Qu ri ku duo (1997) - full transcript

We haven't seen each other in 30 years

And a lot has happened in that time.

You studied comparative literature.

- I did comparative literature.
- And philosophy.

He did history.

- And she...
- I did comparative literature.

We started college in 1966.

1965, and I met Ann in 1966,
so it's been 31 years.

30 years, if we start from 1966.

The Lady Ho Tung Hall
is going to be rebuilt.

She doesn't seem to have
much affection for the campus.

You're still the same.

I haven't been eating much lately.

But you still look pretty good!

- Really?
- Yes!

Got a facelift?

No, I haven't.

I think it's because you have
a good frame of mind.

Did it ever cross your mind,
what she'd do in life?

Or did you think she'd be
unemployed and depressed?

No, no.
We were very existential back then.

We were living day by day,
always thinking about how we'd survive

In a world of pain and suffering.

Someone growing up to be a firefigher -

Who would have cared
about that sort of thing?

No one would have cared.

Emily Heung
Schoolteacher (HKU graduate)

People who graduated in those days
now have many opportunities

They've chosen to do different things.

It's really the same group of people.

They're no longer all
working for the government.

The development in the past thirty years

Has transformed our
simple environment

Into a complex one.

I've changed so much since I was 19

I don't think I can ever go back.

I've changed somewhat since I was 19.

But I don't think I've changed much
since I was 25

Apart from putting on a bit of age.

Michael Luk
College lecturer (HKU graduate)

I've definitely changed a lot
since I was 19.

Changed in what ways?

I'd like to know as well.

You were so Machiavellian.

- No...
- Always telling us we were too naive.

Margaret Ng
Barrister/ Politician (HKU graduate)

- Turning 50 is a rite of passage.
- Why?

You start to think more.

Thoughts come and go like the tide!

Dominic Tsim
Stategy consultant (HKU graduate)

- Really?
- It's true.

I wasn't scared when I turned 40.

I agree.

Crossing the hurdles then
never felt difficult.

I felt very happy when I was 40.

Most people who turn 50 start thinking:

Two-thirds of my life has passed.

I'll need to plan for the future.

That's why it's such
an important juncture.

I personally think if you believe
in the afterlife

You'll need to start preparing for it.

Like avoid commmitting sinful deeds.

Like getting all your friends on camera!

When I started making films,

I thought about Hong Kong...

And my feelings about the place.

I couldn't escape my childhood memories.


When I was on the streets of Macau
as a kid,

The trees cast shadows, clearly outlined

And the buildings all had
classical exteriors.

It felt like they were
splashing down on me.

You can't escape the feeling.

I don't know what to do about it

But I'm constantly trying to
recapture that feeling.

Hong Kong was very calm in 1953.

In my mind, it was full of mirrors.

You've forgotten everything!

I met with my sister
when I went to America.

Everything she could remember,
I couldn't.

And everything I could remember,
she couldn't.

We got it all wrong!

We lived in North Point
when we first came to Hong Kong.

It's somewhere along the coast.

In those days, there weren't that
many buildings on King's Road.

Our apartment blocks by the ferry pier

Were about five stories high.

It was called the "Model Housing Estate"
at the time.

It's still here.

Blocks A, B, C came first.

And in the end there were five blocks,
each five stories high.

A lot of immigrants settled there.

There were around 50 households
in each block.

All of them were small families.

A foyer, a living room,
a bedroom, and a toilet.

It was very crowded,
and everybody knew each other.

Applying for the Estate was like
betting on the races.

You had to fill in a form
and sign your name.

And the rest of the formalities.

You had to report your income
and the number of occupants.

And sometimes, we children...

Would play games there,
Like hide-and-seek.

There's a tree all of us would climb.

Anyone who climbed to the top
was the winner.

There was something else as well.

The trams were on the road
opposite the Estate

Every night we'd hear
the sound of the tram.

The sounds would disappear at midnight

And return at 5 or 5:30 in the morning

When we were up studying.

On the other side of the street

Was a popular nightclub.

Rumor had it that Mona Fong
was performing there.

A lot of luxury cars would
pass by at night.

It was the famous Ritz Nightclub.

We'd go there together.

We observed the buildings
being constructed nearby.

We stayed at the Estate for seven years.

I grew up on Java Road.

- You lived in North Point as well?
- Yes.

What do you remember about North Point?

North Point?

I remember there were
hawkers and food stalls.

Selling fish balls...

- They're still there.
- I know.

I remember the bus terminus
and the ferry pier.

Unlike you, I didn't like
North Point very much.

It's weird, we differ on
a lot of things.

You like using Cantonese Opera
in films.

I find it maddening.

North Point reminds me of
my unhappy childhood.

I was born in Hong Kong.

At home, in fact.

I was born in my own house

In Tai Wai Village
in the New Territories.

- You're from Tai Wai?
- Yes.

I remember the surrounding environment
very well.

Living in the New Territories
where the village houses were,

With gardens and trees.

I used to climb the trees
and roam the fields.

I'd walk up the hill near our home.

Always running around somewhere,
when I was a kid.

Picking fights with other people,
climbing trees, and just being naughty.

I really like Cheung Chau.

About an hour by boat
from Hong Kong Island.


There are many
Western-style villas here.

On the other side,
there are fishing boats.

Reminiscent of the fishing harbors
of old Hong Kong.

I went to a Christian secondary school.

Back then, church schools were better.

There were three types of schools:

Private schools, which weren't
very good.

Government-funded schools,
like those run by the church.

They were pretty good.

Then there were government schools,
which were rare.

- I think you were five?
- I was five.

Wait, you weren't five yet.

St. Paul's Convent School had
a minimum age requirement of five.

You were still studying in Shek Kong
when you were four.

My grandma walked me to school.

When I was at school, I had to see
her face in the window, or else I'd cry.

Like I'm in class,
and she's staring at me.

Until class dismissed.

All parents wanted to send their kids
to government-funded schools.

That is, the church schools.

My father studied in Hong Kong,
though his family was in Macau.

And oddly, he never saw a difference
between boys and girls -

Girls had to go to school as well.

He worked hard to get us into
church schools in Hong Kong.

He asked a priest at his alma mater

To refer me to a convent school.

So I spent 13 years at
St. Paul's Convent School.

They required you to become a Catholic

And get baptized.

So, of course, my father sent me
to Sunday School

And got me baptized.

On Kin Hwa Street in North Point

There was a church called
St. Jude's Church.

It was new at the time.

We were going to a Catholic school,
so we had to get baptized.

And to get baptized, you had to
go to church every week.

I have very bitter memories of
my time at school.

I didn't feel like I had
a happy childhood.

- Why bitter?
- I was afraid I couldn't pay for school.

Back then, school wasn't free.

So I had to ask my father for money
at the end of every month.

And my father's financial situation
wasn't good.

And I had many sibllings.

So it was difficult to find money
to pay for school.

Education is very important.

If she could study, I'd do everything
in my power to give her a chance.

My father and my grandfather
had many grand discussions

About whether to send me to
an English language school.

What's funny is, English schools
taught everything in English.

Even math, Chinese people
taught math in English.

And Chinese became a secondary language
in primary school.

Outsiders can't understand this,

Chinese people learning Chinese
as a second language.

There was a big cultural shock.

So we developed a taste for
abstract things

Like wuxia (martial arts) novels

Which transform the entirety of
Chinese culture into a fantasy.

Into something that isn't real.

It's easier to accept something
that definitely isn't real.

Because you wouldn't have to
figure out what was real.

So this might explain why,
beginning with my generation

People had such an affection
for wuxia novels.

I remember starting from grade three

We started reading wuxia novels.

I started reading Jin Yong's novels
when I was 8.

I've read all of them,
down to the last word.

Some of them hadn't yet been
released separately

So my aunt diligently collected
all the newspaper serials.

Liang Yusheng and Jin Yong's
wuxia novels were serialized,

Appearing in the paper every day
with an illustration.

We'd buy the newspaper every night.

Children and adults alike
followed his stories:

The Legend of the Condor Heroes

The Book and the Sword

Every day at school, during the recess

We'd passionately discuss
the characters,

Their fates, their love interests.

Children were particularly influenced
by Jin Yong's novels.

Children love stories, and Jin Yong's
were incredibly romantic.

He wrote about human emotions

And how heroes should behave,
the nature of moral character

And how to properly conduct oneself.

So I had a great yearning
for Chinese culture

And the Chinese moral spirit
in particular.

These novels exemplify Jin Yong's
style of writing -

His use of the wuxia medium
to preserve

What he believed to be most fundamental
to Chinese culture.

I started reading the newspaper
when I was in grade three.

An evening paper my mother took home.

Since then, I've loved
reading newspapers.

Even the ads.

I browse the paper for short stories

And world news.

Hong Kong was very peculiar at the time.

It was the 50s, shortly after
the Communists took over.

The camps were clearly defined,
"leftists" and "rightists".

"Right" meant Taiwan's Kuomintang
and "left" meant Mainland China.

Since we were kids, we didn't know
which paper represented which camp.

It was all very confusing.

The same incident could be reported
very differently.

And this prompted us to think...

How do I put it?

A kind of reality,
where we distrusted everything.

Always thinking:
who was telling the truth?

"10,000-odd people protest in Taipei"

"Taiwan comrades expand
their anti-American riots"

"Taipei under martial law"

I kind of think many people
in our generation

Including myself...

Have done many good things,
have worked diligently

With an improper motive.

For a sense of pride and
a need to compensate

For a feeling of inadequacy.

I also kind of think this
feeling of inadequacy

Stems from our identity
as children of a colony.

You feel ashamed for not knowing enough
about the motherland

But if you don't adapt to
the colonial culture

And keep up with the times,
you can't survive.

It becomes a painful balance.

But the pain also breeds
a sense of identity:

Your own sense of where you belong

And your ability to balance
the deficiencies.

Which is why I think
the colonial experience

Is like a feeling.

There's an indescribable
sense of nostalgia.

Perhaps it's not right.

But you can't not have this feeling.

This is a Hong Kong-style cafe.

It's very noisy, as you can hear.

But I find my inner peace
when I'm in a cafe.

I often work on screenplays here.

I have no idea why.

Last time, I brought Wang Shaudi
(a Taiwanese director) with me.

He couldn't bear it.

Under the nuns' instruction,

I completely assimilated
into school life.

I was always praying

And I joined religious activities
at the school in grade 8.

There were two types of
religious activities.

There was missionary work,
spreading the word.

And something which didn't exist
at the time,

A form of "social work".

We were mostly showing people
that we were there for them.

It wasn't always about religion.


I found it particularly meaningful -

Participating in social activities.

At the time, there was an organization -

The "Legion of Mary".

Those activities were quite tough,
we had to visit hospital patients.

I most vividly remember
visiting the children

Living in wooden shacks in the slums.

This was the late 50s and early 60s.

The slums were very miserable
and no one cared about them.

Talking with these people every week,

We realized some things were
beyond our life experience.

Visiting the slums left
a deep impression on me.

Later on, when I entered
the political arena

These experiences became
very instructive.

- I once played Hamlet at school.
- You played Hamlet?

- I wore a pair of boots.
- A woman disguised as a man!

- I didn't know about this either!
- You didn't?

So what did you play?

- She played Ophelia.
- I wore a pair of pajamas!

The choir took up most of my time,
starting in grade 8.

The choir at St. Paul's
was very active.

I spent a lot of time there,
after joining it.

A lot of my school memories
involve the choir.

When I first started school in grade 7

The experience was
incredibly humiliating.

All of the sudden, you couldn't
say or understand a thing.

By the time we were
in secondary school,

Our Chinese was very sophisticated
and elegant.

I remember publishing articles
when I was 11

And writing novels as a layman.

Yet we spoke English like a 3-year-old.

It felt terrible.

The contrast was very stark.

She's been incredibly unlucky.

When she could finally speak Cantonese,
she moved to the US.

Then she had to learn English.

Now when I take her to China,
she has to speak Mandarin.

No matter how much she studies,
she can never keep up.

I never saw an education in English
as a colonial thing.

For me, learning English meant
being able to read more books.

If you can't read English,
there are plenty of Chinese books.

That was how people
thought of it at the time.

I didn't read a lot of
traditional Chinese novels.

I read Journey to the West
when I was 12.

And Dream of the Red Chamber
at about the same time.

I liked them both.

In secondary school, we were reading
The Chinese Student Weekly.

Back when we were in grade 9 or 10

The Chinese Student Weekly
was food for the soul.

The people worked on the paper
at the time:

Lu Li, her husband Sek Kei, and Law Kar.

They were our cultural heroes.

Secondary school students
had to read The Weekly.

Especially the Movies section.

It covered many European films.

The Weekly also had many...

Patriotic pieces.

We called our flavor of patriotism
the "Faction of Mountains and Rivers".

When Nansun Shi first
went to China

About 20 years ago
during the reform period

She welled up at the sight of
China's natural beauty.

Did you ever wear
a Chinese robe in college?

- Yes, legend has it he did.
- Yes, and Luk did as well!

- Nope, I didn't.
- Yes, you did.

- You put on you father's gown.
- But I didn't wear it to school.

It didn't fit.

- But I've seen you in them.
- I wore it in the hostel.

Doesn't that count?

- Hostel is a part of college.
- Fine, I admit it!

And the scarf too.

I've seen it too, the red scarf.

That's what people did during
the May Fourth Movement.

From 1960 to the 1967 riots

We never thought much about
the government and other things.

We did read the papers.

But we didn't really start caring
until the 1967 riots.

You're being ridiculous.

How can I not have heard of Liu Shaoqi

After he was purged in
the Cultural Revolution?

But weren't you studying
English literature at the time?

How would you know about Liu Shaoqi?

- We studied in a convent school.
- See, that's "colonial education".

Exactly, so how did you know about it?

Maybe I have stronger Chinese roots
than you.

- You must be kidding me.
- Your background was less "colonial"?!

When I was 16, I wasn't sure
how I felt about my mother.

It was complicated.

I didn't really know
how she saw things.

We didn't talk much.

As a kid, I thought she was
very mean and strict.

After I grew up, I felt like
her Chinese wasn't very good.

And her living habits were
different from ours.

There was a lot of
anti-Japanese sentiment at the time

But my mother often expressed
positive opinions of the Japanese.

It was only when I was 16
that I learned she was Japanese.

At the time, neither side accepted me.

Why not?

The Japanese didn't accept me
because I married a Chinese.

So we were going to stay here
after we got married.

And when I came here, I couldn't
tell anyone that I was Japanese.

It wouldn't have done anything good.

So what can I say?

Neither side accepted me.

In the context of my own
personal experience,

These two events really affected
my worldview.

My sense of absolute agreement and
identification with certain ideas -

I thoroughly discarded all of that.

There was a rift between reality
and what we were taught.

Our schools taught us about old customs
and the Christian life

And foreign languages and ideas

Which were all divorced from reality.

We still watched films,
visited tea houses

And did what normal people
did in Hong Kong.

That rift must fall apart
at some point.

At least it fell apart for me.


I spent most of my childhood,
my happiest memories

In the theater, watching films.

Because I could escape the real world.

Why do I love musicals?

Musicals let you into their world

For two hours.

There's singing, dancing, romance,
and they're usually comedies.

They usually have happy endings.

It's a very fulfilling world,
completely different from real life.

Now that I remember everything...

Whenever I felt gloomy
in my school years

I thought about college

When I wouldn't have
to bother anymore.

I didn't know if I could go to college.

The problem was money, not grades.

But my grades were enough
to get me a scholarship, so I went.

Why don't I talk about college life?

I was very sad in my first year.

I don't know why.

I wanted to work on my English.

So I didn't study anything in Chinese.

I only did literature in English.

It was comparative literature,
which was mainly translated work.

The literature course followed
the British system.

You were required to attend
10-11 classes every week

Where the lecturer would go through
certain books and poems.

After that, you had to go to
the tutor's room for a tutorial

Where you studied the text
with the tutor.

There was a lot of free discussion.

The people we met at the
University of Hong Kong

Were all either playboys, or debutantes
looking for husbands.

And folks like us who cared about
the country, the people

Our mission, our culture

How could we not scorn them?

Our college dorm was
the product of charity.

It was funded by
Robert Hotung's donations.

College life was very peculiar.

Two people shared a room
in their freshman year.

Then you had a room to yourself

In your sophomore and senior years.

I hated it.

I thought it was all very disappointing

100 women living together.

We thought the women there
were all very shallow.

We despised them.

- Nice of you to admit it!
- Didn't like them.

After living there for a year,
it was even more of a disappointment.

You may have already forgotten

- We shared the same room.
- I remember.

I most vividly remember
the meals we had

With those princesses
with delusions of grandeur.

- Is that so?
- The dining table was very large

But the plates were amusingly small.

When a plate was out of reach
for someone at the table

I remember you passed them the plate

So they could help themselves.

And right away, a senior scoffed:

We don't pass food here
at the Ho Tung Hall.

- I don't remember.
- No?

My blood immediately boiled.

- And you stomped off.
- And I stomped off.

How can you bear to live
with someone like this?

An aristocratic college
with aristocratic students.

The British taught you
how to speak English.

But they also exposed you
to their way of life...

Like rituals and ceremonies.

Every month, or every 2-3 months,
there was a High Table Dinner.

Everybody put on a green gown
and ate terrible food

While one or two guests of honor
delivered a sermon.

Then we had to greet people.

Sometimes there were drama shows

And student exchanges between halls.

It didn't feel very authentic.

Then there's the hazing
and all the pretension.

Who are you to treat people that way?

We don't have this culture of hazing.

I think it's incredibly
rude and immoral.

Didn't you leave Ho Tung
in your second year?

No, I was still there.

- Left in your third year?
- Yes.


- Weren't you organizing rallies?
- Oh, there wasn't much activity.

I wasn't actually the one organizing
the student movement.

I just joined the ones who were.

They were always visiting the snack bar,
so what's not to like?

- She was one of our groupies.
- That's right.

I mostly listened to them
maunder on about politics

While I provided silent moral support
behind my trusty teapot.

Why did I spend my time with them
in my college days?

It was a small circle of people,
mainly the contributors to

Undergrad, the Student Union paper.

Unlike me, they were less interested in

Literature, culture, morals, theories,
that sort of thing.

They focused on politics and society -

Socialism and how to improve society.

In the beginning, it remained within
the confines of the college campus.

It was only after 1967,
the year of the riots

That it became a genuine
political student movement.

The riots of 1967 were
somewhat related to

The Cultural Revolution in China.

Even now, not much has been written

About that time in history

To tell the truth of what happened.

The riots lasted for a long time
in Hong Kong.

It couldn't be quickly resolved
like the events of 1966.

And the methods were more radical

There were bombs, both real and fake.

People were injured,
some were victims of bombings.

Some protesters were
beaten by the police.

It started in the May of 1967.

And lasted until October that year.

I was completely oblivious to
local affairs at the time

Except for that one time,
the riots of 1967.

I wasn't interested.

Sometimes I'd watch the news
with other students.

There were bombs and other things.

Then one day we had an exam.

It was my first year,
the exam was on aesthetics.

At 3 or 4 in the afternoon

I'd only just finished a question.

They suddenly announced that
a curfew had been imposed.

The exam was cancelled
and we could go home.

[Chinese national anthem]

That's when the student movement began.

- You started it Tsim, remember?
- Oh, come on.

I don't mean you alone started it all.

- I mean...
- It started in your time.

- Because of the riots.
- Yes.

At the time, I was
President of the Student Union.

Faced with such a critical
social crisis

We had to take a stand.

We opposed the use of violent methods

To resolve what began
as a labor dispute

But which later morphed
into a political one.

It wasn't just the HKU Student Union.

There was also the Hong Kong
Federation of Students,

The brainchild of Andrew Wong,
now President of the Legislative Council.

Several students' unions got together
to issue a statement.

This was their first.

It affirmed their support for
the law and social order.

Our position was very clear.

Many different branches of
civil society

Took the same stance.

Many people supported this.

Stop using bombs and
other violent tactics for

Labor disputes which could be
settled normally.

Because we were criticizing
the "leftists"

And accusing them of
wreaking havoc on Hong Kong

The student leaders - Andrew Wong,
Dominic Tsim, Bernard Luk

Became targets of the leftists.

Wen Wei Po and Ta Kung Pao
frequently published

Anonymous articles attacking
and threatening them.

I remember sarcastically calling Tsim
"Dominic X Tsim"

Putting crosses in the names of
all the student leaders.

I received some letters...

I can't remember how they were written

But they disagreed with our position.

They were slightly threatening

But it was never put into action.

No? I heard you were being followed.

Maybe, but I wasn't aware of it.

HKU had its own Struggle Committee
at the time.

- Hmm.
- And they were fierce.

Looking out the window of
the Student Union Building

You could see the Loke Yew Hall.

One morning, a long red cloth
hung from there.

I can't remember the exact wording

But it was heavily critical
of colonial culture.

But when you mention the riots,

It's almost like another world.

Students at the time, even Tsim,
were preoccupied with things like

Should the Literature Society
hold a barn dance?

What are we going to do
if no one attends the barn dance?

That was the ultimate question!

Remember when you said there were ghosts
in Robert Black College?

- Yeah.
- Robert Black?


- Oh, that time.
- You were in that room.

Your room had a ghost, mine didn't!

You were in the room next to us.

I kept on hearing sounds in your room.

You came to find me one night.

- Or was it Emily? I'm not sure.
- She left.

She asked me:

- "Ann, you know what happened?"
- No.

"Why don't you come over?"


- Go on.
- And she...

Closed the window.

Right then, you could hear someone
crying upstairs.

- Ah, I remember.
- The cries stopped...

Once you closed the window.

So we leaned outside
to see what was going on.

Upstairs was an Australian couple.

- They were postgraduates.
- And they were very young.

They were in the suite?

The lights were off.

We were told the couple went out.

We checked again, and I forgot
what happened after that.

We went up, but didn't hear anything.

But don't you remember?

When you woke up from
an afternoon nap

There was a samurai standing there.

- I thought it was midnight?
- You actually saw it?

- Standing at the door.
- In full armor.

Then it must be real!

I think Robert Black is haunted.

To be honest, and
I'm not being serious

But I think it looks weird.

The dissertation was
the toughest part

Of the Master's degree.

That was the beginning of

The most boring part of my life.

That year, every possible bad thing

Happened to me.

It was an unhappy experience.

Every night at 9

I'd run to the office to read books

Returning home at sunrise.

I started having trouble sleeping.

I couldn't sleep for 6 months.

Then, I started getting sick -
my thyroid gland.

I couldn't do anything at all.

But I didn't give up.

The new instructor saved me.

During one of our chats,

He told me study film.

The rift between culture and reality

Was irreconcilable.

In the end,

I was very lucky

To be able to work in film.

What's so ironic about it is

I ended up being a realist director.

Being a political director.

Doing politics in Britain

Didn't feel the same as
doing literature here.

I realized the importance of
civic participation

After a year as Student Union President.

But I wasn't familiar with it.

You need to figure out
what you're for and against

And why do you support it?

There must be a philosophical basis.

A theoretical basis.

So that's what I studied.

At the time,

I believed in a utopian society.

But after studying politics,

I realized there were many theories.

Each with their strengths
and weaknesses.

It wasn't simple at all.

You couldn't generalize everything.

But in the end,

I still believed a free and
liberal government

Was the best.

I still think it's the best.

If it governs too restrictively...

As Zhao Dan said before his death:

Restrictive governance kills the arts.

And it's not just the arts.

There's no hope for science either.

If you ban everything...

If a kid grows up not being able
to create,

To write different articles
and come up with new theories

Then, the country might be
easy to govern

For the ruler.

But the country would be on
a path of destruction.

The arts and sciences in decline.

I've always been very passive.

Like, people told me to run for office.

I did it, but not because

Ah, I reached a certain age,
so I must run for office

And do this and that.

No, someone said it

And I acted after careful consideration.

It's not something I had planned.

But once I act, I have to devote
all my energy to finishing it.

So I can't, and don't, plan.

When direct elections finally arrived

People started looking for candidates.

And people like me,

We don't like campaigning,
we treat it as public service...

Serving the people

Instead of political ambition.

So it didn't quite fit us.

But I didn't see it that way.

The way I see it,
if you support elections

But you refuse to run
when other people don't

That's just not right.

- Do you like the work?
- Not really.

- Have you thought about it?
- Not at all.

- I know Ann is passionate about films.
- I've never thought of it.

- Are you passionate about politics?
- Not a single bit.


Then you shouldn't do it.

The first question I ask myself is,

Is there something worth doing,
even if the times are tough?

And I think there is.

Something I should do,
and am capable of doing.

With that thought, I decided to do it.

I made a promise to do it.

It's that simple.

So it's a bit funny.

Never had the vocation,
never thought:

Ah, this is my life mission.

- Any opinions on Hong Kong's future?
- You don't have to say anything!

No, there's not much
to avoid talking about.

Fine, Emily first!

- You've spoken the least tonight.
- This topic doesn't quite suit me.

It's too macroscopic for me.

- What if a student asks you?
- Huh.

I wouldn't discuss something so macro.

Michael, you have a go.

It's too complicated,
don't know where to start.

When I was still young,
I knew what to say.

Not anymore.

- How wonderful!
- Remarkable!

So surely if we talk about it now,
there won't be a problem?


I've been thinking about this a lot.

I think Hong Kong is incredibly lonely.

Hong Kong is like a very successful
sex worker

I mean it!

Anybody who comes here,
she'll give you anything you want

As long as she can make a living.

She might be invisible, hidden.

She might lead a very humble life,
with a daughter.

All she wants is to raise her kid

And put food on the table.

For that, she'll give you
anything you desire.

As long as you let her live.

So, with Hong Kong...

If you need money,
she'll give you money.

If you need marketing, technology,
she'll give you that.

She'll give you anything.

And when you're finished, you leave.

This woman only wants to live
a simple life in peace.

She betrays her dignity in return
for something simple.

If she's given what she needs,
she's happy.

Her sacrifice may be great.

If you ask me what I'm seeing
at this moment in time,

I see some things in Hong Kong

That I think are very important -

What we've accumulated over a long time

And acquired through the
vagaries of history.

We're currently at risk

Of losing those things.

And I feel our job is to preserve it

With all our might.

There's one important thing -

You now understand that
time is very precious.

- Better than when you were 20.
- Yes.

You can't say:

I'll make 30 more films.

- Yes.
- You can say, ok...

I can make five more.

So you'll need to carefully select
which five you'll make.

- Right?
- But you can't choose.

You can't even choose.

- The problem is that I have no choice.
- It's crashing down on you.

You have to apologize for
using certain phrases

Like "civil liberties".

People think you're pretentious

But to me, it's a very real thing.

When the public can't see
the value of freedom

And say:

Oh, it doesn't matter

We asked for 15 things, and got 11.

They're going to mess with us anyway,
what can we do?

It makes me nervous that
people think this way.

Because you'll only know what it's like
when you've lost it.

But by then, it'll be too late.

So, the current generation
is only interested in money.

And you see the enemy

Approaching the city gates.

What do we do?

A few students are interested
in these issues.

The minority.

But the problem with the
current crop is that

They only have guts, not brains.

They only take a stand.

- No solutions.
- No strategy.

After sharing their statements

They have nothing else to say.

That's the difference I see.

I'd also rather be someone
with a solution

Than someone with fortitude.

But if you know it's a losing battle

And you can't win...

- If you can't win, then leave.
- You can't win...

But if you live a while without
winning or losing

Then you haven't lost.

If you only make five films,
make one called

The Reluctant Hero.

A story of how the female version
of a playboy

Became a freedom fighter.

It's a heroine's journey.

You really are the king of misdirection.

- Do you plan on leaving?
- Yes, I do.


If you write for a living

That's quite different from
running a business.

I'm already living in three places.

Her sister lives in the US.

Her brother lives in Canada.

So I'll stay in all three places
each year

Months at a time.

- I'll stay here a bit more, perhaps.
- You'll stay here more?

It's Hong Kong, I've lived here
for decades.

Up till now, at every stage of my life

My bond with Hong Kong has
always been one of gratitude.

I think I've gained a lot.

Anything I've lost becomes negligible.

We've reaped the biggest rewards
of our generation.

But we haven't transcended our time.

That was our limitation.

We're a unique product.

But we haven't beaten back
the limitations of our era.

We have a stronger sense of duty
to this place

And that's how it should be.

Now that our time has passed,

We'll disappear, like other people have
in the past.

Because we haven't transcended our time.

We failed.

Why don't I leave Hong Kong?

Everybody wanted to leave Hong Kong
in 1989.

I don't think I'm staying entirely
because I'm too lazy to leave.

I'm very curious.

I want to know what's going to happen.

If I could satisfy this curiosity,
it would be worth it

Even if it came at a heavy cost.

I've known my mother for 50 years.

I think I understand her now.

It makes me happy.

I feel the same way about Hong Kong.

The more you know the place,
the more you don't want to leave.

No matter what becomes of it
in the future

At least I'm there to see it.

That's why I don't want to leave.