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Sooho Novel Chapter 157
Hong Kong movies were doomed.
There were those who thought China swallowed them right up, but on the other hand, they lost their individuality. They tried to copy Hollywood, or put capital first which resulted in not so outstanding blockbusters. What really brought down the Hong Kong film industry was the actors and producers leaving Hong Kong, and that could have been for financial reasons or something institutional.
In Korea, the blacklist exposed the injustice and caused a societal ripple, but in China, celebrities who criticized or disobeyed the party were not left alone. As a result, such restrictions made the messages of films and dramas disappear with nothing but beautiful scenes to look at. The problem was that those scenes were no better than action CG that was used back in the 90s.
“The problem with Hong Kong movies? The key to Hong Kong movies is action. Nothing can catch the attention of viewers except for action. In the end, even Hong Kong comedies include action. Without action, nothing else works.”
“Bruce Lee was dead, Jackie Chan was old, and Jet Li… Phew. We can’t speak ill of the sick. Donnie Yen might be the best one, but even he’s turning 60 soon.”
“The young actors who act like divas need to reflect. If they use stand-ins and CGs just because it’s hard, they’ll never improve.”
The Hong Kong Film Night, which was one of the symbols of Hong Kong, took place at the International Commerce Center. Ahn Soo Ho felt like there was a big difference between the Hong Kong entertainment world and the Chinese entertainment world.
‘It’s as if they’re killing the Hong Kong entertainment business on purpose.’
Even if the lack of producers, engineers, writers, and filming crew were due to monetary restrictions, celebrities were being treated differently depending on their origin. In today’s Hong Kong, there weren’t even three or four top stars who were in their 20s or 30s. Considering their successful past, that was a sad reality.
There were a surprising number of mixed people in Hong Kong, and that led to a completely different aura. As someone who grew up in the martial arts industry, Shunmay had no interest in taking care of her own looks. However, she couldn’t attend a party without dressing up, so she hired a professional to make her look up to par. And the results weren’t bad with her changed eyes, plump lips, and healthy figure.
“Yes, my grandmother was from the Soviet Union.”
Once she put makeup on, she no longer looked Chinese. How could someone change so drastically? Makeup was almost magical.
Kim Woo Jung was shocked by how good Shunmay and Henry looked.
“Wow! You look great!”
Henry, who was a middle-aged white man who aged well, looked like Sean Connery, while Shunmay just looked… beautiful. Kim Woo Jung escorted them to greet other guests. When did he learn Chinese anyway? Kim Woo Jung’s Beijing was very good. The worry that Hong Kong people would hate a Korean person speaking in Beijing Chinese was unfounded.
‘His business level is higher than that of a native.’
He heard Chinese and English as well as French and Japanese at times. The party was for the film artists, but there were also group leaders and investors at the gathering as well. There was definitely a difference between Chinese funds and Hong Kong funds, but the Chinese Communist Party had no interest in leaving Hong Kong alone with their desire to be independent.
As long as they filled Hong Kong’s political positions with pro-Chinese personnel, the fields of economy and education naturally followed. During England’s return of Hong Kong to China, they stressed that there wouldn’t be any economic transformation until 2047, but that was not to be trusted.
The reason why the Hong Kong rich people hesitated to invest in mainland China was because the system made it so that property could be forfeited at any time. They could work hard all they wanted, but if they were ready to spend their money and the Chinese Communist Party thought otherwise, they could be left penniless. China always claimed they would maintain their one country, two systems approach, but there wasn’t a single Hong Kong person naïve enough to believe that.
With the mainland invading with purchases and threats, Hong Kong’s future was uncertain. They probably weren’t going to be doomed overnight, but once the young generation born after 1997 started to actively participate in society, there was going to be chaos. At that point, they had to either claim independence or autonomous right.
Hwang Chi Rin shook hands with Ahn Soo Ho with a smile on his face. But in contrast to his smiling lips, his eyes weren’t smiling. He was just being mannerly.
“Who’s this beautiful lady?”
Shunmay almost gave him the Chinese greeting. Hwang Chi Rin already knew that Ahn Soo Ho had a fiancé, so he looked at both of them with a strange look on his face.
“It’s not like that.”
Ahn Soo Ho tried to explain, but he just smiled as if he was telling him he understood. A&E was a big company in Hong Kong as well, so he had a vast network. The four of them followed Hwang Chi Rin and greeted more people. Ahn Soo Ho recognized some of the businessmen.
“Long time no see Soo Ho. I heard you’re doing well for yourself in your country.”
“It’s been a really long time, Soo Ho.”
“Did you really retire? I have a lot of requests for you… Let’s talk later.”
They either complimented him, greeted him, or asked for favors. That was when Henry’s art of conversation began. His sales skills as a former real estate agent were good enough to make an Armenian rich person open their wallet. Back in the day, he even sold 100 shabby condos in Las Vegas to the king of Saudi Arabia.
Just with his words alone.
‘I’m sure he’ll do a good job.’
As long as Hwang Chi Rin had his back, Henry’s words would probably make any Hong Kong rich person open their wallet. And even though Shunmay was from mainland China, as long as they had the same enemy, there was no reason for her to be uncooperative. Premier Yuhaipung was a fan of Soo Ho with a vast network of connections, but he was also an expert of conspiracy with a dark soul.
‘I don’t even expect a division.’
He wanted Hwang Chi Rin and Shunmay to work together and harass the Chinese Communist Party a little, but that wasn’t going to make them tumble down. Ahn Soo Ho snuck out, and the only person who noticed him was Barbara Huxley. Once Ahn Soo Ho saw Barbara who followed him out, he smiled.
“Did you get caught?”
“Just because they monitor people doesn’t mean they have supernatural powers. And there’s also no such thing as a machine that measures force.”
“Then what do you call this kind of strength?”
When Ahn Soo Ho saw Barbara move her hand to distort the air, he just smirked.
“Whatever you want.”
“Anyway, you must have a lot of interest in China.”
“Well, they are our neighbors. We’re bound to give and receive influence from them.”
Keeping China, Japan, and North Korea in line was easy and hard at the same time. It was a contradictory expression, but there was no other way to explain it.
“What is it that you want to do, Soo Ho?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, you’re being pretty active for a retired man… Who would believe you?”
Those with power from all over the world tried to figure out what Ahn Soo Ho was up to.
“Are you saying I should just stay at home if I’m retired?”
“Don’t take it so harshly.”
“Why do you think I’m doing this?”
Barbara groaned and then opened her lips.
She didn’t come up with that answer with any kind of evidence. It also wasn’t something a businesswoman would say, but it was just a feeling.
In contrast to Miss Brazil, even though Alice Rima had stunningly good looks, she was actually a commoner. Just the fact that she wasn’t born and raised in Favela was a miracle. It would have been a lie to say that her skin tone didn’t help her out. The poor white people and the poor native people were treated differently.
Pretty women with money were praised while pretty women with no money endured misery. Not all South American countries were like that, but most of their national characters were happy-go-lucky, especially Brazil, the country of festivals and soccer. Brazil was a strange country. Alice was from there, but she couldn’t bring herself to love it. With their outstanding tourist destinations coexisting with the slums, they should have been supporting their citizens with underground resources of the Amazon, but the corruption of the government made the gap between the rich and the poor even wider.
Could a country with democracy lacking in fairness and legal justice be called a democratic nation? Alice believed that if she was less beautiful, she would have been a political activist. And if she had a little more money, she would have chosen to go to school.
‘I was too naïve.’
She thought that ranking high in a beauty pageant could give her the power to do something great afterward. Whether it was luck or skill, she became Miss Brazil, and she thought that she had more influence the more people knew her, but her position in society didn’t get better. She was actually facing more oppression than before. That was because running for Miss Universe wasn’t her choice.
‘I was a monkey, too.’
She couldn’t even insult the rich people.
In return for wearing more expensive clothes, eating more delicious food, and earning more money, she lost her freedom. She had to entertain viewers as a monkey trapped in a cage. It was the same now. If the sponsors of Miss Universe wanted her to, she had to wear a nice dress and laugh along with the rich people.
“Haha. One moment, please.”
Michelle Marten excused herself to go to the washroom and then pulled Alice out with her. If she hadn’t pulled her out right then, Alice would have poured champagne on the rich people’s faces. They went inside the washroom and checked if no one was there. Michelle finally got rid of her fake smile.
“I know it’s hard, but try to smile, Ally. Don’t make any wrinkles on your face.”
In response, Alice made a face that looked like she was either smiling or crying.
“I don’t think I can be like you, Michelle.”
“I know how you feel.”
Michelle pulled out an electronic cigarette from her pouch. When Alice knitted her brows, she just smirked.
“I didn’t smoke when I was a teenager. Phew. And I’m doing my best to hold back these days.”
Michelle only started smoking once she entered the beauty pageant.
“What do you think is the best dieting method? Phew.”
In response, Alice just tilted her head.
“Just smoke 10 packs of cigarettes a day. Then you’ll lose lots of weight. Do you think I’m kidding? 99% of ballerinas are heavy smokers. It’s hard to stay skinny otherwise. It’s hell.”
Michelle then put away her cigarette and proceeded to fix her makeup and spray some perfume. She talked like she was old, but she was actually only four years older than 21-year-old Alice.
“Let’s go. We have to keep entertaining them. Ugh!”
She moved her facial muscles as if she was stretching them. It wasn’t easy making physical contact even to those people one were close to, but Michelle pulled Alice’s arm once more. Strangers could have easily mistaken them as sisters.
Alice stopped and tilted her head. She then noticed someone and raised her eyes.
She had only met him once at a beach in Monaco, but he left a strong impression.
“Do you know him?”
“I told you I met a cool Asian man.”
“What about you?”
Michelle asked back in response.
“I told you. Someone saved me when I was caught as a hostage.”
They looked at each other and blinked multiple times. They had no idea they were talking about the same man. Michelle smiled first.
“Shall we get going?”
When Ahn Soo Ho noticed two beautiful women walking over, he laughed bitterly. He did see Miss Brazil on the streets of Hong Kong, but he didn’t think he would see her here as well. He considered using his magic to erase his presence, but he felt bothered to do that.
“This is bothersome.”
Barbara also noticed someone approaching and turned her head.
“Miss France and Miss Brazil? Do you know the former and current Miss Universes?”
“We just passed by each other in the past.”
“They might have thought that was a fated meeting…’
Barbara trailed off as Michelle and Alice arrived.
“Hello. We’ve met before, haven’t we, Soo Ho?”
“Hello, Michelle. Hello.”
Ahn Soo Ho greeted Michelle back and then looked at Alice.
“I had a hard time because of you, Soo Ho.”
He immediately understood what Alice was trying to say. If the whole story of the hostage incident at the Sao Paolo police got out, the Brazilian government was bound to face humiliation. So they threatened Miss Brazil to keep it a secret.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t think of it that far.”
There was nothing he could do now, but the least he could do was apologize.
“You saw me earlier today, didn’t you?”
“Hm. You noticed.”
Ahn Soo Ho felt the need to change the subject.
“Oh yeah! Where are my manners? This is…”
“I’m Barbara Huxley. You’re both so beautiful. How is that even possible? I’m jealous.”
Alice and Michelle were shocked.
That name was often mentioned when discussing female leaders of the world. Winners of beauty pageants were no comparison to her. She had the power to get rid of their sponsors with the flick of a finger. No rich person had enough guts to look down on her.
They wanted to approach, but couldn’t.
Their footsteps were stopped by Ahn Soo Ho and Barbara’s reputations. Alice looked relieved. Was it because there was no longer any men roaming about? She felt comfortable.
Ahn Soo Ho felt his phone vibrate, so he excused himself to answer it. It was Logan.
“I found our target.”
“Did you kill him?”
“No. The citizens are claiming their right to self-defense and arming themselves.”
His underlings were doing it to get revenge for their colleague, but their behavior elicited a backlash from Americans leading to militia activity. The new situation wasn’t citizens vs. the government, but it was rather the citizens vs. criminal organizations.
‘We will protect our house, family, and our village!’
The wave of Captain America swept the nation.
Since more superheroes arose after Captain America, they started to fight each other. The investigative authorities couldn’t help but get a headache. In the Bible Belt of America, fighting between criminal organizations and the citizens became more and more frequent.
“The American citizens are demanding another presidential election following the resignation of the former administration. If their request doesn’t get fulfilled…”
The Nigeria invasion card that the White House and President Olsen put forward while expecting good results all went downhill.
< Protect – Episode 156 – Hong Kong Noir  > The end.