It's that time of the year again. Chinese New Year is coming and it is
time for spring cleaning and decorating! Already the shopping malls are
decorated with Chinese lanterns and Chinese New Year paraphernalia are being
sold there and elsewhere too in night markets and shops. Just months ago, I met two Japanese men in town. The men were on a cycling tour and
one of them who had cycled down from China could manage a smattering of
Mandarin.When asked about Chinese New Year, he had said that the Japanese in
Japan had now mostly celebrated New Year on the first of January. Japanese used
to celebrate Chinese New Year but it seems that this is but a thing of the
past. In Malaysia though where there is a sizable population of Chinese,
Chinese New Year is very much alive and kicking. It is the year of the Snake.
Happy Chinese New Year! Hiss....
One day, when I was browsing through the CDs in Popular, a bookshop in Taiping, I came across one which features a male singer Steven. Why, the cover was that of the Taiwanese singer, Liu Wen Zheng( 劉文正)(inset).That was a surprise since Steven sounds like such an unglamorous name for the singer who in 1983 and after 40 albums and 20 odds films with famous stars like Sylvia Chang Ai Chia, Brigitte Lin Ching Hsia and Tien Niu, announced unexpectedly that he would leave the limelight. Then, of course, I did not know after all these years that the singer has an English name. Just like I don't know if Steven or Liu Wen Zheng is suffering from cancer. Someone told that he is but the news that was in the media was that the singer had worked behind the stage, setting up a production company Fei Ying to groom young
talents. When the company wound up in 1991, he immigrated to USA. Steven aka Liu Wen Zheng is now a bonafideproperty investor in New York, probably leading a very unglamorous l…
Browsing through the net, I came across this old movie, Outside the Window which was the first movie starred by the famous Taiwanese star whose career spanned through the 70s, 80s and 90s, the one and only Lin Ching Hsia. Her first movie about a school girl falling for an older school teacher was an instant hit. Lin Ching Hsia played the school girl of course and her love affair with the school teacher ended tragically with the teacher turning into a drunkard when the mother opposed the relationship. The story was supposed to be based on the love story of the writer Qiong Yao and because of that, it was not released in its country of origin, Taiwan. I remember watching Outside the window at least twice; the first time with my mom in Taiping's now defunct Capitol Cinema while the second time, I watched it on TV with some friends in a hostel in University. I did not get to see the whole movie the second time round though since some Malay boys came into the TV room when we were half…
Hong Kong actor, LiZhìtíng李治廷 (inset) who played Bruce Lee in the 2010 movie, Bruce Lee, my brother also goes with another unusual name, Aarif Lee. He was actually born Aarif Rahman and it is not surprisng since his father is part Malay, part Arab and part Cantonese. Aarif speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, English and German. In Malaysia, he would not be considered a Malay at all since Malaysia's Federal Constitution has it that a Malay is a person who among other things, professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language and conforms to Malay custom. A medical geneticist from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Professor Zilfalil Alwi said at the second Borneo History Seminar that the modern Malays in Malaysia just have 20 per cent Malay DNA. They have a little Proto-Malay, Semang and Indian DNA but the bulk, about 52 per cent of their DNA are actually Chinese in origin. Like Aarif Lee, you'd probably think of them as Chinese genetically.