At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


It's barely lunch-time, and I'm on my third pipe of the day, smoking Wessex Red Virginia Flake, and drinking strong tea with milk and sugar.
And listening to 張國榮 (Leslie Cheung) and 許冠傑 (Ah-Sam, aka Sam Hui) singing 沉默是金. Leslie Cheung is no longer alive, alas. Some of you may remember him from A Chinese Ghost Story (倩女幽魂), which came out in 1987, or from his first major international hit film Farewell My Concubine (霸王別姬), produced in 1993.

I miss Leslie Cheung.

He was a very fine actor, a great pop-singer, and a beautiful young man.
Yes, I suppose also in that way, but being neither gay nor female, that was never the aspect that appealed to me.

One of the main characteristics about Hong Kong movie stars is that they are always character actors. In whatever movie they are in, to a large extent they channel themselves rather than creeping into the skin of the person portrayed. The reason for this is that most HK movie scripts call for set roles -- the goon, the romantic scholarly type, the wise older man, or the loudmouthed married woman, the innocent good girl, the tough-as-nails female gangster -- which many of the actors have already played in other movies. They were chosen for the role because they do it well, and in almost all cases they do it so well because it's the alter-ego they could be in a fantasy world. To put it differently, they excel at portraying personalities which to a large extent they already are, doing things that would be utterly natural for that avatar in the circumstances of that movie.

Leslie Cheung was the kind of young man whom you could not help but love.

If you were a heterosexual man in the audience, it is quite likely that while watching the movie you would want yourself to be him.
Or have a friend exactly like him.

If you were a young woman watching the film there's really no telling what you would want. I could guess, but I'm SO not going there.

I don't know why I decided to hunt up Leslie on youtube. At four o'clock in the morning I woke up and turned on the computer, and somehow I ended up watching him and Sam Hui on stage singing.

It's a lovely song.


[Song starts at 3:45]


Ye fung lam lam, duk-wui mong gau-si chin-chan,
Si yi-wong dik ngoh chung-mun nou-fan;
Mou-gou yiu ji-jaak, zik-ngaat jeuk muntou hei pat fan,
Dui yiu-yin faanying sam-wai jeuk-gan.

Sou-liu gaau fan, dak-liu syu-king dik ji-yan,
Yin-yi hon-dak tau pat-joi ji kwan,
Dan gwok yau fan-sou,
Pat-joi jeung yi-wong na bun-ban,
Mut leui han hing faai siu jeuk hang.

Mingming jung-dou jou jyu-deng nei fuk waak pan,
Si cho wing pat dui chan wing si chan;
Yam nei cham suet ngon sau ngoh bun-fan,
Chi-jung seung-sun cham-mak si gam.

Si-fei yau gung-lei san-yin mok mou faan bit yan,
Yiu seung laang fung yiu yau taai ying-chan;
Ji-sun mun samleui, yau lei wui fung-chi yiu jat-man,
Siu maa yau yan, saa-tuet-dei jou yan.

Siu-nin yan, saa-tuet-dei jou yan.
Gai-juk hang, saa-tuet-dei jou yan.

It is a very Chinese song.

Condensed paraphrasis: 'In the cold and silence of the night I look back on old matters and previous slights, and I am filled with resentment; I am angry and feel that I have been wrongly blamed. But the classics instruct me to not let the past chain me down, so I forgive and I quickly wipe away my tears. Whether you are rich or poor, wrongs are never real, and fundamentally, silence is golden. I rely on you to keep me grounded, and to help me see the humour in things. Let's not take it all too seriously, and get on with living.'

NOTE: The clip is from Sam Hui's farewell concert over two decades ago.
Allegedly he retired. But his many performances since then strongly suggest that retirement is an active state. Exceedingly so.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.



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