; Truth or Myth Study of Hong Kong Political Consciousness
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Truth or Myth Study of Hong Kong Political Consciousness


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									Truth or Myth: A Study of Hong Kong Political
  Consciousness through Media and Education

            Hong Kong Field Research 2005

                                         Kevin Joseph Williams
                                ANTH350: Social Change in Asia
                               The College of William and Mary
                                              January 31, 2005
Introduction and Thesis –

        As a historical and active center of trade in Asia, Hong Kong culture has always

been associated with a strong emphasis on economic pursuit. This coupled with Hong

Kong’s governmental history and the relationship between governing bodies and

residents has produced a widely accepted claim that the population of Hong Kong is

largely politically apathetic.

        Over the course of the last decade, Hong Kong has undergone a number of major

political changes including significant democratic reforms initiated by former British

Governor Christopher Patton leading up to the 1997 handover where Britain formally

relinquished control of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China, a communist body.

With these significant political events, a number of major demonstrations have occurred

in Hong Kong. One such demonstration occurring on July 1, 2003 in protest to the

Mainland Chinese imposition of a controversial security amendment to Hong Kong’s

Basic Law attracted over 500,000 marchers.

        Despite this heavy political climate, the claims and labels of political apathy have

persisted. In my research and fieldwork, my group and I planned on investigating the

validity of the label of the Hong Kong populous as politically apathetic through

concentrated examination of Hong Kong media and education practices. Beyond

constituting fields of interest for the group members, these areas hold major social

influence on the population of any community and in turn are theoretically significant

fields of examination.

        It was my opinion that the label of Hong Kong residents as politically apathetic

stemmed from the community definition of apathy. I furthermore believed that Hong
Kong residents were politically active and engaged at least from a traditionally western


Archival Methods and Research –

       I began my individual research focusing predominantly on trends in Hong Kong

cinema and political awareness. It was my intention to examine political apathy through

the tighter venue of documentary movements among Hong Kong independent filmmakers.

As I began to investigate the subject through articles, online postings, and other literature

I found few solid publications addressing the subject. As a result, I turned my focus more

toward general political consciousness. Throughout this early research stage, certain

themes became heavily reiterated: the economic emphasis and Hong Kong society,

learned passivity, and general political apathy. These themes are what drove the final

development of our project and helped to formulate a number of pertinent theoretical


       1. What is the reasoning behind the heavy emphasis on economic prosperity in

Hong Kong?

       From a historical standpoint, Hong Kong has been a trade crossroads in Asia for

centuries. Furthermore, it had spent much of its modern history under the colonial rule of

Britain. Although barring Hong Kong residents from actively participating in government,

Britain allowed for an efficient free-market economic system to establish itself in Hong

Kong. Hong Kong residents had little say, but they could achieve a more than reasonable

level of economic comfort. In broad terms, a result of this system was a population who

was happy enough with the manner the in which the government was running the country

so long as the free-market system remained in tact and unhindered.
       2. How is the education system structured? What qualities does it emphasize in its

students? Who are the teachers?

       The Hong Kong education system consists of primary, secondary, and university

education. The progression of your educational career, as well as the reputation of the

schools you attend very much dependent on the scores you receive on two major

standardized exams: the HKCEE (Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination) and

the HKALE (Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination). Poor score can preclude you

from further education, or restrict you to certain school such as technical institutions or

art colleges. As the tests emphasize rote memorization of performance, so too does the

Hong Kong educational system. University placement constitutes top achievement within

the Hong Kong educational hierarchy. In part because the HKCEE and the HKALE are

structured to emphasize rote memorization of a series of facts, the Hong Kong education

system reinforces that ability. Postmodern analytical thought is not taught by and large.

Memorization and recitation constitute the main portion of Hong Kong school work.

There is always a correct answer; the teacher is always right. In many ways Hong Kong

education reflects a throwback to the Confucian ideals historically championed in

Chinese society.

       Primary and secondary school teachers are Chinese for the most part. Many are

not degree holders. University students often hold jobs as part time teachers and tutors.

At the university level, a large portion of the teachers are foreigners, predominantly white,

and the courses are often taught in English. For many Hong Kong students, their first

experiences with postmodern teaching processes occur in the University. It is the first

circumstance under which they may challenge faculty, have to think critically about
modern issues, or coherently conduct non-recitation oriented presentations. In all, the

education system leading up to the university level did seem to champion passive study

and behavior in students.

      3. What is the definition of political apathy in the context of Hong Kong residents?

Who is calling them politically apathetic and why?

       In the literature and articles I reviewed before conducting my research, a coherent

definition of political apathy in the Hong Kong social context was absent. “Political

apathy” seemingly took on the role of media buzz-word, conveying a vague meaning

which could be interpreted in a myriad of ways. The only dialogue which would seem to

hint at the reasoning behind this conclusion of apathy was the fact that one strong unified

rational for activism was devoid from individuals who took part in political events. By

and large, these reports came from Hong Kong media sources and editorials.

       4. Why is the independent cinema movement in Hong Kong underemphasized

considering the thriving major film industry present there?

       The article I reviewed did not go into detail about the independent film

movements in Hong Kong. From what I understood after reading, it is very rare for a

Hong Kong independent feature to become popular. Movie theaters in Hong Kong

generally have no more than three screens and as a result the selection they offer is

limited. American movies are the most popular films screened, followed by big-budget

Hong Kong productions. One could conclude from this that independent cinema,

regarded more as art than entertainment in Hong Kong, lacks specific distribution venues.

One could further infer that funding programs are not in place for independent film which

remains a relatively expensive medium.
       5. Has there been any noticeable shift in political activity in all the previously

mentioned areas since the 1997 handover?

       With the 1997 handover, a number of large-scale politically charged public

demonstrations have occurred. Also, distinct political factions have emerged. There

seems to be a level of open political dialogue occurring. It would seem that political

activity has awakened in Hong Kong residents leading up to and after the handover, if it

was not present before.

Oral History (pre-trip) –

       Initially I had planned on submitting a number of standard surveys to education

and media experts in Hong Kong. I chose to focus predominantly on the faculty of Hong

Kong University who might have some expertise in the fields I meant to investigate. I

sent out ten emails, however received to useable responses from any of the faculty. I then

decided to focus my interviews on Hong Kong international students studying here at the

College of William and Mary.

       Both interviews were conducted using the AOL Instant Messenger chat service on

the internet. This service is convenient as it occurs in real time over the computer.

Furthermore, it can be conducted in one’s own room, removing the express need to meet

with the interviewee in person. Lastly, using the chat service removes the need to write

down a transcript as it automatically records the discussion. The interview transcripts can

be found in Appendix A.

       For these interviews, I asked a number of major analytical questions central to the

group’s research plan. The fist of these major questions was: In terms of Hong Kong

culture/society, what exactly is the meaning of political apathy? Political apathy is an
issue widely discussed in regards to the Hong Kong citizenry, and we believed that as a

point of departure for our research, it was important to establish a distinct definition to

use as a point of departure. The second major question was concerning the types of

media being broadcast to the public: As far as media content is concerned, how much

politically themed programming is being broadcast in Hong Kong today? How would this

compare to before 1997? We believe this question to be critical in establishing the

relationship between media and political consciousness. Another major question we

asked was as follow: What kind of movies to you tend to go and see? How does this

compare from peer group to peer group? How aware are people of the independent film

movement? This series of questions was intended to gauge the popularity of cinema

forms and genres among the Hong Kong populous, as well as bring up the role

independent cinema plays. Questions were also asked in regards to institutionalized

education in Hong Kong and how that correlates with both media tastes and political

consciousness. The last major question was in regards to the Hong Kong/Chinese

relationship in regards to media: Is there any implicit/explicit censorship of the media?

This brings up the somewhat touchy subject of mainland China in a less direct manner.

       The first individual interviewed was Andy Hui-Shing Lau. Andy is a twenty-one

year old male. Andy was born in Hong Kong; however he received his elementary

education in Vancouver, British Columbia. He then returned to Hong Kong for his

secondary education. Upon completion, he returned to North America in order to attend

university courses at the College of William and Mary, where he is currently pursuing an

undergraduate degree in psychology. Because of Andy’s experience living at length in

both Hong Kong and North America, coupled with his exposure and participation in the
education systems of both countries, he has been a resourceful and insightful interviewee.

Andy also has relatives and high school friends studying film and television at the

Academy for Performing Arts in Wanchai, which gives him a firm grounding in the

subjects our group means to explore. As a hobby, Andy gives historically based walking

tours in Hong Kong lending to a strong analytic awareness of the area.

       In his response, Andy contextualized his responses through historical analysis.

When responding to questions regarding political activity in Hong Kong, he brought up a

peak in activism occurring in the period from 1960 – 1970, with an even more

concentrated boom from 1969-1970, where a series of riots took place between members

of the communist party and the British colonial rule. Andy also lent a lot of insight into

the presence of the independent film culture in Hong Kong. Essentially, there is a lot of

independent cinema being produced in Hong Kong, and while many people are aware of

it, very few become wildly popular. Andy approximated that maybe one film a year will

make headlines. Independent cinema in Hong Kong usually expresses discontent over

certain social issues. Andy also went on to mention that mainstream cinema in Hong

Kong acts rather independently of mainland China, and therefore receives very little

outside imposed censorship, if any. He did go on to mention however, that certain forms

of media, predominantly television and radio, are undergoing underhand implicit

censorship. In commenting on television and radio programming of a political nature in

Hong Kong, Andy asserted that a large percentage of shows are satirical in nature. These

shows poke fun at the government and government officials and have, until recently,

been open to including mainland China as well. Andy said however, that as of late there

have been rumors that television and radio personalities have been receiving threats from
unnamed individuals in regards to their shows. A number have been mugged. This echo’s

an instance in 1960 where a radio personality was burned alive for speaking out against

the communist movement. The rumors state that the threats are originating in Beijing.

The reason Andy lent as to why radio and television were targeted is because, as of now,

cinema is not a political media in the mainstream, while television and radio holds some

influence over Hong Kong public opinion. As to discourse on the education system,

Andy took an outside perspective in his responses. In his opinion, critical reasoning is not

a value stressed in the Hong Kong educational system. The values are more squarely

centered on fact memorization and mathematical performance. Politics and a political

vocabulary is not something stressed in the system. Andy also mentioned that, due to the

rigorous program of study present necessary to progress in education, there is a negative

correlation between the education level and political consciousness.

       The second individual interviewed was Janice Chan, another international student

hailing from Hong Kong studying at the College of William and Mary. Janice is an

eighteen year old female. Janice attended all of her education in Hong Kong until the

point of leaving to attend university in the United States. She attended the elite

international school/middle class, which is regarded as one of the top schools in Hong

Kong. As a result of her study at the international school, Janice speaks strong English,

although not nearly as fluently as Andy for obvious reasons. As an interviewee, Janice is

a good candidate because of her social and educational experience being raised

exclusively in Hong Kong. Also, because of her attendance at the international school,

she would be considered a member of the educational elite in Hong Kong, giving her

some insight into the social differences brought on by the varying levels of education
present in the Hong Kong hierarchy. Here at the college, Janice is also pursuing a degree

in psychology, with a secondary concentration in interdisciplinary studies.

        Janice’s interview revealed valuable insight into popular entertainment and the

pop-culture pursuits of high school and university aged people in Hong Kong at its

various levels. She went into the fact that, while most students are aware of the

production of independent film in Hong Kong, it is not a popular form among the

educational elite. She goes even so far as to assert that domestic cinema in general, even

mainstream film, is not popular with the more educated Hong Kong student population.

She attributes this discrepancy to the grandiose Hollywood cinema style and the

consistent ability of higher education students to comprehend English. She also went on

to mention that politically based media is not popular among her peer group. While

watching the news is common, commentary shows and political expose is not popular

unless a crisis is happening like the Article 23 or Right of Abode dispute or the SARS

epidemic. She believes that political investment among the Hong Kong population has

been on the rise over the last two years. She did however point out that the youth

generation is decidedly less suspicious of Beijing than is the older population, generally

because to the conditions under which the older generations came to Hong Kong to begin


Hong Kong Field Research –

        The research conducted in Hong Kong was broken down into the two components

of the project: education and media. A larger emphasis was to be placed on the media

element of the project during my stay as a number of expert interviews had been

conducted before my arrival in the field of education.
        My group and I decided to focus our research methods predominantly on expert

interviews, key informants, and site visits. Only a small amount of time was invested in

exploring archival venues while in Hong Kong.

Education –

Interviewees (pre-trip)
Conducted by Sally Mok Siu Ngar and Stephen Wong Tse Hang

    •   A. E. Sweeting, PhD. – Department of History: Visiting Professor HKU
    •   Eric C. Y. Lai – History Master Student: HKU
    •   Joanna Wong Wing Sze – Business Undergraduate Student: HKU
    •   David Tsui Sung Pong – Geography Undergraduate Student: HKU

        A number of interesting points came out of these interviews in regards to Hong

Kong political consciousness. All of the interviewees disagree that Hong Kong residents

are politically apathetic. They reference the conception that it is common for individuals

and families to devote time to reading the newspaper and watching news programming

on television. While these routines and behavior patterns are relatively commonplace, not

all individuals who partake in these routines choose to involve themselves greatly in

political activities.

        The matter of definitions came up over the course of these interviews. When

asked their opinions as to whether or not Hong Kong residents were politically apathetic,

the interviewees generally had to clarify what was meant by the term. All responded that,

in the context of awareness and general investment, the label of political apathy is

nothing more than a myth. To them being conscious of the movements around them

signaled a level of investment that countered the popular claim of apathy. They did

however concede that much of the Hong Kong population was rather politically passive,

particularly the youth.
       As previously mentioned, Hong Kong education is a graduated system centered

around two major standardized examinations (HKCEE and HKALE), which emphasize

memorization and recitation. The program of study leading up to these exams is a

rigorous one which leaves little time for the in-depth study of current events. This fact,

coupled with the relative youth of primary and secondary school students plays a major

part in contributing to the relative passivity, bordering on apathy, of the youth population.

So much time is spent in study; all pastimes the youth might engage in are usually geared

toward the escapist end of popular culture. While the interviewees did concede to this

point, they were careful to point out that the explanation for Hong Kong youth passivity

and its residual effects on the adult community should not be completely affixed to

region’s educational practices.

       As mentioned in the Archival Methods and Research Section, Hong Kong has

spent much of its modern history under the colonial rule of Britain. Britain actively

restricted Hong Kong residents from actively participating in government for some time

and, as a result, implemented policies which would deemphasize the merits of political

consciousness. Although the level of Hong Kong residents participating in government

has risen in recent decades, stifling political investment has remained a policy for the

Hong Kong government, even following the 1997 handover. The interviewees were

careful to point out the syllogistic relationship the colonial British and HKSAR

governments hold over students through the education system. It is the government which

sets the systems which are in place. It is the government which supports the emphasis on

standardized testing. In many ways, it is the government which stalls the implementation
of postmodern teaching and learning styles through their determination of the overall

educational syllabus in Hong Kong.

Interviewees (Field Research)

   •   Francis Mok Him Man – Secondary School Student
   •   Lee King Hung – Secondary School Student

       These two interviewees did a lot to confirm the overall mentality of secondary

school students in Hong Kong. Francis Mok is the younger brother of Sally Mok, and Lee

King Hung is a tutoring student of Stephen Wong’s

       The students mentioned that political topics are rarely emphasized in their daily

classroom discussions. History would be the closest thing to politically themed discourse

the students engage in. They mentioned that their course of study was geared toward

memorization/recitation and mathematical performance.

       As far as pastime was concerned, non-dramatic television and media

programming was not high on the list. Movies are popular, especially Hollywood

spectacle pieces and melodrama. Karaoke clubs also have a large draw among the youth.

On an endearing side-note, in the interview with Francis Mok, which was conducted over

telephone, the first thing he did was to ask his older sister for money for the weekend.

The rigors of study comprise so much time from the secondary school students that in

their limited free time, anything beyond escapist pursuit is undesirable.

Site Visits

   •   RTHK Hong Kong City Forum

       The RTHK City Forum is a weekly program held at Victoria Park were selected

city politicians come to hold a public discussion with any members of the community

present. The event is televised live from the location. Barriers are erected around the
stage and the first one-hundred and fifty people seeking entry are allowed into a covered

tent area and are allowed to take a seat. It is these people who are able to directly

question the politicians. The remainder of the residents and bystanders are made to line

up along the guard rail to observe the forum, which has an audio system adequate enough

to be heard for some distance.

       The demographic of people present at the forum was noteworthy. Of the one-

hundred and fifty people present within the forum, only four appeared to be in the thirty

to forty age range, two of which were clearly journalists and another a school teacher.

There was a large senior contingency, many of whom clearly hailed from a more working

class economic level. The remainder of the crowd, with the exception of the group of

people I came with, was comprised of secondary school students. These students had

clearly been brought as part of an organized field trip, considering they were wearing

their respective school uniforms.

       Participation in the event was fairly well represented. At least one member of

each respective group, including our own, participated in the dialogue, which was

conducted almost exclusively in Cantonese. One of the elderly men in the forum, along

with a number of others along the guard rail loudly chastised one of the politicians, often

out of turn, demanding his resignation. After the forum, I learned that these elderly men

are exclusively Beijing sympathizers and had made the habit of attending the forum

weekly in order to demand the resignation of any pro-democratic politicians which might

be in attendance. Another interesting point about those men was that, after the forum,

when we tried to conduct an interview with a group of them, they didn’t seem to be able
to articulate their political positions at all. While it may be that they didn’t feel inclined to

speak with us, all they did say was, “This [the forum] is rubbish.”

        Also following the completion of the forum, I asked Sally Mok why there was

such a high presence of secondary school students present at the forum. She informed me

that these students were from lower-tier schools that were attempting to improve their

image. The more elite establishments in Hong Kong did not have the need to organize

such trips as their reputations were already solid. As much as the schools present were

attempting to appear engaged in political activism, they were there more so to get on

television. The excursion would both appeal to some of the parents of the students in

attendance and act as free advertisement to the general public. In all, it would seem that

political activism is being now being seen as a positive thing, considering educational

establishments view their open involvement to be good advertising.


        The Hong Kong education system works in many ways to promote passivity

among its students and transfers that trait in varying degrees to the adult population who

passed through the process. The curriculum is both rigid and detached, lacking any true

form of civic education within its constructs. The curriculum furthermore is structured

around a recitation and memorization oriented cocktail of important standardized tests

which play an enormous role in determining the educational future of any student. Many

of the secondary school teachers are non-degree holders who run an authoritarian

classroom rather than engage in any postmodern teaching methods. The result in many

ways is a group of strong academic performers who have little to no interest in their

surroundings beyond the fulfillment of their personal economic and leisure goals.
       It is important to remember that this educational system is designed and

controlled by the government, which has had an active investment in keeping the general

population disinterested in politics since the early British colonial period. The HKSAR is

much the same. A passive population makes for easier and unchallenged ruling for any

governing body.

       It is also important to reiterate that passivity does not equate to apathy. Although

many Hong Kong residents choose not to participate in political activism, they do often

have a strong investment in what is occurring and take care to keep themselves updated

as to current events. Television news and newspapers are popular and, despite the youth’s

apparent lack of interest, the adult population is engaged in the happenings around them.

Media –


       As hinted at before, media plays an important part in the daily lives of Hong Kong

residents. It acts as a source of information as well as a venue for escapist leisure. Despite

all of the emphasis placed on media in Hong Kong, there is not a large variety of

programming or venues open for different productions.

       Hong Kong has two public access television channels, ATV and TVB, as well as

three available cable channels. Any remainder of programming is run-off from mainland

China. In addition to this, Hong Kong is home to three major radio stations: RTHK,

Metro Radio, and Commercial Radio. The HKSAR government holds a considerable

amount of control over the public access channels and, although no specific censorship

program is in effect, much of the available programming is comprised of service

       Hong Kong has a thriving narrative film system which has been active for

approximately a century. Hong Kong has given rise to Kung Fu film, developing much of

the cinematic style and techniques characteristic of the genre. A thriving star system has

been in place for decades, and in many ways the Hong Kong film industry is similar to

the Hollywood studio system in California. Domestically produced large-budget Hong

Kong films are rather popular within the lower economic classes, as they are accessible

due to the language spoken in the film. They are also less expensive to attend than

foreign releases, costing about one third the admission prices. Among the higher educated,

Hollywood cinema dominates in popularity. One interviewee asserted that as the

proficiency in English rises, so too does the draw of foreign cinema.

Interviewees (pre-trip)
Interviews conducted by Cindy Ho Sze Man

   •   Li Chen Wing – Former Journalist: TVB
   •   Chan Chi Kin – HKU representative for the Hong Kong Federation of Students

       These interviewees lent a lot of insight into the treatment of sensitive political

subjects within the media industry. For the past several years, much of the reporting of

news in Hong Kong was conducted in a semi-satirical way so as to draw a wide viewer

base. Since the years following the handover however, the satire has been aimed more at

the local HKSAR government.

       Much like larger corporations in Hong Kong, media has adopted an officially

neutral stance toward Beijing and high ranking Chinese officials. While there is an

intangible tension present between Hong Kong and Beijing as a result of an uncertain

future, another reason for the adoption of a neutral stance is to avoid offending Beijing

sympathizers in Hong Kong and thus alienate a viewer base. In turn, television
programming has shifted its focus on social and domestic issues rather than address

sweeping political themes. Furthermore, much more criticism is placed on the HKSAR

government, despite its relative influence on the programming aired. The interviewees

asserted that this was a government means of pacifying the Hong Kong public in regards

to the uncertainty of future relations with mainland China. The same is said to be true

about the government regulated RTHK radio station.

       As far as ratings and trends are concerned, peak timeslots in Hong Kong are

devoted toward entertainment programming. Soap Operas receive the most extensive

audience. This is yet another throwback to the escapist culture present in Hong Kong

society. As an affluent economic center, many Hong Kong residents work long and hard

hours. In their off time they enjoy viewing non-realist programming which helps them

forget their current situations, good or bad.

Interviewees (Field Research)

   •   Peter Yung Wai-Chuen – Head of Producing/Production Management; School of
       Film and Television: The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts
   •   Mark Erder – Managing Director: Asia Pacific Vision
   •   Christopher Slaughter – Business Development and Programming: Asia Pacific
   •   Dima Khatib – Roving Correspondent: Al-Jazirah
   •   John Elphinstone – Free lance cameraman/editor

       Peter Yung Wai-Chuen has work in production for over thirty years, the bulk of

his experience taking place in the United States where he worked producing documentary

film for PBS and later for British programming. He is currently the head of producing /

production manager at the APA’s School of Film and Television. The interview with him

focused predominantly on the state of documentary on Hong Kong.
        Documentary is not terribly prevalent in Hong Kong for functional purposes. The

distribution venues are not available for the medium. With television, a very low amount

of annual air time is allotted for independent documentary (14-26hrs). Therefore, funding

and consignment is not readily given to the filmmakers as the product will likely be

screened once in an art cinema house and then shelved. This does not yield a high

economic return. While some filmmakers may choose to independently finance their own

pieces, these do not gain much notice. Hong Kong does not boast an extensive

underground film community (maybe 2 individuals), although mainland China does on a

small scale (because of the inherent danger involved).

        Another reason that documentary and other independent media are not terribly

prevalent is that television has only begun to expand within the last 10-15 years. Previous

to that there were only two stations in Hong Kong, most of which featuring public service

programming. As broadcast venues have expanded, so has the independent film mediums,

however it remains in a relatively nascent stage. Dramatic cinema is more prevalent on an

independent level than is documentary.

        Hong Kong, until recently has lacked compelling social issues on which to

produce documentary. This is in part because of the small and contained space of Hong

Kong combined with the private social nature and passive political stance of residents.

With the 1997 handover however, compelling issues have arisen. This has created an

environment more in tune with documentary cinema and as a result, interest in the

medium is rising, although it is still underdeveloped. Politics are making their way into

         There is no official censorship body for Hong Kong media. However, trends in

investment tend to govern media content. A filmmaker is very likely to formulate his or

her content in such a way as to please investors. This in turn creates an atmosphere of

self-censorship in order to acquire the funds necessary to finance a production.

         The interview session with the remaining listed interviewees focused

predominantly on media correspondence in Hong Kong, as that was the area of expertise

for the subjects. This meeting leant interesting interpretations on the political

consciousness of Hong Kong residents and their representation in the media. Their

argument was that Hong Kong residents are very politically conscious as would be

evident by the large scale demonstrations which have taken place over the last several


         Hong Kong is, as they see it, the most free-market economy in the world and

although the classic western European conception of democracy is not in practice here,

there is a form which can be interpreted. As for political involvement, the interviewees

pointed to the large voter turnout seen in the past several LegCo elections which in

general dwarfs US voter turnout per capita. They also drew attention to the grueling

conditions which over 500,000 Hong Kong residents endured to participate in the July 1st

Demonstrations. These demonstrations take place in the middle of the summer with its

high heat and humidity. They also pointed that it is common to see lobbyists and

protestors of all ages staging minor demonstrations outside the LegCo building on a daily

basis. People participate in the large demonstrations for a myriad of reasons including

discontent with the local political system, fear of Beijing, discontent with housing,

celebration, exercise, dating, and so on. Many people do not even really know why they
are marching. While this may seem to strengthen an argument for political apathy, the

interviewees stressed that it is not necessarily broad-based endorsement of some

philosophical ideal which makes HK residents politically active, it is the, “fact of


       The interviewees were quick to establish the media’s role in creating and

perpetuating the conception of Hong Kong residents as being politically apathetic. In

Hong Kong, reporting is not a solid or lucrative career. Reporting is a fairly bottom rung

occupation and is not long term for the most part. As foreign correspondents, the

interviewees mentioned that each time they go to cover an event the news crew will

consist of the same people with the exception of the reporters. On the whole, Hong Kong

reporters are regarded as too young, too inexperienced, and too immature. They are

renowned for asking asinine questions, not understanding the response, and rephrasing

the same asinine questions. The interviewees mentioned that it is common for Hong

Kong reporters from different news agencies to meet up after an event and “compare

notes” to create one standard take. They are interested in reducing stories and the

motivation of events into one broad philosophical truth. As a result the myth of political

apathy has emerged.

       Regarding documentary, the interviewees mentioned that there is a very small

contingency of underground documentary filmmakers faithfully recording the unfolding

of modern political events such as the July 1st Demonstration. By small, they mean

probably fewer than five individuals. Much like Peter Yung Wai-Chuen asserted, the

reason Hong Kong based documentary is not prevalent is for economic reasons. Hong

Kong produced documentary film is pretty much guaranteed not to yield high economic
return if any. While the interviewees asserted strongly that Hong Kong residents are

politically active, the fact remains that economy is still highly emphasized in the region.

Often stereotypes come from an element of truth.

Sites Visited

   •   Hong Kong University Library Visual Media Center
   •   RTHK City Forum
   •   The Hong Kong Film Archives

       The Hong Kong University Library had an interesting selection of videos

available for screening. They included a number of international and domestic narrative

films, the latest ones dating around 1998. Otherwise, the bulk of their collection consisted

of educational or instructional corporate documentaries. Large multi-tape sets are

available on subjects ranging from business tactics to maintenance for air conditioning

units. The collection is categorized by subject matter. There are large sections on science,

international history, military history, rape, health, subjective documentary, mechanics,

economics, and more. Hong Kong specific videos appear largely absent. There is nothing

of a controversial subject matter present in the collection.

       The RTHK City Forum, mentioned above in the Education section acted to

convey the role of media in politics on another level. The forum consists of live coverage

of an open discussion between LegCo members and individuals from the community.

The broadcast airs weekly. This in and of itself is a politically geared program. While the

show itself champions no particular political stance, it nonetheless delivers political

content to the community. According to Sally Mok, it is a popularly watched program.

       The attendance demographic at the forum is indicative of the escapist/economic

culture present in Hong Kong. As I stated before, there was a distinct lack of individuals
aged thirty to forty in the audience. As I had it explained, those individuals generally

worked hard during the week and, as the forum occurs on Sundays, those individuals

would not be motivated to trek out to a forum on their day off when they could watch the

proceedings on television.

          The Hong Kong Film Archives had a very nice facility. They carry a fairly large

collection of literature on film in general and several pieces on Hong Kong film

specifically. The facility also boasts a fairly eclectic array of periodicals and magazine

publications on most film topics ranging from Entertainment Magazine to Asian film


          The bottom level of the Archives had a nice museum-style display of the history

of Hong Kong film production tricks, many of which have characterized the Kung Fu

film genre. The display focused heavily on the earlier history of the genre including the

first Hong Kong film. Some modern tricks like blue screens were showcased as well.

          Once in the resource center I cruised through the book collections and found most

of the books published in English were standard American or British releases. They were

relatively useless for the purposes of this research. There were a number of Cantonese

books. There were publications of the yearly Hong Kong cinema releases which would be

useful for more long-term research. The English magazine publications had some

interesting articles, many of which about trend in mainland cinema. One magazine had a

nice pithy article on Hong Kong independent films which I photocopied.

          We arranged to watch three documentary films and were lead into a large private

viewing booth. Two of the films were turn of the century piece, one of which by T. A.

Edison’s company, depicting the street of Hong Kong. The third piece was a News on the
March style Japanese propaganda film chronicling the invasion of Hong Kong during

WWII. These films said quite a bit about the impressive collection of film the Archive

has amassed, but did little to help our research. The people behind the desk who selected

the films for us to watch appeared relatively unfamiliar with documentary as a genre and

defaulted to these films. Afterwards, we submitted a list of recent documentaries to check

the archive and they indeed had them.

Films Screened
    • Kung Fu Hustle (Stephen Chow, 2004)
    • The Circle’s Corner (Lam Kim Hung, 2001)
    • Y.M. Yeung Ming (Chow Wing Fung/Lee Man Nei, 2002)
    • Rice Distribution (Tammy Cheung, 2002)

       The film Kung Fu Hustle is supposedly very popular and Stephen Chow

(writer/director/producer/star) is one of the most prominent contemporary Asian comedy

stars around. According to his short biography (www.kungfuhustle.com), he has starred

in more than 50 films and attained enormous fame with his production of Shaolin Soccer

(Chow, 2001). The film was released on December 23, 2004. When we arrived, the

theater was rather crowded especially considering the film had been out for several weeks

and we visited on a Tuesday night.

       The film itself was a slapstick fantastical comedy which parodies the Kung Fu

genre that Hong Kong was central in creating. Many archetypal devices were present,

including many which we saw referenced at the Hong Kong Film Archives. Furthermore,

many big production American films were parodied including The Shining (Kubrick,

1980) and Spiderman (Raimi, 2002). The film was 80 minutes long, which according to

HKU student Tsang Chiu Long (Carol) is the standard length of most Hong Kong

       The other films listed were independent productions which gained some acclaim

at the Hong Kong Independent Short Film and Video Awards. I screened the films at the

Hong Kong Arts Center, which conducts the awards.

       The Circle’s Corner (Lam Kim Hung, 2001) won the grand prize at the annual

Short Film and Video Awards. The piece is on the more artistic side of the documentary

genre. It in a way chronicles the philosophy of three handicapped Hong Kong residents

(blind, mute, and deaf) as it applies to society given their respective condition. Visually,

the three interviewees are never shown and act only as disembodied voices. Their

narration is juxtaposed over very lengthy shots of different places around the Hong Kong

landscape in real-time. The voice of the mute is represented through subtitles. In all, there

did not seem to be any blatant overarching message or position present in the piece. It

was an interesting art cinema work.

       Y.M. – Yeung Ming (Chow Wing Fung/Lee Man Nei, 2002) received the Jury

Special Award at the festival. This was a straight style documentary with a clear

objective. It chronicles the story of a girl who was about to be repatriated to mainland

China and separated from her family as a result of the reinterpretation of the Right of

Abode by the Hong Kong government. The film follows her on the last few days of her

stay in Hong Kong. Ultimately she does gain the appropriate documentation to remain in

Hong Kong. The film makes the clear assertion that the reinterpretation of the Right of

Abode should be reexamined because it is a harmful law which breaks families apart in

cruel ways. I found this film to be the most interesting because of its clear political

       The final film screened was Rice Distribution (Tammy Cheung, 2002) which

claimed the grand prize at the festival. This film documented the annual Taoist Yu Lan

Festival, which is a major religious event where the elderly are distributed sacks of rice.

This practice holds major religious significance and the festival draws huge crowds.

There is always a fair amount of confusion at the festival and many police are around

maintaining order. The director opted to not interview anybody or follow any particular

person, but rather to somewhat objectively capture the event and cut it to some semblance

of continuity. It carried no overt message, but was a generally well crafted film.


       Media plays a large role in developing the opinions of Hong Kong citizens and

the world’s opinion of Hong Kong. It also acts as a specific window of focus into the

economic society of Hong Kong.

       Hong Kong citizens, although often overextended and unmotivated to partake in

regular political activism do keep current on the recent events affecting their lives.

Television news and newspaper publications are popular and make up the foundations of

many routine among residents. The stigma of journalism in Hong Kong as a controversial

and unpleasant profession which breaks from broadly accepted Confucian ideals prolongs

the poor and immature correspondence which has led to the creation of a number of

myths about the Hong Kong public which have become widely accepted. Fortunately on

this note, journalism is becoming a more widely accepted field of study within Hong

Kong universities and perhaps in time the stigma and, in turn, the poor work will

        In terms of Hong Kong independent cinema movements and expressiveness in

cinema, its lack of presence is a strong assertion of Hong Kong’s economic propensity

and escapist mentality. While cinema may be viewed as an art for, economic return

following distribution is necessary to peak interest in investors. Furthermore, social angst

and political expose cinema does little to remove hard-working Hong Kong residents

from the drudgery of their daily lives. There has been a significant pick up in independent

cinema since its Hong Kong induction in 1997 with Made in Hong Kong (Chan, 1997).

Within the next several years, as a socially self-analytic mentality continues to grow in

Hong Kong, perhaps independent films will come into the position it enjoys in western

societies. It is an exiting time for cinema trends in Hong Kong.

Conclusion –

        Media and education are perhaps two of the most influential things on the mass

conscious of a society. They lay a large role in shaping a country’s perception of itself

and the perceptions outsiders have of the country. Due to a discernable mix of events

stemming from both the previously mentioned systems as well as many other socio-

cultural layers, a myth of political apathy has emerged in Hong Kong. It is just that: a


        Hong Kong is a region undergoing large and fascinating changes both politically

and socially. In many ways, Hong Kong and its residents have been socially and

politically dormant as a byproduct of their own economic success. With the 1997

handover, distinct trends in culture, society, politics, and a number of other areas are

starting to emerge making Hong Kong an important place to watch in the years to come.
Bibliography –

Sally Mok Siu Ngar, Interviews with HKU student and Hong Kong resident

Stephen Wong Tse Hang, Interviews with HKU student and Hong Kong resident

Cindy Ho Sze Man, Interviews with HKU student and Hong Kong resident

Andy Hui-Shing Lau, William and Mary Student and Hong Kong resident

Janice Chan, William and Mary student and Hong Kong resident

Peter Yung Wai-Chuen – Head of Producing/Production Management; School of Film
and Television: The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (interview)

Mark Erder – Managing Director: Asia Pacific Vision (interview)

Christopher Slaughter – Business Development and Programming: Asia Pacific Vision

Dima Khatib – Roving Correspondent: Al-Jazirah (interview)

John Elphinstone – Free lance cameraman/editor (interview)

2004. Stephen Chow Biography. World Wide Web Publication,

Ho, Sam. “The Hong Kong Indie” Cinemaya 61-61, 2003-2004

2003. About Hong Kong. World Wide Web Publication,

2004. Government Structure [Hong Kong]. World Wide Web Publication,

Hong Kong Voice of Democracy, 1998. “Xinjiang Separatists Documentary Censored by
CNT.” World Wide Web Publication, http://www.democracy.org.hk/EN/index.html

Brown, Amanda J., 2002. Hong Kong: Exit the Dragon. World Wide Web Publication,

Ain-Ling, Wong, 2001. Monographs of Hong Kong Film Veterans 2
An Age of Idealism: Great Wall & Feng Huang Day. World Wide Web Publication,
Gaborro, Allen, 1997. Hong Kong and China, 1997. World Wide Web Publication,

2003. Encyclopedia: Hong Kong Movie. World Wide Web Publication,

Sala, Ilaria, 2003. CEPA and Hong Kong Film: The Mixed Blessing of Market Access.
World Wide Web Publication,

Chung, Winnie, 2004. The Mainland China/Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership
Arrangement -- CEPA -- promises to be a major boost to the territory's struggling
production sector. World Wide Web Publication,

Roig, John, 1997. John Woo Interview. World Wide Web Publication,

Yuen, M.K., 2003. CEPA – Consideration for Non-Hong Kong Companies. World Wide
Web Publication, http://www.chinabusinessstrategies.com/CEPA1.htm

Schechter, Danny, 2002. At Trial in Honk Kong Puts China on Trial. World Wide Web

Leung, Janny, 2002. Falun Gong Protestors Target Jiang. World Wide Web Publication,

Timeline Hong Kong. World Wide Web Publication,

University of California, Berkley, 1996. East Asian Cinema: China, Korea and Japan.
World Wide Web Publication, http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/Asianfilm.html

Asian Human Rights Commission, 2003. Hong Kong: Article 23 Delay. World Wide
Web Publication, http://www.rghr.net/mainfile.php/0528/571

Yates, Stephen J., 1998. Global Beat: Putting Democracy Back on Track in Hong
Kong. World Wide Web Publication,

Chinoy, Mike, 2000. Low Voter Turnout Characterizes Hong Kong Election. World
Wide Web Publication,

East, West, South, North, 2004. The Hong Kong Election Results. World Wide Web

Publication, http://www.zonaeuropa.com/01909.htm

Interview with Andy Lau
Kevin (setanta900) – Andy (Phoenix Alhs)
setanta900: In terms of Hong Kong culture/society, what exactly is the meaning of political apathy?
Phoenix alhs: hmmm
Phoenix alhs: in terms of Chinese culture, people don't usually get too involved with politics
Phoenix alhs: as long as there is someone to take care of the things that are going on, then most people
don't care too much about politics
Phoenix alhs: before 1997, there has been a lack of interest in politics
Phoenix alhs: the British rule don't really have anything that concerned the people
Phoenix alhs: economy is good
Phoenix alhs: and there was relatively low crime rates
setanta900: so is politics more or less confined to government and law enforcement?
Phoenix alhs: to began with
Phoenix alhs: in recent years, especially with the Right of Abode Issue, SARS, Article 23
Phoenix alhs: people have become more involved in politics in recent years
Phoenix alhs: there has been a general upset
Phoenix alhs: resentment to how the government is handling issues
setanta900: alright
setanta900: next question i guess is do u think that passivity is a culturally reinforced trait
Phoenix alhs: hmmm
setanta900: someone in HK said that in an interview
setanta900: i thought it stuck out
Phoenix alhs: well, it is really hard to say
Phoenix alhs: in General, Chinese people have been subjects
Phoenix alhs: 2000 years of imperial rule
Phoenix alhs: and even moving into the era of nationalist/ communist rule
Phoenix alhs: the Chinese people have always been subjects
Phoenix alhs: in their mentality, only a selected few, through hard work will go into the government
Phoenix alhs: they will take of everything, every one has their part
Phoenix alhs: so in that sense, no much is given into poltiics
Phoenix alhs: because politices is a game played by a selected few
Phoenix alhs: and that is a notion embeddedin our culture with years of confucism and imperial rule
Phoenix alhs: Hogn kong sort of have the same mentality, but at the same time, the exposure has changed
that too
Phoenix alhs: Brisiths rule allows a certain amount of involvement, it allows for media to critisize issues
Phoenix alhs: and in that sense, the public is notified, well informed
Phoenix alhs: whether they response depends
Phoenix alhs: there are several periods when Hong Kong was politically active
Phoenix alhs: during 1969
Phoenix alhs: when there were great riots and conflicts between the commies in HK
Phoenix alhs: and British rule
setanta900: cool
Phoenix alhs: there have been movment of nationalism around the same period about the Daiyou Island
which Japan claimed belongs to them
Phoenix alhs: so there were certain phases
Phoenix alhs: the 1960-70
Phoenix alhs: was a period when Hong Kong suddenly became very politically active
Phoenix alhs: then, with the economic boom, poltical involvement sort of die down
Phoenix alhs: peopel don't become fully apathetic towards it
setanta900: ok
setanta900: As far as media content is concerned, how much politically themed programming is being
broadcast in Hong Kong today? How would this compare to before 1997?
Phoenix alhs: there are several incidents to look at
Phoenix alhs: before 1997, you can say that there is more or less a lenient outlook, and there are a lot of
programs which analyze government poltiics or make fun of things
setanta900: thats interesting
Phoenix alhs: that aspect of it started off in 1960
Phoenix alhs: when a radio personality was burned alive for his views against Commies
setanta900: wow
Phoenix alhs: and pretty soon, a lot of people demanded for protection and rights of expression
Phoenix alhs: and so the government went through procedures to aensure that there is a freedom if
expression on the media
Phoenix alhs: and is protected
Phoenix alhs: so with that
Phoenix alhs: the Media boomed
Phoenix alhs: critics is allowed freedom to express
Phoenix alhs: and so forth
Phoenix alhs: 1997... it was pretty nromal
setanta900: so would u say that commentary kinda thing is dropping?
Phoenix alhs: but there were several incidences, and I can't exactly remember in details
setanta900: thats ok
Phoenix alhs: but it began with the government switiching the boss of RTHK to Japan and appointed
someone closer to the government to be head of Radio Television Hong Kong
Phoenix alhs: and in recent years
Phoenix alhs: there has been several incidents in which radio personality has either been assualted
Phoenix alhs: received threats from higher up
setanta900: In your opinion, does tv or radio do anything to influence popular opinion in Hong Kong as to
political issues?
Phoenix alhs: I bleieve so
Phoenix alhs: there are multiple programs on radio and on TV which examines the weekly even daily
Phoenix alhs: and which often explains government procedures or new motions
Phoenix alhs: either through drama or satire
setanta900: kinda like the daily show, or is it different?
Phoenix alhs: sort of
Phoenix alhs: but mmroe serious
setanta900: ok...are u aware of independent films being made in HK?
Phoenix alhs: yes
Phoenix alhs: there are quite a couple made each year
Phoenix alhs: some even became famous
setanta900: ok...my parteners thought i was crazy
Phoenix alhs: lol
Phoenix alhs: I am sorry
Phoenix alhs: there are
setanta900: how aware are people of those films
Phoenix alhs: hmm, it really depends
setanta900: are my partners just in a shell?
Phoenix alhs: like i said earlier, a lot of people pay attention to films that have "actors" in it, celebrities
they know, or western films
setanta900: ok,so i guess its kinda like here
setanta900: they aren't really famous but u dont have to look hard to find them
Phoenix alhs: no
Phoenix alhs: they are usually low budget
Phoenix alhs: and i guess the theme is not what most people look for
Phoenix alhs: there is a bout one every year which makes the headlines
setanta900: ok
setanta900: are they ever political in nature?
setanta900: as best u know
Phoenix alhs: hmm, not really
Phoenix alhs: they do reflect on certain social issues.discontents
Phoenix alhs: the themes ussualyl focuses on adolescent
Phoenix alhs: growth in lesser community
Phoenix alhs: at least, that is the best to my knowledge
Phoenix alhs: I can not say I am very well informed
setanta900: sounds like here a lot
Phoenix alhs: but there are a lot fo independent film makers
setanta900: is there a lot of documentary on tv?
Phoenix alhs: quite a few
Phoenix alhs: RTHK does a lot
Phoenix alhs: over a wide spectrum of topics
setanta900: cool
setanta900: does HK media have any explicit or implicit censorship from china
setanta900: mainland
setanta900: are they afraid to do things or is it just the same as before?
Phoenix alhs: well, in radio
Phoenix alhs: just this pass summer, three major radio personality simultanesoulsy quite from the air
Phoenix alhs: they have expressed that they have receved threats
Phoenix alhs: one has been physicall assualted about two years ago, suffering knife wounds and ended up
in the hospital
Phoenix alhs: although no real evidence can be concluded on who is behind
Phoenix alhs: general populus suspects that Mainland has a hand in it
setanta900: intruiging
Phoenix alhs: also, there is certain pressure from tycoons who have interests in China, and owns certain
chain stores and media in Hong Kong
Phoenix alhs: one tycoon who owns a chain store have banned Apple daily, one of the newspaper in Hong
Kong known for being somewhat upfront, fron being sold there
setanta900: wow
Phoenix alhs: there is a silent war going on right now in the media field in that aspect
Phoenix alhs: the government has not been able to truly protect the people who are in the frontlines
setanta900: ok, didn't u say something about mainstream HK movies being used by beiing as national
pieces...like "hero"
setanta900: *beijing
Phoenix alhs: well, Hero is made in China
Phoenix alhs: lol
Phoenix alhs: sorry
setanta900: thats right
setanta900: i aught to know that too, being a film major
Phoenix alhs: no no
Phoenix alhs: In china, there is a certain jaded media
setanta900: one more thing i guess
Phoenix alhs: uh huh
Phoenix alhs: In Hong Kong, film is sort of independent
setanta900: do u think there is a difference in awareness between different levels of educated people...like
u mentioned university students tend to be in their own world
Phoenix alhs: although we do ask the government to help the film industry in its comeptition agains the
setanta900: cool
Phoenix alhs: it is the news medis which is under attack
setanta900: ok
setanta900: u mentioned that university students are usually in their own little worlds
setanta900: is that just b/c of the rigors of the education system?
Phoenix alhs: yes...
Phoenix alhs: I think more or less it has to do with pop culture...
Phoenix alhs: much of the youth in the HK system are in a greenhouse
Phoenix alhs: they are nto ask to think for themselves
Phoenix alhs: but taught to memerize facts for exams and such
setanta900: ok
Phoenix alhs: so in that aspect
Phoenix alhs: they lack a certain capacity to think
Phoenix alhs: in political terms
Phoenix alhs: because they were never taught to be interested in it
Phoenix alhs: but there are enough who are interested and becoimes active during college years
Phoenix alhs: in fact a lot of the movements started in thhe 60s and even to this day are headed by "hot
headed" university students

Interview with Janice Chan
Kevin Williams (setanta900) – Janice Chan (totoro jan)
setanta900: i'll just drop a few questions, and if you dont know or dont care to answer them, dont worry
about it
setanta900: 1. In terms of Hong Kong culture/society, what exactly is the meaning of political apathy?
Phoenix alhs has left the room.
totoro jan: haha it would only be i dont know if i dun answer
setanta900: ok
setanta900: lol
totoro jan: hey my english is not too good=P
totoro jan: whats political apathy
setanta900: ok...sorry about that
setanta900: a lot of people say that hong kong residents dont care about politics. Do you think that is true?
totoro jan: OH OH
totoro jan: hmm i think true until these two years
totoro jan: ppl become really sensitive
setanta900: why do you think that is?
totoro jan: i guess ppl start to care when they think it will hurt their freedom or privileges that they
setanta900: ok
setanta900: when you are in hong kong, do u watch a lot of television?
totoro jan: kinda haha
setanta900: what kind of shows?
totoro jan: i do watch news everyday with ma family
totoro jan: and i watch drama
totoro jan: hmmm i never really watched political shows cos its very unpopular among peers in my age
totoro jan: and mom dun like me watching any kind of shows anyway lol
setanta900: do they just think it is boring?
totoro jan: i think not necessarily
totoro jan: but they might think a lot of other things are more interesting and fun to do
setanta900: i see
totoro jan: i found myself wanting to do other stuff rather tahn watching political stuff
setanta900: i understand
totoro jan: but when they become a huge deal like articale 23
setanta900: politics here makes me angry
totoro jan: then we do watch
setanta900: cool
totoro jan: why?
setanta900: i dont like bush
totoro jan: u mean in states?
totoro jan: awww haha=/
setanta900: yeah
setanta900: i dont like politicians
totoro jan: actually i found the ppl are much more enthusiastic about politics in here
totoro jan: than in hk
totoro jan: at least teenagers dun even care about whos going to be the next executive head
totoro jan: but they think even if they care, not much difference
setanta900: we are involved over here
totoro jan: cos the head is not elected by citizens
setanta900: are a lot of teenagers pro-democracy?
totoro jan: i think so...
totoro jan: but ttenagers dun talk about politics
totoro jan: thats why we are shallow kids=P
setanta900: lol
totoro jan: actually, i think teenagers might be more accepting towards china then the older ppl
setanta900: do you ever go to the movies when you are home?
totoro jan: yes
totoro jan: top 1 entertainment in hk haha
setanta900: didn't a lot of the older people move to HK to get away from china?
totoro jan: well back before 1997 lots of ppl move away from hk for that reason
totoro jan: but now i guess China has proven that its not as scary as ppl thought
totoro jan: so ppl r coming back
setanta900: not bad
setanta900: what kind of movies do you go and see?
totoro jan: hmm i watch all sorts of movies except horror movies and ironically hk made local movies
totoro jan: cos they dun really worth the money when compared to big ones like shrek or harry potter n
setanta900: ok
setanta900: no jackie chan for u?
setanta900: lol
totoro jan: i mostly watch popular ones, cos thats where u can get most friends to watch with u!=P
setanta900: i like to go with people when i go
totoro jan: oh i watch his movies, but not really on theaters cos i was kinda young to go out n watch
movies when hes still in hk filmls
setanta900: do you ever hear about the really cheap, independent local movies in HK?
totoro jan: i watched his hollywood ones
setanta900: i like him a lot
totoro jan: hes great
totoro jan: representative of hk LOL
setanta900: his son went here
setanta900: W&M
totoro jan: hmm what do u mean by cheap independent local movies^^:
totoro jan: yeah i heard
totoro jan: hes now back to hk and start his film career
setanta900: yeah, he never finished
totoro jan: he was one of the leading roles in our summer hits
totoro jan: yeah i heard
setanta900: i mean movies made with really small budgets
setanta900: not in big studios
totoro jan: hmm i think we have a lot
setanta900: are they popular with teens, or do they prefer harry potter and those kinds?
totoro jan: well as VCDS are even cheaper than goin into the theatres, we watch VCDS mainly for hk
setanta900: what are VCDS?
totoro jan: its very interesting i want to say harry potter
setanta900: ok
totoro jan: but then i went to international school/ middle class <--as they call top one school in hk so
i think my peers somehow r different from the "local" kids
totoro jan: i know the "local" students like hk local films more
totoro jan: cos their english r generally really bad
setanta900: so your pretty smart then
totoro jan: VCDS are like DVD, but wayyyy cheaper
setanta900: nice
totoro jan: and the quality not as good
setanta900: i think one of the kids in my class was telling me about them
totoro jan: but still nice cos some of them only cost like $3 US
setanta900: do you know Jake Lau?
totoro jan: u should get lots of them in hk
totoro jan: kinda
setanta900: i probably will
totoro jan: haha thanks=)
totoro jan: i guess ppl who come here should be pretty smart anyways=)
setanta900: we try
setanta900: i think i fooled them
totoro jan: and pirated VCDS are even cheaper
setanta900: i'm just a good writer
totoro jan: hahahhaha
setanta900: although my grades were pretty high and i went to one of the most competative school districts
in the country
totoro jan: but yeah when u get to hk
totoro jan: hmm hmm i understand
setanta900: yeah., i'll get a bunch of VCDS
totoro jan: i guess u can tell between local kids and "middle/high/international class kids
totoro jan: i mean the latter grp dresses like americans
totoro jan: or asian americans
totoro jan: and the local ppl dress like japanese/korean/chinese
setanta900: ok
totoro jan: LOL
totoro jan: nvm
totoro jan: anyways
setanta900: that is interesting
setanta900: do university students watch hong kong movies or do they like the harry potter and the western
setanta900: you make it sound like maybe the more english people speak the less they watch local movies
totoro jan: well but thats the difference between my friends
totoro jan: at least ppl who r bad in english wont enjoy watching eng movies
totoro jan: ahh but now we have chinese voiceovers
totoro jan: so its all good
setanta900: lol
setanta900: i hate voice overs
totoro jan: but it depends on the trend
setanta900: i would rather watch subtitles
totoro jan: if everyone is talking about a movie everyone go watch it
totoro jan: no matter hk movies or western ones
totoro jan: hahah yeah me too
totoro jan: it felt kinda weird
setanta900: what was your favorite movie this year?
totoro jan: cos all the movies i watch with my highschool friends, my church friends never want to
watch it
totoro jan: gmm shrek 2
totoro jan: harry potter 3
setanta900: i saw both of those
setanta900: shrek was great
totoro jan: i like shrek 2 more=D
totoro jan: great music
totoro jan: and puss!woo
setanta900: i thought harry potter 3 wasn't as good as the first too
totoro jan: yeah too gloomy and mature
setanta900: do u like antonio banderes?
totoro jan: but last few years there were always critics about how hk film industry is getting worse
totoro jan: i mean not as attractive
totoro jan: haha hes ok
totoro jan: he mastered puss' voice pretty well tho
setanta900: why do they think it is getting worse?
setanta900: that is the only movie of his i have seen where he didn't mumble
totoro jan: LOL
totoro jan: hahahah
totoro jan: well firstly cos hk films didnt make as much money as the hollywood ones
totoro jan: like the top 5 bestsellers would be hollywood ones
totoro jan: then there were also some critics saying how movies lack "sincerity"
totoro jan: like they make movies just becos they want to put some pop stars in n stuff but dun really
put any thoughts into the screen play and stuff
setanta900: that happens here all the time
totoro jan: thats true
totoro jan: but there r so many different kinds in here
totoro jan: like once in a while there will be good ones
totoro jan: but in hong kong at least the critics think that predominantly the movies are all just
setanta900: ouch
setanta900: are they still doing kung fu movies
setanta900: ?
totoro jan: hmmm......
totoro jan: very few but this xmas i heard
totoro jan: the newest kung fu movie by our great comedian stephen chow is coming out
totoro jan: which is called "kung fu" haha
setanta900: maybe i should see it when i am there
setanta900: lol
totoro jan: haha hopefully it will come out just right !
totoro jan: it should be great
totoro jan: ppl r talking about it even when it starts filming
setanta900: did u ever see kung pow...it is a really bad american movie
setanta900: a guy took clips from old kung fu movies and painted himself into the action
setanta900: it was awful, but kind of funny
setanta900: well, thats about all the questions i have
totoro jan: kungpow?
totoro jan: hmm never heard abt it
totoro jan: but the name soudns funny
setanta900: yeah
totoro jan: hahha
totoro jan: well i hope that helps=_=
setanta900: the full title is Kung pow: enter the fist
totoro jan: hahahahhahahaha
setanta900: you helped out a lot. i really owe you one
totoro jan: haha its ok i am glad it helped!!
setanta900: thanks a lot
totoro jan: ooh so u will be one of the newest grp coming to hk!
totoro jan: haha i am excited
setanta900: yeah
setanta900: you should come out with us all when we hit the town
totoro jan: hey is that long no. the no. of chats that andy had?^^"
totoro jan: yeah i know
setanta900: i think it is long enough
totoro jan: haha
totoro jan: well thanks
setanta900: well, i'll talk to you later...but dont worry, i wont ask you any questions
totoro jan: good luck in ur research
setanta900: thanks a lot
totoro jan: haha no its fun
totoro jan: bye!
setanta900: cya

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