Saturday, December 23, 2006

Message from Sanney Leung

Sanney has sent out an update on his condition and I thought others would be interested as well. Sanney and his old website "Hong Kong Entertainment" are very much missed, but thankfully look to be on the mend. My very best wishes to Sanney and his continued improvement. Hearing this good news is the best present I could have receieved this Christmas.

Brian
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My fellow HK entertainment fans, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Around this time last year, I was diagnosed with stage 2B nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Known colloquially as the "Chinese cancer" because 65% of new cases each year are diagnosed in people originating from the Guangdong province - Hong Kong region, a malignant tumour had grown behind my nose in the nasopharynx and had spread to some lymph nodes on the left side of my neck. In between the time of my diagnosis and the beginning of my radiation and chemotherapy treatments, I was caught in a whirlwind of tests, scans and appointments. As a result, I didn't have the time or, quite frankly, the inclination to write an announcement on my website about my condition. It had been my intention to let everyone know about my situation when things slowed down as I began my treatments. My oncologists told me that I would have about two weeks before I would start to feel the harsh side effects of chemoradiation. Therefore, I had planned to use those two weeks to tie up the loose ends on the site. However, on day two of my treatments, chemotherapy threw my body chemistry out of whack and I was hospitalized with an enzyme imbalance that caused me to constantly throw up. The inauspicious beginning ushered in eight turbulent months during which I suffered through various problems brought about by the treatments. There were events that I anticipated -- such as the installation of a feeding tube in my abdomen because the radiation and chemotherapy heavily damaged cells in my mouth and throat -- and events that I didn't see coming -- a six-week hospital stay initiated by an infection and an addiction to the painkillers that were prescribed to help me deal with my mouth pain.

Nevertheless, suffering through the slings and arrows of the treatments was worth it because I am happy to report that, for now, my doctors think that I am free of cancer. The primary tumour behind my nose has completely disappeared. Also, I had precautionary surgery two weeks ago to remove the infected lymph nodes in my neck. Pathology tests for the removed nodes came back "benign" so it appears that the treatments have "cured" me. I put "cured" in quotes because my doctors never talk about cures. Instead, they like to talk about "cancer control" as in "we believe the cancer is now effectively controlled". I won't be out of the woods until I pass the five-year mark -- recurrences do occur after five years but the likelihood is minimal. As things stand now, I will be watched closely with scans and examinations for the next few years but there is a 70% chance that the cancer will not come back again. To me, those are very good odds.

Now, all that's left for me to do is heal. My mouth and throat are still feeling the effects of the treatments so eating remains a little bit of an adventure. I lost forty-five pounds during the treatments and, because of my eating problems, I have only managed to regain ten of those pounds. The weight loss means I lost a lot of muscle so I currently have the strength of an eight year-old. I started physiotherapy to help me rebuild my body but have had to stop temporarily as my neck heals from the surgery. I am told that it will probably be March or April before I feel fully "normal".

Besides the physical problems, I have had to deal with a dulling of my mind. From March to September, I was on a lot of painkillers and anti-emetics. The drugs had me feeling very dopey so I spent most of the time in a fog -- sleeping sixteen hours or so each day. During this time, I didn't have the mental energy to read the paper or even, gasp!, watch TV. My "mind-grapes" withered from disuse so when I started weaning myself off the drugs, I found it very hard to focus and think. Coupled with having been completely out of touch with what was going on in the world, I felt somewhat disorientated when I started re-engaging "life". I am slowly getting my bearings and my mental edge back as I read more and more, start watching a bit more TV and generally get caught up with what happened in the past few months. Still, quips don't come as quickly and writing remains a bit of a struggle. I am confident, however, that as I write more and use my brain more, I'll be back to my normal wisecracking self in no time.

Thanks to everyone who wrote me a "get well" e-mail. Thanks especially to those of you who got together to send me that fantastic "get well soon" card and that delightful gift basket. I'm not yet at the "getting back on the Internet regularly" phase of my recovery so my apologies for not responding to your e-mails and thanking each of you personally. On the subject of e-mails, 16,824 unread e-mails have accumulated in my personal e-mail account and 57,160 e-mails have accumulated in the site's e-mail account. Consequently, I am tempted to forego the process of sorting through the mess by deleting everything in the mailboxes and starting from scratch. If I go this route, I apologize in advance for not getting back to you and I invite you to write again when I get re-established on the net. Speaking of which, the domain name for my website lapsed while I was in my drug-induced fog. When I tried to renew it, I learned that someone else had bought the rights to it. Does anyone out there know how I can go about getting the domain name back? If so, please send any suggestions to sleung1027@yahoo.ca. You can also get in touch with me through that address. I can't guarantee a quick response -- I'm currently only on the Internet for a couple of hours a week -- but I promise that I will get back you eventually.

In case any of you were wondering, I have been completely out of touch with the goings-on in the HK entertainment circle. I have only heard about a few things through phone conversations with my HK relatives. Things like:

- The deaths of veteran actors Bao Fong, Kwan Hoi-Shan and Bill Tung Biu. As Uncle Junior says: "these things come in threes." It's also another reminder of how quickly time passes.

- The marriage of Cecilia Cheung Pak-Chi and Nicholas Tse Ting-Fung. I don't want any bad karma so I'm not going to join in on the speculation of how long this marriage will last.

- The de-pantsing of Yumiko Cheng Hei-Yi during TVB's annual hospital charity show. I hate to say it but it smells a little bit like a publicity stunt to me. My cousin sent me the video and a few articles on the incident and publicity stunt is what comes to mind. Starlets in the HK entertainment cirlce usually take full precautions to prevent any accidental exposures. Remember Kenix Kwok wearing bicycle shorts under her mini-skirt back in the day? As a result, I find it hard to believe that Yumiko Cheng's pants would fall down so easily. Besides, she's managed by those micromanagers at EEG so I find it hard to believe that she revealed anything she didn't want to reveal.

- Ekin Cheng Yi-Kin shaving off his hair to play Huo Yuanjia in a TV series. This is a definite Samson situation. Cheng's hair does 90% of the acting for him. Without his hair, how is he going to emote?

- Gong Li's cleavage in the North American poster for CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER. Apparently, over here in the West, her cleavage gets a higher billing than Jay Chou.

I am looking forward to getting back in touch with all of you and sharing our interest in the HK entertainment circle. I'm not a fortuneteller so I can't say that will be. However, I'm sure I'll be back on the net in some shape or form in 2007. In the meantime, my best wishes to all of you for the New Year. Thanks again for your thoughts, your prayers and your support. Words cannot adequately convey the depth of my appreciation for the warmth and well-wishes that I received.

Happy Holidays,
Sanney Leung

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Link to Bookmark

Some of you may recall YTSL who often reviewed films on my site, View from the Brooklyn Bridge. She has set up her own blog and muses upon various subjects from her love for Hong Kong to the sad passing of sociologist Clifford Geertz to her love for food and football. Take a look and give her some feedback.

http://webs-of-significance.blogspot.com/

Two from the Shaw Brothers

Starlets for Sale

http://brns.com/pages4/shaw6.html

The Stud and the Nympho

http://brns.com/pages4/shaw7.html

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Time for a Cheesecake Break


Love Asia

Director: Barbara Wong
Producer: Maggie Q
Starring: Maggie Q, Almen Wong, Lin Chi Ling, Zhou Qiao Queenie, Mayuko Kawamata, Lee Ka Hye (Kae), Aysha Bashir, Jacqueline Alblas, Yo, Grace Tagle

Yes, it’s that time again for the dreaded Asian Film Blog Sweeps and in a sordid attempt to raise the rating numbers of this blog’s readership, I am resorting to the oldest trick in the book – sex. Plus, I think after dutifully reporting on serious film content for weeks now that this blog needs to wallow in cheesecake for a while. And what better cheesecake than this DVD that I came across in Hong Kong but that is no doubt available to all healthy males across the globe. And if you have pangs of guilt for buying such a sexist trifle, you can tell yourself that you are only following the directing work of Barbara Wong Chun-chun who has previously helmed films such as “Truth or Dare: 6th Floor Rear Flat” and “Six Strong Guys”. This film will no doubt go to the head of her fine resume.

Produced and coordinated by none other than Maggie Q, this actress brings together a collection of nine models from all over Asia for a beauty shoot in various locales of Malaysia including Langkawi beach and Kuala Lumpur. The models are all leggy and lovely but my special interest was in “Her Name is Cat” Almen Wong who comes along and expresses shock that she was included with all these “fresh, young models”. Sure there are lots of scenes of these models in skimpy bikinis contorting their bodies into complicated poses that will keep their chiropractors busy for weeks, but this film goes oh so much deeper than that as it explores the complex troubled psyche of super models. In fascinating interviews with them it delves into their reflective thoughts on careers, insecurities, sex and love. It’s got to be tough at times being beautiful, young and successful and all this angst and vulnerability is on the screen for us to witness. It is just heartbreaking and inspirational at times.

What kind of a dream man are they looking for? Sweet, career minded and funny. Thankfully for most of us they all seem to agree that size doesn’t matter – in fact Queenie from China mentions that being too big can be painful though the model from Indonesia says she sure doesn’t want a “1 minute noodle”. The Japanese model Mayuko tells us confidentially that “when I don’t have a boyfriend I feel like rubbish”. I felt like crying. These are just young women – who want to make as much money as they can before they hit their expiration date. Almen being a single mom is a bit different – for those interested she is looking for a husband who is athletic, loves her kid, is funny and is attracted to her. Well, at least I fit the last requirement.

Unusual places where they have had sex – the usual – while driving (Maggie Q), on the beach, at a party, while reading the “Asian Cinema - While on the Road Blog” at an internet cafe, doing the pledge of allegiance in the oval office, center court of Wimbledon, with the Harry Potter cast, the Sultan of Brunei’s mansion, on the set of “Generation Y-Cops”, in the front row at the New York Asian Film Festival, standing in line at an Elton John concert, on the set of “Mission Impossible 3”, on the floor of the Sistine Chapel, in Grand Central during rush hour, under a table at a Mother Teresa Memorial Dinner, in front of the Mona Lisa at the Louve, on the set of “Naked Weapon” and so on. In fact pretty much everywhere except sadly on this video. Almen fesses up to doing it on a plane and not in the bathroom to which Maggie Q expresses envy as if this is her last frontier to do. And I thought it was just a spilled coke that made my seat sticky the last time I flew. Oh Almen you she little minx!

Narrating throughout with Shakespearian eloquence is Terence Yin who sounds somewhere between an ad for a 1-900 Party Line and an obscene phone call with lines like “These girls really are . . . . . picture perfect” or “You can feel the wildness in her body can’t you?”. I never thought I would say it – but stick to acting Terence.

In the end you are left with this wonderful, warm feeling of women who just want to live normal lives and would give it all away for the right man. Just the girl next door – except this one looks really good, is having lots of sex, would never give you a second look and is probably having her apartment paid for by a much older man.

Maggie Q says her dream is to make “good films – ones that really effect people”. Well, this is an inspiring start. Keep it up Maggie Q!

Later in the week a return to Shaw Sleaze with reviews of such classics as:

Starlets for Sale
Sinful Adulteress
The Stud and the Nympho
Corpse Mania
Sex Beyond the Grave