Eight Taels of Gold (1989) - full transcript

Chinese ex-pat returns to his home town in China after a long absence in New York.

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Come on!...

Move your ass!

Fuck you!

Move it!...

Move it!...


You mother! What are you doing?

What the fuck are you doing?

No big deal!

If you were on the ball,
you'd get more! OK?

OK! Bye!

Statue of Liberty, 3 dozen;

Empire State Building, 4...

You're overdoing it!

Sunglasses 30 pairs.

What are these for?

That's the lot!

Chilled lobsters, 8 pairs.

It's all there, thank you!

You can always count on me.

The lobsters are too small.

Too Small?


The bumpkins at home won't
believe they're American.

They're big enough.

Bigger! I want them bigger! Bigger?


What is it?


I'll eat after this game.

I eat first.

Come and have one.

This hand will destroy them.

Show the high cards first!

High cards first?


What's up?

Lend me your gold watch?

What, again?

I'm going home. I need it to look good.

I just lend you.

Mind you don't lose it. Okay.

A classy watch for a classy man!

How're you doing?

It's bad luck to pat
a gambler on his shoulder.

Don't be superstitious!


It's not up to much.

What do you know?

Lend me your gold chain.

You just borrowed a watch.
Why'd you need a chain?

What are you up to?

You've already got
six taels of gold on you,

with this you'll have eight.

A man is not a man
without 8 taels of gold.



I'm off duty!

Come on just round the corner. Chinatown.

I've just got my green card, see!

I'll give you extra money,
you hear? Extra dollar!

No, not Chinatown, I go to China.


You go to China?

No Chinatown!

I go to China!

You mother fucker!


Excuse me, can I have a beer, please?

Miss, can I have a beer, please?

Can you see the clouds?

Of course there are clouds out there.

I'm talking about in here.

You're kidding.

The captain's calling for you. Go quick!

Attention! We're experiencing
severe turbulence.

The plane is out of control!

I'm afraid we may not make it to Shantou.

Please be quiet and listen to me.

Please put away all sharp objects.

Take off all shoes, glasses,
dentures and wigs.

Also your gold ornaments.
And fasten your seat belts.

In the unfortunate event of a crash,

grasp the seat in front

and rest your head on your arms.

I'll be giving out writing paper,

so you can put down your will.


I'll collect them and
mail them to your families.

Sir, can you remove your
gold ornaments, please?

No, I won't. I wore them
to show my parents.

And I'll go to my grave wearing them.

It's fun!

You think dying is fun?
Sit down or I'll kill you.

What do you usually write?
Last will and test...?


Pa and Ma, It's over 10 years
since I last wrote.

Now you hear from me only in my will.

I've nothing to leave you

except a cab in America.

Please sell it to support
yourself in your old age.

Bottomless-well borrowed money
to open a restaurant.

Ask him to return it to you.

But forget it if he can't pay it back.

If you can find my body,

please remove my gold

and return two taels to Craphead.

Use the rest to restore
the ancestral home.

Also, rememberl want to be buried at home

and not in America.

That's because my English
is a three-legged horse.

And I don't want to ride it
in the afterlife.

Everyone! Everything is now all right.

The turbulence has blown over to Sanmei.


The paper's not needed now.
Discard the used sheets.

And please return blank sheets
to us for next time.

For next time? Don't tempt fate!

You just can't tell.

Last time my friend went to Sian,

he wrote three wills in a two-hour flight.


Look at the camera! Smile!

Don't be so tense, Stand closer together.


Comrade. O Tau village?

That'll cost 200 exchange coupons, buddy.

Isn't it off the meter?

Yeah, you're right. The meter's off.

I'm a cab-driver too.
How about a discount?

It's the 4 modernizations:
look out for No. 1.

Tell you what: I'll give you a hundred

and throw in a name brand lighter. OK?

This is neat!

Of course. It's made in America.

What does this say?

Long live liberty!

Long live liberty. Alright, it's a deal.

(Emulate the old man)
(who moved the mountain!)

(Strive to realize the seven)

How are you?


Mum?... Dad?...


Hey! What are you doing? Breaking in?

Big head Hung!

Who are you?

It's Slim.


Skin and Bones!

You vanished from the face of the Earth.

Now you come back
like a bolt from the blue.

I'll explain later.
What are you doing in our house?

I married your sister.

Really? You married my sister?
Good for you!

What about my parents? How are they?

They... Come inside first.

What's happened to my parents?

Come in here first!

They are alright!

Then... somethings happened to my sister?

She's also fine.

It's just that she's in the family way.

That's good news!

But she's had a child already. A daughter.

Your dad insists she should have a son.

Then go ahead! No problem in that!

But they won't let her.

1 child's fine. 2's a crime.
What can you do?

She's gone back to
our hometown to have it.

Your parents have bone with her.

OK! I'll go to look for them.

Slim? Do you know the way?

Of course. I lived there
until I was eight.

Idiot! It was still the
"Great Leap Forward" then!

So what?

First let's find a hotel.
A high class one!

What do you mean high class?

That's what you'd call
"Superior Level" here.

Do you remember
your cousin from the village?

Sure. She's the tom-boy
I used to fight with.

She bit my nose and wouldn't let go.

It still bugs me. She wounded
my masculine pride. Fuck...

Sorry! ...

She's engaged to an
American-Chinese now.

She's going back home
to wait for her fiancee.

Why don't you go with her?

Me? Travel with a woman? No!

She's taking her brother with her.

He has to return to school.

No. Women and kids are a pain.

Are you scared she'll
bite your nose again?

Wow! So broad-minded!

"Do not attack customersl"?

That's right! "Civilizing slogans".

What's taking her so long?

There she is!



Cousin! It's been so long
I hardly recognize you.


I hate people calling me that.
Call me Jenny.

I've called you that for years.
It's too late to stop now.

What's "Odds-and-Ends"?

Bad goods.

let's get a table over there.

Say hello. Uncle!

It's cousin.

But he's too old to be my cousin.

Sit down and shut up!

Let's dance! It's so fun.

Hey! Enough of that!
Hands below your head!

Put your hands down! Lower them!

Yes. Dance like this.

You can't even dance freely?

We don't have the freedoms
you have in America.

What do you do in America?

I'm in... transport.

My future husband runs a restaurant.
In Brooklyn!

Oh, That's nice.

I'm going there after the wedding.

I'm learning English
with an American accent.

American accent.

The 28th is an auspicious day.

Both the almanac and the horoscope say so.

But the fortune teller says,

28 means two eights,

which stands for two women. It's unlucky.

We'll have to choose another date.

I see. So two eights is two women.

What's your sign?

Year of the Ox.

I heard you can change your face
in America, even your skin.

I'll change mine too,
so I won't be so dark.

Is it true you can change
all the skin on your face?

Sure. They use the skin from your ass

because it's soft and white.



But you'd be wearing your ass
on your face forever.

Well, yes. It doesn't matter though.

It doesn't matter?

At least, not unless you fart.

You'd really rather
take a public bus alone?

It's better than
going with that chatterbox.

In one night she's talked more than
all the women I've heard in 30 years.

But those buses are so crowded
you'll get your face knocked out of shape.

Who cares!

Get away...



Hey! Cousin. Odds-and-Ends.

Let me help you!

Where are you going?

To "make a connection" with my uncle, so
I can borrow a car to return to Toi Shan.

Toi Shan. That's where I'm going.
Let's travel together.

Good, My bike's up there. Let's go.

Sis... Stallone's coming
to China to make a film.


Cousin, come over here.


Is Stallone very short?

Not too short. About my shoulder height.

Are the women in America very liberated?


I saw on TV that some people
never tra-any-vel.

Have you tra-any-vel yet?

I haven't tra-any-yet.

Are you saving to mar-any-ry?

Have you mar-any-ry yet?

Not only have I not mar-any-ry,
I have not ss-any-ki yet.

What' s ssh'?

Sski is putting lips to lips.

Uncle, you really haven't
put lips to lips?

You believe everything I say?


Hey, not so loud.

Don't worry, That's how we
"connect" in China.

Not everyone has a phone, you know.



Uncle! Auntie!

You're here! What's up?

Where's Uncle?
We can't find him at his unit.

He's "supplementing".

The car's over there. Go take it yourself.

Good. Let's go.

What's "supplementing"?

Taking on freelance work.

What? During office hours?

Fuck you! Ass-hole!

Can't they drive?


I'll bring back a tank
next time and run you all over.

Left or right?

Hmm... Right!

That's left. OK.

What shall we do?

Get out of here. Quick...

I think it's... left.

Left or right? Left!

You're sure it's left?

I'm sure that... maybe it's right.

I'm sorry.

Do you know how they trained
peasants to be soldiers?

Left... right... left...

You just keep out of it!

The peasants couldn't
tell left from right.

You'd say left and
he'd put out his right foot.

You'd want his right,
he'd give you his left.

Just like my sister.

So the officer told the peasants

to wear one straw shoe and one cloth shoe.

He didn't call left and right any more.

He called out: "Straw shoe... Cloth shoe"!

Straw... Cloth...

Straw... straw... strew... screw...

Why are you talking dirty?
I hate people who talk dirty.

She's hearing things.
I wouldn't talk dirty.

I don't talk dirty.

What shall we do now?

Which hand do you use for your chopsticks?


Your bowl?


OK. From now on to turn this way,
you say chopsticks.

To turn that way, you say bowl.

OK. One way is bowl.
The other's chopsticks. Easy!

She actually understands it!

Good. Let's get going.

Where are we going?

It should be... I know.
Past the ancestral hall.

You should do a chopstick.

Then you'll see a banyan tree.

After the banyan tree,
you should do a bowl.

A chopstick, then a bowl. OK.

It's bowl when you see
the banyan tree. OK!

Are you okay? Hell! It hurts.

Watch out!

You said chopsticks!

My sister's left-handed.

I'm sorry.

My lobsters!

You fat jerk.
You'd better pay for that pig.

What? Pay for your pig?

You should pay for my lobsters!

Pay for the pig! This is a one-way road.
Don't you know?

There are no one-way roads
in the countryside.

This is my village.
There are if I say so. Shut up, cow!

Don't shout at her!
You act like you own the place.

Is this State policy?

State policy plus village customs
plus my hoe. OK?

Pay up... Right now.

You pay for my Uncle's van!

Go to hell. Just get it towed out of here.


Pay up or I'll beat the cash out of you.

Alright. I'll pay.

Tell me. How much?

You ran over my pig. That's worth $300.

My stall's ruined. Pay me $1200.

Who says?

We say!


Take this.

OK, now?


What are you going to do about the pig?

We've paid already. What more can we do?

We don't want a pig that's been
flattened like that.

Alright, we'll take it...

I'll let you off,
as you farmers work so hard.

Let's go!

Now. How are we going to get to Toi Shan?

Wait for me up here.

I'll go down there
to make some connections.

Are you sure it's down? Not up?

Hi! What?

We ran into some villagers.

Now we don't have any way
to get to Toi Shan.

Can you take us there?

We don't take passengers.

Please. I know it's inconvenient.

Look at the poor fat guy
and the little kid.

For a farm-girl,
your sister is really smart.

Who says she's a farm-girl?

She's waitress at a joint venture hotel.

Is that so special?

Of course. That's superior level.

Alright. Hurry up.

Thanks. Please wait.

Hey. Come on. Get on the raft.

Get on the raft. This is great.

Be careful. Watch your step.
It's slippery.

Put down the luggage!


Get your balance.

It's getting late.

Let's set off in the morning.

You're welcome to eat with us,
but it's nothing fancy.

That's no problem. We can roast the pig.

The pig's too big for us to vanish.

We'll manage. If we can use
our bowls and chopsticks right.

I don't eat pork.

Let's get on the raft.

Just ignore him. Let me give you a hand.

Dinner's ready. Make yourselves at home.

Don't forget your chopsticks.

Shut up! I can use either hand.


It smells good.

Eat more.

This is good.

You see.

You're not so bad.
Why marry someone from so far away?

Everyone wants to go abroad,
but not everyone can.

I've lived in America.
I know what it's like.

A lot of people spend their
whole life in Chinatown

living in a cubby-hole of an apartment.

You dress real smart though

and you wear gold.

A man is not a man without
eight taels of gold.

Were you doing very well in America?

I speak good English.
That makes a difference.

Can you teach me?

Sure. No problem.

Listen. "Yat" is 1, "Yee" is 2,
"Saam" is 3,

"Sei" is 4, "N9" is 5, "I-Qk" is 5,

"Chat" is 1, "Baat" is 3'

"Gau" is 9, "Sup" is 10,

"Sup-yat" is 11, "Sup-yee" is 12
and 12's one dozen.

Please say it once more.

OK. Listen.

"Yat" is 1, "Yee" is 2, "Saam" is 3,

"Sei" is 4, "N9" is 5, "I-Qk" is 5,

"Chat" is 1, "Baat" is 3'

"Gau" is 9, "Sup" is 10,

"Sup-yat" is 11, "Sup-yee" is 12
and 12's one dozen.

The maid with the blossom in her hair
rows through the wind and spray...

in pursuit of the gleaming clouds.

Soundlessly the boat glides
through the placid water.

Gentle is the land of rivers.
But where in that land can I find my home?

Soundlessly the boat glides
through the placid water.

It drifts with the song
into the dream where he dwells.

Who is it that dreams of
the one who does not speak?

Whose house will it be
in which I find my home?



Let me do it.

Do you know how?

I grew up here.


In the wink of an eye,
I've been gone for 16 years.

I don't know how
I'll explain it to my father.

What is there to explain?

Why I left when I did. Without a word.

Why did you?

In those day, China was in turmoil.

One day you were a hero,
the next you were a traitor.

I was just a teenager,
drifting with the crowd.

If I hadn't left,
I'd have drifted to my death.

Did you write after you left?

Yes. One letter.

Just one?

Just one. What was there to write?

I couldn't lie,
and the truth would have upset them.

Don't worry. It'll be alright.

Your father will be overjoyed
just to see you back.

He won't need any explanation.

Actually, I never thought
I'd see my father again.

The day I left I was standing
at the bow of the boat.

I took out all my identity papers...

my l.D. card, my work permit,
and my unit recommendation letter

and I threw them all overboard.

I told myself I'd never come back.

Could you really leave
everything just like that?

Not everything. One thing I kept with me.

It's to do with my sister.

My dad bought us a dog.

It was called Spot.

The day I left we were
fighting over the dog.

I got angry and said nasty things to her.

I made her cry.

Come on, You're over 30 and
you still remember something so trivial.

There's been little else
to remember since then.

We'll be there soon.
Why not go and change?

You should look your best.

Come on!

You look different in a suit.

Real smart! Better than Reagan.

Reagan? He's out of date now.

We're there. That's my village.

Please. Hurry up. It's right there.

No problem.

Can you put us ashore here?

I used to play bandits there.

Are you sure this is the way?

When I was young my sister and I

used to pick kapok flowers
by the battery tower.

Great. Let's go to the battery tower
to fight bandits.


Father. It's me. Slim.


Father. What's wrong?

Uncle, what's the matter? Uncle?

Lie down for a moment. Granddad...

Granddad. What did you do to my granddad?

Uncle, are you alright?



Granddad' s fainted.



Uncle, are you better?


Give me water.

Drink some water.

Let's get a doctor.

How are you? Is it the palpitations again?

I told you not to stay out too long.

Who are you?
Why did you startle my husband?

Are you alright?


It's Slim.

Mother, what's wrong?

It's your brother.


Your sister!

Spot. Look who's back.

This is Spot?

Yes. He's sixteen.
Getting confused in his old age.


You loved him so much,
yet he doesn't recognize you now.

Spot. It's me... Slim.


He recognizes you.


How old you've got.

The boy's come a long way to get home.
Go kill one of the chickens.

Siu Mei, go to the market
with your mother for some food.

Alright. Come inside first.

Father, take it easy.

Let me give him a hand.

Father. We're going.

Father. Don't exert yourself. Let me.
Give me.

I'm OK. It's just my age.

Be careful.

Is this your wife?

No. This is Odds-and-Ends.

Big Head Hung asked her to show me
the way. That's her brother.

Is that Odds-and-Ends from our village?

Your father is really losing it.

Watch your step.

She's quite demure.

Cover it.

Are they ready yet?

Come. Have a drink. Bottoms up.

The lobsters are enormous.

Try some American lobsters.
Help yourselves.

American money. It's so big.
Do you see the President?

Bottoms up.

Your watch is really nice.

My son gave it to me.

Thanks for your help.

A lot of friends and relatives have come.

How are you?

How are you all?

I'm Uncle Fook. How are you?

Uncle Fook!...

Your dad and I were re-educated together
during the Cultural Revolution.

I heard you were back, so I brought
this duck especially for you.

Thank you!

Give Uncle a red packet for luck.

Thank you!

Don't bother yourselves. You shouldn't.

We must.

No. It's not necessary. You're too kind.

Take it. Thanks.

Uncle Fook. Please help yourself.

Help yourself.


Slim. It's me, Nine Catties.

This is my wife. We used to live
at the end of the village.

You could say we drank from the same well.

These two geese are for you.


They're small now, but they'll grow.

And like you, they'll be worth a lot.

Lucky money... Thanks.

Little Slim! I'm your second Uncle.

You're back!

Here's a turkey.

You've grown into a fine young man.


Uncle's in there.

What a generous man!

Uncle. What are you doing here?

Why'd you have so many animals here?

I'm King of the Beasts.


I've come back to see you.
Are you pleased?

Good boy.

It's late. Go to sleep.

Go on.

Go to bed. Go on boy.


When did Spot die?

Last night.

I wanted to bury him myself,
to save you and dad the grief.

But I can't manage it in this state.

So I asked Odds-and-Ends to help.

Let me do it.

I used to come up here
with my sister to play.

We collected a lot of these stones.

It's pretty. It's like a sea-shell.

Why would there be sea-shells?

Siu Mei. This is for you.

It's pretty.


Do you remember us fighting over Spot?

I said nasty things to you.

You're not still mad with me, are you?

Did you? Did you say
anything special to me?

Don't you remember?

No, I don't.

I made you cry.

I really don't remember. What about it?

Never mind.

Ma, don't move. Just relax.

Let me soothe your eyes.

I'm getting old and my eyes are failing.

What kind of soup would you like tomorrow?

Any kind.

What do you mean? Any kind?

You've been away so long, and I don't
know how long you're going to stay.

Next time you go, don't just
write us one letter a year?


Yes, brother.

Mother reads those letters
you sent over and over again.

The light at home is so dim.
They damaged her eyesight.

My letters? Were there a lot?

There were 13 altogether.
I memorized them all.

13 of them?

He's back in person.
The letters aren't important now.

Let's have dinner.

Great! Let's play with the candles.

Light the oil lamp!

Father. Do you get a lot of
power failures here?

We're used to it.
The power has to be shared out here.

On odd days we're in the dark.
On even days they are.

On Sundays everyone is.

Why do they always get power
when we don't?

Forget it, mother.

What's the matter?

She's getting contractions. Is it time?

Sister! How do you feel?

What's the matter? The baby's coming.

Take her to the hospital!

Let me get a midwife.

We mustn't let the unit know!

Help her upstairs.

Be careful!

She's here.

Come in quickly.

Hurry! She's at upstairs.

Close the door.

We can't let any demons in.
This will guard the door.

Come. Come with me. Hurry.

Watch your step.


Watch your step.


There's a bad aura in here.

Please go upstairs and take a look first.

There's something wrong here. You can't
ignore it and go ahead with the birth.

Be quiet! Let me see.

Tzee... tsow... yan... mow...
sun... tzee... ng... may...

It's Twin Winter today.
The prevalent element is water.

The color of water is black. It bodes ill.

What are you mumbling? Bullshit!

Who are you? Be quiet!

I'm the brother.
That gives me the right to speak.

Don't argue with her.

Shut up! You know nothing about it.

You're here to deliver a baby.
Not to work as a geomancer.

Be quiet.


How is she?
I have a premonition of trouble.

This is a Na Tsa baby.

A Na Tsa baby?

What's a Na Tsa baby?

He's unruly. He should repay
his flesh and blood

to his parents to
make up for his misdeeds.

This one's turning the world
upside down already.

He's coming out feet first.

What shall we do?

Let's discuss it outside.

Let me do it.

Who do you want to save?
The mother or the baby?


The Goddess won't allow that.

The mother or the baby?

Didn't I make myself clear? Both!

Yes, both!

Hurry up. What are you waiting for?

Be reasonable. You can only keep one.

Hey! Aren't you even
going to wash your hands?

The hour is upon us.
Why are you obstructing fate?

No. Wash first!

Alright. Decide among yourselves.
I'll have a smoke.

Don't go away.

What's the matter?

What shall we do? How can we cope?

What's happening out there? Hurry up.

Mother, I can't go through with it.

Father. We should go to the hospital. Now!

If the unit finds out,
there'll be hell to pay.

Don't wait any longer.

What are you doing?

Hey! What are you up to?

Do you know how to do it?

Auntie. Can you give me a hand?

Do you know how? Can you handle it?

You men, go downstairs!

Alright. Be careful.

Father. Sit down. Don't worry.

May our ancestors bless us!

It's here! Arrived!

She said it was a Na Tsa baby.
It has to be boy.

How's sister?

She's alright.

But it really did come out feet first.

It was only halfway out
when it emptied its bladder.

It's a naughty boy.

It's pure virgin piss. You want a sip?

Father. Let's go upstairs. Okay.

This is great.

My brother's eyes are so small.
Yours are so big.

Come. Have a drink. Cheers!

Odds-and-Ends. Come on, let's Drink.

Odds-and-Ends. Where are you?






What are you doing there?

What's the matter with you?

Actually I can't stand the sight of blood.

I've never delivered a baby before.

Drink this wine. It will calm you down.

I've never drunk wine before either.

I didn't know where you were before.

So I didn't dare add
your name to the chart.

Now I've done that, my mind is at rest.

The day you're married,
your mother's mind will be at rest too.

Father? What about these
13 letters she mentioned?

How many letters did you
write after you left?


Yes. One.

That letter was written
in the worst of times.

At that time, anyone
with overseas connections

would be singled out and purged.

Yet your mother wouldn't
destroy your letter.

No matter what the risk is,
she kept it hidden and safe

and read it through the night,
in the darkness.

Father. I wanted to write...

but I was all alone in a strange country.

Days just flew by without me noticing.

Slim. Your father knows you inside out.

Even as a kid, you'd put
a brave face on things.

I know you left because

there were problems you couldn't handle.

I understood that. But your mother

waited and waited to hear from you.

She wouldn't even close the door at night.

She thought that you might return

and we might not hear
you knocking as we slept.

It hurt me to see her like that.

So, after 1976, when things settled down,

I began writing to her on your behalf.

Father. Is that true? Yes.

One a year. Up to last year.

Altogether 13 of them.

Look. Doesn't this look
just like your handwriting?

Yes. After all, it was you
who taught me to write.

You remember that?
When I first taught you to write?

You were always off
to the hills to climb trees

or heading for the river to swim.

I heard that Toi Shan
used to be underwater.

Is it true?

Legend has it that there are remnants of
old wooden boats in the hills.

The prows are said to be
decorated with dragon's heads.

So perhaps Toi Shan really was
underwater in the past.

I'm only 70-old. How should I know?

Soup noodles.

Waitress! We ordered fried rice.

Cousin. What a surprise to see you!

A revolving restaurant.
This really is "superior" level.

Take a seat.

These are the Sister Towers.

Sister Towers?

My fiancee says it's called
the World Trade Centre.

Only people from Chinatown
would call it that.

Most people refer to it as the Twin Tower.

Twin? What does that mean?

It can mean a lot of things.

It can mean high, glass, torch.

Also, hair cream and love.

Let me record it.

Twin means high, glass,
torch, hair cream,

also love.

Your tape-recorder is falling apart.

Here. Take this Walkman.




You're so big now. Aunt.

Sit down...
Mother, come and sit down.

You didn't wash behind your ears!

Mother. Come.

I'll get you some tea.

Weren't you going to
"conduct home hygiene" Today?

I did. Then I went to "conduct connections"
with odds-and-Ends' mother.

She's kindly offered to
"conduct match-making" for you.

"Conduct match-making"?

I came home to rest
Not to "conduct business".

At this rate,
if I start "conducting everything",

I could even end up "conducting traffic".

He's right. We'll just
look out for suitable girls.

Yes. No hurry.

By the way, Slim.
What do you look for in a girl?

What's your ideal woman like?

Strong as an ox,
with the appetite of a bird.

That's no problem.
As the well known rhyme says:

Earn ten dollars,
in our hearts there'll be no place.

Earn a hundred dollars,
it depends on your face.

Come from Hong Kong,
we'll look on you with grace.

But an old man from America
will always win the race.

Daughter. Remember to put
the word out for Slim

that there's a bachelor
looking for a wife.

Table 2. Fried rice.

Thanks for your trouble.

No problem. You can count on me.

Sure. One bachelor looking for a wife.

Fried rice!

Waitress, I haven't finished yet.
Soup noodles.

Waitress! This has been half-eaten.

I'm afraid I already ate some.

Give you. Sorry.

Do you still want your fried rice?

Hell! What kind of service is this?

My daughter works in a patisserie.

A lot of the men in the unit
are interested in her.

Somehow it just never works out.

At the KwangTung Women's Appearance
and Knowledge Competition,

she came 3rd.

Mr. Chang. Let's talk outside.

Slim. Go on.
Go out and discuss your terms.

Mr. Chang. Excuse me for being direct.

Do you have four whorls,

twelve plugs, and thirty-six legs?



It's this, you see.
The 4 whorls are a bicycle,

an electric fan,
a sewing machine, and a watch.

These are things that turn.

12 plugs are fridges, air-conditioners,

colour TVs,
and other electrical appliances.

36 legs are things like beds, wardrobes,
wooden chests, kitchen cabinets.

All these are furniture with legs you see.

Comrade, I'm just an ordinary man.

I have just two legs, and one plug.

You said you don't talk dirty.

I'm not talking dirty.

That's just how I'm built.

Twin means high, hair cream,

torch and also love.

Pa and Ma, it's over 10 years
since I last wrote.

Now you hear from me only in my will.

If you can find my body,

please remove my gold

and return two taels to Craphead.

Use the rest to restore
the ancestral home.

Also, rememberl want to be buried at home

and not in America.

That's because my English
is a three-legged horse.

Where's your brother?

He's not here. You want him for something?

Nothing important.
I just want to give this back to him.

Put it here.

Where is he?

He's with mother over there.
I take you to him.


Don't bully her.


What's this?

He's over there.

Brother. Odds-and-Ends is here to see you.

You want to see me?

Yes. I'm here to...

For you.

Oh, it's nothing.

I just returned something.
It's round the other side.

Who is she?

Excuse me for a moment.

Where are you going?

Odds-and-Ends, where are you going?

And not in America.

That's because my English
is a three-legged horse.

And I don't want to
ride it in the afterlife.



Odds-and-Ends, why did you do that?

I deserve better for
giving you my Walkman.

I didn't ask for it.
I only wanted to learn English.

You didn't even find any time to teach me.

But I've been rushed off my feet
since I got back.

Of course! You're too busy
meeting prospective brides.

My mother wants me to. I can't refuse her.

I won't keep you then.

I can learn English
at the Overseas Society.

Your English is just a three-legged horse.

Why are you in such a hurry
to learn English?

America's not all a bed of roses.

You could end up worse off
than you are now.

Night and day, 7 days a week,
you'll wash dishes

while your husband gambles in Chinatown

until he's lost every last cent.

My husband says he won't
let me wash dishes.

He saved all his money
to open his restaurant.

And he doesn't even allow
his waiters to gamble.

Big deal! A restaurant's
nothing to boast about.

You're the one who's been boasting.

You've treated us like paupers
ever since you came back.

I've treated us like paupers?

I've spent all the money
I saved in 16 years.

I really will be a pauper
by the time I return.

Why put on such a show
when you don't have the money?

It's my money.
I can do what I want with it.

Like this Walkman,
I can throw it away if I want to.

Marry him. It'll be like a cold rinse.
It'll soon sober you up.

Little Buffalo.


Why didn't you bring an umbrella?

Sister said she'd bring me one.

She never "Holds Fast to her Vows".

What are you doing here?

I studied here when I was young.



I was a notorious troublemaker.

I was kicked out even before
the first term finished.


Really. This used to be a graveyard.

The unit said it had to
give way to a school.

But the villagers refused.
They fought over it.

I think they must have
come to an agreement.

With 5 beads here, move 1 bead there...

Wai Keung. Come and
repeat it for the class.

This isn't bad. You can have
a dialogue with your ancestors.

I'm going to join the class.

Alright. Take the umbrella.

What about you?

I've got more hair to cover my head. Go.

Reporting to the teacher!

Go to your seat. Don't be late again.

Sit down.

Cousin. Why didn't you bring an umbrella?

Sister said she was bringing one for me,

but she never "Holds Fast to here Vows".

Let's share one.

Never mind. It's stopped raining.

I thought you were broke.
Why give so much money?

Before I came to school here,

I couldn't even spell the word "Money".

Will you really be penniless
when you go back?

I didn't have a dime
the first time I went either.

Were you unhappy there?

I'm on my own. Happy or unhappy
makes no difference.

On a good day, I'll drink the night away.

On a bad one, I'll sleep it away.

When do you leave?

Actually I'm not completely
sure I want to go.

All my girlfriends say that
life there's pretty good.

My mother thinks so too.

Here, I work in the
revolving rest every day,

going round and round in circles
but getting nowhere.

It's a good thing to get out.
The world is pretty big.

China's not exactly small.

China's big. Its assets are many,
but its people poor.

He said there are a lot of
poor people in America too.

He? Who?

Him. You know.

Oh, him! Yes, there are
a lot of us poor people there.

Who's poor? You have your
eight taels of gold.

You need some props even
to feel like a human being.

I'll help you buy your trousseau.

Never mind.

You need some props even to get married.

Forget it.

Let's go. Come on. Forget it.

Many things to buy here.

Don't you think this is nice?
Isn't this pretty?

It's not bad.
Buy it if you like it so much.

Your trousseau should look impressive.

Otherwise people will look down on you.

Look, this is really pretty.
It's like fireworks.

You like fireworks?

Yes, but I've never seen any in real life.

I've only seen them on television.

They were pretty. Bang!
And they flew into the sky.

Another bang!
And they came down in showers.

Then the others,
crossing the sky like streamers.

Then bang again!

What's wrong? Are you getting too hot?


Do you want a soft drink?

Why not?

Look! You're wet through.

I hate spring.

What's wrong?

Me too.

You too what?

I hate spring.



My fiancee will come for me in spring.

Do they really hatch so punctually?

Yes. We have to be sure
we can make the market days.

In this cold they might be
less willing to hatch.

This will warm them.
The cold will be over soon anyway.

When will this cold spell end?

Grandfather said, when
all the kapok flowers are gone...

it won't be cold any more.
Spring will be here then.

Tonight I'll take in the waist.
It'll fit perfectly.

Don't bother.
It already fits more or less.

Marriage is important.
More or less isn't good enough.

Mother. There's scaffolding Outside.
Are they "conducting activities"?

What does your sister like best?

I don't know.

Fireworks! Your future
brother-in-law gave money

to celebrate the spring festival
with fireworks.

It's arranged for her pleasure.

There's a movie show as well.

Great! I like Bruce Lee's films.

Mother. Little Buffalo's
still such a handful.

Maybe I should help with him
instead of marrying.

Don't be silly. Don't talk nonsense.

You're not getting any younger.

The whole village is ready
for your wedding banquet.

Sis, you have to marry
or there'll be no films to see.

You'd sell your sister
down the drain for a movie.

I promise I won't run away again, alright?

Look at that rice field over there.

There are now tractors working it.

I haven't seen a paddy-field for ages.

Of course you haven't.

America's all high-rises and skyscrapers.

That looks familiar.

That used to be the
ancestral hall, remember?

Now it's a Youth Association Hall.

The countryside changes much.

The faces are new.

Third aunt...

Right, let's take a photo!

Closer, more intimate. Don't be shy.

Let's take some more group photos.

They look right for each other.

Born to be a pair.

Jenny, you sit down.
I'll look after the guests.

Everyone, make yourself at home.

Jenny, what do you want to drink?

Orange juice.

That's enough. Okay.

Have more, no need to be polite.

Slim, dear brother.
Let's down one together.

Let me drink a toast to you. Cheers.

Slim, you look familiar.
Have we met before?

It's not possible.
I rarely go to Chinatown.

I don't like the dirt and bustle.

Do you stay in Chinatown all the time?

I have no choice. My English is bad.

I see...

Don't you go to the classes
at the Chinese Centre?

Yes, I go Monday, Tuesday and Friday.
It's hard work.

I have to leave the staff
to manage the restaurant.

And I can't help worrying.

When we're too busy,
my brain just can't handle it all.

Of course! It's a long time
since you were a student.

Slim, which school did you go to?

Ho Shan.

Ho Shan? So did I.

No wonder you look familiar.

What a small world!

Yes. We were divided into 6 classes called


I was in class "HOLD".
Which one were you in?

Class "LOSE".

He didn't lose any time
getting kicked out.

This town! Each time you look up,
you see a familiar face.

Yes. Each time you look up,
you see a familiar face.



What's the matter?


What's wrong?

Sitting by yourself ruminating?

No, what are you doing?

I picked these flowers for medicine

and I'm using the
leftover ones for decoration.

How are the wedding arrangements?

They're almost complete.

Almost complete?

Bridegrooms here need
4 whorls and 36 legs, you know.

4 wheels? I have a car
ready for Jenny in America.

When she learns to drive,

she won't even need her own 2 legs,

let alone 36 legs.

Who will teach her
to read the road signs then?

They are all in English.

Who'll teach her to shop
at the supermarket?

And what about buying stamps
to post letters home?

Going to the doctor? Declaring tax?

Going to the bank to open an account?
Bringing up babies?

Make sure you don't have too many!

Do you hear me?

Forget it. You're a decent enough guy.

Yes, Brother Slim.

Jenny, come over here.
I've something to show you.

I made it especially for you.
Isn't it pretty?

Shall I hang the flower wreath here?

You know, I spent the whole
of last night making it.

Do you like it?

Yes, it's pretty.

It's so pretty.


Did it frighten you?

It's noisy. I'm a little dizzy.

Aren't you feeling well?

I'm fine. Are you sure?

I'd just like to freshen up. OK!

The fireworks are pretty.

Not bad. At last I've seen them.

When do you leave for America?

Next week.

Where will you be living? New York?

San Francisco.
He said he wants to move there.

San Francisco? That's good.

It's all the same.
Anywhere we go, we'll be in Chinatown.

Actually, I'd rather go to Hong Kong.

Do you know which the largest
Chinatown in the world is?


Hong Kong.

When are you going back?

It doesn't matter when.
After all, I'm on my own.

Didn't you like any of the girls
you've seen recently?

I've decided not to get married.

Is it true, what you said last time?


That you've neither mar-any-ry

nor even ss-any-ki.

Yes. What about you?

To be honest, neither have I. Really.

We don't seem to be doing things right.

I think so too.

Shouldn't we close our eyes?

I guess so.

You close yours first.

The first stroke of the brush
is for luck and fortune.

The second is for a long marriage.

The third is for a flourishing business.

The fourth is for sons and heirs.

Where are your eight taels of gold?

This is for you.
May your marriage be a happy one.

What about you?

A bride is not a bride
without eight taels of gold.

They're here.

Jenny, we're ready.



Congratulations! God speed.

The bride is beautiful.

Leave with good spirits,
return with success.

Please go home. Thanks!


Bye, sister!

Write when you get there!

Bye, sister!


The maid with the blossom in her hair
rows through the wind and spray...

in pursuit of the gleaming clouds.

Soundlessly the boat glides
through the placid water.

Gentle is the land of rivers.
But where in that land can I find my home?

Soundlessly the boat glides
through the placid water.

It drifts with the song
into the dream where he dwells.

Who is it that dreams.
Of the one who does not speak?

Whose house will it be
in which I find my home?

The changes of the land, as sea becomes
soil and soil gives way to sea,

what changes do they cause in me?

Fallen leaves, old roots,
dust of my hometown,

all part of the legend within my tale.

Who do I not make my way back home?
Why do I not let the feelings die?

How much love and hatred
have I already known?

Why do you not use me to fill the sea?
Why do you not make your way into my dream,

never happening to meet in this life-time?

Why do you not use me to fill the sea?
Why do you not make your way into my dream,

never happening to meet in this life-time?