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A Simple Life

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What's a simple life to you? To live in the wilderness and have a communion with nature?  I remember Lin Yu Tang's 1937 acclaimed book, The Importance of Living  生活的藝術;Lin Yutang 林語堂 , a renowned and influential Hokkien Chinese writer wrote both in Chinese and English. He did not just compile and translate Chinese texts into English which became bestsellers in the West but several books he wrote including My Country and My People 吾國與吾民 and The Importance of Living 生活的 藝術 did sell well too and popularize Chinese philosophy and way of life. In The Importance of Living, he advocated a simple life as a way to enjoy life. That include taking walks, drinking tea, and having long talks with friends. With a smart phone in hand, we can do all three, I suppose.

Tap

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Just the other day, I was at an antique shop.The owner was hospitable and in a rather chatty mood. He flipped out his tea set, boiled some water and started to serve the guests Chinese tea. When he filled my cup, I automatically tapped my finger lightly, muttering, Thank you, Thank You!  Qianlong, an emperor of China's Qing dynasty, visited southern China six times, each time disguised as a commoner. It must be in one of the trips that he poured tea for an accompanying servant. The latter, feeling honoured to be served by an emperor, would according to etiquette, kneel down to express his gratitude.  However, he had merely tapped his fingers on the table for fear of giving away the emperor's identity. The bent fingers supposedly signify a bowing servant, one finger representing the head and the others the arms. Light finger tapping has since become a customary way to thank someone who pours you tea especially in southern Chinese culture.






Impressive Shows

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Imagine a stage performance using real mountains, rivers and buildings as the background and hundreds or thousands of performers. In China, world famous director Zhang Yimou and his team, Fan Yue and Wang Chaoge created just that. Called the Impression Series, there had been since1998,  at least 10 widely acclaimed large-scale productions including Impression Sanjie Liu, Impression West Lake and Impression Lijiang. Not sure if Encore Melaka in Impression City, Kota Laksamana, Melaka falls under the category. The show helmed by Wang Chaoge, though touted as the first such series outside China, involves 200 performers and is staged in a building designed by Wang Ge from the Beijing Institute Of Architectural Design, which boasts ofa 360 degree rotating auditorium, innovative and stunning video projection mapping, multi-stage hydraulic sets and advanced lighting. The director and her team reportedly spent nearly two years studying Melaka’s history, culture, traditions and the people but …

A Chinese Song: 一剪梅 A sprig of Plum Blossom

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Fei Yu Ching 费玉清, Taiwan's famed singer is going to have a farewell concert for his fans. Fei Yu Ching probably comes from a singing family. Chang Fei 张菲, his eldest brother who presently appears in a variety programme in TV, Big Shot Fei Ge Show is a singer as is his sister, Jenny Fei who in 1991 became a buddhist nun and adopted the name Heng Shu 恒述法师. Don't know if his siblings have any popular songs in their belts but in the 80s when Taiwanese TV series was a yawn, there was this series where the theme song was sang by Fei Yu Ching. The song A sprig of Plum Blossoms 一剪梅, I suppose, has been popular to this day. His Good Night Song 晚安曲which ends the day's broadcast for China Television, to me pales by comparison but then one man's meat is another man's poison. Fei Yu Ching will be performing in Resorts World Genting, Pahang for two days it seems. I bet the concert wouldn't be complete without him belting out 一剪梅.
More Chinese Songs... 

A Chinese Movie : Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy  葉問外傳:張天志,

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Yuen Woo-ping's latest movie, Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy  葉問外傳:張天志, said to be a spin-off of the Ip Man movies since it focuses on the anti hero Wing Chun master, Cheung Tin Chi played by Max Zhang who challenges Ip Man and gets defeated in Ip Man 3, is a delight to watch. To a certain extent, Elizabeth Kerr of The Hollywood Reporter was right when she commented that the movie delivers on fights. When the master was pursued by gangsters in the early part of the movie, the ensuing cat and mouse chase  atop Hong Kong's neon signboards holds viewers in suspense as well as the  numerous well-executed fight scenes spread  throughout the movie. The plot isn't that bad. While a critic was of the opinion that the plot isn't something new, the movie isn't simply about a martial artist giving up fighting and is forced back into action in order to survive. The subplot featuring Michelle Yeoh as head of a triad and a protective sister is as interesting as the one featuring Da…

One Man's Success

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Just the other day, when we were in Kuantan, my nephew treated me to the latest superhero movie Aquaman. The movie is a big hit and is said to have drowned the other big movie, Mary Poppins Returns, having made twice as much money. James Wan, the director whose name was also associated with horror movies like Saw, Conjuring and Insidious has been hailed as Malaysia’s biggest Hollywood success stories. Someone however pointed out the young director of Chinese descent was merely born in Malaysia and is actually an Australian, which of course, is true. His family moved to Perth, Australia when he was seven and it was in his adopted country that he attended school and university. Then, there was the question of whether he could make it if he has not left his birth country. With his talents, he probably would even with artificial obstacles stacked on him and one probably would either be left awed or envious.

Polyglots

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Maggie Cheung Man-yuk 张曼玉, a famous Hong Kong star reportedly is a polyglot - that's someone who knows and is able to use several languages. In the 1991 Hong Kong film directed by Stanley Kwan, Center Stage, she switched from Cantonese to Mandarin and to Shanghainese and vice versa with ease; and in the film Clean directed by her ex-husband Frenchman Olivier Assayas, she performed in fluent English, French and Cantonese. The fashion icon from Hollywood Golden Age, star of My Fair Lady, the late Audrey Hepburn reportedly spoke five languages and probably is a polyglot too. Not so sure about Meryl Streep though. In Sophie’s Choice, Meryl Streep spoke Deutsch and Polish in various scenes but then she received language training courses before filming. Although she was of English and Germanic decent, having been born in America, she reportedly has not learned a second or third language. As for the Hong Kong star, her being raised in Hong Kong and England and ten years' stay in Pari…