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Archive for January 23rd, 2016

Malaysiakini, those poor journalists, they are puzzled and so wrote this about the anti-TPPA demonstration: ‘Gathering of strange, and estranged bedfellows’. Here is to help them do their job, to think….

The racist bigot Helen Ang equated Bersih4 to a Chinese, anti-Umno, therefore anti-Melayu affair. Najib Razak made Bersih4 equal to slapping Melayu maruah.

Now, Hadi Awang, along with ISMA, Perkasa and others, say TPPA, because it is sponsored by Americans (Najib, they’ll never say), is pro-Chinese, therefore anti-Melayu. To save then the Melayu is to be anti-TPPA, to fight the Chinese.

To recapitulate, here is the flow of Umno’s maruah, Helen Is-Not-Christian Ang logic:

  • Bersih4 = Chinese = Anti-Melayu
  • TPPA = Chinese = Anti-Melayu

Therefore,

  • Anti-TPPA = Melayu = Anti-Chinese

So the Chinese gets it — again — any which they turn. This explains why ISMA et al are all in it so that Najib will get away from the blame when the Melayu gets hit.

It is so perverse — even international power politics when it arrives in Malaysia gets a racist laundering — that there is only one reply left. And,

listen carefully, Abdul Hadi Awang: 肏你妈

It means, Hadi: Fuck your mother.

*

Dear Abdul Hadi Awang,

We, the Chinese, are sick and tired of getting blame for everything — everything. Now even the TPPA.

You shake the hands of that Bugis warrior arsehole, then you go against him, against his TPPA. And to do that, to find justification for your contradiction, you pick on the Chinese — again. (After which, wait for Helen ‘Projib‘ Ang to go to town with it.) Now you speak better than Umno arseholes. Congratulations!

You think the Chinese are very convenient for your politics? Is it? How much did Najib Cash-is-King Razak pay you to say those things? How many Ministers and how many MP seats are waiting for you? How many billions?

We, the Chinese in Malaysia, are so stupid we want to learn some new Malay words. Best if you teach us in front of your kids, your wife, Najib Razak, better still in front of all your Malay constituents. How do you say in Malay that I, Hadi Awang, is the Grand Sheikh Motherfucker….

*

and Dear, Dear Rafizi Ramli,

Look at that man Hadi Awang, the same man you say you need — his support, his power, his influence, his votes, his members, even his dick. Look again Rafizi! What a picture of piousness, goatee, purity, all white, white frock, white turban, scholarly even, a real Tok Guru, so enlightened it seems in the ways of Islam. Yet, in the end, again and again, he shows to be nothing more than a fucking racist.

And this is the sort of people, his kind of people, that you say you’ll make deals with, that you want to rub hands, like he rubs his dick on Najib’s arse.

Which means what, do you know, Rafizi? Hadi becomes a Najib and you become a Hadi, each one becoming an echo board of the other.

So, is that how everything will, eventually, come down to in the end? Being ‘Malay-centric’ in Pakatan’s policies, in PKR?

What if this — Hadi’s point that the Chinese control everything — is the central Malay concern and which you spend days on Twitter pontificating and which you blow your mind over? Is this how eventually you shall be speaking in the kampung, to the Malays? Because, clever as you’re, this is what Hadi’s people, like Umno’s, want to hear — the Chinese are greedy pigs. If so, is this how you, Rafizi, will therefore address their ‘concerns’ and their ‘fears’? So you’ll therefore speak like Hadi? Speak like Najib?

Strange, why do we, the Chinese, have this sneaking suspicion you just might.

You know Rafizi: Fuck you, too. You and every motherfucking PKR politician can all fuck off. The deal is off. Let Najib cut off your balls and nail them onto your bedroom wall…. We don’t fucking care!

 

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There are two reasons to be here, birth and death, music in between.

Doris Yeh, bassist, Chthonic, Asia’s Black Sabbath. Below, Freddy Lim, lead vocalist, Chthonic, NPP, new face, new generation, new politics, old face in metal music.

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Birth

Heavy Metal music has been formally inducted into Chinese politics through the New Power Party 時代力量 which has won five seats in the Taiwan Legislature election on Jan 15. With six percent of total votes (more than 700,000), NPP is now ranked third after the DPP and Kuomintang.

The mixing of music and politics comes from Freddy Lim 林昶佐 who formed the Taiwanese metal band Chthonic in 1995 then NPP a year ago.

Here is the third element contained in the music: The woman in Doris Yeh 葉湘怡 who plays bass and is the sexy face of the band.

The following video clips have more, starting with an introduction into the music and politics:

A bunch of arseholes…? What arseholes? Who?

The one below is for you, Annie…

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Death

On rock music after two deaths, David Bowie then Glenn Frey, there is Pink Floyd and an obscure Chinese poet, also dead more than 1,100 years ago.

 

Li Shangyin meets Pink Floyd: ‘Lotuses lean on each other in yearning’

Revisiting the Loves of Li Shangyin, Pink Floyd

Very few of the classical Chinese poets write about love, especially illicit love. Li Shangyin 李商隐 (ca. 813 – 858) is a rare exception: in Untitled iii, he mentioned of passing on his horse the red light district of Heng-tang.

During his lifetime, literary success for him was elusive though there was some appreciation for his poetry in his circle of people. Otherwise, he didn’t have much of an important status as he moved from post to post, being a low-level government official. His writing is dense and cryptic in poetic imagery, difficult to read even for native Chinese. Recognition only came after his death towards the final decade of the Tang era, a time of social and political tumult presided over by a weak government. Some works of his were eventually included in the Tang poem anthologies, most famously the 300 Tang Poems that Chinese students in Malaysia recite by hard in their primary years.

Li Shangyin’s fate (as well as a contemporary named Li He) met 1,000 thousand years later with Pink Floyd, the British rock band established in 1965 by four students. By 2013, the group was reported to have sold more than 250 million records worldwide. Other than David Gilmour’s guitar work and their experimental form of acid rock or psychedelic music, they also wrote lyrics with a social, political and even philosophical message. Some — Animal, for example — had a literary quality.

They wrote poetry. They, Roger Waters in particular, had been reading Tang Poems. In Set Your Controls for the Heart of the Sun (from their 1968 album Saucerful of Secrets), Waters infused it with lines from two of the poets, Li He and especially Li Shangyin.

Here are the lyrics in Set Your Controls:

Little by little the night turns around
Counting the leaves which tremble at dawn
Lotuses lean on each other in yearning
Under the eaves the swallow is resting
Set the controls for the heart of the sun

Over the mountain watching the watcher
Breaking the darkness
Waking the grapevine
one inch of love is one inch of shadow
Love is the shadow that ripens the wine
Set the controls for the heart of the sun

Witness the man who raves at the wall
Making the shape of his question to Heaven
Whether the sun will fall in the evening
Will he remember the lesson of giving
Set the controls for the heart of the sun

It is probably from this anthology that inspired the Pink Floyd song ‘Set Your Controls for the Heart of the Sun’. (Re: Allusions to Classical Chinese Poetry in Pink Floyd)

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Li He is even more obscure than Li Shangyin, but Waters also drew inspiration from him. Waters would have come across Li He in a Penguin anthology on Late Tang Poems, translated by A.C. Graham. Two lines in Li He’s Don’t Go Out of the Door are pertinent:

‘Witness the man who raves at the wall / Making the shape of his questions to Heaven’

The ‘man’ in question is, of course, Qu Yuan who lived 1000 years before him and was a mid-ranking government official, a man of virtue but too good for a corrupt world, which is the ‘wall’, but such people they usually die young. (Corrupt world? Virtuous men? Think of Malaysia under ….)

Now to Li Shangyin, who is the more important influence on Pink Floyd because of several lines, especially these two paired song lyrics you’d find in Waters:

Little by little the night turns around
Counting the leaves which tremble at dawn

and

one inch of love is one inch of shadow
Love is the shadow that ripens the wine

Those lines are near identical inside a series of four poems Li wrote but gave them no titles. Why? Forbidden love is taboo subject. Start with the Waters’ opening line Little by little, the night turns around. Then, below is the same evocation from Li Shangyin’s translated poem (comparable lines in bold, Graham translation):

無題 其三  Untitled iii

Mouth roils springs of passions round  
Watch little by little the night turn around.

Echoes in the house; want to go up, dare not.
A glow behind the screen; wish to go through, cannot.

It would hurt too much, the swallow on a hairpin;
Truly shame me, the phoenix on a mirror.

On the road back, sunrise over Heng-t’ang.
The blossoming of the morning-star shines farewell on the jewelled saddle.

And now the penultimate lines: One inch of love is an inch of ashes. In

無題 其二 Untitled ii

The east wind sighs, the fine rains come:
Beyond the pool of water-lilies, the noise of faint thunder.

A gold toad gnaws the lock. Open it, burn the incense.
A tiger of jade pulls the rope. Draw from the well and escape.

Chia’s daughter peeped through the screen when Han the clerk was young,
The goddess of the River left her pillow for the great Prince of Wei.

Never let your heart open with the spring flowers:
One inch of love is an inch of ashes.

The original hanzi version:

無題

颯颯東風細雨來,芙蓉塘外有輕雷。

金蟾嚙鎖燒香入,玉虎牽絲汲井回。

賈氏窺簾韓掾少,宓妃留枕魏王才。

春心莫共花爭發,一寸相思一寸灰。

In that original there are four lines, actually four couplets. The last couplet 春心莫共花爭發, / 一寸相思一寸灰 was translated by Chloe Garcia Roberts in this way:

  • Spring Heart, refrain from competing with flowers in effusion
  • One measure of longing, one measure of ash

Which reads better, A.C. Graham or Roberts? Graham’s version narrows the distance between reader and poet, between the heart and the feeling. Roberts’ rendering is literal, straight and deadpan.

One inch of love is an inch of ashes: What does it mean? More pertinently, what does Li mean? The answer is in the preceding line, 春心莫共花爭發. When that’s paired with the-inch-of-love line then reworked (shuzheng’s translation) you’re nearer to discover the meaning:

  • Open not dear spring heart to flowers flush of bloom
  • An inch of heart’s yearnings is an inch of ash.

This says, Death comes quicker to the flower that first blooms; similarly, love to despair the young heart that first springs open.

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An aside poem:

When Will I Be Home? by Li Shangyin

When will I be home? I don’t know.
In the mountains, in the rainy night,
The autumn lake is flooded.
Someday we will be back together again.
We will sit in the candlelight by the west window,
And I will tell you how I remembered you
Tonight on the stormy mountain.

英子 Someday we’ll be back together again. / We’ll sit …by the west window  / I’ll tell you how I remembered you…

***

Glenn Frey, 1948-2016

 

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