Hong Kong Noir, Feng Chi-Shun

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Influenced by Hong Kong movies and dramas, I'm always interested to find similarities between reality and portrayals of everyday Hong Kong. From the book 'Hong Kong Noir', I just realised how little I know about Hong Kong. After reading this novel, I noticed terms or nicknames that often appear in movies and dramas, actually came from true stories.

'Hong Kong Noir' contain 15 stories involving true crimes and real stories from the author's friends:

1) "It's Now or Never" by Elvis of the Orient – An ancient movie star who used to be famous as an Elvis Presley impersonator, has only six months to live.

2) The Dishonorable Medical Student – A dropout medical student who never gives up to get into medical school, but committed numerous crimes within a short period of time, and even had sex with a transexual from a girlie bar.

3) Death by Numbers – A successful businessman that gambles everything – his savings, his business, his wife and daughter, and even his own life.

4) Leaving Chungking Mansions – A former British civil servant who loses everything and ends up living in Chungking Mansions.

5) The World according to Ron – Ron is a rich, capable and successful man, and has a brilliant job at the UN. However, his life is not the same anymore since he met Yolanda, a doctor's wife.

6) Inside Hello Kitty's Head – A well-known cold-blooded murder case where the victim's skull was stuffed into a giant Hello Kitty mermaid doll.

7) The Taxi Driver from Hell – A serial killer taxi driver who was too obsessed to know everything about the female anatomy.

8) The Millionaire Street Sleeper – Ah Chun died as a street sleeper although she earned millions of dollar as an ‘amah’.

9) The Hemophiliac – Ah Fai who suffers hemophilia, never appreciates his life and joined the triad society.

10) Mommy's Boy – Stephen never leaves his drug-addicted mom and promises to take care of her although she never gives him a memorable childhood life.

11) The Girl with the Eagle Tattoo – Ivan falls in love with a masseuse from China and is willing to pay everything for her.

12) A Hardcore Childhood – Tai Lin having a hard time to forget his childhood memories which involve struggles during puberty.

13) Crime of Convenience At the 7-11 – Ah Ling, a cashier at 7-11 convenient store did not stand up to bullies.

14) Lucky Nine – A teenage girl who naively believed that having sex with a Taoism monk would bring good luck to her modeling career.

15) The Kindest Cut of All – Charles, a macho handsome man changed his gender and became Cynthia.

The stories I liked the most are the true crime ones. However, I felt the author seems to be using a lot of bombastic words in his writing, which sometimes felt irrelevant and can be replaced with simpler words. The stories are interesting, but feels affected by the dull storytelling which is quite hard to get the readers to have the same feelings when reading the stories.

Rating: ★★★
More reviews can be found on Goodreads: Hong Kong Noir.

Chin Yee

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