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Lesson Transcript

Matt: Welcome back to our All About Cantonese series.
Nicole: 大家好 (daai6 gaa1 hou2). I’m Nicole.
Matt: And I’m Matt. Today on CantoneseClass101, we bring you the Cantonese culture of today.
Nicole: That's right, Cantonese pop culture.
Matt: Or "Cantopop," which is a colloquialism for "Cantonese popular music," or "Hong Kong
popular music."
Nicole: Yep. "Cantopop" is one of the more prominent genres of music produced in Hong Kong. It has dominated the local music culture since its birth in Hong Kong.
Matt: Right. Though many other forms of music exist, all you can hear is "Cantopop."
Nicole: Yep, Cantopop is everywhere.
Matt: How would you describe Cantonese pop music, Nicole?
Nicole: Well, we Cantonese have always loved ballads, so you get a lot of those.
Matt: But the hip-hop scene and punk scene have been growing in popularity in recent times as well.
Nicole: Definitely.
Matt: Who is your favorite pop star?
Nicole: I like Eason 陳奕迅 (can4 jik6 seon3), a male Hong Kong singer. His album U87 has been recommended by Time Magazine as one of the five best Asian albums worth buying.
Matt: Yeah, he's kind of hip-hop. He has a style all his own, and is quite talented; he writes his own music and stuff for other people too.
Nicole: Yep. He has been described as a fresh air in the Hong Kong music scene.
Matt: So, Nicole, what's your favorite song to sing when you’re at KTV?
Nicole: I have a couple of favorites.
Matt: See, I knew you would! Cantonese Pop music cannot be mentioned without bringing up KTV.
Nicole: It's basically a national pastime.
Matt: Yes, for both the young and the old. Karaoke, Cantonese style, can be found anywhere from parks, people's homes, to large twenty-four hour hotel-style complexes.
Nicole: Yeah, you can rent a private room by the hour and croon the night away with your friends.
Matt: However, it should be noted that the Cantonese take KTV very seriously. You can actually go and take KTV lessons. A lot of my friends have amazing voices.
Nicole: Yeah, me too.
Matt: Okay, now another big thing that people like to do nowadays is, of course, movies.
Nicole: Yeah.
Matt: And though it's true that you can get any western movie on pirated DVD, there is still a strong culture of Cantonese movies, or Hong Kong movies.
Nicole: That’s right. The industry has been one of the most successful worldwide, especially during the second half of the twentieth century.
Matt: That's right. Martial artists stars such as Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee are known globally, especially in Chinese settlements overseas.
Nicole: Many have transitioned over to Hollywood, including Chow Yun Fat and John Woo. Hong Kong cinema has received international recognition for directors too, such as Wong Kar Wai.
Matt: Yeah, and as we know, a lot of the films have been very well received abroad.
Nicole: Yeah, he's got some award winning films like 2046, or In The Mood For Love, to name a few.
Matt: Yeah, and some Cantonese stars have gotten famous because of those movies. If most people think of the big Hong Kong movie stars they think of Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung from some of the films we mentioned.
Nicole: Yeah, I'm a super fan of Tony Leung. He's the best.
Matt: So is he like the Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt of Cantonese cinema?
Nicole: Well, I would say yes, but if you ask most people, they would probably vote for another big star called Andy Lau, someone who has done a lot of big roles and is well known to every Cantonese.
Matt: Yeah, he's been around for a while, hasn't he?
Nicole: Right, Andy Lau is a huge star; he's done over one hundred movies for sure.
Matt: Plus he's even done some music albums and TV series.
Nicole: Yes, in Cantonese terms, he is the equivalent of Tom Cruise. He is the actor you wanna pick for your movie if you want it to be a guaranteed success.
Matt: He was also in House of Flying Daggers. Recently, he's sort of broken into the international market as well.
Nicole: Right, most women find him very sexy and charming.
Matt: But not you?
Nicole: Including me.
Matt: Okay, now what about TV?
Nicole: Hong Kong has two broadcast television stations, ATV and TVB, which can also be seen in neighboring Guangdong Province and Macau. I'm from Guangdong and I grew up watching Hong Kong TV shows.
Matt: These two television stations have a large crowd of mass audience. The production of their soap drama, comedy series, and variety shows have audiences throughout not only the Cantonese society, but also the entire Chinese-speaking world.
Nicole: And there are a lot of American shows as well, and that has had a huge influence on Cantonese TV tastes. TV stations have chosen to adapt some of the U.S.’s most iconic series and remake them into uniquely Cantonese versions.
Matt: That’s right, like there is one series called 'An Urban Dictionary for Men and Women,' which is modeled after 'Sex and the City.'
Nicole: Yeah, I know that one. Now, besides watching TV, gambling is also popular in Cantonese culture and Hong Kong is no different.
Matt: However, gambling is legal only at three established that are licensed institutions in Hong Kong - horse racing, the Mark Six lottery, and football betting.
Nicole: But games like mahjong and many types of card games can be played for fun or with money at stake, with many mahjong parlors available.
Matt: That’s right. Movies such as the 1980s 'God of Gamblers' have given a rather glamorous image to gambling in Hong Kong.
Nicole: That's an awesome movie with Chow Yun Fat starring. I remember me and my friends practicing the poker tricks we learned from the movie.
Matt: So that’s a little bit of Cantonese pop culture as of this date in history.
Nicole: It will be cool to see Hong Kong and the rest of the Cantonese world keep on evolving and finding its place in the modern world.
Matt: So until next time, Goodbye!
Nicole: Bye!