Dad came to visit me!

Previously: Dad is coming to visit me

Well, after years of living abroad, I finally got my dear dad to visit China. He has came and went and I survived. A week and a few days, and I hope I was a good host.

He came to meet him Hong Kong, and we had the whole airport hug moment. Jetlagged, he was somewhat out of it and I led the way by double-decker bus to Causeway Bay. I know my way around there by now.

Actually, I still don’t totally know my way around. There was some initial bickering, I admit. For some reason he thought the hotel wouldn’t be a forty-five minute ride from the airport, and fair enough I did get lost after that…

Carrying all the luggage, trying to figure out the map app on my phone, I finally found the hotel. What a beautiful view from the 37th floor



I didn’t think the journey to the hotel was that bad, and it was merely the first of several arguments. And yet, the biggest challenge was simply that he’s getting older, and didn’t have as much energy as I’d hoped. If it wasn’t one thing it would have been another.

“I came here to see you,” he kept saying. Then getting mad at me for dragging him around too much. Hey it’s cool!

Also he wasn’t much interested in the food, which makes me wonder what the point is of going to China, but eh to each their own.


The next day my tour began with a ferry to Kowloon. Ate Indian food at Chungking Mansions, of course, and starting busying souvenirs.

Unfortunately, modern China is not quite like what he imagined in the Bruce Lee movies. Not so many rickshaws, but here’s one junk.



There would be lots of Bruce Lee-themed wandering. My dad’s number one interest when it comes to China. Here’s the Bruce Lee statue from the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui.



Personally I’m far more interested in the installations they set up at Times Square,  Gundams!



More importantly, back to regular tours, we took the tram up to Victoria Peak. Absolutely incredible at nightfall.





Again, while China/Hong Kong didn’t have as much martial arts-themed sights has he’d hoped, we did find an exhibition at the Heritage Museum for our last day in Hong Kong.



When we crossed the border into the mainland — my city of Shenzhen — I realized that on the second leg of the trip we were to take it much easier. More lazing about, less scurrying from one place to the next. I indeed wanted to do more scurrying, but what are ya’ gonna do?

(Just like when I was a kid we’d go on vacation and spend more time watching TV in the hotel room than out and about..)

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Chinese Film Review: Monster Hunt 捉妖记

“Monster Hunt” An Enjoyable CGI Romp Impressive for China

But beware of the Disney-esque song and dance numbers

Monster Hunt


If you happen to live in China, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you must have seen some of those endless advertisements showcasing adorable monsters. That would be the phenomena of Monster Hunt (捉妖记), the now highest-grossing domestic Chinese film of all time. Directed by HongKonger and animator Ramon Hui, who also co-directed Shrek the Third, the film has captured the hearts of millions and paved the way for new Hollywood-style budgets in Chinese film.

Better late than never, I decided to finally see it. With English subtitles. Monster Hunt is an enjoyable adventure that utilizes the Hong Kong-style of action comedies, and mixes it with a mainland’s aesthetic for ancient China settings. Mostly family friendly, the film does include a few racy jokes including a male pregnancy and “birth” scene.

While the plot is fairly predictable if you think about it too much, there are enough surprises to entertain. Baihe Bai plays well as an up-and-coming monster hunter, although of course it turns out that the monsters aren’t all evil and new sides must be chosen. Boran Jing is adequate enough as the comic relief partner.

Warning, there are a few Disney-esque song-and-dance numbers which strain credulity even for this film, and gives it more of a childish tone than audiences might expect.

He only comes in halfway through, but the cute monster Huba is the true star of the film. The plot revolves around the monster being rescued and his royal lineage bringing new peace to human-monster relations. And, obviously, he makes a great mascot to sell toys. The CGI special effects portraying this character work well, especially impressive considering it’s a mainland China film.

On a more interesting and deeper note, the film does seem to have a valid message in all that. Specifically, it critiques the unethical Chinese practice in which the wealthy eat endangered species. When the villains make dubious claims that eating monster meat will bring youthfulness and vigor to shallow snobs, one can definitely see the same thing as relating to the cruel poaching of tigers and rhinoceroses and so on. Questioning and mocking such pseudo-medicinal practices is a very positive message to teach the Chinese youth.

Overall, it’s a good thing for Chinese cinema that they are able to make these kinds of films. It will remain to be seen how they’ll do competing with the West in the future, but it is a good start if nothing else. And, the story was left open for a sequel…

Monster Hunt/捉妖记 is now playing in Chinese theaters with English subtitles.