Redcoat Alf

Remember Alf? He used to keep a blog about his life in Hangzhou. Well, ever since Blogger became practically impossible to use in China, Alf has gone on hiatus. So, with his permission, I’ll share one of his recent photos.

redcoat alf

Alf and Greg recently acted as European soldiers for a Chinese TV series. Altogether, there were only six foreigners to represent a British and a French army. How did they do it? Well, only one army was shown at a time, and the six foreigners were always in the front ranks of the army. Behind them were a whole bunch of Chinese guys in wigs. Alf played the French general (who spoke English), but he and the other five foreigners wore a different coat and hat than the one in this picture. Then, for the British army, another guy played the general and Alf and gang wore the outfit pictured here. Priceless.

Unfortunately, the lead actress was wounded during the filming, so the series might never see the TV screen.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. i’m sorry, but that’s hysterical!

  2. How was the actress wounded? Were they using live ammo?

  3. Da Xiangchang Says: February 8, 2005 at 12:25 am

    Haha, this is truly funny. What’s the plot of the TV series, though? Is it another one of those evil-imperialist weepies? Who was the main actress who got wounded? Anyone we know? At least, the Chinese could find some Caucasians to play characters. I remember watching a 50ish (time?) Chinese movie about the Korean War where all the American parts were played by Chinese with big rubber noses glued to their faces! Now, THAT was hysterical!!! 😉 I wonder if any Japanese people are pissed that Zhang Ziyi is playing the lead in the big American movie “Memoirs of a Geisha,” a truly horrible bit of casting. They should’ve cast an Asian-American girl–one who could speak decent English, for Christ’s sakes!

  4. I don’t know the details. I’m hoping that Alf will provide them, or that Greg will give a more detailed account.

  5. Da Xiangchang Says: February 8, 2005 at 3:38 am

    You know, I was checking out the pic again, and I think the Chinese have gotten their costumes wrong. The costomes look like 18th-century stuff, like what George Washington was fighting in 1775! But the guns they’re holding are bolt-action breechloaders–i.e., around WWI! And by then, the Brits had long traded in their red coats for brown uniforms like everyone else. (And yes, I have plenty of time on my hands. After all, I spend about 50% of the time surfing the net when I’m a work. God, I love my job!)

  6. hey, i thought alf didn’t post because he was lazy, now i know the truth!

    you’ve got to get him back online, i miss his blog.

  7. I sense the beginning of a fabulous career. this young man will one day stand at the Oscars and reveal he has gratefully bought his parents a mansion on the Gulf of Mexico.

  8. Sorry to be so slow in replying, I was reposing in the countryside…

    i have no idea what the plot of the movie was, the director just told us what to do and we did it. The scence we shot that day was of the french and british army attacking a chinese fort. it was pretty fun and we actually got to win.

    The rest of the army was repersented by chinese extra’s (paid 35 kuai a day) wearing blonde wigs. i felt bad for them becuase they had to jump in the water, and it was f’ing cold.

    As for the time period i’d guess the sacking of the summer palace which was done jointly by the french and british, and I think was during the late taiping rebellion but I don’t think the people making the show cared much about historical accuracies.

    The lead actress got hurt filming some kungfu scene, i never saw her so I have no idea who she was. given the production values of the film I’d guess it was some b list actress

  9. Da Xiangchang Says: February 18, 2005 at 12:29 am

    Haha, so I was right: another evil-imperialist plot! The Chinese need to get over their 19th-century humiliations like the blacks in America need to get over slavery.

  10. The Chinese need to get over their 19th-century humiliations like the blacks in America need to get over slavery.
    Like peace in the Med East, never going to happen

  11. Please tell me where you got those hats…I HAVE to have one! Those are the biggest cocked hats I’ve ever seen!

  12. Lonnie Wetherington Says: February 14, 2006 at 12:00 am

    Holy Crap! So much for their education system.

  13. Those are perhaps the most rediculously oversized tricorne hats in the world! they are crazily big!

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