Imagining Things

I totally did not know this until Thursday night, but the world premiere of Transformers 4 just took place in Hong Kong. Now I’m not qualified to say I ‘watched Transformers growing up as a kid’, but I do remember enjoying the first Transformers movie back in high school, when it was still Shia Labeouf and Megan Fox. I don’t even recognize most of the cast for this fourth movie!

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Anyway, the reason why I do know this took place was because Imagine Dragons posted on their social media pages that they were in Hong Kong. So I looked it up. Turns out they sang the theme song for Transformers 4, and they were also in town to do a small gig after the premiere gets aired across the world! I admit I’m not a superfan of Imagine Dragons – if I was, I would’ve found out about their show a lot earlier than the night before it happens – but I do know a lot of their songs, and I really enjoy their music. So immediately I started searching high and low for tickets… except they didn’t seem to be on sale. It’s one of those kinds of shows where you just have to know people or join the right contests to win tickets.

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Luckily, I did come to know the right people, and someone was able to spare me a ticket for the show! On the ticket, it already said that doors open at 7:30, but the show doesn’t start until 9. And then I also heard that it’s first come first serve, so even if you have a ticket, you might not get in. I got to Harbour City as early as possible (the show was held on the rooftop parking lot of Harbour City), and the line to get in was already super long. It took maybe a 20-minute wait to get in, but once we got in, we realized there actually weren’t a whole lot of people yet. I mean yeah, there were people, but compared to the size of the actual parking lot, there could still fit a whole lot more.

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We found our spots (which were really nice and close to the stage!) and started our long wait. It was actually 9 before we knew it, but the show didn’t start until 10. I know that they were just waiting for the venue to get more crowded. The reason that tickets were free was because they needed an audience to be there, since the show was going to be aired live after airing the premiere to all the world to see. But you can’t have no tickets at all, otherwise Hong Kong people crowd to you all too fast once they hear ‘free’. That’s why they settled on free tickets that are not too easy to get, but easy enough that a lot of people can get them. Hence also why it’s first come first serve, and even if you have a ticket, you might not get it.

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Despite that long wait, the concert was so totally worth it. I did record a few songs, but even when I replay those videos, it’s nothing compared to the live atmosphere. I’ve always been the kind of person who thought she doesn’t care whether its a live concert or a recording playback, but in my whole life, there are two concerts that blew me away. Lady Gaga, when she was on her Monster Ball tour a few years back, and now this one. I’ve also been to two concerts in Hong Kong, but local Hong Kong stars just don’t have the same sort of stage performance and presence as American/Western musicians. Hong Kong singers spend their stage time talking about random stuff and making the show very ‘gimmicky’, whereas American singers put as much time as they can into the performance. And it’s not just the time, but their soul… their performance resounds so much more emotion compared to the local concerts here.

(A recording of my favourite song – watch it if you like, but it does the live performance no justice…)

I think it’s also something to do with the Western culture – how these American star musicians actually get to their dream job through passion and desire for music, whereas a lot of Hong Kong singers are simply good-looking idols for the kids (偶像派) that look for any way to get famous quickly (because everyone in Hong Kong has these 明星夢). It’s a bit harsh for me to generalize this to everyone in Hong Kong, and I admit, of course there are great Hong Kong singers too. But I can think of so many famous singers in Hong Kong that don’t know how to sing, and not nearly as many in America. It’s why Adele, with her beautiful voice but large figure, can be a big hit in Western society – so big that she has enough money to retire by now. It’s also why Twins, two really cute girls that can’t sing, would never make it anywhere else aside from Asia. Now Imagine Dragons are quite a new band, and I’m pretty sure Twins would win in a worldwide popularity contest. But ask me to wait 3 hours to see Twins? Even if it were free, it wouldn’t be worth my time.

Funny that I just talked about this last post. But I want to post that verse again, because it’s a good and relevant reminder:

Proverbs 28:19 He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.

Why? Why do they chase fantasies? Is it because of the pressure of competition in Hong Kong? People don’t think they can beat out others for a university spot, so maybe staying beautiful and skinny and hopefully getting noticed by a modelling agency is the easier way out? Or getting famous is just a get-rich-quick formula? I can’t blame it all on the kids. Maybe nobody ever taught them how to find an actual dream, catered to their passions and abilities. They don’t have Career and Personal Planning classes like how we do. I used to think that was a stupid class, because the assignments were no-brainer worksheets that you could easily score 100% on as long as you were willing to put those 20 minutes into completing it. Looking back, that class isn’t about the mark at all, but the participation – the fact that you actually did the work. You did those personality tests to find out what type of person you are. You went online to research some of the jobs you might possibly do in the future. You learned how to write a resume and cover letter. I always find it amazing how there are things where it may take me years before I find my appreciation for them.

Back to my rant. Never mind the course. Kids here are so busy getting tutored after school that they don’t even have time to explore new activities and find their passion. Having your kid learn piano doesn’t count. How about encouraging them to play a sport, or to make arts and crafts, or even (gasp) giving them time to play with real toys? And I don’t mean an iPad. Because despite all this ‘seemingly wasting time’, these kids are at least getting exposure and a chance to develop their creative minds. To think. They’re not reading a textbook and memorizing. They’re developing. Then maybe, just maybe, your next generation won’t be an army of perfectly cookie-cut people, who struggle to find a place in society against the competition of formulated people just like themselves. Instead, let’s sow the seeds for a sea of flowers; all unique and different, but beautiful in their own way. This city needs to realize that not everybody is made to be good at school. Not everybody has the talent, nor calling, to be a doctor or a lawyer. And that’s okay. Maybe money can only chase you if you’re a successful professional or businessman, but God’s blessing can chase you in any circumstance.

Where was I? Oh yeah, Imagine Dragons. Yeah, the concert was awesome.

(You’re right, I probably think too much).

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