June 07, 2006


Bus UncleJust when you were tired of all celebrities and wished they'd be shipped to a desert island en masse and we could start over with a blank slate, here comes Bus Uncle.

On April 29, on the upper deck of Kowloon bus 68x, a young man was sitting behind a middle-aged man whom the world would soon come to know as...Bus Uncle. The man known as Bus Uncle was talking very loudly on his cell phone and the young guy (who would later step forward and reveal his name as Alvin) asked him to simmer down. Instead of simmering in a downwards direction, Bus Uncle stood up, turned around and launched into an obscenity-filled tirade against Alvin that lasted for five full minutes. That's a long time to talk, and if you don't believe me you should try it.

The entire episode was captured on a camera/video phone by a passenger named John and was posted to YouTube. By May 19, 1.2 million people had watched the clip. Chinese subtitles were added. By May 27 there was an estimate that 5.7 million people had watched the clip. Bus Uncle became famous. The media entered into a bidding war over other clips from John's phone. The bus driver revealed that Bus Uncle was a problem passenger. The South China Morning Post alone wrote 4 articles about Bus Uncle. Shirts, mugs, doggie shirts and boxer shorts with Bus Uncle's key phrases (like "I've got pressure!") were sold. Posters from the Anthony Wong movie TAXI HUNTER were Photoshopped into Bus Uncle posters.

Bus Uncle dog shirts Next Magazine tracked down Bus Uncle for a front page interview. In the interview it was revealed that Bus Uncle was Roger Chan, Bus Uncle's ringtone was the Twins song "Lose Face" and that he was on the phone with the Hong Kong Samaritans Line talking about killing himself when Alvin interrupted his call that fateful April 29th day. He also revealed that he ran for Chief Executive of Hong Kong in 1997, 2002 and 2005.

Finally, Bus Uncle was taken out to Shenzhen by some Hong Kong reporters with whom he got drunk and was photographed cavorting with prostitutes. Bus Uncle claims he didn't pay for their services and that it was all fairly innocent. In a related interview, Bus Uncle also claims to have made love to over 1,000 women and that he uses his tongue half the time so that "before the train even enters the tunnel, she has already capsized in Tolo Harbour."

You can read a detailed account of Bus Uncle's rise to fame, you can read Bus Uncle's tale of his tragic life (including pictures of his fruit plate which is his one great talent), and you can read about Bus Uncle and the Shenzhen hookers.

The next time you're in Hong Kong and you hear the catchphrases "I've got pressure and you've got pressure.  So why are you challenging me?" or "Not solved! Not solved!" you can smile and think: "Bus Uncle."

(Thanks to EastSouthWestNorth for their translating and reporting)

June 7, 2006 at 10:17 AM in News | Permalink


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Big news....

On 6/7/2006, Bus Uncle were beaten by four guys in the restaurant.

Posted by: no name | Jun 7, 2006 10:59:25 AM

damn, you knew it was coming.

this page names the passive young man "elvis", not alvin:

feel the power of media...& punditry-for-all!

Posted by: ed | Jun 7, 2006 2:25:12 PM

Alvin, in some way, interrupted bus uncle's suicide. Damn Alvin!

Posted by: shee | Jun 7, 2006 2:39:17 PM

Reason #721 why I love Hong Kong movies -- because no matter how twisted, weird, or unbelievable they may be, you just know, in the back of your head, that they're based on real life.

And what a nice nice entry, Grady! Good story.

Posted by: Peter Martin | Jun 8, 2006 8:20:11 AM

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