It has been weeks since I watched Trivisa (樹大招風), a Hong Kong movie starring Gordon Lam (林家棟), Jordan Chan (陳小春), and Richie Jen (任賢齊). And there are also my favourite supporting actors such as Philip Keung Ho-Man (姜皓文) and Lam Suet (林雪).
The story – three stories of three real characters, to be precise – mentioned about rumours spreading in Hong Kong and mainland China that Kwai Ching-hung (季正雄), Yip Kwok-foon (葉國歡) and Cheuk Tze-keung (卓子強) were to cooperate with each other to do something big.
They were infamous mobsters in Hong Kong when the city was still under British rule. Infamous for their illegal dealings and the likes, they never really met each other. After Hong Kong’s handover to Chinese rule, each of them took a different path.
In the movie, Richie Jen turned into a businessman smuggling electronics by deploying fleet of boats plying between Canton and Hong Kong. Lam Suet was the middleman bringing together Richie and mainland officials so that they could sweeten their deals with hard cash, free goods, antique, and wasteful dinner at restaurants.
Before 1997, Kwai Ching-hung fled to the west after killing police officers. He then returned to mainland and Hong Kong holding a western passport. He found his former subordinate in the underworld, but the man now had a Thai wife and a daughter, and was firm that he no longer wanted to involve in illegal business. Kwai Ching-hung used the daughter as a disguise so that he could acquire guns without hindrance, and his buddy reported him to the authority and he was about to be caught one morning…
Jordan Chan played Cheuk Tze-keung, a playful man who wanted things to always be going his way. Feeling bored about his ‘business’ to snatch and hold rich family members to ransom, he playfully opened a phone line to offer rewards to those who tell him the whereabouts of Kwai Ching-hung and Yip Kwok-foon. Many called up and provided not-so-accurate information, but Cheuk and company still paid them handsome fees. And eventually Kwai and Yip called him up…
I have read some online comments on Hong Kong websites, and I cannot agree more with the following point of view. That the movie is implying the decline of Hong Kong after 1997. The infamous three mobsters – previously in their heyday – are now sneaking around and thinking about how to do something trivial. Those comments said those were the days when even big thieves had big dreams. But now, not anymore.
The ending credit song of Kenny Bee’s Let Everything Be Gone With the Wind (讓一切隨風) was a perfect match of the movie. James Wong (黃霑), a late prominent Cantonese lyricist, wrote the lyrics, which was, ironically, as if foretelling the fate of Hong Kong.
Of course, acknowledging the decline of a city or the fading of an era is not necessarily a pessimistic matter. Whichever part we are in the world – whether it is our home or host city – we can still always contribute our effort to make it a better place. Being optimistic, being proactive is crucial – especially when the next bubble is about to burst worldwide.