I just got back from a trip to Hong Kong and wanted to do a quick recap of some of the highlights. Now, I normally don’t like to share personal stuff on my blog, but since this trip ended up being a bit more entertainment industry related than expected, I figured writing about it would be a great way to capture the memories.
It has actually been 10 years since I last visited HK. In addition to doing the standard visiting relatives and friends stuff that I normally do, I also ended up doing some ‘touristy’ stuff too (even though I’m not a tourist). The 2 main ‘tourist attractions’ I went to while in HK were Avenue of the Stars at the Star Ferry Pier waterfront in Tsim Sha Tsui (better known as the more hip-sounding ‘TST’ nowadays…lol) and Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum at the Peak located on HK island (haha…I’m sure none of you reading this are surprised given how much of an HK entertainment fanatic I am). I actually make it a point to visit both places every time I go back to HK and this time around, I’m glad I did, as things have changed quite a bit from 10 years ago.
First, the Avenue of the Stars. One reason why this is a ‘must-visit’ place for me each time is, of course, to go see my idol Jacky Cheung’s star and handprint (even though I’ve seen it many times already…lol). Fortunately, there wasn’t much ‘wear and tear’ on the star and it still looks as good as it did 10 years ago – only thing is, it’s further than I remember it to be in terms of location, as I had to walk all the way around to almost the end of the pathway before I was able to find it. No worries though, since I was planning on checking out each star anyway, so I didn’t mind the walk (plus I needed the exercise…haha). The beginning part of the pathway consisted of the stars of film artists and directors/producers from the 1950s/60s/70s (i.e.: Cho Tat Wah, Li Li Wah, Wu Fung, Chor Yuen, Josephine Hsiao, Lin Dai, Bao Fong, etc.) – in addition to the famous names, there were a few obscure ones in there too – regardless though, all were names that I recognized and definitely deserved to be there given their contributions to the HK film industry. In addition to the stars that have been there for decades, there were also a few newly added ones near the end of the walkway, such as Nicholas Tse, Louis Koo, Carina Lau, Kara Hui, Kenneth Tsang, Simon Yam, etc. (I know none of those were there 10 years ago). In terms of statues, the newest addition of course, is the Anita Mui commemorative statue that was added to the walkway a couple years back – I had read about the unveiling of the statue in the news, but wanted to check it out for myself. It’s a nice statue with the words ‘Hong Kong’s daughter’ engraved at the base, though features-wise, it didn’t look like Anita at all – nonetheless, it’s a nice gesture that I’m sure all of us who loved Anita appreciate.
The popular Bruce Lee statue was still there as well, though good luck trying to get close to it, as there are crowds of people around that statue all the time (I gave up trying to take pictures of the statue – I even had to fight to take pictures of Eric Tsang’s star, which was located right by the statue, so there were constantly people blocking it). The second most popular ‘attraction’ there was Jackie Chan’s star and handprint (I could tell by the amount of ‘wear and tear’ on his star as well as the hordes of non-Cantonese speaking people clamoring to put their hands in the handprint and take pictures). Of course, I’m not surprised at what I saw, since Avenue of the Stars is a major tourist attraction after all and is mostly frequented by tourists outside of HK who may be most familiar with international stars such as Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. It’s rare for a non-local Hong Konger like me to visit and actually be interested in seeing the stars of other celebrities aside from these 2 (as a sidenote – it was kind of funny, but I think I was one of the few people there who actually recognized all of the celebrities’ names).
The other tourist attraction I went to was the wax museum. I went on a weekday hoping to beat the crowds, but then I remembered that this was another place where very few locals go anyway, so it actually didn’t make a difference the time of day, there were still tons of tourists there (while I was there, I noticed groups of tourists coming in by the busload…it was amusing but annoying at the same time). I must say that the wax museum changed a lot since I was last there 10 years ago – they renovated it a bit and added a few new areas that weren’t there before as well as many new wax statues that weren’t there previously. I vividly remember on my last visit, I had ‘complained’ to my mom how ridiculous it was that HK’s wax museum had so few HK celebrities in it (at that time – I’m talking 10 years ago here -- there were only a few wax figures of local celebrities – all the rest were Hollywood stars, political figures, the Royal family, and sports personalities). Well, someone must have heard my complaint (lol) because this time around, there were a lot more local celebrities in the museum as well as ones from Taiwan (i.e. Jay Chou, Ethan Ruan, etc) and also Mainland China (pianist Lang Lang, Huang Xiao Ming, etc.). Oh and for fans of Korean entertainment out there, they actually added an entire section dedicated to Korean celebrities and singers (I think it’s called the K-wave section or something like that).
I like how the museum is a lot more organized now than it was in the past. There are new placards next to each wax figure introducing each celebrity (in Chinese and English), more ‘special features’ on some of the figures (i.e. Andy Lau’s beating heart, Miriam Yeung’s laugh, Sandra Ng in her “Sparkle Club” setting with a couch where you can sit and pretend to be interviewed by her, etc.), and also the wax figures are separated into featured areas that actually make sense (i.e. most of the singers are in their own section, the local HK film and television stars are in their own sections, etc.). Another new section added was a ‘making of’ section where they actually walk you through step by step how they create each of the wax figures, from the initial selection and measurement process to the final result – Donnie Yen’s wax figure (another new one that was added the past few years) was used as an example and there are actually video clips of him talking about the process on various monitors. Another thing I noticed is that they gave the museum more of a “something for everyone” feel in that they added a Superhero section (with statues of Marvel comic book figures such as Spiderman, Incredible Hulk, Ironman, Wolverine, etc.) as well as a ‘Kids’ section with Hello Kitty, Doreamon, Mak Dou Dou pig, etc. Another new section that I believe is only temporary is an area dedicated to the Journey to the West movie from 2013 (the one with Donnie Yen as the Monkey King and Aaron Kwok as the Bull Demon) – not sure why they decided to feature this movie in particular, maybe because of the costumes? The figures themselves didn’t look like the artists much but the elaborate costumes were very definitely very similar to the real thing!
Overall, my visit to the museum was quite worthwhile (despite the crowds of rude tourists I encountered – but then again, most of the people in HK were rude…not sure if they’ve become jaded or dissatisfied with life or what….this is the first time in my many visits to HK where I was actually treated so rudely by my own people…I miss how nice people were 10 years ago…..). Anyway, rude people aside, I definitely recommend that anyone who gets the chance to visit HK go see the wax museum and Avenue of the Stars at least once, especially those who are very ‘into’ all aspects of the HK entertainment industry. Of course, if you get the chance to meet a celebrity in person, that’s a different story, but for those of us who are usually not that lucky, well, I’m happy with just looking at wax figures and handprints (and thereby taking that nostalgic trip down memory lane for a brief instant).
Speaking of celebrity sightings….I was lucky enough to ‘bump into’ a celebrity on this trip without even trying. (As a sidenote….for those of you who are serious about ‘chasing’ celebrities, the best place to go is definitely Hong Kong International Airport in Chek Lap Kok.) Actually, on my visit to HK 10 years ago, I had actually bumped into a few celebrities at the airport too, but they were lesser known artists, plus it was just a glance from far away, so probably not much worth mentioning. This time around though, I bumped into not 1, but 3 artists in close proximity while at the airport – I saw Calvin Choi, Remus Choi, and Edmond So from the famous HK singing group Grasshopper! Here’s how it went down: my mom and I were standing in line in the departure area waiting to go through security….since the line was long and we had nothing else to do, I started glancing around and suddenly, about 20 people in front of us, I spotted a familiar-looking guy with long hair putting his stuff on the conveyor belt for x-ray – I looked closer and sure enough, I was right – it was Calvin Choi from Grasshopper. A few people behind him was Edmond So, still standing in line, playing with his Ipad (I assume it was an ipad – could’ve been a tablet too). There were a few people with them, whom I’m assuming were their assistants. They went through security and went into the gate area, all relatively low-key (not sure if anyone else recognized them…didn’t sound like it though). I pointed it out to my mom and we were both wondering where Remus was, as we were assuming that they were going out of town to perform, so all 3 of them should’ve been there. We didn’t see him though so we thought perhaps he went in already…then, when the security people opened up another line, we got into that line and as I was putting my stuff on the conveyor belt, I noticed another familiar face in line right behind me – yup, Remus Choi (looks like he might have gotten there a little late?). I didn’t say anything or linger around after my stuff went through, as he was probably in a rush to catch his flight just like everyone else there, so didn’t want to bother him.
So there you have it….a few highlights from my trip to HK. I had fun overall and definitely looking to go back again in the near future. I included a few pictures below, mainly from Avenue of the Stars, since those pictures turned out better. Enjoy!
|Entrance to Avenue of the Stars|
|Anita Mui commemorative statue|
|Jacky's star at Avenue of the Stars :-)|