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Showing posts from November, 2009

Villains

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I thought I saw the image of Chan Hung-lit, better known as Chen Hung Lieh, in TV but no, it was not a tribute to the man who at 7.11 p.m. on 24 November 2009, passed away after complaining of chest pains and falling into a coma while waiting to tape an episode of Off Pedder. It was a trailer of this last TVB series that the Shanghai-born former Shaw Brothers actor acted in. The man was more famous portraying villains from the 60s to 80s in Mandarin movies. I remember his pale, thin face in the 1966 Come Drink With Me, a King Hu's sword fighting flick, said to be one of the best Hong Kong martial arts movie ever where he played Jade-Faced Tiger. Chen Hung Lieh left the entertainment scene for a while during which time, he was involved in the garment industry. Then, the public got to see a meatier and better looking Chen Hung Lieh when he acted in Hong Kong TV series. He joined TVB in 1995, left it and rejoined in 2003. The actor's death reminds me of more villains in the Chine…

Expensive Dinners

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For the past few days, I thought I had had far too many expensive dinners. One night, I asked Chern Chuan to go for a bite, having my mind set on some wanton soup or curry noodles but Chern Chuan wanted to go some place fancy and we ended up in Nagaria and had some of the more expensive stuff like mutton chop instead. Next day, Mr. How came for a visit and for lunch, we ended up in the latest hotel in town, Flemington, where I had chicken chop. Then, another day came and Chern Chuan and I were at it again; going round town in the rain, looking for a place to eat and we ended up in a Japanese restaurant, Wasabi Sushi, where we had Sushi. Normal dinner in Taiping in less fancy places would cost just a pittance but wait – the paper just reported that it would cost more than a million Hong Kong dollars just to invite Hong Kong actress Charmain Sheh See Man to dinner. In Hong Kong, rich men from China would invite pretty female celebrities to grace a party. Charmain Sheh, star of many mem…

Two Changs

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The news of Victor Chang's killer being denied parole confused me for a moment. I had confused Victor Chang with Michael Chang. Michael Chang is Chang Te Pei while Victor Chang is Chang Yam Him. Michael Chang used to be very popular in Asia. When he dropped in Malaysia in the nineties, an ardent tennis fan I know went all the way to Kuala Lumpur to catch a glimpse of him. I remember him commenting that Michael was very American and of course, he was! He is an American of Chinese descent, having been born in Hoboken, New Jersey to Taiwanese parents. Michael is best remembered for being the youngest-ever male player to win a Grand Slam singles title when he won the French Open in 1989 at the age of 17. For years, he was in the top 10 of the ATP world rankings. I have actually forgotten him after he retired in 2003. As for Victor Chang, I have never heard of him until his death hit the headlines. Victor is a Chinese Autralian cardiac surgeon best known as a pioneer for the developmen…

Talking about Tai Chi

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Early one morning, I was having a breakfast of curry mee at a stall in Kampong Boyan, Taiping. Just across the stall is a temple. As I sat there waiting for my food, I noticed a group of ladies practising Tai Chi to the accompaniment of music from a cassette player. It seems that in parks around the world, people could now be found going through the slow motion routines of Tai Chi. In Taiping, this scene could be seen in the early morning in the picturesque Taiping Lake Gardens for as long as I could remember and now, there is this new group in the Chinese temple in Kampong Boyan. I remember seeing the same scene outside a shopping complex in Tientsin, China in the 80s. People everywhere are rather health consciuous, I suppose. As it is, Tai chi, said to be an internalChinese martial art is often practiced for health reasons. There are actually many forms of Tai Chi; never mind the glamorous form portrayed in movies like Yuen Wo Ping's Tai Chi Master, starring kung fu star, Jet Li…

Past and Present Empress

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Just the other day, in the library at the Chinese Recreation Club in Taiping, I saw a novel about Wu Ze Tian, the famed empress from the Tang Dynasty who happened to be the only woman in the history of China to assume the title of Empress Regnant when she broke all precedents by founding her own Zhou dynasty in 690. The novel surprisingly was written by Lillian Too, and I suppose this is the same Lillian Too from Malaysia who is the international best-selling author of Feng Shui books. Her books have been translated into 30 languages and are in the bestseller lists around the globe including America and Germany. It was in this same library many years ago when I heard the name of Lillian Too being mentioned by a talkative Mr. Know-All retired lawyer when the subject of Feng Shui was raised. The latter had said that he did not believe in Feng Shui and went on to say that Lillian Too was bullshiting her way to the bank. A little remark like that from a little man would not ruffle any fe…