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Miss Hong Kong 2001

Definite signs of deterioration. No doubt about it. Though the opening was interesting but still…the entertainment parts were always way better for some reason. I must say that each year they managed to come up with a different theme. Not bad. The contestants were introduced and they had to list why they were eligible to enter the next round. Man, most of them were definitely bragging. Guess they were testing to see if the contestants could be witty without being arrogant. BUT it was hard.
The hosts: Eric, Louis, and Sonija…
Judges: Pauline, Gallen, Charmaine, Hacken, and some others…
Definitely signs of TVB using internal resources more than ever. Gallen looks so handsome though! (*mwuhahaha*) Charm looks so cute in that outfit. (Okay, I know half of the population hates her but I have my moments with her.)
Scenes when they were outside usually make them look better for some reason. Strange…
After Patrick Tang and some people performed, we were finally led into the questioning part. PHEW…not sure how worse it could get but whatever. Sonija get to introduce the contestants while Eric and Louis were in charge of grilling the contestants. GOSH…it’s killing me. Eric and Louis should kill them all already so they couldn’t pass. #6 was all right. At least she didn’t stutter. (Though it was all right that she mixed her languages.) Where in the world did they get all these contestants? AND poor Eric, had to look up so much. These girls are honestly too tall. #18’s question was funny. George Washington was still holding the ax, LOL! Darn! These girls are killing me. Shirley’s question was the easiest BUT she didn’t get it? How slow could she get? Only like about 3 could provide some decent answers.
Jordan Chan will take them to Japan? Poor Jordan! I actually like the effects where Jordan was drawing/painting and the pictures came to live. That was about it. Then there was also the part they were transported to the city and other areas. Very exotic and cool. That was about it. No comment regarding the ‘beauties’. I thought they looked better when they covered up because their bodies were too much of a sight to me. (Seriously, I must agree with Eric that most of them looked like they haven’t gone through puberty yet.)
Last part before they picked top 12? Joey Yung and Ekin Cheng. (What a coincidence!) Joey Yung look better than the contestants! (I know that was mean but honestly.) Interesting story. Kind of cute… I already gone out of the ‘Ekin’ phase so I wasn’t really paying attention. (But I think Ekin must have improved in his singing or something? Since he sounded better than the last time.) The settings were quite grand though. The crew totally make it happen.
Miss Photogenic? Shirley got it? Umm…no comment. I guess she seemed better than most of them for some reason.
They were each given a lamp and would take the label off. The ones who got the ‘X’ would be out.
Gilbert Lam was the person who introduced the judges at the beginning of the 2nd part? Cool! I totally forgot about him! He’s so cool. Too bad he doesn’t get to stick around much. Or perhaps that was better since it would be too much to stand.
(I didn’t want to say it before but I was seeing the pattern of ‘Angels of Missions’ people in here. BUT of course AOM was after this. But still interesting to see.)
I totally forgot that Leon was in here also since he opened up the show with his performance. (Snore-land though it was an upbeat song.) The whole time he was singing, I was like, “Hand it to Aaron already.” Mean, I know. But I was yawning too much. He’s not suitable for upbeat songs.
The next part was funnier though – much more entertaining – since Hacken was seen walking along with Natalis and Alan on the camels, trying to find their way to the show, LOL. Natalis and Alan were pondering if they were lost, LOL. And then Hacken was saying they heard Leon’s voice so they must be going in the right direction. Alan was even saying how Hacken was easily fooled by Eric’s words (i.e. he was the one who told them the directions, lol). Then the contestants get to tell everyone their dreams and/or goals. But Natalis, Alan, and Hacken’s rants were funnier. Eric had been in some sort of accident (according to their recounts) so he was unable to make it.
The next part was cool since they managed to invite this one pro acrobat lady to do some really cool tricks. Then Bernice Liu came out, dancing and singing. Cool. Suitable for the theme. She was so glamorous. Okay, the contestants had to use the objects given to describe one another. They were divided into pairs, of course. I love Alan and Hacken! They were so funny, arguing with each other like that instead of asking the questions, LOL. Bernice changed again to continue the song – or at least until the next sets of contestants came out. Watching the contestants try to find some compliments to praise each other with the objects given was too funny! At least they were improving. OR it seemed to get a tad better than having them answering trivial questions. Bernice changed again! Whoa! That was fast. Anyway, still cool.
Okay, the next part of questioning – more trivial questions, LOL. There were three sets of questions – middle school, high school, and college. (OR something like that.) If they answer right, they would advance one step up. If not, they would be lower one level. The questioning would start at their current educational level. The contestants changed outfits again. Nice outfits, LOL. I think the contestants were better in these set of questions since they were more used to the straight fact question-answer than the critical thinking ones. At least it’s reassuring on some level since it would be more encouraging to watch. Shirley did slightly better in this one.
The next part was a really cute yet entertaining story. Aaron Kwok and Coco Lee. (I was a bit surprised that they were able to invite Coco to participate.) Aaron got to sing his ‘Para Para’ song! LOL! (This sort of solves my question with why Aaron wasn’t opening before. This was more fun.)
Anyway, after that, we get to witness the contestants sing and dance with 60 children. The children were so cute! (I don’t know, I just didn’t care as much for the contestants regardless of how much they improved for this round.)
They were trying to do it different this year. Getting rid of three at a time until they reached top 5. Don’t know it would come to that but I guess it was something to keep people tune in. Hacken’s so funny!
Eric’s return. Awww…Alan was subbing for Eric. Just when Eric return, they made him be the bad guy to eliminate 3 contestants, LOL. Still funny. What was Hacken looking at, kept staring at Eric’s head. So funny that Eric was reassuring the others to come back next year, LOL.
More questionings. They were given a statement and then they had to pick if they agree with the phrase or not. Then they had to argue for or against it. Alan was too funny! He lost during the first time! He and Hacken are cracking me up! Hacken was saying how Alan was only the witness and did not have to input. It got even funnier when they were attempting to translate for this one contestant. Then Alan translated before she was even finished. Natalis was poking at Alan for it. (Actually, he was pretending to talk about Alan with Hacken, LOL.) Man, it was way funnier watching the hosts argue. Man, Natalis’ comment!
They invited Anne to help with determining who had beautiful skin? Shirley got it. I guess the judges were careful and inspected everything so no complaints.#3, #9, and #18 got the creativity prize since they were able to impress the judges with their cooking skills and creation.
I totally forgot that Jacky was in here! Cool! I guess it wouldn’t be complete without him. Jacky and Kelly Chen? OKAY…but for all the fun of it. Funny ending since he was just dreaming and his wife (portrayed by Kelly) was rousing him up. So much for it…(LOL) Again, save the best for last, right? Since it was supposed to be the last performance before they eliminate 3 more. But the top 12 got to return so they could announce the ‘most improved’ prize and the Miss International Goodwill. #4 got ‘most improved’ and #6 got Miss International Goodwill. Not bad. I don’t know. Somehow they looked better around this time. *shrugs*
Alan, Hacken, and Natalis were arguing over who should sing for the last part? But they ended up using the dancing routines to determine who was the top 4. At least they didn’t have to argue. That was interesting that Johnson Lee was one of the ones holding the sign up when they were answering the last round of questions. #2 and #3 got eliminated after that.
The ones who were eliminated had to come out and tell us who they support to be the winner. #6 got 3rd place, #4 got 2nd, and of course Shirley got first. Not bad. NOT the best of all time, but I guess it will have to do.

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Ticket

*WARNING*: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. If you DO NOT want to be spoiled, please DO NOT read. You have been warned.

A journey to find one’s own identity has been done numerous times with emotional breakdowns. But this one is totally different from that. I was thinking that it would began with some really touching story and the whole growing up process before the actual journey to find out what had happened. So it’s really nice to see it differently with Yu Tong all grown up and has a career going already before going on the journey to find her parents.

Although the character was well crafted, I must say I was quite confused with Zuo Xiao Qing’s actions and emotions she displayed at various points of the movie. She seemed to display a contradicting attitude toward some parties or something. I could not relate to the fast transition between the aggressive, non-believer attitude when she was desperately trying to interview Mrs. Lin at the beginning and then changed her point of views afterward upon seeing how strongly Mr. and Mrs. Lin (portrayed by Chin Siu Ho and Liu Si Tong) felt toward their child–although there was such a slim chance of the baby surviving. However, I thought that other cast made it more bearable to watch, such as Nicky Wu’s charming performance as the mischievous yet considerate Zhi Xuan. Cecilia Yip made a guest appearance as Sister Zeng but was more convincing than ever with her brief scenes.

Aside from the subtle yet moving plot with various characters and their interactions in here, the scenes were also nice to see, especially the part where Zhi Xuan and Yu Tong were walking to the little village surrounded by water. There was also a part where they had to use the pulley to cross this one river. It was quite interesting because Nicky could show off his stunts. (I honestly hope he did it for real and not using a double to fool us.)

There were also other scenes as well to see the different regions and how different their lifestyles were. A lot of inspirational messages were weaved into this movie–both subtle and outright obvious. However, it was not overdone. It might receive some harsh critical comments for boredom or whatever else, but it was not meant to entertain. It was more to inform and let everyone see a different perspective.

The lighting might not be up to par in some of the scenes, but it was intended to show the realism of the actual environment that the people were living in, like the scene shown above.
Anyway, although I complained about Zuo Xiao Qing’s acting earlier, I must admit she did have the image for portraying such a role. Yes, her acting was not up to it. But she did have the look for it. Plus, she was cute with the scenes that were required for her playful actions. She just needed to convey her emotions more appropriately for the more controversial scenes. However, she did improve in the later scenes of the drama–not sure if it was filmed out of sequence but she did better in some scenes versus others. I especially like the scene where Yu Tong was trying to re-live the memory of her mother trying to bring her across the river by using the pulley and her (the mother’s) own strength to complete the mission. It was like she (Yu Tong) was trying to reconnect to the past and think in her mother’s situation of the hardship.

Another scene was the part where Yu Tong finally learned the truth that her mother never abandoned her, to begin with. The realization made her dazed and disoriented, grabbing onto Zhi Xuan for support–literally, trying to remember back. It was fast but traumatizing at the same time. However, Zuo Xiao Qing needs to stop breathing so hard. It would’ve been better to display her shocked and overwhelming feelings by using her hands or other gestures to convey the message better. (Breathing too much made it seem like she was suffering from an asthma attack.) The initial part with the breathing was a bit too much but the crying scene after improved a bit more.

Zuo Xiao Qing does look cute with Nicky though.

Talking about Nicky, even with age, he still has it with the whole acting. Didn’t deteriorate at all. Haven’t seen him since Heroes on a Silk Road (and that was ages ago). I just realized he’s turning 39 this year but wow. (Yes, you can see the age–sort of–but still a bit unbelievable.)
Back to the movie, it was very worthwhile watching it. After so many melodramatic productions, I think this would come off as a breath of fresh air. (Based on my opinion so don’t take my word for it.) This sort of restored my faith for watching more movies instead of just TV serials.

There were of course some very humorous scenes in here–although kind of subtle to ease the thick intense atmosphere that was building around the whole journey Yu Tong was traveling through to uncover the truth. I’m talking about the guide (portrayed by Wu Ma) that they hired who was really full of himself for most of the movie, causing many humorous scenes. He referred to himself as the ‘living map’ and was also weaving his way into being an interpreter. It was hilarious that Zhi Xuan let him have his moments. Even if he was kind of humorous with his ‘know-it-all’ gestures but I must give him credit for taking it into his hand to lead the principal over to them so that the truth would come out instead of the one-sided assumptions from Yu Tong when they discovered her mother’s whereabouts. It really showed a different side of him versus the whole ‘goofy’ side. It also played into the whole idea with him being a ‘guide’ and then he was guiding the truth toward Yu Tong. (Neat concept!)

The most brilliant part of the story must be paving the way for Yu Tong’s mother and making us viewers guessing why. It was still typical that we might guess it was just for some selfish reason. But in this case, it was really for the ‘greater good’, not the usual ones that people toss around so loosely. That wasn’t the brilliant part I meant to say either. The brilliant part was where Yu Tong finally held all the pieces of the puzzle to her mother’s past, connecting with hers and looking toward the horizon. We then see the scenes of Yu Tong’s childhood but this time from her mother’s point of view. It was honestly touching with the music playing in the background and her subtle appearances at various points of Yu Tong’s life but making such an impact. (Worth a bunch of tears if you ask me.)

The ending scene was also a test of several related cases in this movie, i.e. the scene where the Taxi driver almost lost his kid. To say it in a mean sense, it would’ve been his ticket to freedom. But he chose to seek help in searching for his son again thus proving that he was a responsible and loving father. It really tied back to the first story at the beginning of the movie.

Conclusion? You just have to watch it to know what it’s like. But then again, if you think it’s too boring or not your type, you shouldn’t torture yourself with it.

*Note*: This movie was actually adapted by Director Jacob Cheung from Professor Lee Chia Tung’s short story “Ticket”.

*All images were scanned or captured by DTLCT

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