I came across a movie by Ho Yim called “Floating City” which was released in 2012. It was a story of a red haired, blue eyed orphan who became adopted by a fishing boat family, and his rise to success during a time of unprecedented change in Hong Kong in the 1940s. I came across a review that I could not in totality agree with and was moved to respond to the Editor of the website. I am sharing some very personal thoughts with my readers, not to criticize the reviewer, but to promote sensitivity on behalf of the growing inter-cultural and inter-ethnical community.
I stumbled upon your site’s movie review of Aaron Kwok as star of Floating City’s Bo Wah Cheun. I am a writer and was researching what has already been written by way of review of this movie. I watched it last night.
Unfortunately, I felt the reviewer/writer missed some important key points about the story. Instead of belaboring the issue, I shall discuss just one example to demonstrate my point. Please note this is not a disapproval of the writer’s ability or your decision to publish the review in question. Rather, in movies where there is a cultural lesson including a biographical expose, reviews should at the very least capture the true essence of the movie’s premise.
Bo Wah Cheun’s identity as a man of red hair and blue eyes but raised to be Chinese put him at odds with both the Eastern and Western cultures. Neither culture welcomes or accepts him as their own. Being labelled as “half breed” was an insulting and disrespectful reference meant to cut at his right to be a full Man and Human Being. In the movie, he answered the bully of a supervisor who mocked Mr. Bo and claimed that the latter owed his growing success to him. Mr. Bo rightly answered that while he owed his start to the supervisor, the former worked hard to earn every accolade afterwards.
The issue is not that “mixed breed” was the point of contention because biologically speaking, Mr. Bo was of mixed cultures. Towards the end of the story, Mr. Bo found out from an eyewitness that his father was a sailor who had stopped at port who raped his teen mother. The offensive and derogatory term “half breed” however was to deem an individual unworthy of the full benefits and stature of a complete or full person. These two terms are not interchangeable.
As a 2nd generation Chinese woman born outside of China, and able to relate better in a “white man’s” language than “yellow man’s” tongue, I feel strongly that these inter-cultural identity building stories should be explained clearly and succinctly.
Thank you for your time and the opportunity to share my thoughts.