Monday, August 22, 2005

Regional Loyalties are Hard to Shake

I spent three hours last night crawling through a web site chock full of information on H.K. movie stars - going back into the 50's.

I looked up recent stars, I looked up old stars. Bratworse just kept shaking her head at me cause I would exclaim, then break out into giggles.

As I read up on stars, remembering the movies and/or tv shows they'd been in, I noticed something curious. I puffed with pride every time I read a star was born in Shanghai or was of Shanghai descent.

Okay. In order to understand the significance of this, realize that I have visited Shanghai ONCE in 1984 so that my grandmother could set eyes on me for the first and last time. I only learned to speak Shanghainese when I came to America in 1976.

This pride was driven into me by my mother, who extolled the virtues of being Shanghainese over and over into my willing ear. My sister, who had the fortune NOT to be a sickly child, didn't get this constant droning. I wonder if she is as proud of being Shanghainese as I am.

Anyway, my pride at being Shanghainese and my pride of these actors being Shanghainese is totally irrational. At one point, my ancestors and their ancestors dwelled in the same city. Big Whoop. But if even I, who prides herself on being rational about such things, feel a kinship with these people, perhaps that explains the inexplicable behavior of nationalism to me.

Oh, in case you're interested, the picture above is of Josephine Siao. If any of you are H.K. action flick or Jet Li fans, you'd recognize her as the mother of Fong Sai Yuk in that movie. Josephine Siao was a child actress in the 50's, a teen actress in the 60's, a tv actress in the 70's and 80's and re-emerged in movies in the 90's.

Other Shanghainese actors include
Lydia Shum (Sum Fei Fei)Tin Ha;
Danny Lee (Li Hsiu Hsien);
Wong Min Chuen and I believe the Shaw Brothers themselves were Shanghainese, which may be the reason for the proliferation of Shanghai stars in the 60's and 70's.

God, I love H.K. movies. Now I gotta start watching some of the Taiwanese tear-jerkers I grew up with in the 70's and watch a very very young and gorgeous
Lin Ching Hsia (Bridgitte Lin) act her heart out.



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