During this era, it is very boring at the dormitory. There were no mobile phones, internet cafes and even television. Other than going to classes, the students will be hiding in their dorms playing poker.
Old Chinese theater
Ever since a classmate told them that there is a video lounge near the school, watching videos at the video lounge became their favorite past time.
In Feng Yu’s village, there is a movie theater. But it opens only on special festive holidays and the films there were shown are all domestic films which are not popular. Instead, the theater is used for events like town hall meetings and other functions.
Feng Yu had also gone to the theater to watch several films before. But it was organized by the school. He clearly remembers a classic line from one of the film: Learn science, and you can travel around the world without fear!
If one really wants to watch a real movie, the video lounge is the place to go. There is a 17-inch color TV and three to four rows of seats. The tickets cost around 10 cents RMB for three hours which is almost about two movies.
Feng Yu and his classmates had been to the video lounge several times before. It was during the weekends when the farms were busy with harvesting and they did not go home. Everyone supported Wen Dongjun’s suggestion as they have just started school and everyone still have their pocket money.
Seeing the enthusiastic look on everyone’s face, Feng Yu also decide to go along. This is the era of Hong Kong martial arts and crime films. Of course, the God of gamblers series had also just began to become popular.
Many of the Hong Kong’s classic old films are hard to find on the internet now. But in this era, you can find almost any title at the video lounge.
At the video lounge, almost 80% or more are Hong Kong films. The remaining are European and American, Southeast Asia and other regions films. There are also domestic films which no one watches. The video lounge plays three movies in the day and two at night. Those movies shown at night are not suitable for children. This is not the most profitable source of revenue for the video lounge. The most profitable is the rental of video tapes. With the improving living conditions, some households own video cassette player. Very few people choose to buy video tapes. After watching the video tape once, the video tape is basically useless. As such, people choose to rent it. When Feng Yu and his friends entered the video lounge, the third movie is just beginning. It is a classic Hong Kong film, “A Better Tomorrow.” Everyone rushes to the front row after paying for the ticket. It is closer to the TV and they are able to see more clearly. The lounge owner sat at the door, reading a “Dragon Tiger Gate” comic. The owner had watched these movies at least dozens of times and he have absolutely no interest at all. Feng Yu bought five cents worth of melon seeds and share with everyone else. Although he had watch this film several times, he is still enjoying it. The door opened and a gust of cold wind entered the room. Feng Yu glanced over and three seventeen to eighteen teenagers entered. “Fuck. First day of school and we are made to do cleaning. I am not doing it. Let the others go and do the cleaning.” “Hahaha, let’s get two bottles of wine to drink at night.” “Night? We will go out in a while to grab a bite. We can continue to watch the movies at night. Those movi es screened at night are more interesting than this.” Those three chatted while paying. The video lounge owner tore a 1 cent sized homemade ticket with timings from a clip and let them in. “You guys, go to the back row!” One of the 3 teenagers shouted. Wen Dongjun raised his head, look at them and ignore them. They had come first why should they go to the back row. “Fuck, I am talking to you little bastards! Are you all deaf?” Wen Dongjun stood up: “We came first, why should we give up our seats? You all can choose to go sit at the back or go somewhere else!” “Eh? How dare you talk to me like that? You are itching for a beating right?” The video lounge boss looked up: “Don’t make a fuss here. Keep quiet and watch the video, or you’ll be kicked out.” Those who opened up video lounge in this era are mostly gangsters. Otherwise, if some trouble maker came, they are not able to chase them away. “Brother Wang, don’t stop me. I will teach this little bastard a lesson!” “If you all want to fight, go outside. You all can’t afford to pay if you damage the things in my shop.” The video hall boss, Brother Wang, obviously knew these three boys and can’t be bother with them. Feng Yu looked over. Shit. If a fight is to break out, they will be at a disadvantage. Even if there are seven of them, these three teenagers are older, bigger and fitter than them. It will not end well. But if they bow their head to these three boys, who knows how are these teenagers going to bully them. Feng Yu looked at the age of these three boys and thought of what they said just now. He can confirm that these three teenagers are not working and most likely are from the farm vocational school! Feng Yu thought of a way to deal with these three. “My uncle is director Xu of the Vocational School academic office. The three of you are from the vocational school?” Feng Yu stands up and said with an attitude similar to the guy in the “My father is Li Gang” saga back in his previous life. “Director Xu? Which director Xu?” One teenager asked. He is apparently a bit frighten but he is not sure if this boy is scaring him. “Xu Lianflu, Director Xu. How many Director Xu do you have at Vocational School?” Feng Yu asked. “Sorry, we do not know that you are Director Xu’s nephew. These are all your classmates? It was a misunderstanding. We are just joking. Brother Wang, give us 10 bottles of soda.” The soda came and the three teenagers gave Feng Yu and his classmates a bottle each. The three teenagers then sit at the back quietly. This director Xu will be transferred to the farm’s High School as the headmaster two years later, so Feng Yu knew him. In this era, the tuition fee for Vocational School is not cheap, and Directors of the Academic office have the power to expel the students. If the three of them had fought with the nephew of a Director of the academic office, even if they are not expelled, they would be given demerit points. They would lose the chance to work at any farms after graduation if they have any demerit points. Feng Yu’s other friends does not know Feng Yu so well but Wen Dongjun knew. Absolutely bullshit! But it was nice to scare these teenagers and they even treated them to a bottle of soda each. After watching two films, Feng Yu they all stood up and prepared to go back to school. Everyone should have arrived at the dormitory. They can go back to the dormitory and play poker or chat about the interesting things that happened during the winter vacation. “Brother, you are leaving? Let’s go for a drink at the bar at night and we can return here to watch videos. My treat. The videos shown at night are more interesting.” One of the teenagers said. “No, we have to go back to school. There will be teachers checking the dormitory in the evenings.” Feng Yu replied. Although Feng Yu is interested to watch the videos shown at night, but he will not watch at his current age. Moreover, watching with these teenagers. But Wen Dongjun is enticed by the offer. Boys at their age are interested with these videos but they don’t have the opportunity to watch. “Xiao Yu, let’s stay and watch” Wen Dongjun plead. Feng Yu hurriedly shook his head and whispered: “Let’s go now. There will be many students from Vocational School at night and it will be easy for them to find out we are lying. They will surely kill us” Wen Dongjun left reluctantly with Feng Yu. But on the way back to school, Wen Dongjun kept pleading with Feng Yu. They can go to other video lounge and they won’t meet those teenagers again. Feng Yu sighed. This impulsive youth. “You guys! Stop right there!”