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San Francisco, USA

 

Chan is Missing (1982)

In Chan is Missing, a 1982 film set in Chinatown, San Francisco, two taxi drivers Jo and Steve were searching all over town for their disappeared business partner Chan. Wayne Wong’s first feature film reflects on the Chinese American identity. They speak to many people who have seen Chan. Everybody has a different impression on him. He was said to be a recent immigrant yet to learn the American way; an honest and trustworthy father to his daughter; a failure to his wife. He is an eccentric who likes Mariachi. Yet he is also considered just too Chinese. The Chinese American, after several generations in this country, remain an outside group with an incoherent image in this movie.

chan is missing
Chan Is Missing

After this independent production, Wayne Wong continues to make more well known films, including his landmark film the Joy Luck Club, and my personal favorite, Chinese Box. Forty years after its initial release, I have finally had a chance to see his debut work.

The film gives me a vintage feel. The cars, the hairdo, the fashion trend, a lot has changed in 40 years. But even more remarkable, the society itself has changed.

I moved to the US from Asia in the late 90s as a software engineer. Had I seen Chan is Missing before, I would not have found their world myself. Perhaps the culture has really changed swiftly. Perhaps I simply have the luxury to immerse myself in a professional environment. I hardly have to mull over being Chinese in America. In my world, we have deliberated far more on the dot-com revolution than being in an outside group.

Jo, an native born citizen who speaks English perfectly, was unsure about Chinese’s place in the mainstream (i.e. white) society. Me, a true outsider who only manages English as a second language, has found this an exciting cosmopolitan. This is a remarkably accepting place that welcomes people arriving from all over the world, a rather different place than the Chinatown depicted not so long ago.

Together Together
Together Together

If I am to find another movie to reflect today’s zeitgeist, I will choose the 2021 comedy drama Together Together. Matt, a middle aged white single, decides to become a father on his own. He contracts Anna, an Asian woman, to be the surrogate to bear his baby. True, Anna was only a surrogate, not his lover. But they were together the entire film and have gotten quite close to each other. When asked why they did not consider dating, the dealbreaker was said to be their 20 years age difference. Not once has the question that they are of different races come up. Not once.

Two films, two eras, two ideas and a thought provoking contrast.

2021.12.31 comments

 

Think of You Still

I just rediscovered Lowell Lo's 1983 love song - 又再想起你. Lo speaks so lovingly of a love that did not come to be. I find it so romantic and moving that I decided to create an English rendition and translate it.

I think about you again
it feels so wonderful
I will not forget
我又再想起你
感覺那樣美
相信我是難忘記
together everyday
we laughed at all the things we saw
next to me
we napped away to serene dreams
共你每天相見
跟你笑著看
睡蓮尋夢去
how poetic
how genuine
tender and sweet like nothing else
是那麼的詩意
是那麼的真摯
溫柔甜蜜不可以比
I
long to be together with you
the whole life
love
unto infinity
我  願意一生一世
願意一生一世跟你  相愛
勝似無限次
you made me feel intoxicated
can't stop loving you
can't stop speaking of you
你令我心痴痴醉
心裏愛著你
口裏也是常提起
Yet you'd not find out
that I think of you still
even after we're parted
但你永不知道
跟你決別了
亦常懷念你
I
wish we really can
the whole life
be together
how did we separate
I no longer remember
(我)願真的可以
共你一生相對
因何離別  不想記起
Ah
it was the truest love
the deepest love
I think of you
still
那  是最真的一次
是最深的一次  戀愛
今天我  也在懷念你

This is Lo's song on YouTube for your enjoyment.

作詞:鄭國江
作曲:盧冠廷
編曲:Joey Villanueva

2021.12.27 comments

 

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