Showing posts from March, 2009

An Evergreen Songstress

I'd probably been exposed to Zhou Xuan's works earlier than I realized. Zhou Xuan, a popular Chinese singer and film actress of the gramophone era who had recorded over 200 albums, was nicknamed Golden Voice after a singing competition in Shanghai. She achieved stardom in 1937 in Street Angel when director Yuan Muzhi cast her as a singing girl. Together with Bai Guang, Bai Hong, Gong Qiuxia, Li Xianglan, Wu Yingyin and Yao Lee, she formed the Seven great singing stars in the 1930s when Japanese occupied Shanghai. Zhou Xuan was probably the most well-known of the seven and even though she had passed away in 1957 at the age of 39 in a Shanghai mental asylum, her songs have remained as popular as ever. Many popular singers had rerecorded her songs including the late Teresa Teng who sang When will you return? . There were many versions of this song in YouTube and someone commented that that the later versions were all lame compared to Zhou Xuan's rendition which was described …

Green Post: Poor Earth Hour!

I thought I heard in the local TV that 31 March is Earth Hour. The Internet stated that 28 March is the day. Earth Hour which is planned and run by WWF-Malaysia and its partners had urged the people in Malaysia to turn off the lights for one hour from 8.30pm to 9.30pm. As many as 2,848 cities including cities in China and India reportedly have committed to VOTE EARTH for Earth Hour 2009( whatever that means) by switching off the light for an hour as part of the world's first global election between Earth and global warming (whatever that means, too). At the moment, I could just sigh: Poor Earth! It just has one hour of our time the entire year! And the irony is the power stations have still to pull the plug on the electricity!

The Mandarin Gown

I remember watching a Wong Kar Wai's movie, In the Mood of Love, starring Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung and thinking how elegant the female lead looked in her sleek cheongsam. Cheongsam, the body-hugging one-piece Chinese dress for women is also known in Chinese as the qípáo and in English as the mandarin gown. Originally, the cheongsam was wide and loose, covering most of the woman's body, revealing only the head, hands, and the tips of the toes. During the Qing Dynasty, Manchu women typically wore a one-piece dress that came to be known as the qípáo.The law then required all Han Chinese to wear a queue and dress in Manchurian qipao instead of traditional Han Chinese clothing. The qipao thus, became the adopted clothing of the Chinese. It was eventually tailored to suit the preferences of the population. The modern stylish tight-fitting cheongsam was created in the 1920s in Shanghai and was made fashionable by socialites and upperclass. When the 1949 Communist Revolution ended…

Simply Fabulous Illusions

Seeing those cases of Pepsi stacked on the ceiling of the trailer,I can't help but think of David Copperfield, the American magician who made the Statue of Liberty disappear, flew and levitated over the Grand Canyon and walked through the Great Wall of China. But the truth is one does not have to carry out such great David Copperfield's tricks to draw gasps of wonder. Take the Pepsi cases in the trailer for instance and some fabulous simple-looking tricks from charismatic illusionist, Liu Xian whom my friend said, hails from Taiwan.There is another Taiwanese guy called Danny who has been touted as Taiwan's youngest international illusionist but the latter almost always performs to loud music and had sexy dance routines incorporated into his acts. Liu Xian, undoubtedly had a simple,more down to earth approach. His charismatic disposition and as a matter of fact conversation with the audience captivates and warm the hearts but you'd probably be captivated if not get warm…

Fuming over a Name

In Malaysia, Hoo Ying Soon, an ethnic Chinese man is challenging the conversion of his baby daughter to Islam by his estranged wife. The 28-year old carpenter was shocked to receive a notice from the Islamic Shariah court granting temporary custody of their 15-month-old daughter to his wife. While he has no problems with his wife converting to Islam ,he feels it is unfair to convert their daughter and is rather concerned that their child, Hoo Joey, has been renamed Nurul Syuhada Chew Abdullah, which doesn't carry his surname.A Chinese name is written with the family name or surname first and the given name next. Surname has always been an important part of the Chinese name. Even if Chinese today have adopted English or other foreign names, they will still retain their surname. Children will adopt the surname of their father and in the case of the Malaysian carpenter, his surname is Hoo and his daughter even having been converted, should have a Hoo in her name rather than Chew whic…

Educational Poems

I remember once I was in Jusco , Ipoh, Perak and I came across a book sale. There was this book Tang Shi San Bai Shou among the pile of Chinese books and I thought it rather cheap. Someone later told me Chinese books are rather cheap, especially pirated ones originating from China. I don't really know about that but back to TangShi San Bai Shou or 300 Tang Poems - the classic is a compilation of poems from the Tang period (618 -907) which was also the Golden Age of Chinese Poetry . Heng Tang Tui Shi otherwise known as Sun Zhu had during the Qing Dynasty compiled some of the most representative and beautiful Tang poems as he was not very pleased with the poems of the anthology Qianjiashi or A thousand master's poems from the Tang and Sung periods (960 -1279) which he thought lacked educational spirit. His compilation said to be effective in cultivating character was an instant hit and is still popular today. Now, just have a sample of the poems ...

A Gold-threaded Robe ( A poem …