Friday, October 19, 2007

Movies,Shaw Brothers and Run Run Shaw

I grew up, probably in a world of make believe. My life was basically family, school and movies in those slow pre-television, pre Internet ,Foochow days.

The man who contributed to a third of my life was Run Run Shaw. Today, he is 100 years old and I would like to thank him by writing a posting for him. I owe so much of my youthful energetic and dream like young life to him through his films. I must have seen them all, sitting in the cheap 50 cents seats on the eighth row from the front, quite near the one dollar seats. Sometimes when we went to the double feature or double film sessions, it was really worth every cent we spent. (This was the buy one get one film free offer of the Sibu cinemas.)

It is remarkable that Run Run Shaw has provided us with 80 years of great cinematic services. He himself is a passionate film lover from an early age. 'Legend has it that the young Shaw firswt cut his teeth in the business by distributing film reels on a bicycle to rural, village cinemas in Singapore and Malaysia, giving poignancy to his name "Run Run".'

The Shaw Brothers' first studio was set up in Shanghai in 1925 and they later moved to Hong Kong. Run Run later set up his own studio in 1950 and heralded in the golden era of Hong Kong film making.

Run Run Shaw perfected the Wu Xia or sword play genre films, which had a long lasting impact on cinema goers. According to critics, Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" was a modern take of Shaw's sword playing films. Other movie makers like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and John Woo were also close followers of Shaw.

Very low keyed, Shaw and his brothers made their fortune slowly but surely. Run Run became a media mogul, loved Rolls Royces and glamourous young actresses. However he remains humble, simple and perhaps just ordinary.

According to Forbes Magazine, Shaw has an estimated net worth of US$3.5 billion. However he is a philanthropist and has donated mainly to China, through his Shaw Foundation.

The sixth child of a well to do family in Ningbo, eastern China, his birthdaate was never know although he was definitely born in the year 1907 and perhaps in the month of October.

So I would like to say, "Thank you, Sixth Uncle, or Luk Suk for enriching my life and teaching me all the important values of a good swordswoman. I will continue to right the wrongs....and till we meet again...."

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