Friday, October 21, 2011

Never Make A Clown Sad

I've long trusted in Ellen's jokes. She's been through a lot of ups and downs as a human being before she's as successful as now, and it's in her jokes where she writes down those experiences and the wisdom she got from them. Long, long time ago, she wrote a joke about there's nothing worse than a sad clown. (The exact quote was, "There's nothing worse than a sad lesbian. Except for a sad lesbian clown." But you get what I mean.) and I've just had an experience why it is so.

Really, there should be a rule somewhere that a comedian not be allowed to act in a tragic role. Heh heh. I only half-kidding. It's true! As sad as it is to watch a person going through a tragic fate, it's even harder when that person is usually the person who makes you laugh. I haven't encountered such a person in real world, and even though Ellen's story years ago was pretty close to the description, I didn't know her personally and I didn't even know her when she went through that. Now, I felt that way about one of Dodo Cheng's characters.

You see, I've forgotten where I found her in my childhood, but when I re-discovered her again last month, it was through some comedy movies. In fact, one of the reason I like her so much is because of her brilliance in comedy. Although she's not a comedian, she's a great actress who can even make me laugh with just her expression. But that's the problem! She's a great actress, and she did act in some serious roles. Women's Prison's Lynn, for example. Lynn is not really a tragic role, though. I'd say she's a fighter. And there's her role in 'Tiger Cage', where she acted as a policewoman, whose boyfriend was killed the night before their wedding. I'm not sure if it's because her acting is not strong enough or the character was supposed to restrain her feeling (she was a policewoman after all), I didn't feel that much hurt for her. (I actually anticipated it, hugging my pillow and saying repeatedly, "Ouch, ouch, ouch, this is gonna hurt like hell"... but it didn't hurt that much.)

Until To Liong To! That's the Heavenly Sword and Dragon Saber circa 1986, which was aired in Indonesia when I was just a kid. Since I've already re-watched Return of The Condor Heroes circa 1983, and I've found out that Simon Yam and Dodo were paired for Zhang Wu Ji's parents in that series, I think, what the heck, I'd re-watch it too. Problem is that I can't find any subtitle for that series, and it's in Cantonese! Luckily there's still a Chinese subtitle on it or I won't even understand one word said. Oh, and I read the translated e-book of the series, but unfortunately the book is only half-translated. Fine, then. I'd just watch it until the suicide scene. Damn my curiosity!



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I have to admit that Simon Yam might be my favorite on-screen partner for Dodo Cheng (don't even mention Chow Yun Fat! For some personal reasons, I HATE that guy!). I also quite enjoyed the plot, although it's pretty crazy. My father once warned me that Wuxia literature is crazy, but its craziness is the reason why it's so addictive. He was so right! The day I read the book, I didn't sleep all night finishing it. Of course along the story I yelled and cursed, "Are you fucking kidding me???" "For the love of GOD!!!" "C'mon, how the heck am I supposed to believe THAT???" "Fuck, fuck, fuck, nooooo!!!" But despite all those incredulousness I felt, I just can't stop. It's as addictive as Harry Potter, I tell ya.

Anyway, yes, I knew there was a double suicide of Zhang Cao San and Yin Su Su, but I didn't remember how they met and how they ended up killing themselves and left little Wu Ji alone. I thought it'd be over in one or two episodes of the TV series, but it turned out that their story lasted for 11 episodes. The story is a mix between wuxia, Titanic and Robinson Crusoe. Yes, crazy, right? I kinda like it, though. But it also has a bad effect on me: I warmed up to the characters. I began to like Xie Xun, I began to admire Zhang Cao San and adore Yin Su Su. And then, bam! The double suicide. It hurtssss!! First of all, they left a child behind, and he was bawling, so how can you not cry with him? (Not to mention there were also six grown up heroes who cried at that scene.) Second of all, they were cornered by everyone, to the point that even if they didn't kill themselves, they might be murdered one way or the other. Third of all, like I said before, Dodo Cheng usually makes me laugh. When she cried so tragically, how can it not break my heart? There's no sadder thing than a sad clown, indeed!

If Zhang Wu Ji ever blamed his parents for leaving him behind so young, I would blame Zhang Cao San. He knew the whole story of how his third brother getting hurt after Yin Su Su's confession, and he still blamed her for it? She did hurt him but on a curable level! She gave him an antidote and sent him back to Wudang, and even rescued him from his attacker - she even got poisoned during the rescue. What was he thinking, really, killing himself for that? It’s pretty selfish, in my opinion. He’s leaving Yin Su Su and Wu Ji alone to face those other people, who’d sure be going after them still for Xie Xun’s whereabouts. Yin Su Su’s suicide on the other hand, is understandable for me, cause how can she live with herself, knowing that she’s the reason of her husband’s suicide? Although she didn’t deserve to be blamed for all of the mess, Cao San was much more of an innocent. She simply had no choice but to follow him.

I actually remember about Yin Su Su’s suicide, but not this version. It’s Sharla Cheung’s version from Jet Li’s Kung Fu Cult Master. Her last words were quite memorable, asking her young son to revenge them and telling him never to trust women. “The more beautiful a woman is, the more capable she is to lie.” I have to laugh at that, cause indeed, Wu Ji’s life would be lived among beautiful women who were all quite good liars. Sharla’s suicide scene didn’t make me cry, though, cause Cao San actually ‘told’ her beforehand about his suicide. She didn’t cry, and Wu Ji collapsed before he had time to mourn. Dodo’s version, however, was more loyal to the book. She didn’t know Cao San’s plan, so when she found out about it, she was shocked, grieved, and guilt-stricken all at once. Wu Ji also was just found back, so it was quite overwhelming for her: she lost her husband, found back her son, and knew that she must leave her son again very soon. To her credit, Dodo acted out all of those feelings perfectly. Oh, and she actually crawled back to Cao San before she died. Wu Ji and Wutang people grieved deeply for some moments before Wu Ji collapsed. It was just tragic.  

Okay, now this is a bit out of topic, but I’ve been wondering. Since I came out to myself and to others, I feel some kind of responsibility to make sure I support people/company who support LGBT community. Of course this is not an obligation, but mostly I find that straight people who support LGBT people willingly are usually wise and kind. This is not my selfishness talking, I swear. They are wise because they don’t succumb to society and religion’s prejudice just like that. They are willing to look over past the ‘normal’ boundary into the reality that LGBT people are just… people. No more and no less. Logically speaking, they have to be somewhat kind, too, because they’re willing to support or fight for the rights of people who actually don’t concern them.

Let it be noted that I don’t automatically support/like everything gay, and I don’t dislike/trash everything straight, of course. There are narrow-minded companies who produced great products and there are narrow-minded people who are talented. Sad as it is, there are also LGBT members and open-minded people who are criminals, crazy, or even evil.  So far, though, I find that all my favorite people/companies are at least gay-friendly. Now I’ve been trying to search for an interview or something about Dodo Cheng that in some way implies her stand on this issue, to no avail. Please help me if you happen to be able to read/listen Chinese/Cantonese or have ever watched/heard about it. Besides my personal curiosity, it’d be nice to now how Eastern culture views the issue. I find it interesting that I’ve never put much thought on this before, since I’ve been a fan of Chinese/Hong Kong movies forever.

That’s it for now. I’m kinda busy. I said before there’s no way I’m downloading a hundred episode of a TV series in a language I don’t even understand. Well apparently I was wrong, cause I’m downloading them even as we speak. Heh heh :D

Update: Oooookay. ROTFL! Dodo’s character has just been hit on by a lesbian! Lol! And not just any lesbian, a really crazy one. Somehow I even heard Lucy Lawless’ name mentioned in the meeting of how to get rid of her, but I’m not sure. Well, I hope that doesn’t represent the lesbian stereotypes in HK, cause as crazy as I am, I would never pursue a straight women like that, I have no tendency to cut myself, and I didn’t understand the rest of the conversation. But honestly, if a lesbian like that went after me, I too would have literally run away like Ms. Mo did. Bwahahahah!

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