Sunday, April 20, 2014

Red Minibus for Taipo (紅 Van)

Red minibuses have become a Hong Kong legend.  They have become a symbol of breakneck speed, recklessness, earthliness and also defiance.  A novel (那夜凌晨, 我坐上了旺角開往大埔的紅VAN) published on the Internet in 2012 used it as a central motif for a story of science fiction.  The hero boarded a red minibus in Mongkok for Taipo.  When the minibus started, the driver said they have “lifted off” (起飛).  When the minibus exited from the Lion Rock Tunnel in Shatin, the 17 people in the minibus found that they were the only people left on earth.  Thus started a story which tackled juvenile delinquency, oppressive government control, nuclear catastrophe, military experimentation, virtual reality, memory manipulation, and much more.  All set in the familiar environment of 24 hour convenient stores (便利店), cha chaan tengs (茶餐廳), Tai Wo, Taipo Hospital, Tai Mo Shan, …  

It is actually an interesting novel, which, of course, is now a movie.  I haven’t seen the movie.  But the book is worth reading. The story is quite readable - I finished it in about 4 hours.  And there is a lot of room for association with issues on our minds lately.  




3 comments:

YTSL said...

Hi Stephen --

I've seen the film but not read the book. Have been told by friends who've done both that it -- whose English title is "The Midnight After" -- only covers events up to halfway (if that) in the book.

Especially since the last third or so of the film feels like it's setting things up for a sequel, I really hope that there *is* a sequel.

At least one friend told me he hated the way the book ened. What's your thought re that?

StephenC said...

The author himself said that he intended to write not just one book. So we can expect more to come. Not sure whether the next will be exactly a sequel. I also do not quite like the way it ended (in the book, not having seen the movie). It is pessimistic. But the way the story goes, it feels right. The whole story is rather pessimistic to start with.

Unknown said...

Was wondering where yall found the book ?