"Like what? My entire life has been decided for me. And if you know what’s good for you, stay away. I see to bring bad luck to everyone around me.”
Unable to deal with the restrictions of palace life, Prince Roastpork “Porky” Bao often sneaks out of the palace for fun. Meeting Xiajiao and Shaomai, peddling orphans working in the market, he thinks they are nothing more than poor kids being forced to work early, until he finds them in the palace, as disciples of the long-dormant Steamed Kung Academy. This funny wuxia story talks about Roastpork and his journey with the Dim Sum Warriors to fight against evil and protect Dim Sum Nation for the corrupt powers within.
Roastpork Bao / Char Siew Bao, the People’s Prince
Very much like many stories involving royal heroes, Roastpork Bao is not interested in a life in the palace, citing it to be restrictive, and that his life had already been decided for him already anyway. At the same time, he faces the same kind of dilemma – his royal background shows, resulting in him being seen as a privileged person, who cannot be trusted to understand the ways of the common people in the first place.
Despite his constant rebellion against his father, Roastpork seems to be the personification of many loving sons we can relate to – he is attached to his mother. Taking time to learn a trick to entertain his mother during her birthday celebration, bothering to come back to the palace for the party, and even trying to call her after he ran away – these show his great love for his mother as well.
Corruption and Power
This graphic novel shows how greed and power can lead to a new can of problems and corruption.
The Fried Kung Academy, together with Quickynoodle, a powerful businessman of great, commercial influence, show how skewed the population can be in terms of personal values and priorities when grey areas like beauty and the price that comes with it no longer seems to be as grey as it was anymore.
Just by the desire of societally-accepted physical perfection and seemingly-endless riches, the royal guards and martial artist bodyguards turn their backs to the royal house, instead listening to a tycoon who is bent on getting entire nations addicted to his health drink (which contains drastic consequences and side effects).
Friendship and Loyalty
The practice of martial arts is built on concentration, discipline, sincerity, and loyalty. Together with a great appreciation of the master, martial arts practitioners do not only engage in physical, but also mental and value training. Friendship and Loyalty is seen through the juxtaposition of the Boiled, Baked, and Steamed Kung Academies, as compared to the capitalistic, supposedly-corrupted Fried Kung clan.
Despite being royalty, with a father who probably did not know better in his power, Roastpork goes against his protective parents to save Steamed Kung’s disciples, even going along with them despite his father’s constant objections because he sees kindred spirits in them and is grateful for their friendship.
Style & Structure
The story is structured and drawn in such a way that you can imagine watching it as an animation. As such, the sequence of events resembled a Chinese drama serial, full of action, events, endless wit, and comedy in order to keep the audience entertained while maintaining the message.
Dim Sum Warriors is by Colin Goh and Woo Yen Yen, and can be found online in both English and Mandarin as well. For more information, click here.
SG52 nears and I’ve just returned from PopCon Asia 2017. That being said, I thought it’ll still be great to review some works we’ve gotten from both the Comic Arts Festival Kuala Lumpur (29th to 30th Jul) and PopCon Asia (4th to 6th Aug).
Noodling Around (by Yongumi & Stephani Soejono)
WORD OF WARNING – don’t read this before you go to sleep. The Tiger did that and we went to bed hungry. A collection born out of the love for convenient food and MSG, Yongumi partners with fellow comicker, Stephani, and put their slice-of-life prowess to paper. From instant noodle reviews to a story about how instant noodles got mistaken as contraband, this collection will definitely invoke some laughs. If not hunger pangs.
Nevermore Oddities (by Daryl Toh)
Daryl’s work is known to cross the boundaries of reality, mixed with the macabre. Taking a milder turn with this book, it balances image stimulation and story tension to have you looking over your shoulder but not have too much trouble falling asleep. Fans of Gravity Fall may be glad to know that some of us call this the IRL version of the journals, or possibly the closest they may be.
POPCON ASIA 2017
Protect Yourself (by Azisa Noor)
Azisa caught my attention with her portable, colourful zines, especially “Happy Endings”. So when I saw her at PopCon Asia 2017, I was curious to see what was new. Protect Yourself is a zine of a few words, but the powerful combination of white space, a central drawing, and a short statement calls out today’s issues faced by populations many barely think of beyond the superficial.
So now that I’m done with PopCon Asia and CAFKL, I’m running around in preparation of the Illustration Arts Festival 2017 with the Rolling Ronins. Regardless, I hope you’ve enjoyed my short reviews and I’ll see all of you there!
My adventures with in urban speculative fiction.