the MTR (train) as both are way cheaper than the cabs (note: plug down at HKD 22, more like PHP 100). Always have lower denomination bills and loose coins. Never ask a stranger to break your HKD 500 or HKD 1000 down, if entirely necessary, count your money before turning around. Better yet, buy the Octopus card as it can be used in almost all transportation systems and in most establishments. Don’t lose the card because there is a HKD 50 deposit that you can refund upon return of the card. Cabs can take 4 or 5 passengers depending on what is says at the back side.
We then rested once settled, and got up early the following day for an authentic Chinese breakfast (which for the Pinoy hunger was a little light compared to our SILOG varieties).
In the day, we sprawled and took pictures of pretty much every corner of the city, from Kowloon, to Hong Kong and back to Kowloon. The harbour is a tourist favorite, and it would never be empty even if it’s raining. This is where the passengers get on a ferry to HK island, go to the museum and go to check out the Avenue of the Stars. Due to lack of time, we were not able to attend the english presentation of the Hong Kong Space Museum which happens every 7:20pm.
Anyhow, we were able to visit The Hong Kong Museum of Art on our last day of the tour. Admission: HKD 10 or PHP 56 (the Octopus card can be used here). No pictures can be taken while inside the museum, so we just really enjoyed the china wares, paintings and jade collections. Before we went in, the Waterdrop by Danny Lee amazed us, it is made of stainless steel and resembles a water drop, placed outside the museum in one of its exhibition.
So many museums, so little time, so to speak.
Moving on, one thing we all agreed on was that the transportation system of HK is nowhere near that of Manila’s. In fairness to Manila though, our land area is really larger than that or HK’s, but the common problems like smoke belching, loading and unloading anywhere in main roads, delays and unexpected stoppage of trains are minimal if non-existent. Why with all the open-air double deckers they have, the inter-connected trains, enjoyable trams, and even the side-walks and underpasses are vendor-free. At first I was scared to try their MTR because a part of the Vilma-JLC-Luis movie kept playing in my mind where she got off the wrong station and got dreadlocks thereafter. But we all realized that reading the map (luckily they have English subtitles hehe), and following the signs carefully, are actually fun and cheaper!
Something else I liked about walking around the area, or commuting (remember – open-air double decker buses), is that I get to see the architecture. Since Hong Kong lacks land space, it has become the world’s most vertical city and ranks 3rd (after London and New York) most leading financial center.
Avenue of Stars (Admission: Free) – is modelled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame where artists’ hand prints, and signatures are found. It is located along the Victoria Harbour Waterfront in the East Tsim Sha Tsui (Kowloon) side. At night, this is the same venue where one can witness A Symphony of Lights. It is a Guinness World Book of Records holder as the world’s largest permanent light and sound show where 45 buildings on both sides participate at 8pm, nightly.
When going to the Victoria Peak, to avoid long queues for The Peak Trams, we took the bus from Central to the Peak. The Peak Tower also houses the Madame Tussauds Hong Kong wax museum, the viewing deck and some refreshment areas. The wax museum has around 100 figures, mostly Hong Kong personalities like Jackie Chan, Andy Lau and Michelle Yeoh. Admission to the wax museum: HKD 135 or less than PHP 800. Going back down to HK Central, we took The Peak Tram at HKD 28 or around PHP 160, only it’s backwards.
It is also just a joy to just be there on top and marvel at the beauty below. Like we did.
Another thing that’s very unique to Hong Kong is the Mid-Level Escalators. It is the word’s longest outdoor covered escalator system at 800 meters with a vertical climb of 135 meters. It shortens the time of travel in the Central and Western Districts of Hong Kong to 20 minutes, or less. Admission: Free.
Street food is also available anywhere in HK. Though if you don’t know any Chinese word other than Ni Hao and Xiexie, I highly recommend you don’t try it anymore. The foot traffic is high and there’s no time to translate english-cantonese and back. You will end up getting the wrong order, paying more for less, or worse, both.
Tip #3 (Language and Communication): Something I failed to foresee and research. Hong Kong is 95% Cantonese-speaking. Guess what, when I tell the cab driver to take us to the ferry, there is no talking part. No probing, chit-chatting, asking directions and what-not. It’s pretty much sign language for us. Prepare at least the common phrases you need to get by and google them ahead of time, otherwise look for a kabayan and ask for directions. Most websites will give you the Chinese characters as translation. But you can try this: http://www.mdbg.net/chindict/chindict.php
Speaking of food, authentic Chinese food is a must-try when in Hong Kong. Menus could be a little bit challenging to read and have an idea on what food you’re getting, but the experience is worth it. In one of the Chinese restaurants we ate at, I was given numbers for our orders and I had to wait till they’re called. Of course, they call out the numbers in Cantonese. I only know 1-10, man. And my numbers were 47, 95, 83, etc. I was doomed.
What I did was I stood in front of the counter, with the number (like PHP 5 coins) all laid on my palms as the guy looked at me. He would get one number and show me one plate, I’ll bring it to our table, go back and stand in front of the guy as I show my kawawa face, until I got all 6 plates. No words. Just actions. Whew.
Tip #4 (Essentials): Water is a little expensive in Hong Kong. So when you can refill your bottles in your hostels, do so. Also, when buying something from 711, they charge extra for every plastic bag. We didn’t tip in any of the places we ate at.
We also passed by some of the largely-Pinoy areas in Central. They were selling sim cards, kropek, Pinoy dishes like fried fish, ampalaya with egg, etc. We also discovered that on a Sunday, most Pinoys stay at the ground floor of the HSBC tower, lay down their banig, bring out their cards and food, and chit-chat away with fellow Pinoys.
When wanting to buy the usual pasalubong, though haggling is challenging given the language barrier, it is still fun to do.
Tip #5 (Pasalubong): Souvenir items from Disneyland are expensive, shirts are at HKD 250 or PHP 1250 or so. Buy shirts from the market at HKD 25, the more you buy, the more chances of haggling. Key chains are usually at 6 pcs for HKD 50. Don’t tell yourself you’ll come back to buy, because you just might not, anymore. Again, count your change before leaving.
The key in travelling will always be planning. Plan your budget. What are the priority places you want to go to? Plan your time. Don’t sleep too much. You can do that back home. When you are travelling as a group and have different places to see, decide whether you want to tag along with everyone, or you want to break out as a group. Plan your hunger – you know if you’re a light eater or not. If midnight snacking is your thing, make sure you bring extra food that you can eat easily. A cup of noodles (when hot water is available where you’re staying at), cookies, bread or anything that keeps your tummy quiet until the morning. In our case, Jons’ mom cooked empanada for us – Yummy!
Whatever it is, keep calm, read the signs (literally), don’t fight, have a plan B, enjoy your misadventures, don’t blame and maximize your time and dollars.
Up next: Hong Kong Disneyland Episode
Okay. The title may be grammatically atrocious, but it sure grabs attention!
About five years ago, I flirted with movie stardom. My husband, who has acting credits, turned me on to background acting. I learned that background actors, or extras, are vital in a movie. Imagine the “Ten Commandments” or “Pirates of the Caribbean” without the extras. For this reason, production crews and background actors treat each other with respect. They need each other. They eat the same yummy catered meals and all-day snacks. During the long hours of shooting, the background actors stay in an area called “holding” while waiting to be called. Some play cards, others read, others sleep. When I did background work, I solved crossword puzzles and ate and ate while waiting for the call. It was like being in a cruise ship. One could really get bored, too.
The movie “Spy Next Door” starring Jackie Chan gave me my first featured extra role. In this film my husband and I played the roles of husband and wife. While having dinner in front of a teppan chef in a Japanese restaurant, a feral intense martial arts fight broke between the Jackie Chan character and the bad dudes and they ended up dreadfully close to our table. My caring “husband” helped little ol’ distressed me away from the fast and furious action of karate chops, high flying kicks, and airborne chairs. After the shoot, I was quite convinced that my award-winning performance would lead to a juicier role for a senior Filipino babe. When the movie came to the theater near us, my husband and I went on the first screening and anxiously awaited our scene. Surprise! It never came. It had been cut.
Little did I know then that background work was preparing me for dealing with lung cancer. During shoots, extras are totally not in control. Talk about my nose being pulled by someone at every turn! Before a scene was shot, a production assistant went to holding and picked me out as having the right face. They do “faces” there. “Follow me,” she said. I hear those words a lot nowadays in the cancer center! When a production assistant yelled, “Ready, camera, background!” the word background might as well had been my name. When I heard it, I did what I had been told to do. No questions asked. No complaints lodged. No mutiny secretly plotted. One scene would be shot many times. Over and over we did the same action. At the cancer center, my arms get shot over and over for bloodletting. At the shoot, a camera would be placed right in our faces for close-up. At the cancer center, my whole body is placed in the CTscan tube for a close-up of the innards.
During one break, I happened to be all alone in the background-women’s restroom. I was on the way out of a stall when Jackie Chan walked in and closed the door behind him. Suddenly I was eyeball to eyeball with THE Jackie Chan in a toilet! We were both startled.
“Is that okay?” He asked, his Chinese eyes opened wide.
“Is that okay what?” I asked back, my Filipino eyes opened wider.
“That I’ll use the ladies’ room. The men’s room is too far away. I need to go now.”
“Ah, THAT! Sure, that’s okay,” I assured him. “But first let me get out of here.”
And we laughed and I skedaddled out of there still laughing.
“It’s a wrap.” The Director shouts those words at the end of the movie shoot day. I so looked forward to those words all day that day, just like I look forward these days to the Onc’s words “It’s stable” after all the bloodletting and CTscanning are done.
So there we have it. Reel life and real life. They’re similar except for one thing. I could have walked away from the background nose pullers in a heartbeat. But I wouldn’t even dare think of aggravating the cancer center nose pullers. It wouldn’t be a good idea.
Mirrors are strange things. Sure, on the physical level, they merely allow light to bounce off the silvery backing and into your eyes. But what you see in the mirror is filtered through your faculties of perception. Your eyes may let the light in, but you “see” with your mind. And so what you see when you look in the mirror is not necessarily a “real” or “objective” view of yourself. What you think, you see.
For someone with depression or anxiety issues or body issues, mirrors can be horrible things. I’ve learned to ignore them, as spending time looking in them meant looking at someone who, at some level, I deeply disliked and was deeply disappointed in. I criticized every scar, bump, blackhead, scraggly hair, wrinkle. I saw them as bright, neon signs showing the world how sad and pathetic I was.
Last night, though, I looked and saw a fierce, strong woman with long hair striped in silver. I saw a Jade Fox, long hair streaming, eyes confident and defiant. I saw a Jackie Chan smile, warm with a mischievous glimmer.
For the first time in a long time, I was happy with what I saw in the mirror.
pic credits: Jade Fox http://www.ejumpcut.org/archive/jc48.2006/womenWarriors/images/10.jpg Jackie Chan http://celebhealthy.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Jackie-Chan-CelebHealthy_com.jpg
This week, instead of writing about craft, I’m actually going to discuss how I became someone who identifies as a writer. I know us Inklings have our little bios already but they neglect what circumstances brought us to writing and what purposes preserved that fire. So here comes the greatest, most violent, tragic, and darkest origin tale since Bruce Wayne! I mean, minus a lot of the violence, most of the darkness, and a great deal of tragedy. Still, it’s pretty great though. Not as much as Wayne’s, sure. Probably not as impacting either. I’m really just trying to drag this out and bring that bar I set so high all the way back down.
Alright, alright! Calm down. Master Keaton!
When I was a child, I avoided writing in my free time. I only saw writing as something to be done in school, often as punishment (Side note: Any teachers reading this should be sure to NEVER assign writing as punishment. Give them Math. Ugh). I had always been told by teachers that it was a realm which I showed great promise and organization in, but my writings were strictly limited to assignments and they were mostly reports or essays. I found my niche as a reader and I loved H.G. Wells and Michael Crichton, but most of my art intake consisted of Jackie Chan films each evening after homework. By high school, I kept a little book with me which consisted of really awful poem-esque passages. I’ve lost that book, and I really hope it never gets found.
One of Jackie Chan’s films made it onto TIME Magazine’s Top 100 Movies list. It’s called “Legend of the Drunken Master” or “Drunken Master II” and I highly recommend giving it a watch. I can’t begin to tell you how many nights I spent hanging out with Jackie as a best friend.
After I got a job, I then spent most of my time either working or attempting to keep up on my AP Chemistry. First and foremost, I was a science nerd, albeit a lazy one, and I kept with this pursuit into college when I started out as a pre-med major. During my first stint at college, most of my writing experiences were long essays or meticulous reports all bordering on the mundane in structure and teetering only on the mildly interesting in content. Alas, the science route proved way too difficult for a human as lazy as me so I dropped out of college. Here is where the writing juices start to spring.
After some time homeless and a couple of years in lower management retail, I decided enough was enough and I was going back to school! No more of the monotonous six to four days, I was ready to take action against the stagnation of my life. After a semester of finishing gen-eds I found myself in the Introduction to Creative Writing class during the summer session. This was one of my first experiences with hard creative writing and I was fortunate enough to share it with an amazing teacher Dr. Stephanie Vanderslice (@wordamour on Twitter).
Battle of the Mentors:
Jackie Chan Vs. Dr. Stephanie Vanderslice
The greatest steps in my journey to becoming a writer were the first precious guidings from a vested mentor who could encourage me and critique me. One who took an interest in what I was producing and placed value and held judgments on my creations. It took accountability in order for this lazy boy to be reinvigorated into a man which could attempt to create art like the hero of his childhood. And I urge you to find someone or someones which could be Polaris to you.