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Sooho Novel Chapter 158
The one concept that was never left out of conversations regarding American society was diversity. There were few countries that were as diverse in terms of race, culture, and language. So what were the values of a chaotic society filled with conflict and division?
“Respect. The ability to accept the other person.”
“I’m not sure. Isn’t it all about the survival of the fittest in America? They only acknowledge the strong and leave the weak to die.”
“I don’t like America, but they’re at the top when it comes to foreign aid. I think they’re better than other countries that are all talk.”
From the point of view of England, France, and Brazil, America was a rude country, but they couldn’t deny that they were the most powerful. It was true that America was humiliated as a result of the Sao Paolo scandal, the New York terrorist attack, and the Davis scandal. However, not a single person believed that America was going to be doomed.
Ahn Soo Ho returned just in time.
“What are you talking about?”
“The change that resulted from America’s invasion of Nigeria. What do you think about it, Soo Ho?”
Just like a real French person, Michelle was very straightforward. Just because she won a beauty pageant didn’t mean she was a dumb blonde. Even Alice got into a top university while she prepared for the beauty pageant. It was true that they were beautiful, but without their education as well, their accomplishments would have been impossible. They were probably frustrated by the fact that they couldn’t continue their studies right away.
Michelle was fluent in French, English, Spanish, and Chinese, while Alice was fluent in Portuguese, English, Spanish, and Japanese. At a certain point, all Miss Universe winners were fluent in at least 4 languages. Even Barbara spoke 8 languages. She was certainly aided by her supernatural powers, so an average person speaking 4 was very impressive.
“There’s no way America will be doomed. They might actually use this opportunity to improve their relationship with Africa. But of course, China and France would hate that. Oh, wait. Japan would hate that, too.”
France had its focus on Africa since the era of imperialism. Their influence went downhill following the two world wars, but the French language became almost as powerful of a language as English. The reason why China also built various schools in other countries was because they knew the power of languages.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, China rose to become a global leader. Africa, which became the fruit of imperialism, had a lot of trouble with borders, but as a result of their national self-determination, civil wars continued to break out, and after trying to exclude foreign power from the matter, they naturally adopted communism.
Africa had the formalities of communism, but they were actually closer to democracy. They held elections to pick a leader, but they all thought they were dictators and not presidents, which led to corruption after corruption. The lacking society they had back then hadn’t disappeared even in the 21st century. In contrast to their claim that they got rid of the caste system, the people there continued to suffer.
“China did grow rapidly, but their national branding still doesn’t stand a chance against Japan.”
In both Africa and South East Asia, nine out of ten cars were from Japan. The status of Japan fell drastically after the bubble burst, but during the 70s and 80s, they were powerful enough to threaten America.
“Was America’s influence in Africa weak? From what I heard, they controlled them with just AIDS treatments alone. Where was it again?”
“Oh yeah. Gaius. Weren’t they crapped on at the last hearing?”
Michelle clapped her hands.
The slang that came out of Miss France’s mouth was funnier than insulting. The brutality of Gaius Pharmaceuticals was buried in the dark. They were protected by those in power, and as Michelle said, pharmaceutical companies were especially powerful in less developed countries with weaker medical systems.
That was also why America couldn’t reduce its foreign aid.
‘If they do, their influence will be reduced as well.’
In some ways, international order was simple.
It seemed like America was giving and giving, but there were calculations behind it. China also improved its aid in Africa, and Japan was right behind America, to begin with. Nothing came for free in this world. Were Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF, and other international welfare organization purely there to help others? Some might have believed that, but from the standpoint of policy makers and leaders, they couldn’t completely eliminate international interests.
‘Even if there were rules against it.’
No matter how good the original intentions of a medical group was, they couldn’t avoid third-party conflicts. Anyone was capable of having a noble will, but there were few who carried those beliefs to their grave.
Henry and Shunmay returned with one more person.
“This is Alexander Chung.”
Alexander Johnny Chung was a living legend of the Hong Kong film industry. He entered the field as a teenager and then went on to claim great success. Once he hit his peak as an actor, he even went into producing. However, that was all in the past now.
Alexander Chung was a filmmaker who was on the Chinese Communist Party’s blacklist. Actually, the Chinese Communist Party never claimed that, but everyone else did. Since Hong Kong’s filming budget deteriorated, the producers and actors couldn’t help but mind the Chinese Communist Party.
“You want to invest in Hong Kong films?”
Alex Chung emphasized the word ‘Hong Kong’.
“It’s not the production that I want to invest in.”
“People? Are you talking about the actors?”
He asked back with an amused look on his face. But Ahn Soo Ho asked another question in response.
“What do you think is the problem of Hong Kong films?”
“The Chinese Communist Party.”
He replied without any hesitation.
‘This is why he’s on the blacklist.’
Ahn Soo Ho clicked his tongue at his hostility toward the Chinese Communist Party. It wasn’t wise to let his Hong Kong pride take over. Was he just being a carefree artist? All the stars Ahn Soo Ho met had a tendency to be unpredictable. To put it nicely, they were full of emotion, and to put it bluntly, they were thoughtless.
“If you already know the problem, you’ve probably thought of a solution as well.”
“If I had, I would have acted on it already.”
“No, you do have a solution. But you’re hesitating.”
Ahn Soo Ho shook his head and Alex knitted his brows. He heard it as a rebuke.
“Do you also think I need to compromise?”
“No one can tell you what to do. But if you keep going at this rate, Hong Kong films might disappear in 10 or 20 years. Actually, I’m sure of it.”
He made an unpleasant claim, but Alex couldn’t deny it. Back in the day, Hong Kong films represented China, but now, they were all made in mainland China. It was natural for the smaller side to get sucked up by the bigger side, but Alex Chung thought of Hong Kong films as a rebellious art of China. Films that just imitated democracy were no more or less than propaganda.
Whether it was oriental fantasy, Bruce Lee’s martial arts, crimes, and bloodshed, or noir, Hong Kong films were always original and innovative in terms of their ideas. So they couldn’t accept the Chinese Communist Party trying to make Hong Kong films into whatever they wanted. However, art wasn’t something that one could plan and push forward for good results.
Alex Chung had also heard of Ahn Soo Ho’s reputation. He was more interested since they were both Asians, but when he heard that he even dominated America and Europe, he couldn’t believe it.
Was he able to fight against his country and win? The stories conveyed him as some kind of monster, but the Ahn Soo Ho he just met didn’t seem to lack common sense. He actually seemed pretty calm and logical.
“Not a single Hong Kong person believes the Chinese Communist Party’s claim that the one country, two systems approach will live on forever. Isn’t that why you’re more active in attracting foreign capital, Mr. Chung?”
That was where the truth became a lie.
When Hong Kong was returned to China, its constitution was reestablished. England claimed that Hong Kong would be a democratic nation until 2047, but depending on the constitution, that could change at any moment. A country like Switzerland with direct democracy was heavily influenced by the people’s opinion, but under representative democracy, one could dominate with just a manipulated election.
The upper class of Hong Kong who was disgusted by China’s behavior looked for a solution, which reminded them of the Shanghai Settlement. They couldn’t acknowledge extraterritoriality like back then, but the countries of companies with capital investments had no choice but to worry about Hong Kong in a diplomatic and political sense. During the revolution, the reason why the Chinese Communist Party couldn’t run the protests down with tanks was because not even they could control the media.
The problem was that the foreign capital that they were going to use as a shield didn’t care if Hong Kong was democratized or not. On the contrary, they were ready to switch sides if the Chinese Communist Party could offer more profit. That was when it started. That was when the companies friendly with China started to take off. Once Hong Kong was handed over to China, the native capital of Hong Kong collapsed and dispersed. James Hwang and Hwang Chi Rin rallied against the Chinese Communist Party ever since.
“If we can’t bring them down, we have to use them.”
Alex Chung wasn’t so closed-minded that he didn’t understand the true meaning of what Ahn Soo Ho said. However, Chairman Hwang Chi Rin’s leadership wasn’t so great that he could bring all the Hong Kong people together. He was the chairman of A&E, but they were at risk of falling off a cliff if England ever decided to back out. The way Alex Chung saw it, Hwang Chi Rin was partly responsible for making Hong Kong’s economy weak. It wasn’t just Chinese capital that went through A&E before going over to England and Europe.
“May I make a proposal, Mr. Chung?”
Alex looked at Ahn Soo Ho with anticipation in response.
“As I said earlier, I’m going to invest in people.”
Ahn Soo Ho signaled for Henry to step up.
“We’re planning to set up Hosoo Entertainment China in Hong Kong. The plan is to secure outstanding talents in the film industry.”
Alex failed to hide his disappointment. He was disappointed that he was going to manage a small entertainment agency. However, what he said next offset his disappointment.
“We’ll start with an investment of 10 billion.”
Ahn Soo Ho was the only one who saw Barbara’s face crinkle. She yelled at Ahn Soo Ho with her eyes.
‘Are you serious right now?’
Ahn Soo Ho answered with his eyes in response.
He possessed the best ATM in the world, named Barbara.
Everyone had ambition.
Even martial artists who trained day in and day out dreamt of becoming famous. There was no one else who wanted to become famous as much as martial artists, and the only way to go from the bottom and fly up to the top was to become an action film actor. After Hong Kong was handed over to China, the number of actors reduced big time, but there were still countless martial artists in Hong Kong who dreamt of becoming an action film actor.
The motto of the world’s martial arts association was probably to popularize China. After all, China was in charge of the association that was going to be set up with its focus on Chinese people. The top teacher of the Chinese martial arts world named Kushenbai had to be kept in check. Premier Yuhaipung, who hated Kushenbai, was probably going to help him out, but since he couldn’t make it obvious, it was completely up to who put in the most capital.
China’s astronomical population was certainly a strong point.
‘Shunmay would probably hire the action talents while Alex Chung worked on the film production side.’
And Henry was going to watch over the entire process. Barbara grumbled about being his ATM, but whether he had to roast or threaten the Hong Kong businessmen and Hwang Chi Rin, he was going to come out with capital.
Ahn Soo Ho secretly snuck out of the party.
Since he used his magic, no one noticed him leaving. Once they noticed something was off, the party probably would have been over. After a while of walking down the Hong Kong streets at night, he could see an apartment complex. To him, they looked oddly like Pepero snacks. Hong Kong was definitely a beautiful city, but from a Hong Kong citizen’s point of view, the environment was unstable.
They all wanted to be born in the middle class or higher and receive a proper education, but a crazy number of them got pushed to the bottom and got added to the crazy scale of Hong Kong’s less fortunate ones. Hong Kong’s gap between the rich and the poor went beyond just a societal issue and was a matter of life or death. Surprisingly, a large proportion of Hong Kong’s poor people supported the rule of the Chinese Communist Party because their ideology was friendly with the working class.
‘What a dilemma.’
Democracy was the most developed societal model, but no matter what the government did, there were always those who were dissatisfied. Even if they lived in Heaven, there was bound to be someone with complaints.
A chicken coup or a dog house.
There were many sights in the slums that would shock a foreigner who visited for the first time. The slums of America, Japan, Korea, and even countries in Europe were all the same. But the way Ahn Soo Ho saw it, Hong Kong’s slums were one of the worst.
The gazes of the poor people changed when they saw Ahn Soo Ho walking by dressed in an expensive suit, but they were unable to approach him. People were often scared that they would just attack, but they had strategies of their own. They never laid a hand on a man who looked the least bit dangerous.
When he entered the biggest chicken coup, there was a man sitting in front of the elevator. He was a tax collector. But he wasn’t from the government but just from a slum organization. There were some other pairs of shoulders in the corners glancing over. Their formation was shabby, but their monitoring strategy was quite good.
In response to Ahn Soo Ho’s remark, the man frowned. He accepted the wad of cash, and then pressed the elevator button.
“Is Blackie here?”
He flinched as he responded to Ahn Soo Ho’s question. Was he so close to his leader that he could call him by his nickname? He was just relieved that he didn’t try anything on him. They got into the elevator as soon as the doors opened.
“We’re going up to the 20th floor.”
He spoke into his walkie talkie. And as expected, there was no equipment inside the elevator. Once the doors closed, the elevator went up.
As soon as the doors opened, he saw shiny guns in front of him. The guy holding the gun backed off when Ahn Soo Ho started walking without hesitation.
If the voice didn’t call out, he might have pulled the trigger. Ahn Soo Ho was very tall at 190 centimeters, but the man was at least a head taller than him. His dark skin made him look like a black man, but he had the hair and eyes of an Asian. He ran over and hugged Ahn Soo Ho. Anyone who saw them would have mistaken them for a separated family, but Ahn Soo Ho just laughed bitterly.
“Oh! You cold-hearted bastard!”
Blackie or more like Chang Wei Bo threw a fuss and escorted him inside. Contrarily to the other floors, the 20th floor wasn’t a chicken coup or a dog house.
“What brings you to Hong Kong, Soo Ho?”
“You should know.”
“Hm. Because of Chairman Hwang, right?”
In contrast to Chang Wei Bo’s mumbling, Ahn Soo Ho flicked his finger.
“Who’s the broker?”
“The crazy bastard from the southeast.”
“Oh Chang Ik?”
He was a soldier who was the only survivor under Kim Il Sung. North Korea was an exclusive country, but they made appropriate preparations to keep up with the changing world situation. However, who could stay loyal through the bloodshed that took place every time the ruler changed? Once Kim Il Sung passed away, Oh Chang Ik left North Korea and cultivated his own power.
They were disguised as a triad branch, but they were actually an army composed of North Koreans who escaped.
‘Hwang Chi Rin’s not kidding around.’
Chang Wei Bo minded Ahn Soo Ho and then opened his mouth.
“Were you the one who got rid of Kim Taek Sun and the others, Soo Ho?”
“You catch on quick, Blackie.”
“Haha! That’s my job!”
Chang Wei Bo understood Ahn Soo Ho’s response as a compliment and laughed loudly. However, he wasn’t laughing on the inside.
‘I knew it!’
There was no way a North Korean leader could kill his right-hand man and be completely okay. So the rumors about how Kim Taek Sun was killed in a purge made no sense.
‘Firing missiles like crazy was just asking to be killed.’
Things were okay until the year before the last when Ahn Soo Ho wasn’t in South Korea. But now, South Korea was full of international terror and crimes as well as war and armed provocation. So firing missiles toward it and expecting to live would have been too much to ask for on Kim Taek Sun’s part.
‘Seeing how Chairman Hwang hasn’t died yet… he must have begged for forgiveness.’
Ahn Soo Ho was famous for giving everyone a chance.
“Do you keep in contact?”
“With who? The crazy dog? Of course. But… are you going to kill him?”
“Give him a chance, Soo Ho.”
“Tell him to come.”
When Ahn Soo Ho nodded, Chang Wei Bo picked up the phone.
“Hey, it’s me. You know the crazy dog of the southeast? Yeah. Tell him to come here within an hour. Tell him he’s dead by tomorrow morning if he doesn’t. Haha! This is Chang Wei Bo! Chang Wei Bo! War? Bring it on!”
Chang Wei Bo boasted as if he trusted Ahn Soo Ho. The crazy dog of the southeast, Oh Chang Ik showed up 10 minutes later. If they were really hostile against one another, he wouldn’t have come empty-handed. Chang Wei Bo and Oh Chang Ik were quite close.
“Hey, you bastard!”
Oh Chang Ik kicked the door open and started pointing at Chang Wei Bo when he noticed Ahn Soo Ho on the couch and dropped to his knees. As someone known as a crazy dog, that was not normal behavior for him.
He was so startled that he even hiccupped. Ahn Soo Ho approached Oh Chang Ik and looked down at him.
“Oh Chang Ik.”
“Ye… yes, Sir!”
“Have you been living like a decent human being?”
“Of… of course, Sir!”
Back when Ahn Soo Ho brought down a human trafficking organization in Myanmar, he met Oh Chang Ik for the first time. He then spared him and his underlings.
“Then what do you call helping the firing of a missile toward my home?”
“Th… that’s not what happened!”
Oh Chang Ik felt like this was unfair. All he did was introduce Chairman Hwang Chi Rin to Political Director Kim Taek Sun. He had no idea that they would fire a missile toward the south.
‘Those crazy bastards!’
Even though they escaped North Korea, the Southeast Blacks couldn’t free themselves from the country. They maintained a distribution network using their connections to help smuggle illegal weapons, drugs, and counterfeit money produced in North Korea, and they sent North Korean defectors to whoever offered more money. If the North Korean Defector Organization offered more money, they sent them there, and if the North Korean Communist Party offered more, they reported them. That was a horrible thing to do, but the Southeast Blacks weren’t a charity.
Oh Chang Ik gulped.
Ahn Soo Ho just stared at him for quite some time. ‘What should I do? Should I kill him or spare him?’ Ahn Soo Ho knew North Korea well, but he was in no position to compare himself to Oh Chang Ik, who was born and raised there. He did fool around with North Korean defectors, but he wasn’t as vicious as real human trafficking organizations. However, that didn’t mean he didn’t commit any sins.
“Do you want to live?”
“Ye… yes, Sir!”
“Then let’s make a deal.”
Ahn Soo Ho didn’t believe in North and South Korea’s unification. North Korea and South Korea were already different in terms of lifestyle, culture, and language.
‘We’re not all one people anymore.’
The reason why North Korea was still of use to Ahn Soo Ho was because they spoke similar languages. It was important to connect in terms of language.
‘If we can communicate, we’ve already achieved half of the educational objective. And if we add a little malice to that, it’s even better.’
With the Ultra Program having spread all over the world, the battle for soldiers was going to get even fiercer. Ahn Soo Ho felt the need to prepare. Even though he was immortal, his family and friends were not. Ahn Soo Ho, who was staring at Oh Chang Ik, finally spoke.
“From now on, bring all the defectors to me. Oh, and I won’t make you work for free, so don’t worry.”
Businesses could only be sustained for a long time if payments were being made fair and square.
< Protect – Episode 157 – Hong Kong Noir  > The end.