Implant Hollywood
Meeting the demand

Melissa Vejins
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 29/99) - We've got a few of them around town, some brand new, implanted with popcorn machines and boasting a larger selection.

Sharing the same corner as Overlander Sports and Home Hardware comes a video store of a humbler kind, lending its name to the industry that gave rise to it. Enter the Hollywood Video and you will be greeted by Robert Hui's smile.

Hui emigrated from Hong Kong six years ago. A relative of the store owner, he has been chief operator for the same amount of time.

He has seen many moods and witnessed everything from family to relationship issues.

But then again, being in customer service requires several qualities, according to Hui.

"Sometimes you've got to be sensitive, discreet to the point where you are thoughtful about other people's feelings."

Aside from the very rare, difficult customer, Hui claims having made many good friends at the store. It isn't unusual for him to receive a box of chocolates or homemade cookies.

"Canadians are a nice bunch of people," Hui says.

In a city where entertainment options are limited, Hui has come to know the public via regulars in the store. Some have memberships over 10 years old, and Hui has seen some move and return several years later.

Mining company employees and out-of-town business people remain faithful to Hollywood Video.

"People trust us, we're honest, good business people."

Asked if downtown clientele has different tastes, Hui claims, "I do get the impression of a more sophisticated palate," adding there is a demand for foreign and classic films.

Though he maintains an unbiased approach, Hui is more than happy to give advice on what's hot and what's not.

His personal favourite is Tampopo, a Japanese comedy modelled on the spaghetti western, Zen style.

"It's a life thing, a cultural thing. It is complete. It is about food, love and trust. It doesn't matter what culture you are from."

Eating Udon noodles will never be the same.

Hui is hoping to get a copy on DVD soon.

If one manages to move further into the conversation, they might discover that Hui is adept at reading old I Ching texts adapted from the Yun Dynasty. When he can, he visits Vancouver's Chinatown searching book stores for more on the subject.

He is also an advanced Kung Fu student, knowledgeable about its origins and history. Though he teaches, he is selective about the process.

"When the student is ready, the master will come."

Similar to a quote from one of his favourite movies, The Matrix, where "it's the question that drives you, not the answer."