Dropped by the "Happy Family Gala (開心夏日嘉年華)" on Tuesday which was an event in Glasgow organised for overseas Chinese by the Chinese Channel. It was a rare event so I decided to go along to do some coverage. Not to mention a few of the TVB stars were coming over too as special guests, namely Michael Tse (謝天華) and Fala Chen (陳法拉).
The event was from 12pm to 5pm so we got there by noon. Not a lot of people had gathered, probably because the weather wasn't all that good. Cloudy with the occasional rain and showers were expected in the afternoon. Basically your common Scottish weather.
The stalls that were set up didn't actually open until 1pm because the staff weren't ready yet. They still had to have lunch and get their make up on. Understandable but not exactly a good start to the event.
Fortunately the food stalls were already open so people could buy themselves some hot food and drink.
Lets see what was on the menus. Click on the photo for a closer look.
Here's the flyer that was sent and given out to people with photos of the special guests.
The mobile lavatories. Now I know what they're like. There were better toilets inside the main buildings but, if you can't be bothered with a few minutes walk... One side was for the gents and the other was for ladies if I remember right. Security guy kept a lookout.
After an hour of waiting, the event was under way. Here's what was on offer. You needed tickets that the Chinese Channel sent out to have a shot at the games. I don't quite know the proper names for them and I used to play Bullfrog's Theme Park as well, Orz...
Volunteers did a good job of running them, keeping the friendly smiles on.
This was the most popular attraction of them all I think because the crowd around here was bigger and there were more cheering.
You can see there's not a big difference between the third (orange sign) and second prize (blue sign). Quite a number of people managed to hit the bell.
And last but not least, knock down the cans. I'll get to the prizes later.
Getting much more crowded at 1:43pm. It was a school day so you don't see that many kids around.
As you can see, there were a number of promotional stalls too of course such as Sasaki's health products and the option to subscribe to the new five channel service hence the catchphrase, "Give me five!"
The TVB mascot "TV Buddy" doing the rounds. I'm sure whoever was in there might have been glad because it was pretty cold and wet today.
More of the crowd outside the cash and carry. Some were doing their shopping while they were here. Event was held in the carpark of a Chinese Cash and Carry, "SeeWoo".
Whoops. Just as the weather forecast had said, it started raining at two so some of the crowd started heading inside. Another hour until the special guests appear on stage.
One umbrella to rule them all. OK, that's overused... Nice umbrella.
So lets take a tour around the place.
Before 3pm in front of the stage.
And as we approach 3pm, the crowds are starting to gather with their umbrellas behind the rails. I was inside getting something to eat so I didn't get out in time to get a good spot to take shots. Ended up standing on a wall and holding onto the fence for the show.
Stretches all the way back to the stalls. I get the feeling I'm being watched.
And the main event begins with a formal introduction. I could hear people nearby muttering, "Get on with the show already!" and "Where's Fala and Michael?" Well, can't please all can we?
As you can see, the stage wasn't lit so taking shots wasn't easy. Fortunately, my 8GB card allowed me to take plenty of shots and pick out a few good ones. All shot at 6x zoom, one handed so excuse the quality. The official photographer there probably had an easier time with his SLR at close range right below the stage.
Kicked off with some singing with the International Chinese New Talent Singing Championship 2008 Runner-up, Bruce Lee (Yup, you read right). Have to feel a bit sorry for the guy because despite his enthusiasm and efforts to get the crowds going, no one was waving their arms with him. I couldn't because I was taking shots of course!
And an unexpected guest from TVB appears on stage, Sunny Chan (陳錦鴻). I remember he was the main guest in the last HFG in 2005. Very enthusiastic and helped lit up the event very well. Kept the jokes up and waved to the crowd a lot!
There was fun and games with the audience on the stage itself too of course. First one was limbo. A few familiar faces who I used to play basketball with.
Started raining pretty badly at this point which means lots of giant umbrellas being held up which made it even more harder to shoot.
And the two special guests finally appear. Michael Tse, champion of the "Strictly Come Dancing (舞動奇跡)" series, and the lovely Fala Chen with some very hot dancing.
Should have set my camera on continuous shooting mode.
Then it was back to more fun and games with the audience. It was the dance competition next. The first contestants were a mother and daughter if I recall correctly.
Sunny was joking about deducting a point off because he didn't see any male dancers pairing up with the contestants. They were mainly made up of two ladies.
Points for the clothes here.
And the winners were the second team. Congratulations!
Next up was Amanda Wang (王澄), winner of the International Chinese New Talent Singing Championship (全球華人新秀歌唱大賽) 2008. She had a bit more success in getting the crowds to wave their arms. Smooth dancing.
Hula Hoop contest and a guy won. Maybe he plays Wii Fit.
Michael back on stage to sing too. Quite a few ladies snapping pictures from the bottom of the stage.
Shot some videos of the TVB stars performing but they're a little shaky because it was very cold and raining.
You can also find a few more of their performance in London a few days back if you search for "Happy Family Gala". Just look out for the Brent Cross videos. Unfortunately, Youtube's compression means you can't make out the faces in these streaming videos.
Fala appeared back on stages afterwards but without her lovely pink dress. The guys next to me were still whistling away though when I was trying to shoot some still pictures. She was surprised how empty the streets here were.
Looking back at the video I recorded while she was singing, I could see lots of people backstage taking photos with Sunny. Bet he was feeling welcomed in Scotland!
And we move onto having some fun and games with all the special guests together. People who wanted to take part in these games signed up earlier on to get into the "VIP area".
Before I forget, here's the Chinese Channel presentors Zhao Ya Shi (趙雅詩) on the far left and Li Hua (李華) second from the right. Can't seem to find out who the one on the far right is...
It was the guessing the phrase game first. The wind and rain started to get really bad here and people were starting to leave. "Raining cats and dogs" as they say.
One of the nice security guards let me into the "VIP area" so that I could take some better shots as the event came to an end. Just when it was starting to pour too. Unfortunately, it was pretty cramped to get through the audience.
As the autograph signing began, I tried to slip back into the area to take shots of the crowd but this time, I got kicked out by one of the organisers who was giving me one of those "speak to the hand" poses. So, I had to go back and make do with zoom. Best shot I managed to take with the rain pouring down. Still smiling I see!
Just check out the queue.
And here are the prizes that were being won (not by me!). Very nice glass apple, gold painted letter opener and spoon. Very classy looking.
Also had clip-on lights for reading, clapping hands, mobile phone stands and free lollipops!
This theme song CD was the hardest to win and contains a selection of full length theme songs from the TVB dramas. There's a DVD filled with music videos too, more than double the tracks of the CD.
The CD contained the following tracks. You'll find unofficial translations of the song titles are in italics. They're all very good songs.
Together with You Everyday
Lovers Amongst the Yellow Sands
Breathing with My Heart
Three Points Two Sides
Yummy Yummy (片尾曲)
Don't Blame Him
How Long Has It Been?
Cherishing the Common
Village of Confrere
Thanks to Chinese Channel who organised this event to bring the overseas Chinese together. It was an enjoyable event considering the weather conditions and had a good atmosphere. And if you're a subscriber to the satellite TV service, you can catch the official footage of this event this Sunday at around nine depending on where you are in Europe.