2014 Diary of a star-chaser (3)

2014.09.28

Park Si Hoo Japan Fan Meeting (Part 2)

The first part of the 2014 JFM “Love” ended at 3:30 p.m and the second part “Forever” was scheduled to start at 7 p.m., so we thought we would have time to sit down for a proper meal, or at least high tea.

That was not to be.  In between trying to meet some Japanese fans (as arranged) and going up and down the elevator to our 25/F hotel room, we ended up with just a little over an hour to find a restaurant which was not full.  We didn’t find one, so we settled for sandwiches and water again, which we consumed sitting on a bench in the underground station.  There are things I would do for PSH that I would not normally do.  (I’m the kind of person who needs 3 meals a day^^)

Our seats for the evening show were 10 rows further from the stage than the earlier show, and on the right side this time, so we covered the entire arena.

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The programming was somewhat different from the afternoon show, although the contents were 80% similar.  This time the FM started with a song — Beat Win’s* もう二度と離さない(Another parting) — fast-paced, strong beat, accompanied by dancers.  PSH was looking more relaxed, definitely less nervous, and very much in his element.

[I made a mistake in my report yesterday – the second song that PSH sang was Beat Win’s.]

n03-IMG_2102I omitted an early part of the show in my previous report.  Soon after PSH sat down with the MC and the interpreter, titles of all PSH’s dramas were displayed in a table on the big screen.  Apparently Japanese fans voted on their favorite PSH drama.  I saw those columns (of different colors) rising.  Each time two of the shortest columns (each representing a drama) were stopped.  The others kept shooting up and more were stopped – until only one reached the top.  Guess which drama ended up the winner – “Queen of Reversals”!  I would never have guessed.  Even PSH was surprised; he thought it would be “The Princess’s Man”.  I suppose QOR is so popular because Japanese fans live vicariously through Hwang Tae Hee — if a middle-aged divorcee with a daughter can snare what the Chinese call a 高富帥 (tall, rich, handsome), there is hope yet^^

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In this evening show, PSH threw a lot of things into the audience.  First it was a bouquet of flowers, followed by towels he used to wipe his sweat (his clothes were made of pretty thick materials and he moved around so much when he was singing and dancing), then it was shooting ribbons from a bazooka.  What else did I miss?  He also drank a lot of water – which must be why he had to leave the stage mid-way through a segment (I suspect for a toilet break^^)

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In one segment he appeared in the outfit in the following photo – very glam but obviously too warm.  He kept wiping sweat, no, he actually very delicately dabbed his forehead and cheeks with a face towel, and he drank one bottled water after another.  In the end he couldn’t stand the heat anymore and took off the long cardigan.  I particularly love his necklace – the cross.

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In re-enacting the famous scenes – the “confession of love” series – PSH performed a little better than in the afternoon show, but he still found it hard to pretend the camera lens was Hwang Tae Hee and suffered several NGs from the MC which he good-naturedly laughed off.

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When he was playing the game with the 3 fans, he discarded his long cardigan – otherwise he would not have been able to lift up the second fan (see photo below).  This time the lucky fans didn’t receive any presents from PSH; instead they got their photos taken with him.

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In the ENISHI segment, PSH played the role of a chef this time (wearing glasses) and prepared pasta with anchovy and garlic for 3 fans (the same dish he prepared for his mother in “Star Life Theater” in 2012).  He has said before that this was his favorite pasta, and he looked a more proficient chef than he was a barista.  But he was very generous with the oil, and if he really cooked like this at home, I’d like to ask him how he managed to stay so slim^^

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PSH took his time preparing the pasta, like he was conducting a culinary lesson.  When he’s done, he placed the pasta on the plates like a pro — the presentation deserved 100 marks!  One little detail of interest — when PSH first came on stage as a chef, he refused to wear an apron; but when the oil started bubbling in the pan, he agreed to put it on.

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Then he brought the plates of pasta over to the other side of the stage to serve the 3 lucky fans chosen by lottery.  He kept asking them if they thought it was “oishii” (delicious).  The first fan was very diligent and finished her plate.  The third fan just nibbled, and when PSH came to her, he couldn’t help eating a little of the spaghetti himself and kept praising his own signature dish as “oishii”^^  I had the distinct impression he was hungry and would have gobbled the whole plate if he had not been on stage ogled by 5,000 pairs of eyes.  And see the photo below for the extra “service” he performed.

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PSH sang 6 songs in the evening show – 2 more than in the afternoon.  The 2 extra songs came in the encore when he came out (strumming on a guitar) with the dancers and launched into “Shampoo” which was when everybody stood up and clapped rhythmically.  The Japanese lady in front of us was singing along and swaying to the music.  After “Shampoo” PSH gave his fans an extra present – his FM staple “Seasons in the Sun”.  I just love the way he danced to this song.  He was obviously having the time of his life, and so were his fans.

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PSH looked so boyish in his simple burgundy T-shirt and tight white trousers (showing his long slim legs to perfection!)  His enthusiasm was infectious and everybody present reached a natural high, especially when the white paper hearts started falling from the ceiling.  I never wanted it to end, but I wish to believe this was not an end but a beginning — his re-birth as a Hallyu star and an actor.  I am blessed to be a part of this momentous event.

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* Beat Win – We left Haneda, Tokyo, on the afternoon of September 29.  As we were entering the Departure area, we saw some professional cameras stationed there and a few girls waving goodbye to some young men.  After our previous encounter with 2 PM, I now regard any good-looking or weird-looking young men as pop stars^^  There were 6 of them, so I walked up to the best-looking one and asked, “Are you a pop group?”  “Yes.”  “Japanese?”  “No, Korean.”  “What is your name?”  “Beat to win.”  “Beat with a B?”  “Yes.”  Never heard of them (not that I know much about K-pop).  I googled them when I got back to Hong Kong.  They’re called Beat Win (not “Beat to win”.)  I did not know then that PSH sang their song at the JFM or I would have asked for their autograph (like I did with 2 PM).  See this link for their song that opened PSH’s evening JFM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egYqkqAR7-w

(TO BE CONTINUED)

(Credits: Photos from MENTOR Co., Ltd. Thanks!)

2014 Dairy of a star-chaser (2)

2014.09.28

Park Si Hoo Japan Fan Meeting (Part 1)

The Pacifico Yokohama National Convention Hall could hold 5,000 people.  I had no idea how many 5,000 were until I saw the awesome crowd and felt the electrifying atmosphere.  Everybody was in feverish anticipation; after all, it’s been nearly 2 1/2 years since PSH appeared in his last Japan Fan Meeting.

The FM opened nearly 20 minutes late.  In 2012 they didn’t start until 15 minutes after the scheduled time because some fans were held up by the typhoon; this time I think it must be because PSH needed time to overcome the jitters (Just kidding!)

PSH rose from the center of the stage to thunderous screams.  He was dressed in a white suit made from beautiful fabric, immediately calling to mind Prince Charming (actually its Chinese translation 白馬王子 – Prince on a White Horse.)  He flashed his signature smile, looking a little awkward, obviously nervous, and was almost immediately joined by the MC and the interpreter.  They just sat down and started talking which I found rather strange.  What a low-key way to start a fan meeting!

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PSH said it’s been a long time and he was feeling both excited and nervous.  He was very happy to be reunited with his fans, and together they would create a wonderful memory.  He was obviously emotional and took a little time to calm down before he could perform.

He started to sing “The sound of your coming” (Korean version) from “Scent” and the fans immediately reacted with tremendous enthusiasm, waving the blue fluorescent sticks bought earlier.  (I had no idea what the “heart” and “star” were before the FM.)  During this show, PSH sang 4 songs altogether – “Scent”, the two new songs from his CD “Love” and “Forever”, and “Shower” (from CDDA OST).

When PSH went backstage to change, the gigantic screens would show his new and old works – his Chinese movie “Scent” and scenes from his old dramas.  I seem to remember the first such interlude was called “The Story of Park Si Hoo”, and I remember distinctly they did NOT choose the best or most memorable scenes from his dramas which I thought was such a pity.

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PSH reappeared in my favorite outfit of the entire JFM (see photo above – this blue shirt had a leather collar), looking drop-dead gorgeous and sang another song (“Forever”, I think.)  Then action scenes from his dramas were shown on the big screen — that car chase sequence in “Confession of Murder”, the shipwreck scene from “The Princess’s Man”, and the Barbra Streisand dance sequence in “Cheongdam-dong Alice”.  While watching the videos on the small TV in front of him (he’s got his own), PSH seemed embarrassed (especially when the CDDA clip was running) because he covered his eyes at one point (no eyes see^^) and fanned himself with one hand at another.  I could see him very clearly because I was sitting on the third row, and I watched him instead of the big scream.  I think he was asked which one was his favorite, but there was no doubt which one was the audience’s favorite.  The MC cajoled him to perform that CDDA dance.  He was a little shy at first but he did that little routine — to screams and applause.  Every time I saw PSH dance, I wish I hadn’t got two left feet.  The way he moved was really sexy (in a non-provocative sort of way, if you know what I mean.)

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Then came the inevitable (every FM has this) re-enactment of famous scenes — this time it was “hugs and kisses” (Screams!!!)  Three lucky fans were chosen by lottery to go on stage.  The first scene was the fan scene in “The Princess’s Man” (PSH actually kissed her neck, or so it seemed! Scream!); the second was Goo Yong Shik carrying Hwang Tae Hee after she slipped on the ice in “Queen of Reversals” (PSH didn’t just pick her up; he swung her around a few times! Scream!); and the third was Kim Seung Yoo rushing forward to embrace Lee Se Ryung at the temple in “The Princess’s Man” (big tight hug! Scream!)  Each fan was also given a hug and a present after the “performance” — the bracelet, the necklace, and the Jami and Dami keychain respectively.  Most of those present would gladly have given anything to be hugged/held by PSH, including me!  (No! No!  If my number was drawn, I would have made N take my place^^)

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In the next segment, there was more re-enactment of famous scenes, this time of “confession of love”.  Three scenes, two from QOR and one from “Family Honor”, were shown on the big screen.  I don’t understand why QOR was featured so prominently, and the FH scene was not one I would have chosen.  PSH was made to pretend the camera lens (brought on stage and pointed directly at him – at close range) was Hwang Tae Hee and to “confess” to “her”.  The MC shouted “Camera” and PSH said “Music”, but he could not deliver!  First he said the QOR music was wrong, and when they got that right, he took a deep breath and tried to focus but burst out laughing instead, and the MC screamed “NG!”  This happened a couple of times; PSH just could not concentrate and recapture that emotional moment.  It was so funny!

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After another song (“Love”) and another interlude, PSH appeared as a barista, recreating the ENISHI character in one of the volumes.  He looked very dashing, as you can see from above photo, but his coffee-making skills were suspect.  I wonder if he ever really made his own espresso.  He kept playing with the long spout glass kettle, pouring more and more water, and fidgeting with the filter, wondering why the coffee took so long to drip.  Meanwhile, two fans (chosen by lottery) were sitting on the other side of the stage, waiting to sample the coffee.  When it was finally ready, PSH served them the coffee, looking very professional.   “Good?” he asked; the lucky fans, of course, had never tasted coffee more aromatic.

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A video was shown of PSH practicing for the JFM, starting with D-22 and counting down.  He was in a studio rehearsing his dance routines and the time on the top left corner showed 1:30 a.m. (on more than one day.)  The poor guy was really over-worked!  I love to see him dance, even when he was only rehearsing!  Then 6-5-4-3-2-1-0….but nothing happened and nobody appeared!  Timing was off^^  And then wham!  Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back” blared and PSH and dancers were on stage, doing a “sexy” routine which aroused fans to a frenzy and brought the fan meeting to a climax.  PSH was obviously having fun and it was fun to watch.

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After “Sexy Back”, PSH said THANKS and waved GOODBYE, but as a seasoned fan meeting goer, I knew there had to be an encore.  Sure enough, fans clapped, clapped, clapped…. until PSH and dancers burst onto the stage again in the outfit you see in the photo above, strumming on a guitar, singing the song “Shower” from the CDDA OST.  Everybody stood up and clapped rhythmically.  That was the high point of the show.  White paper hearts started falling from the ceiling (I grabbed one.)  Everybody was cheering; the atmosphere was fever pitch; there was so much love everywhere.  I knew then PSH was really back; no, in fact, he has never left us.  Those of us who remained faithful to him in his dark days could now be assured that our dear man is alive and well.  And he has come back to us with the Autumn wind.

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(TO BE CONTINUED)

(Credits: Photos from MENTOR Co.,Ltd. Thanks!)

2014 Diary of a star-chaser (1)

In April 2012 I wrote my “Diary of a star-chaser” (series of 6) on PSH’s 2012 Japan Fan Meeting.  (Please see Category: Japan Fan Meeting 2012).  I am very gratified to be able to write this “sequel”.  Few expected PSH would be able rise again from the ashes, but I’ve always believed he would be back.  And he is back! with a bang! a BIG BANG!

PRELUDE

The 2014 Park Si Hoo Japan Fan Meeting was billed as “Love and Forever” and it featured two parts: LOVE at 1 p.m. and FOREVER at 7 p.m. on September 28, 2014.

The first show starts at 1 p.m., so when would you start going?  We left our hotel at 9:30 a.m. to walk to the Pacifico Yokohama National Convention Hall which was right next door.  After the near-disaster of 2012, H and I were determined not to risk the weather and a long trip by public transport.

Yokohama, as you all know, is a port, so there’s always a sea breeze.  But that morning was very windy, even blustery.  When we got to the entrance of the hall, we were surprised to find hundreds of fans already in line.  (The Exhibition didn’t start until 10 a.m.)  So we joined the end of the queue and stood there for over an hour, with our hair blowing in the wind (except for N who has sensible short hair.)

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Even though it wasn’t a lot of fun waiting in line in such windy condition, it was 100 times better than in 2012 when there was a typhoon (that we didn’t know of^^)  A couple of weeks before this JFM, an earthquake hit Tokyo.  I’ve been praying PSH won’t bring an earthquake this time (last time he swept into Tokyo with the typhoon.)

The line kept getting longer and longer.  A young man was carrying a placard that said “End of line” because it was not easy to locate where one should start queuing.  Japanese fans are the most polite and orderly in the world — no jumping the queue or anything of the sort.  Most were women, some young, some young-at-heart.  There were a few men — a young man who was there with his mother, an ajusshi with his ajumma, a little girl with her mother….

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There is a Chinese saying: 三個女人成 一墟 (meaning “3 women form 1 market”, i.e. noisy, loud).  We are educated, elegant ladies^^ and not market-mongers, so we did not disgrace ourselves in front of the Japanese fans.  This little “market” was very happy chatting away and after more than an hour was admitted into the lobby of the JFM venue.  This was the souvenir-hunting part.

We were given a form as soon as we entered the door on which we were to “tick” which items we wanted.  There was a little more queuing before we found ourselves in front of one of the sales ladies from whom we ordered the CD and assorted items.  In 2012 H and I bought everything in sight; this time we were very restrained (possibly because H was there – she’s very grounded.)

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Our spoils (plus the poster) – the new series of PSH framed photos is entitled “Man on White” but they’re really “Man in Black”, as you can see^^

But where’s ENISHI and the JFM DVD?  What?  Another queue?  Actually we had to go out and re-enter by another entrance.  There were two queues — one for ENISHI and JFM DVD and another for the JFM poster (which was only available for JOFC member, including ex-members like me^^  You only have to show your membership card which I still possess.)  Here’s where we decided “division of labor” came in.  H and I joined the ENISHI/DVD line and N volunteered to stand at the POSTER line (which was much longer.)

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 The Poster

After we managed to order ENISHI/DVD (with a little help from the nice young man who served us), I was certain my kidneys had suffered permanent damage.  I was desperate to find the ladies’ room.  My stomach was also growling and I knew I could not survive the afternoon show without some nourishment first.  So we left N still standing in line for the poster and sprinted to the nearest Japanese equivalent of 7/11 and grabbed a sandwich and a bottle of water for each of us.  When we got back to relieve N, it happened to be her turn — perfect timing!  So we munched on our sandwiches in a corner.  More waiting in line at the ladies, and we were ready to go into the auditorium.

But first, I took photos of the flowers for PSH — 14 altogether (Please see our earlier post “2014 JFM Yokohama”.)  One section of flowers was placed under the banner “Love Park Sihoo Forever”.  The PSH4U flowers were under LOVE.

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In case you can’t see the inscription clearly, it says ….. (in English and Korean)

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(TO BE CONTINUED)

(Credits:  All photos taken with my idiot-proof camera.  Feel free to transfer but please credit http://parksihoo4u.com.)

“Scent” – the movie and the novel

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I read on Weibo that Wang Bin (WB), the writer of the novel “Taste” on which Park Si Hoo’s first Chinese movie “Scent” was based, was not happy with the movie.  His name appeared as one of the Associate Producers of “Scent”, but I don’t know if he really had a role in the making of the movie.

Even before the movie opened, WB was leaving these 潑冷水* messages on Weibo, warning “Don’t expect too much of the movie.”  “Don’t think it will do too well at the box office.”  “Don’t get your hopes up.”  [ * Literally ‘”pour cold water”, meaning “dampen the enthusiasm”]  At first I thought this was typical Chinese humility, and then I suspected he was using the tactic 以退為進 [retreat in order to advance, make concessions in order to gain advantages.]

But when “Scent” actually started screening and reviews were very positive, some even raving, WB cast doubt on the veracity of these reports.  He said the positive public reports and the negative private comments went against one another; he wanted the truth.

The truth?  The truth appeared to be what he wanted to believe.  He distrusted the positive and relished the negative which I found inexplicable.  To a writer, his novel is like his baby.  A movie based on his novel is like, what, his grandchild?  Don’t you wish the best for your grandchild? (however different he/she looks from your child)

WB took great exception to the “bed scene” in “Scent”.  He said he deliberately did not include any sex, not even kissing, in “Taste” because it is about the relationship between a man and a woman BEFORE they know they are in love, so it must be CLEAN.  Does he think the movie (and, by extension, his novel) is sullied by that one blink-and-you’ll-miss-it romp in bed?  Seriously?

Then WB posted two PRIVATE letters from PSH fans to him, the first one thoroughly trashing the movie and the second one comparing In Joon in “Scent” with Jun in “Taste” (to the former’s disadvantage, of course.)  The fact that WB made these PRIVATE letters PUBLIC really surprised me.  Many people write to us all the time.  What will you think if we publish your e-mails on our blog?  But what surprised me more was the diction and tone of these so-called private letters.  In my former life (or rather career) I studied and analyzed writing styles.  Each writer has a “signature” which identifies him/her.  These two self-styled PSH fans must be students of WB to be able to write so much like him.

To put the matter in a nutshell, WB is so miffed because “Scent” is very different from “Taste” in many respects.  In my review of the movie on August 18, I have already outlined the differences:

The film “Scent” has retained only the names and some characteristics of the male and female protagonists and her friends, the locale (Shanghai), and of course, the dove.  Everything else is different, since the male protagonist has been changed from a Japanese to a Korean.  The scriptwriter (a young Chinese lady like the producer and the director) has added a lot of diverse elements and local color to make the plot more interesting. 

(http://parksihoo4u.com/2014/08/18/i-love-scent/)

Novels and movies are two different kinds of media.  A good novel does not necessarily make a good movie.  Readers are more willing to work, to meet the writer a quarter of the way, so to speak: to use their imagination, to exercise their mental prowess, to visualize a scene, to feel emotions, to empathize with the characters, to decipher the symbolism, etc.  The audience in a cinema, on the other hand, receive visual images and audio effects (dialogue and music) with their eyes and ears.  Everything has been interpreted for them, so they can just be passive, unlike readers who have to be more active.  A climatic scene that occupies ten pages in a book may just be two minutes on the screen.  Silence and stillness can make great literature, but in a cinema can lull an audience to sleep.  To be brutally honest, if “Scent” had followed “Taste” to the letter, it would be a most boring movie.  So little happen: what can be depicted with subtlety on the page (all the inner workings of the mind and flutterings of the heart) cannot simply be transplanted to the silver screen.  The director and the actors have to interpret for the audience.  Very often dialogue has to be added, action has to be introduced.  Once what is transpiring on the screen fails to retain the audience’s attention and interest, the movie has failed.  That is why a screenwriter is often needed to transform a novel into a screenplay.  Oh, some writers write their own screenplay, but can WB?

I wrote in my last paragraph that a good novel does not necessarily make a good movie.  Now I wish to qualify that: a great novel can make a great movie.  Let me give you just one example: Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” has been made and re-made into movies/drama series N times, and each time the best and most memorable lines are from the original novel.  But then how many Jane Austens are there?

The novel “Taste” has been reprinted with the new title “Scent”, and WB lobbies PSH fans to buy his book.  He even said if his novel didn’t sell well, he would not be able to publish his next work.  Now if he dislikes the movie so much, why is he using PSH fans to help him sell his book?  I bought his novel (the old version “Taste”) – only because of PSH in “Scent” – and I read it.  Will I read it again, as I did all Jane Austen’s novels countless times?  No, once is enough.  Will I see “Scent” again?  Yes, as many times as I can.  Once the DVD comes out,  I hope I won’t ruin my DVD player with non-stop play.

“Taste” is a novel and “Scent” is the movie.  Who would go to the cinema to watch a movie called “Taste”?  Not me.

(Credits: PSH photo from “Scent”.  Thanks!)

Stand up and be counted

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 PSH just before performing Ice Bucket Challenge on 2014.08.22

This may be the stupidest or smartest thing I have ever done as a PSH fan — depending on the outcome.

I’m leaving Hillary out of it because she is more rational and less emotional than me.

But I’m the kind of person who needs to know if I have 6 months left to live.

It has been pointed out to us that PSH is losing fans … fast!  Oh, really?

So soon after his triumphant “Scent” tour?

We never expected “Scent” to break the box office record in China.  Such kind of film has no universal appeal.  The general audience nowadays just like cheap thrills — anything fast-moving that destroys everything in its path, with tons of special effects – in 3D.  Anything that requires feeling or thinking is like “water over a duck’s back” (Chinese saying meaning won’t stick).  “Scent” is the kind of slow-to-the-boil (慢热) film — it takes time to heat up.  I am sure if will sell well overseas and in DVDs.  I personally am prepared to buy several dozens to give to everyone I know.

So is PSH losing a lot of fans?  In China (Baidu, Weibo…)?  I don’t frequent these sites but were my eyes playing tricks on me or didn’t the Chinese fans (in all 6 cities he went on the road show) give PSH a rousing reception?  In Japan?  Japanese are the most loyal fans I know, and I doubt if any of them will retire unless PSH does.

In other parts of the world?  On PSH4U?  It is true that comments are down, but does that mean fans are leaving PSH in droves?  A lot of people who come to PSH4U (not just members because we are an open site) belong to the “silent majority”; they are the so-called “underwater” or “submerged” fans ( 潜水).  They just come for PSH news; they don’t leave comments.  (I used to be one such until we started PSH4U.)  If they feel very strongly about something, they prefer to e-mail us.

Now here is where I can tell you for certain that PSH has been as popular as ever, judging from our hit rate (from our Control Panel).  Our monthly hit rate has been consistently above 5 million, ever since we started in October 2012.  Sometimes it’s slightly less and sometimes a lot more, as in January 2013 (CDDA) and February (break of incident) and March 2013 (nearly 10 million – WPS.  On March 1 and 2 we had nearly a million hits each day).  Our daily hit rate has never been less than 6 figures … until we came to the second half of July 2014 when we were sometimes down to 5 figures (high 5s, like 80,000+ or 90,000+) which we found surprising until we belatedly realized people were having problems accessing our blog.  I finally found time to write to our webhost in early August and was told there was some incompatibility (some technical mumbo-jumbo which I didn’t understand) and we needed to upgrade the Statistics plug-in as well as upgrade to the latest version of WORDPRESS.  H passed the info to our computer guy who did as he was told.  However, upgrading to the latest version created another problem which we didn’t find out until at least a week later.  This new version requires something to be done before people can access our blog on their cell phones.  (Apparently most people do this, unlike H and I who always use our computers — this is called generation gap^^)  Our computer guy finally fixed everything on August 11.  And voila! on August 12 everything was back to normal.

August 12 was the day when PSH started his trip to China to promote “Scent”, and, appropriately, daily hit rate on PSH4U has been back to 6 figures ever since, with the highest on August 13,14,18,19 (300,000+) and August 15,17, 20 (200,000+).  So PSH is back with a bang! and so is PSH4U!  Perceptions can be deceptive, but statistics don’t lie.

Now I’ve come to what this post is all about — I want to know how many fans PSH still has on PSH4U.  It doesn’t matter if you never leave any comments; it doesn’t matter if you are not a PSH4U member.  If you consider yourself a PSH fan, stand up and be counted.  Sign in on this post if you are a member.  E-mail us on parksihoo4u@gmail.com if you’re not.  Just let us know you’re still here for PSH.  I know a lot of fans never bothered to subscribe, but many e-mail us all the time.  I answer every e-mail (except on the week of August 4 when my world almost came to an end.  If I missed your e-mail, please forgive me.)

If PSH has 50 fans left, or 500, or …. I want to know.  If I who am going through a very difficult period in my life and am so tired I could drop dead have not left PSH, nobody has the right or excuse to.  Unless, of course, you no longer love him, in which case, there is nothing more to be said.

(Credits: PSH photo from Twitter.  Thanks!)

I love “Scent”!

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I am not a film critic, but I may have seen more films than some professionals – simply because I’ve been around longer^^  I’m a film buff, and I don’t just watch American and British films, I also love all kinds of good films (as long as they have English or Chinese subtitles) — mainly European and Asian.

I know a good film when I see one, and I can say for certain that “Scent” is a good film.  Not perfect (technically) but as good as can be expected from a first-time film producer, a first-time director (of a commercial film), a first-time lead actress…. I know very little about the scriptwriter and the other actors (although I did google them.)  In fact, “Scent” exceeded my expectations.

I’m only interested in “Scent” because of Park Si Hoo.  Even if it is a lousy film, I would still support it.  But then I know PSH would not associate himself with anything lousy, being the perfectionist that he is.  I have confidence in “Scent” (even before I saw the trailers) because I know PSH has a knack for choosing works that challenge his considerable acting skills.  Even if the drama has a weak plot, he can still “reverse” it, because he is the “King of Reversals”^^

I have now watched “Scent” 1 and 2/3 times.  Why 2/3?  Because we had to leave early at Guangzhou on August 15 if we wanted to come back to Hong Kong before the border closed.  I would not have gone to Shenzhen the next day if I had managed to see the entire film the day before because I really couldn’t spare the time.  But how could I wait for the DVD to come out before I could see that naked scene in bed?! or even that fighting scene?

I am not particularly fond of love films because most of them make me cringe.  I am not a sentimental person; I don’t cry easily.  I remember years ago my friend made me go to see “The Notebook” with her.  She was sobbing and sniffling throughout but I actually felt bored (having read the Nicholas Sparks’ novel on which it was based.)

Now “Scent” is also based on a novel, Wang Bin’s “Taste”.  I’ve read “Taste”, only because of “Scent”.  It’s a decent work which does not induce any agony or ecstasy.  The film “Scent” has retained only the names and some characteristics of the male and female protagonists and her friends, the locale (Shanghai), and of course, the dove.  Everything else is different, since the male protagonist has been changed from a Japanese to a Korean.  The scriptwriter (a young Chinese lady like the producer and the director) has added a lot of diverse elements and local color to make the plot more interesting.  One scene in particular has the audience in stitches (no spoiler here!) — something to do with the two languages of Chinese and Korean that the two protagonists do not understand (of the other), something lost in translation, well, sort of^^

One surprising element is — there’s quite a lot of English in the film because that’s the common language between the male and female protagonists.  I can understand everything that they say without watching the subtitles.  Yes, there are subtitles, both Chinese and English.  Although not perfect (quite a few typos and spelling mistakes), the English subtitles are perfectly understandable.

The cinematography is excellent.  Shanghai is more beautiful than I have ever seen it, also more romantic.  And you have all seen Kang In Joon (PSH) and his Korean girlfriend on the beach at Busan with all the seagulls — simply breathtakingly beautiful!

Tsang Tsui Shan won the Best New Director award at the 2012 Hong Kong Film Awards for “Big Blue Lake” (which I forced myself to finish).  She should win Best Director for “Scent” for 2014.  She has totally outdone herself; she has not produced a BBL2 but a BIG BEAUTIFUL LOVE for which she could be proud.  She has successfully and effortlessly made the transition from an “art” director to a commercial director with artistic taste.

As for the actors, they are all appropriately cast, with An Hu (who plays Chen Ran’s now-ex-now-not-ex-boyfriend) and 漆亚灵 (the female MC at the Beijing press conference on 2014.03.26 who also walked the red carpet at the Beijing Film Festival on 2014.04.16) being outstanding.  I was very impressed by Sean Li’s Korean which he had to memorize by heart; it came out of his mouth very naturally.  Chen Ran is adequate; I can’t say splendid.  Compared to PSH, her acting is not of the same caliber.  Her character could have been a complex individual, but she only comes across as desultory, if not exactly superficial.

Park Si Hoo as Kang In Joon is utterly, unequivocably, undeniably brilliant, no ifs or buts!  He is simply perfect for the role (or the role is tailor-made for him)!  This is not a difficult test for PSH; he has tackled more challenging roles.  The real test is how to make a “simple” role sophisticated, how to transform an unassuming character into an unforgettable one.  PSH’s acting is not flashy, but his mannerisms are masterly — raising an eyebrow, widening his eyes, cocking his head, curling his lips, pointing a finger …. all convey certain meanings.  He is much better at acting stumped by the alien language than his female counterpart; he really looks at a loss.  I can see how his Kang In Joon unconsciously develops feelings for his “landlady” while searching for his lost love.  In fact, he mentions at one point that the two somehow seem to overlap at times.  His conflict is confusing but his priorities are clear.  He is a one-woman man.  Only after he has sorted out his relationship with his Korean girlfriend does he contemplate pursuing another.  PSH flawlessly conveys Kang In Joon’s tenderness, thoughtfulness, devotion, caring, forcefulness, preciseness, melancholy, playfulness, humor, elegance … He is an honorable man, a man a woman can depend on to take care of her.  Who wouldn’t want a Kang In Joon, especially when he looks like Adonis?

In closing, I must mention the music.  The song that PSH sings (in Korean) is played towards the end, against a beautiful backdrop, which makes it sound so much more romantic (tugs at my heartstrings.)  Another two songs (one very catchy and upbeat) also form part of the musical background, both of which I like very much, even on first hearing.  I can’t wait for the OST to come out.

I salute the producer Guo Li Jun, the director Tsang Tsui Shan, the scriptwriter Yu Qiao and everyone involved for this wonderful film, definitely the best film (in any language) I’ve seen in a long while.  You’ve done yourselves proud.  I wish this film will make billions for you!  (so you can make more films like “Scent”.)

I wish I could see “Scent” many more times on the big screen.  I’m holding my breath for the release of the DVD, so I can see it again and again.  It’s a feel-good film, an uplifting film, a film that makes you fall in love over and over again (with PSH, of course!)

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(Credits: Photos from “Scent”.  Thanks!)

Time out for Ashley

I am sorry I cannot work on our blog for the time being due to family circumstances.

I am very grateful to nance and shlee for assisting Hillary with English translation.

I also will not be answering e-mails.  No time or energy.

Please stay with PSH and PSH4U.

The taxi-driver from Hell

77888a39gw1eilryp4igkj20ei0lrmye Seeing PSH really lifts my spirits

I’m sitting in a hospital room (“sitting” which means I’m not the one lying in bed) and the only things to do are reading and writing.  I’ve been reading for two hours, so it’s time to do a little writing (longhand).

It’s been nearly two weeks and I’m still fuming, so I’ll recount a horrific experience (which has nothing to do with PSH, except it happened to a PSH fan.)

My husband and I took a taxi from our hotel to the Airport Express station (this was in Hong Kong).  As soon as I entered the taxi, I thought: “Oh-oh!”  A blond taxi-driver in a red vest with a mohawk haircut and a heavy-looking gold chain, I mean, necklace!  But what does the proverb say: Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Soon after we embarked on our 20-minute journey, he asked us why we’re not going straight to the airport (by taxi) — which cost much more (not that we couldn’t afford it, but the airport express train takes just 25 minutes and it’s very fast and comfortable.)  I said: “Just take us to the Airport Express, please.”  He asked us a few more times, until we declined to answer.  Then he started swearing, mumbling to himself or pretending to speak to someone on his cell phone.

We passed some demonstrators* in Central, and the man’s language got more and more colorful.  [* Demonstrations have become a way of life in Hong Kong, a fixture on Sundays.  Various groups of people are protesting one thing or another.]  These demonstrators were not in our way at all.  We came to a point where the opposite lanes (in opposite direction) were jammed, and our driver suddenly let out a stream of expletives, blaming us for putting him in a jam.  We remained silent and let him blow off steam.

Then there was a little traffic jam on our side — nothing unusual for urban traffic.  Our driver suddenly lost it and hurled insult after insult at us in the foulest language.  He told us to get off and walk to the Airport Express station (which was impossible even without luggage – we’re in the midst of a 4-lane road and the station was at least 5 minutes away by car.)  My husband said: “I’m not well; I can’t walk.  Please just take us to our destination” to which the driver replied: “F__k you!  If you’re sick, why don’t you take a taxi all the way to the airport?  Serves you right!  Now get the f__k off!”  (Actually practically every other word was preceded by some variation of the F word.)

I couldn’t stand it anymore.  “We’re not getting off before the Airport Express station.  Keep driving, or I’ll call the police.”

“Oh.h.h.h … I’m so scared … I’m quivering …” and he called me all sorts of choice names.

Soon after we arrived at our destination.  I told my husband to get off first (because he’s so weak), and I said to the driver: “Please help us with our luggage.”

“Pay first.”  He wouldn’t open the trunk.

I had to pay him.  (I was afraid he would not help us if I paid him first.)  He didn’t give me back the $3 change.  Normally I would have considered that as tips, but in this case, “My change?”  He threw a $2 coin at me.

He still wouldn’t open the trunk.  I shouted: “Open the trunk!”

“F__k you, b___h!”

He wouldn’t help us with the luggage.  “I have no obligation to take out the bags.” (sentence again embellished with adjectives and adverbs – you know what I mean.)

I had to summon all my strength to drag out the two suitcases.  Of course I didn’t close the trunk lid — it’s too high for me to reach and I knew he could close it from his remote.

He just drove off with the trunk lid open, cursing me for the few seconds I was still within earshot.

I stood there, trembling with fury and fear.  My husband was pale and frail.

What is Hong Kong coming to?  How can people behave like this?

If we had been tourists, can you imagine what he would have done to us?

I never realized the Cantonese dialect has so many dirty words, all with sexual undertones.

I have never been cursed like that in my whole life, and all three generations of my family too.

Even if the guy had offered to drive us to the airport for free, I wouldn’t have accepted.  Sitting in his taxi was like galloping on a horse.  He would press the accelerator hard, then step on the brakes suddenly — repetitively.

Oh, I took down the taxi number.  Hong Kong taxi drivers are required to display their names on the dashboard, but this guy’s nameplate was hidden (deliberately, I suspect.)  I called our hotel and asked the concierge to report the incident for us.  There’s a telephone number for complaints displayed in the taxi.

On the Airport Express train, I thought about PSH.  For my husband and me, this was just 20 minutes of humiliation and terror which left a bad taste in the mouth.  This was nothing compared to PSH’s year of agony and fear of incarceration (a criminal offence, if convicted, carries a prison sentence.)  He suffered it all with “grace under pressure”, so we’ll just laugh this ugly incident off.

(Credits: PSH photo from “Scent”.  Thanks!)

What the heck?!

H and I live in different countries, but we talk several times a day.  Yesterday I was busy all morning with family service, so I did not touch base with H until almost noon.

I saw several furious and frantic messages from her, screaming there are ANTIs on PSH4U!  Who stamped our logo on these photoshopped monstrosities?!  She referred me to this DC post:

http://gall.dcinside.com/board/view/?id=parksihoo&no=257814&page=1

I checked and recognized photos from an old, old post.  See this link:

http://parksihoo4u.com/2012/04/03/obb4-the-future-mrs-psh/

OBB40-2aaaaa 

Who on earth dug up this ancient post of 2 1/4 years ago?  People still read our old posts?

H did not recognize the photos because she was not involved in the 2012 PSH birthday project.  The BD committee included Songielove, Wilma, Hottie, and me, but these are Songielove’s and Wilma’s creations.  I don’t have an ounce of artistic talent in me, and neither does Hottie, or so she claimed^^

Hottie is in hiatus* but Wilma and Songielove can testify to this.  Hey, gals!  Your future Mrs. PSHs are still making the rounds!

And this is another post^^

[ED: For more, please see Category “PSH 2012 birthday”]

* Hottie just re-surfaced: please see her comments.  Talk of the devil, oops! we mean, angel!