It was a bad case of one country, two dialects at the opening ceremony of the Chinese Film Panorama 2007. At the pre-screening formalities on Monday night for mainland director Xiao Feng's thriller Gun Of Mercy, a full house watched as veteran actor Liu Peiqi (pictured), and other cast and crew members came on stage for an introduction.
The acclaimed actor was asked by ATV host Andrew Yuen Man-kit in Putonghua to share some of his experiences from the production. The very direct Liu asked the not-so-fluent MC, 'Shenme?' ('What did you say?'). Yuen then awkwardly asked the same question, and again Liu made fun of him. 'What? To share?' he said, pointing his microphone at the crowd instead.
The miscommunication continued for another minute or so, long enough for the host to feel totally embarrassed in front of other actors and directors like Tommy Ti Lung, Clifton Ko Chi-sum and Bryan Leung Ka-yan. Liu further joked the main reason he had never acted in Hong Kong films was because he couldn't understand Hongkongers' Putonghua. Ouch.
I bet if Tom Cruise had mocked the English skills of Shanghai people when he filmed Mission: Impossible 3 there, they wouldn't have thought it was so funny.
The Chinese Panorama continues until October 14. Call 2734 2900 or visit the Leisure and Cultural Services Department's website for details.