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We are in Hong Kong, Metropolis attached to China again since the Handover in 1997. “J” is born here and lives with his mainland-born mother in a small, subdivided unit. She has to return to mainland China regularly to renew her visa, and so to avoid leaving her son alone in Hong Kong without supervision, she sends “J” to the homes of his classmates for the duration. One of them, Jacky, comes from a Vietnamese family, and with “J” often put in his family’s care, the two have become close friends. Over the course of this film, we see their lives in Hong Kong’s lower class and how the two take care of one another.
Every morning, “J” and Jacky walk to the Fresh Fish Traders’ School where they attend classes. Here they meet their classmates, including the mainland-born trio of Frankie TUNG, Jimmy TAM, and Kiki WONG, a young girl who enjoys particular popularity with the boys in the class. All of their families have dreams and hopes for the children’s futures, dreams that brought them to Hong Kong, where they live in cramped, close quarters, scraping by. Yet, is this sudden change of environment, which forces the children to identify with new culture and values, an investment that will ultimately prove worthwhile? And how will “J”’s appearance on a television show change his circumstances?
While they may live in an uncertain world, these children still aspire to do something with their lives. Adults may not want to or have time to understand their efforts and dreams, just as remarked in an ancient Chinese classic, “How does one understand the joy of fish, if one is not a fish?”
What does “family” mean to these children? How do they perceive the expectations of society and their parents’ hopes and dreams for them? Such is the tale woven through the running time of Fish Story: a children’s take on Hong Kong’s world of adults.