A Traitor Unto Himself
Oh! NOW I’m disappointed.
Chow Seng Chi (周星馳）was my big Canto love for years and years. Because:
1. Extremely handsome
I used his films as teaching and learning tools of Canto, and when people asked me which Cantonese films I could recommend, I always said “Anything by Chow Seng Chi.” He single-handedly changed the face of Cantonese comedy by using his own Mou lei tau (冇理頭）－ a play on 冇理由 （mou lei yao – “meaningless”) – humour. I used to have a photo of him on my pager in the days of pagers – my husband made me burn it on our wedding day. Yes, the photo.
A big part of his appeal is of course that he speaks Cantonese, a good fighting language perfect for the delivery of a terse put-down, and the Chow Seng Chi-films dubbed into Mandarin I’ve been forced to watch, have of course been not very good at all.
So what does he go and do?
Produce his new films in Mandarin, saying in a recent interview: “Cantonese? Do people still speak that?” and “Everyone in Hong Kong understands Putonghua now.”
What – so he thinks the two languages are interchangeable? That fun, vibrant, expression-laden, infinitely rich Cantonese can be replaced by dry, stick-in-the mud, slang-less Mando?
Chow Seng Chi: TRAITOR! Cantonese made you, and you know it! What are you going to do in your Mandarin films, make Party speeches?