Monday, September 15, 2014

Afro Kungfu

[This is one day I wish I was so I can get those cool graphics on my blog...]
I don't even know why I picked that title, it makes me think of a Chinese man with an afro haircut. When did you ever see that in the Chinese movies you've seen in your days? This may be overstating it, but I think almost everyone has seen a Chinese movie. And maybe 3 out of 5 of those have seen the ones with terrible synchronization. I won't complain about those ones if I were you, because there are still the ones that had the terrible translation in subtitles only, and in the worst cases they transcribe the wrong movie which makes it equivalent to the base level of watching Chinese movies, the ones with no translation.
If you have filtered down that funnel of Chinese movies, congratulations, you are now a certified movie junkie. Now that I have found my kind, let me announce the one commonality in this group, we don't care about their dialog. We are just waiting to see the Kung Fu moves. If the fighting moves were good enough, the movie was good enough. The fluttering kicks and the dazzling twisting and turning stunts, oh boy, who needed to hear what they were saying? The good guy would always kick everyone's ass, sometimes up to a hundred guys at a time. I often wondered why they all wait around and take turns to make a move at him, but the second he throws one foot to meet a flying kick and mid air he does a roundhouse kick to swat another guy swinging his sword at him in the opposite direction, I give up scrutinizing the logic and on he goes. This keeps happening until he meets the bad guy toward the end of the movie and pulls the magic move on him to send everyone to a happy ending.
While that is the typical narrative of the average Chinese Kung Fu movie, not all Kung Fu stories go that way. In Afro Kung Fu, an angry mother or father would smack their kid at the speed of light, leaving the poor kid disoriented until he makes sense of the pain inflicted and he fills the air with the sound of his cry. There was always that awkward silence after the first round of beating when the child is trying to figure out the appropriate response to the situation-they were torn between utter admiration of the fluency of the moves and the accurate response that will ensure that a second round was not on its  way. Either that or  the children are slow like the bad guys in the Chinese movies, not knowing when the wrath of Afro Kung Fu was going to descend on them or even when it has descended on them. The pain is usually the element of reasoning when this has happened. And in Afro Kung Fu, you will find the dialog as intriguing as the fighting beating moves. The angry parent will always start with an impossible question, like what were you thinking when you lost the pen? I mean, how do you really answer that kind of question well enough to avoid a beating? Like seriously, let us attempt it. I lost my pen in school, should it not occur to you that if I was conscious of the situation, I wouldn't loose it in the first place? The only real answer to that question is 'I was thinking of loosing it, then I had to figure out how to answer this question all at the same time, and prepare my mind for your next move, then it happened'.
I have to give it to the parents though, in the event that it is not the anger talking, their real goal in the dialog is to ensure the annihilation of stupidity while the kid's goal is to make sure that dialog continues long enough for the parent's phone to ring or a neighbor to come knocking on the door, anything that could save the situation. And therein lies his weakness, the hope that the beating will not come. They all seem to have that type of hope. That hope is similar to the hope that once the pain settles in, the ridiculous tribal cry they give out will save them. I often wonder if the parents were pouring all their frustrations in that violent release as well. I think of how and when they learned all those moves. What I'll love to see is their moves against those in the real Kung Fu movies, it seems only fair.
I did not grow up on the receiving end of those moves. And I am doing okay, as far as I can tell. I wonder if African parents can find an alternative to the Afro Kung Fu. But I strongly recommend Afro Kung Fu as a sport, not to be tried at home! Somehow I thought to write this because of my neighbor, that's right, I am ratting her out! She is always angry every time she talks to her son. He is simply a defenseless opponent whose only move is to ensure that his words and actions align with his mom's mood. The second he goes off, she goes off like a loose canon. I think of confronting her mildly sometime at my own risk, just so I understand why she deems it necessary to give the young boy a beating all the time. I can hear her voice pierce through the wall, sometimes about the mundane things that are best hashed out with a gentle instruction. Until then, I do not know if parents still need this form of discipline and if they do, then I beg that we balance the equation with an alternative to the main bad guy the Kung Fu movie stars face at the end of the movie. That should seem fair.

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