Showing posts from November, 2008

A Singing Movie Queen

The other day when I came back home, my sister-in-law told me excitedly that Ivy Ling Po was singing in a variety show in TV. Ivy Ling Po (inset) is a former Asian movie queen, very famous especially for singing Huangmei opera (黃梅戲 or 黃梅調, Huángméixì or Huángméidiào). This form of opera is said to have originated as a form of rural folk song and dance that has been in existence for the last 200 years or so. The music is performed with a pitch that hits high and stays high for the duration of the song and it is unique in the sense that it does not sound like the typical rhythmic Chinese opera. Ivy Ling Po used to dub for others until Shaw famous director Li Han Hsiang discovered her and cast her as Liang Shan Po, a male scholar, in the movie Love Eterne which also starred Betty Loh Ti as Chu Ying Tai, the female lead. The 1963 Hong Kong made movie about an ill-fated lovers who upon death transformed into a pair of butterflies was a mega hit, breaking all records in Taiwan and Ivy Ling …

Of Lion and Dragon Dancing

It must be on our way back from Daeng Plateau in Java, Indonesia when I woke up with a start. I looked out of the window and managed to catch a glimpse of a lorry travelling in the opposite direction. The lorry was carrying what looked like a mystical creature and indeed, I would not be wrong to say that it was Indonesia's version of a Chinese Lion Dance. In Malaysia and elsewhere where there is a sizeable Chinese population,Lion Dance is commonly featured especially during festive seasons, most notably during the Chinese New Year. Chinese Lion Dance feature two athletic males who prance about like a lion to the beat of drums. One of the dancers would manouvere the paper mache' lion's head, often flipping its eyes to tease and the other dancer working behind him on the lion's elaborately decorated body would have to synchronise his movement so that the two dancers work like a unit. I suppose it is not an easy task to be done but I have never given that much thought mos…

Big Deng, Little Deng

Penang's Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng reminded me of Big Deng when he uttered this:We urge the Opposition leader to be like a cat, to be competent and rationale towards all races because as what China’s great leader Deng Xiao Ping had said, ‘it doesn’t matter whether the cat is white or black as long as it is efficient in catching mice. Big Deng of course, refers to Deng Xiao Ping, the prominent Chinese revolutionary, politician, pragmatist and reformer and the leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC) of the People's Republic of China from 1978 to the early 1990s. Deng Xiao Ping was said to have developed Socialism with Chinese characteristics and Chinese economic reform and by partially opening up China to the global market, was generally credited with turning China into one of the fastest growing economies in the world. At the time when Deng Xiao Ping was in power, the songs of an influential Taiwanese songbird, Teresa popularly known as Teresa Teng Lijun was so popular …

Birthday Eggs

The Torre Galatea Figueres in Spain...

This is one strange building- the Torre Galatea Figueres! The building which is supposed to be in Spain reminds me of the eggs which the Chinese always give out to relatives and friends one month after the birth of a baby. No prizes for guessing why I was reminded thus. Eggs to the Chinese means fertility and to celebrate birthdays, they are traditionally dyed red as red is a colour of prosperity and happiness. Eggs are popular in world culture, I suppose. You see them being used in Easter and in Malaysia, the Malays give out boiled eggs during weddings. While eggs are beautifully coloured for Easter, the eggs used in Malay weddings are not coloured at all. However, according to an article in the Internet, some are beginning to dye the eggs red now...and why not, they are more attractive and befit a special occasion!

Red Eggs for Birthday Giveaway...

Green Post: Biodegradable Plastics

I have heard a long time ago about biodegradable plastics and often wonder why they are not used in a big scale. Biodegradable plastics as we know, are plastics which will decompose in the natural environment. Microorganisms in the environment are able to metabolize its molecular structure to produce an inert humus-like material that is less harmful to the environment. However, the biodegradation is often very slow. Proper composting methods are required and even then, the process may contribute to carbon dioxide emissions especially if it is oil-based biodegradable plastics we are talking about. This of course, will lead to a bigger problem which is global warming. We can't have it all, can we? Sometimes, I wonder about those days when there is no plastics. How do the people of those days cope?

Of Hakka Series and Hakka Village

My! There is a Hakka series in local TV. I wouldn't believe it when Thuan Hee told me about it but I did manage to catch an episode of Hakka Woman Chef when I was in Sungai Petani. It is not that there are no Hakkas in Malaysia or elsewhere in the world. Just that Hakka series unlike Mandarin or Cantonese series, have never been in the mainstream. That was despite the fact that there are many Hakkas everywhere in Malaysia. In Penang, just recently, the Federation of Malaysian Hakka Association expressed their hope to build a Hakka village in Balik Pulau. It was said that a large population of Hakka people moved over to Balik Pulau prior to and after the Taiping Rebellion, about 50 years after Penang island was developed for business.The Hakkas chose to live in the hilly Balik Pulau as the original Hakkas from China historically lived in desolated hilly places and relied on agriculture.

Now, for some traditional Hakka music...