Off The Grid
It was my misfortune that my 2nd roll from my LCA turned out blank after the unexpected failure from the camera strap. I learned from this fatal mistake and moved on. I had gone back to the same market that surprised me of how busy it could get in the late afternoon. This is where most (older) people get their fresh produce, you may call it the wet market; though there’s also the dry section. They think they get better deals from this type of market. The younger couples would either buy their ingredients from the medium/upscale supermarket instead. I suspect due to the cleanliness and also the origins – anywhere but China. Or else the couple would just eat out to save time and effort.
I got used to this type of fishy, bloody, wet environment since I was a kid. I used to go along to the fresh market back then to just find something to do with the domestic helper (mom & dad both work during the day). It was part of my memory to hang out at the market, I did not even remember how old I was.
Nearly all districts in Hong Kong has at least a few of these wet markets all packed in a building which you would not know there’s one unless you enter one. It’s off the grid and I found myself entered a whole new world of the local community. You may still find the old fashion open markets as stalls and ground level shops in a few gathering location. But those will eventually go away due to the rents and re-development. The live chicken business may go away too one day, who knows (because of the Bird Flu). You’ll see many quirky stuff in these type of markets. Fish cut off still seem pretty much alive, toads hopping in cage, cattles’ internal organs hanging on hooks…alright just those things you thought only be possible in halloween or movies.
I still found myself enjoying this part of life. Seeing how differently people live in our city. And I get to taste what I love too, cold soya milk and hot rolls. I found a place selling just baked roll/bun/bread whatever you want to call it for just HKD$1. The size of a fist. You can get a bag full with just 10 bucks.
I was negotiating my deal on “Nikita”. A copy of The Hollywood Reporter came to my house one day. There was a photo of me, and it said that there was this landmark casting about to happen. I was like, “Ooh…what landmark casting?” I started reading this article, and it said that if I took the deal — which I was still negotiating — that I would be the first Asian American lead on broadcast television. I wanted to throw up. There are so many quality Asian American actors out there, but they’re not giving us the lead roles!
What was important to me was not that it was an Asian lead. What was important to me was that it was a lead that was not written for an Asian. “Nikita” has always been played by white girls. Always. Warner Brothers took a leap of faith and said, We don’t want a French girl, or a white girl, or this or that. We want the right person who has the heart of this character. You have it.❞
Maggie Q (on casting for Nikita)
And then there were none
Café Musain, long before the barricades arise; when the rooms are still filled with life and laughter and hope long into the night.