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The Prophet of Gelugor answers the Press

Mkini Mob: Bagi comment sikit?

SY: You mau comment? You first suck my dick.

Mob: Will you step down?

SY: Who asked that? Come out! I’ll step on you. I’ll shit on you.

Mob: Will you apologize?

SY: Apologize to stupid assholes? Never!

Mob: Do you have a daughter?

SY: What is it to you? You have one? Give her to me… Bodoh! You tahu saya siapa?

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O! Malaiyoo!


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Love Jiangshan, you’d love Beauty

西边儿黄河流
来呀来个酒啊
不醉不罢休

West the Yellow River flows
Come, come my Wine
Unless drunk, I shan’t give up

李丽芬: 爱江山更爱美人

道不尽红尘奢恋
诉不完人间恩怨
世世代代都是缘
流着相同的血
喝着相同的水
这条路漫漫又长远
红花当然配绿叶
这一辈子谁来陪
渺渺茫茫来又回
往日情景再浮现
藕虽断了丝还连
轻叹世间事多变迁
爱江山 更爱美人
哪个英雄好汉宁愿孤单
好儿郎 浑身是胆
壮志豪情四海远名扬
人生短短几个秋啊
不醉不罢休
东边儿我的美人哪
西边儿黄河流
来呀来个酒啊
不醉不罢休
愁情烦事别放心头

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Waiting on the West shore for Love

降央卓玛 : 西海情歌

自你離開以後,
從此就丟了溫柔,
等待在這雪山路漫長,
聽寒風呼嘯依舊。

一眼望不到邊,
風似刀割我的臉。
等不到西海天際蔚藍,
無言這蒼茫的高原。

還記得你答應過我不會讓我把你找不見,
可你跟隨那南歸的候鳥飛得那麼遠。
愛像風箏斷了線,
拉不住你許下的諾言!
我在苦苦等待雪山之巔溫暖的春天,
等待高原冰雪融化之後歸來的孤雁。
愛再難以續情緣,
回不到我們的從前 ……

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From the West Sea, a Love Song

Since you left
My spirit, too, leaves.
Waiting by the snow mountain,
The road is long
Chill winds scream, as usual.
I take a look…

There is no end in sight.
Like a knife the wind cuts my face.
Shall I wait till the West Sea turns blue?
Not a word from the highlands.

Do you still remember your promise to me?
That you’d never let me miss you,
Yet you follow the wild geese fly far south.
Now, love feels like a kite on a broken string in flight.
I shan’t hold you to your promise,

Still, I wait, in deep sorrow
For the spring’s warmth to return to these snow mountains;
Wait till the snow melts in the highlands
For the goose to return, alone.
But love finds hard to go on, for
I know, it won’t return to the way we were.

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Jian who is 一万 li away: Wishing Us Forever

Western pop singers don’t recite poetry. But our Chinese singers do.

Below is 但願人長久 [Wishing Us Forever] by Faye Wong 王菲, the lyrics of which are an exact copy of 水调歌头 [Water Melody: A Prelude], the Song era poem by Su Shi 苏轼 (sometimes pen name Su Dongpu, 1037-1101)

Ci 词 — a sort of ‘free verse’ in modern Western form — is so highly stylized it can be sung. Many of today’s Chinese songs, labelled ‘pop’ by ignorant Anglophile idiots and stupid Malaysiakini editors, are actually ci put to music with the original verses often left intact although they are usually re-titled like the one above.

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但願人長久 / 水调歌头

明月幾時有 把酒問青天
不知天上宮闕 今夕是何年

我欲乘風歸去 唯恐瓊樓玉宇 高處不勝寒
起舞弄清影 何似在人間
轉朱閣 低綺戶 照無眠
不應有恨 何事長向別時圓 (月時圓)
人有悲歡離合 月有陰晴圓缺
此事古難全 但願人長久 千里共嬋娟

[In translation, the last few lines.]

People have their grief and joy, togetherness and separation,
The moon, too, may be dark and clear, waxing and waning
Such as it is since the beginning of time.
But, together, we see the beauty of the moon a thousand miles apart.

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Hurry! For at the Grassland my Love waits….

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我的爱  答应的。。。

你有用功训练吗

我可以开幕式到达

Above, the exquisite and finale begins from roughly 7:30 when the conventional opera is sidelined — it can be inhibiting — and in its stead drama and language seize center stage.

The opera art is still alive everywhere in the Motherland. It has outlasted the Commies, who couldn’t eradicate it.

貴妃醉酒

Confused? Forget then the singing. Pay attention instead to the visual, movements, costumes, stage design, the like.

And note the progression from the classical to the modern, combining elements of the operatic and the rap.

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In Defence of Namewee

Now, take any of the above and compare it to Namewee’s ‘Oh My God!‘ (clip below). See similar elements? No?

Namewee’s act is a derivative of an ancient art form, adopting a street version, using a modern-day religion theme, then given the rap beat. It is, to us — how shall we say it? — raw and rough, but the man can do whatever he wants with the art. Only a Chinese Malaysian, having lived among Malays and Indians such as Namewee, could produce such a thing. Insult Islam? Oh, my god!

Truth be said: Those arsehole Malaiyoos just want to find a Chinaman to nail so that they now can say, Gotcha! They see Islam purely from their racist standpoint and it has gone to the extent that the police, helping them to justify the racism, then throw in the part about Namewee ‘insulting other faiths’ as well. See, a Daoist filing a police complaint, not just this but anything?

Truly, those motherfuckers. Namewee, stay there, don’t come back; it’s pointless. It doesn’t happen this year, it will happen the next and on and on and on.

Namewee’s own defense, below. Note he’s unapologetic because, really, is he out to malign Islam? Or even any religion? What he say is true: The moment he steps out of Malaysia, he becomes a Malaysian, not a Chinese, and finds himself with an unenviable task of defending and supporting Malays, his childhood neighbors and probably even schoolmates. It’s a thankless task, and this is his reward. Oh, what the fuck: From nothing they can make a mountain.

Is that motherfucker named Helen Ang gloating over this: ‘See, told you so. The Chinese are up to their mischief again.

Fuck them all!

 

 

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周子瑜

放弃吧。 放弃

  • JYP
  • 台湾
  • 中国
  • 韩国

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来马来西亚。 我们有:

辣死你媽 nasi lemak

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黃明志 Namewee

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四葉草 Joyce Chu

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人情 也有家有爱 rasa sayang

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雪 snow

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纳吉大哥 很有钱…and Najib Razak, he is very rich.

Tak cukup? Apa lagi you mahu?

 

 

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Letter to J.Y. Park, JYP Entertainment Corp.

J.Y. Park, above, also on YouTube

The nine-member TWICE K-pop team. Chou Tzu-yu is in the center. Below, Tzu-yu’s apology which never says specifically for what. There is an official version issued by the Korean JYP Entertainment Corp but the English translation when not atrocious is inaccurate. The one here is not much better in the translation but it’ll have to do.

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(This is a suggested letter for the parents of Chou Tzu-yu, or Zhou Ziyu in pinyin.)

Dear Mr J.Y. Park

Thank you Mr Park for, again, your company’s clarification which we have just received and read not once but five times. Counting the one from you in person a few days ago, there have been altogether three letters in one week. Or is it four? Five? Sorry, we hadn’t been counting.

All that raises a dilemma: Where, as Tzu-yu’s parents, do we start in order to reply to you. Which letter? All? And then to reply, we wonder, Are those letters genuine? That is, we have to presumed that they had come from your goodself and from JYP Entertainment Corp., and not from some impostors. These days over the Internet, you never can tell.

We say that also because those letters when they are not vacuous they say roughly the same thing, using only different words in the translated English. Do you write in English or Korean, Mr Park? Chou Tzu-yu didn’t have much schooling — and this failure is ours, over which we can’t even begin to forgive ourselves because is too late to mitigate the damage already done to her life.

What about you, Mr Park? Are you literate, by which we mean, do you know how to spell in Roman letters? Can you compose an essay? A letter? Whether one or the other, there is a structure to writing wherein you say what you mean and then set out those points in an orderly, coherent fashion.

We say these because your letters will show who and what you are. If you are confused and sloppy the words will show. Here’s an example from your personal letter, quoted herewith verbatim:

“I apology sincerely to those who have supported me, my company and its artists. We have let everybody know, we have hurt everybody’s feelings. In order to make up for the hurt and to repay your support, we will continue to work to contribute towards cultural exchanges between China and South Korea.”

We’ll let go the poor grammar, vocabulary and bad syntax and consider only your intended meanings. You have said nothing in your letter nor in that passage about what is it you are apologizing so, please, forgive us if we take the context and background from what we read online and elsewhere, all of which information suggest that you are talking about the photographs captured of Tzu-yu raising a Taiwanese flag then circulated online.

But, tell us, what’s the wrong that needs your humble apology? We don’t care if it is a moral wrong or political, or even implied; tell us anyway. We are curious: What’s the ‘hurt’ that you and your artistes (not ‘artists’) are said to have inflicted on ‘everybody’s feelings’? The fact that Tzu-yu had the flag in her hand? Or, because it is the wrong flag? If it’s the wrong flag, what’s the right one?

From what we can tell, there was a flag placed on a top bunk bed which was set aside for her. That flag came along with others in other beds for the respective South Korean and Japanese members of the TWICE team.

If, say, the five-star People’s Republic of China was given Tzu-yu, would that be right flag?

Now, be careful there, before you answer Mr Park. If your answer is, ‘Yes, that’s the right flag,’ then that answer has to do with the ‘feelings’ of other people you had mentioned and which we have quoted above. By feelings, we presume you mean the feelings of the people of PRC nationality. In other words, you want to appease them, to make them happy and so that the ‘right’ flag is purely incidental to your objective. Right?

Whether right or correct or true in Tzu-yu’s case is a matter of objectivity. That is, in other words, a matter of what she really is: born in Taiwan, to us as Taiwanese parents, attending Taiwan schools — none of which is of her choosing but that’s the reality. That piece of island across Fujian province in China is called Taiwan, like it or not, feelings or no feelings, that’s the objective truth. When she enters South Korea it is on a Taiwanese passport bearing that flag that you say is the wrong one. That’s the implication coming from your answer.

We won’t go into arguments whether Taiwan is a state or a country, independent or not. You stick to your stage dancing and your cooing and your little theatrics and your illusions of grandeur. Bigger things in life are beyond you and beyond the bounds of a simply question you won’t even answer — not even once in all your letters that regurgitate your stupid remorse and your stupid explanations: Is the flag the correct one for Tzu-yu to be holding?

You see, Mr Park, if you are only concern about feelings, then you are in for more trouble: what if one of your Korean ‘artists’ has strong sentiments for North Korea. Then, going by your logic — and your sentiments — she is right to carry the North Korea flag. Feelings is more important than objective fact, you see.

Of course if you had the benefit of hindsight, JYP wouldn’t conduct that event at all, and nothing will happen; life goes on, you do your dancing, you make your money, Tzu-yu won’t be humiliated in front of the world, and everybody is happy. If you had hindsight, you will be God, Mr Park.

But you don’t need hindsight to do things right because here’s the question that, in order to be right, you never answer in any of your grovelling letters. (You know what’s to ‘grovel’ Mr Park?) You keep saying you are sorry, and sorry for what? Where is the wrong done by Tzu-yu, Mr Park?

We know from all that we wrote above it isn’t about the fact of a Taiwan flag, or the fact that Tzu-yu is Taiwanese — just as there are Koreans like you. In another way of speaking it’s the association with the Taiwan flag that bothers you. That is, what does the flag means to you, to Taiwanese like Tzu-yu and to all of China.

For that answer you are contending that Taiwanese is not Chinese, hence Tzu-yu’s public confession which, by-the-way, the world, including us, suspect you had forced on her. So then tell us, where did you get the idea that Taiwanese and Chinese are mutually exclusive. From the Internet? From Weibo subscribers in China mainland? From Huawei? Or from Huang An?

Suppose we grant you that they are mutually exclusive, then answer this, What’s a Taiwanese who isn’t Chinese or a Chinese who isn’t Taiwanese? What’s a Chinese even? Pause there to think, Mr Park, otherwise you’re going to make more mistakes. Other than your little kiddy dancing, you are not a clever person; it shows in your actions, in every letter, every word from your tongue. Worse than stupidity, you don’t even have a spine to consider things through for yourself because all that you ever say is sorry, relying on the Internet and on Huang An to tell you what to think.

Have you any idea who is Huang An or what he is?

We urge you to pause also because when you begin to move out of objectivity, into feelings, and now into questions of international politics and then to issues of identity you are entering into an area of Big Philosophical questions that you don’t have the brains for. Face it, Mr Park, you aren’t just stupid you’re also incompetent so that if you are going to be sorry, we suggest you close shop and throw your idiotic, banal life out the 10th floor window of the Korea Stock Exchange. You can’t even run a company of half-educated girls.

We won’t bother ourselves with Huang An but we’ll deal with one last point which he has raised and you’ve bought into and which is all over Tzu-yu’s apology and inferred in all your letters. It is this: Does holding a Taiwan flag mean, really mean or even suggest or indicate that the person is against One China position?

There is no need to answer that; the answer is self-evident. (You know what is self-evident, Mr Park?) The curious part is this: Why did you humiliate Tzu-yu to answer a question based purely on a supposition by, of all people, the windbag rabble-rouser named Huang An who now has nothing else to do with his life other than put down other people.

Tzu-yu doesn’t have to answer, nor you, nor the company. Let Huang An do it; he is the one making those suppositions. Instead, he throws you a bone and you dive in to take a bite. If a Taiwan flag means Against China, then let Huang An prove it. If possessing a Taiwanese identity card means Not Zhongguoren then let Huang An prove it? He has a Taiwan ID after all. But, why do you, such a motherfucker you’re, have to force Tzu-yu to prove it? Do you think that saying something makes something therefore true?

Equally appalling is this remark from your personal letter which we quote at length:

“Over the past few days, Tzuyu has suffered a lot even as she reflected upon herself. She left home at age 13 and came to South Korea. I and my company have not brought up Tzuyu properly for her parents. That is a huge mistake on the part of me and my company. We will stop all of Tzuyu’s activities in China for now, and we will properly handle all the matters that have come about as a result of this affair.”

You’ve no idea, absolutely none, Mr Park, what is it to suffer. We know. We have. And, since when did we appoint you as Tzu-yu’s foster parents? Grant that you’ve taken up that responsibility — and we thank you — you then admit that you’ve failed. If you’ve failed, what have you been teaching our daughter? What have you been doing the past two years or more? Sleeping with every girl under your care? What did Tzu-yu do or say or even thought of doing or saying that demonstrated your failure? If it’s your failure, why do you still abuse her for the world to see, humiliate her, wreck her life and then she has to, in her turn, apologize — for your failures!

Instead of standing up for her, instead of protecting her, instead of caring for her, to comfort her when, in the night, she chokes on her tears, you throw her to those Pekingese poodle dogs.

Mr Park, go fuck your mother.

Yours sincerely,

Parents of Chou Tzu-yu

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Letter #1 from Mr J.Y Park, circa Jan 11

Hello everybody, I am J.Y.Park.

First of all, I sincerely and deeply apologize for the hurt that I have caused my Chinese friends. At the same time, I have very sorry about the seriousness of this affair on my workers, Tzuyu and myself. I am very sorry.

As a result of htis incident, I have once again appreciated deeply that working with a country means having to respect the sovereignty, culture, history and the feelings of the people of that country.

All this has given a tremendous lesson to my company and its artists. In the days ahead, we will resolutely stop any such incident from occurring.

Once again, I apology sincerely to those who have supported me, my company and its artists. We have let everybody know, we have hurt everybody’s feelings. In order to make up for the hurt and to repay your support, we will continue to work to contribute towards cultural exchanges between China and South Korea.

Over the past few days, Tzuyu has suffered a lot even as she reflected upon herself. She left home at age 13 and came to South Korea. I and my company have not brought up Tzuyu properly for her parents. That is a huge mistake on the part of me and my company. We will stop all of Tzuyu’s activities in China for now, and we will properly handle all the matters that have come about as a result of this affair.

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Letter #2 from JYP Entertainment, circa Jan 15

Hello, everyone! This is JYP Entertainment.

Recently in the online world, there have been reports that our agency’s artist Tzuyu is a ‘Taiwanese independence demonstrator’. We are very sorry to those who have felt uncomfortable due to these untrue reports.

1. Our artist Tzuyu understands and respects the principle of ‘One China’ . Taiwan is Tzuyu’s homeland, and Tzuyu has an unbreakable tie with Taiwan, but that doesn’t mean all Taiwanese people are ‘Taiwan independence demonstrators’. Tzuyu has never made a comment on Taiwan’s independence, and the online public opinion that Tzuyu supports Taiwan independence is not true.

2. She supports both Korea and China in achieving an amicable state, and she understands and respects China as one. We are saying that we can not accept a situation where our company internally harms the friendly relations between both countries.

If we as an agency were lacking in managing our artists, we are very sorry, and if there are people who were hurt because of our delay in responding to Chinese netizens, then we apologize once more.

We thank you all for supporting JYP Entertainment, and we hope you all will keep giving JYP Entertainment love and attention. From now on, we will rigorously keep an eye on this situation, and prevent something like this from happening again. We hope you all will keep giving lots of advice. We apologize once again for this situation and will put in effort to work even harder in 2016.

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The Heart of Chopin

, some wounds never heal and Chopin doesn’t help.

Prelude Op. 28, No. 4

Etude Op. 10, No. 3 (Piano)

Etude Op. 10, No. 3 (Orchestra)

Manchini – No Other Love

 Piano Sonata No. 14 (Beethoven)

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From where had despair come?

For the heart, life is simple: it beats for as long as it can. Then it stops. …

The only thing I have learned from life is to endure it, never to question it…” — Karl Ove Knausgaard in Min Kamp I & II

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Reading Karl Ove Knausgaard (above), the Norwegian writer, is like watching a man take out his guts slowly, his heart, then have it sliced and minced, a tiny piece each at a time made even tinier into ten thousand more pieces until nothing is left, not even dust. At the end of the book, or My Struggle, he is done with everything, exorcise every thought, every piece of memory and, it is at that moment, his life as an author — call it Portrait of an Author — ends. Below is an English-translated passage, an excerpt, from his 3,600-page tome My Struggle, Book II:

She fell into a pit that autumn. And she reached out for me. I didn’t understand what was happening. But it was so claustrophobic that I turned away from her, tried to maintain a distance, which she tried to close.

I went to Venice, wrote in a flat my publishing house had at its disposal, Linda was supposed to follow and stay for just under a week, then I would work for a few more days and return. She was so black, she was so heavy, kept saying I didn’t love her, I didn’t really love her, I didn’t want her, I didn’t really want her, this wasn’t working, it would never work, I didn’t want it to, I didn’t want her.

“But I do!” I said as we walked in the autumn chill in Murano with eyes hidden behind sunglasses. However, when she said I didn’t really love her, I didn’t really want to be with her, I wanted to be alone all the time, on my own, it became a little truer.

Where did her despair come from?

Had I brought it with me?

Was I cold?

Did I only think of myself?

I no longer knew what it would be like when my working day was over and I went to her place. Would she be happy, would it be a nice evening? Would she be angry about something, if for example we no longer made love every night, and so I didn’t love her as much as before? Would we sit in bed watching TV? Go for a walk to Långholmen? And once there, would I be devoured by her demands to have all of me, making me keep her at a distance and have thoughts shooting to and for in my brain that this had to come to an end, it wasn’t working, thus rendering any conversation or attempts to get closer impossible, which of course she noticed and took as proof of her main thesis, that I didn’t want her?

Or would we simply have a good time together?

I became more and more closed, and the more closed I became the more she attacked me. And the more she attacked me, the more aware I became of her mood swings. Like a meteorologist of the mind I followed her, not so much consciously as with my emotions, which, almost uncannily fine-tuned, tracked her various moods. If she was angry her presence was all that existed in me. It was like having a bloody great dog in the room growling, and I had to take care of it. Sometimes, when we were sitting and chatting, I could feel her strength, the depth of her existence, and I felt inferior. Sometimes when she approached me and I held her, or when I lay embracing her, or when we chatted and she was all insecurity and unease, I felt so much stronger that everything else became irrelevant. These fluctuations, without anything to hold on to, and the constant threat of some kind of outburst, followed by the unfailing reconciliation of smoothing of feathers, continued unabated, there was no let-up, and the feeling that I was alone, also with her, grew stronger and stronger.

In the short time we had known each other we had never done anything half-heartedly, and this was no exception.

One evening we’d had a row and after we had made up, we began to talk about children. We had decided to have a child while Linda was at the Dramatiska Institut, she could drop out for six months, and then I could take over while she finished her training. For it to work she would have to stop the medication, so she had to set this up; the doctors were reluctant, but the therapist supported her, and when it came to the crunch, the final decision was hers.

We discussed this nearly every day.

Now I said perhaps we should postpone it.

Apart from the light from the television, which was on in the corner, with the sound turned down, the flat was in total darkness. The autumnal darkness was like an ocean outside the windows.

“Perhaps we should put it off for a while,” I said.

“What did you say?” Linda said, staring at me.

“We can wait a bit, see how things go. You can finish your course…”

She got up and slapped my face with the palm of her hand as hard as she could.

“Never!” she shouted.

“What are you doing?” I said. “Have you gone mad? Hitting me like that?

My cheek stung. She had hit me really hard.

“I’m off,” I said. “And I’m never coming back. So you can forget that.”

I turned and went into the hall, took my coat from the hook.

Behind me she was crying, bitter tears.

“Don’t go, Karl Ove,” she said, “Don’t leave me now.”

I turned.

“Do you think you can do as you like? Is that what you think?”

“Forgive me,” she said. “But stay. Just tonight.”

I stood motionless in the darkness by the door and looked at her, vacillating.

“OK,” I said. “I’ll stay here tonight. But then I’m going.”

“Thank you,” she said.

At seven next morning I woke and left the flat without breakfast, went to my earlier flat, which I still had. Took a cup of coffee with me to the roof terrace, sat smoking and looking out over the town wondering what to do next.

I couldn’t stay with her. It was impossible.

I rang Geir on my mobile, did he feel like a trip to Djurgården, it was quite important, I had to talk to someone. Yes, he did, just had to finish off a few jobs first, we could meet by the bridge outside the Nordic Museum, and then walk right to the end, where there was a restaurant in which we could have lunch. And that was what we did, we walked under the masonry-grey sky, between the leafless trees, on a path gaily strewn with yellow, red and brown leaves. I said nothing about what had happened, it was too humiliating, I couldn’t tell anyone she had slapped me because what would that make me? I said only that we had quarreled and that I didn’t know what to do any more. He said I should listen to my heart. I said I didn’t know what I felt. He said he was sure I did.

But I didn’t. I had two different sets of feelings for her. One said you have to get out, she wants too much from you, you’re going to ose all your freedom, waste all your time on her, and what will hapen to all you hold dear, your independence and your writing? The other set said, you love her, she gives you something others can’t and she knows who you are. Exactly who you are. Both sets were equally right, but they were incompatible, one excluded the other.

On this day thoughts of leaving were uppermost in my mind.

When Geir and I went into the Metro carriage coming out of Västertorp, she rang. Asked if I wanted to eat with her in the evening, she had bought crabs, my favorite food. I said yes, we would have to talk anyway.

I rang the doorbell even though I had a key, she opened and studied me with a careful smile.

“Hi,” she said.

She was wearing the white blouse I liked so much.

“Hi,” I said.

One hand moved forward as though intending to embrace me, but it stopped and she took a step back instead.

“Come in,” she said.

“Thank you,” I replied. Hung my jacket on the hook, body angled slightly away from her. As I turned she reached up and we gave each other a hug.

“Are you hungry?” she asked.

“Yes, quite,” I said.

“Then let’s eat straight away.’

I followed her to the table, which was under the window on the other side of the room from the bed. She had laid a white cloth. Between the two plates and glasses, plus two bottles of beer, there was a candlestick with three candles, and three small flames flicked in the draught. A dish of crabs, a basket of white bread, butter, lemon and mayonnaise as well.

“I’m not so skilled with crabs, it transpired,” she said. “I didn’t know how to open them. Perhaps you do?”

“Sort of,” I said.

I broke off the legs, opened the shells and removed the stomachs while she flipped off the bottle tops.

“What have you been doing today?” I said, passing her a shell, which was almost completely full.

“I couldn’t even think of going to class, so I rang Mikaela and had lunch with her.”

“Did you tell her what happened?”

She nodded.

“That you slapped me?”

“Yes.”

“What did she say?”

“Not much. She listened.”

She looked at me.

“Can you forgive me?”

“Of course. I just don’t understand why you did it. How can you lose control of yourself like that? I assume you hadn’t intended to do it? I mean, on reflection?”

“Karl Ove,” she said.

“Yes?” I said.

“I’m very sorry. Terribly sorry. But it was what you said that hit me so hard. Before I met you I hadn’t even dared imagine that I might have children one day. I didn’t dare. Even when I fell in love with you I didn’t. And then you said what you said. It was you who brought up the subject, do you remember? The very first morning. I want to have children with you. And I was so happy. I was so utterly, insanely happy. Just the fact that there was a possibility. It was you who gave me that possibility. And then…yesterday…well, it was like you were withdrawing the possibility. You said perhaps we should put off having children. That hit me so hard, it was so crushing and then…well…I completely lost control.”

Her eyes were moist as she held the crab shell over the slice of bread and tried to lever out the firm flesh along the edge with the knife.

And why is it called ‘My Struggle’? Knausgaard himself answers the question in the book:

Everyday life, with its duties and routines, was something I endured, not a thing I enjoyed, nor something that was meaningful or made me happy. This had nothing to do with lack of desire to wash floors or change diapers but rather with something more fundamental: the life around me was not meaningful. I always longed to be away from it. So the life I led was not my own. I tried to make it mine, this was my struggle, because of course I wanted it, but I failed, the longing for something else undermined all my efforts.

***

In the classical Chinese story from a thousand years ago The Butterfly Lovers, death takes over when love then life ceases.

*

Lines from the lyrics, chorus part (English translation by shuzheng):

情缘强中断时,                    What breaks the chains of love?

痛苦不消说,                         In your pain say nothing ,

可歌往事留在脑海,            Sing only to oceans of memories,

梦中空泣血,                         For blood cries vacant to fate.

即使未许白头,                     All through to old age,

柔情难以绝,                         Nothing breaks tender feelings,

情义似水滔滔斩不断,        Nothing slices torrents of sentiments.

翻作恨史,                            Here, to us, a song of no regrets

千秋待清雪。                    As surely as snow follow a thousand autumns.

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Xior the Rubia cordifolia, a rhizome which grows to adult human height.

***

The closest transliteration of the name Sheila is 石蜡 or shila which is hanyu pinyin for paraffin wax. Next in line for another phoneme is 西拉 xila, but that misses the shhh sound. Instead, another character-word 茜, also pronounced xi, is typically used in the phoneme transliteration which, since it is not exact science, thankfully, could use the yardsticks of art and beauty to render a Malay name into Chinese (or vice versa).

In China, they call her 茜 Xila for Shila Amzah, KL-born, who has a Sina Weibo account of 2 million followers. (Hannah Yeoh, try beating that! You’d be a big bloated grand mama at 60, if you live that long, looking like a whale beached in PAS Kuala Selangor, and still won’t reach 200,000.)

(In pre-PAS glorious days) Shila’s father Amir Amzah Salleh himself sings and plays the guitar while her mother Fauziah Sarman has taken on some acting stints, all of which is to suggest she comes from a DNA-family of artistes and performers so derided by the PAS ulamas.

Now, the sad part: few or no Malaysian, the Melayu in particular, no artiste or singer, could flourish in Malaysia under its present overbearing religious/political environment (no thanks to Umno and PAS).

Shila has succeeded in China where few Malays would give a thought of entering a market people commonly mistake as an easy one. Despite its human numbers, physical vastness and geographical diversity, China is not easy: there’s the language hurdle and, especially, there is the competition. Shila is up against even younger and far more experienced competitors, not just from the mainland (and they are dime a dozen) but also from Hong Kong and Taiwan and that’s not to count Malaysia and from among the Chinese diaspora.

They couldn’t have picked a better Chinese name 茜 for Shila because 茜 is the short name for the Rubia cordifolia (the Common madder), the roots of which, dried and turned into powder, is used as herbal medicine in blood detoxification. (茜 is itself a composite of the radical stroke 卄 atop the character for vessel 西; blood vessel?) And la means ‘to pull’, as pulling a bowed instrument such as a violin.

Shila to detoxify Malaysia…?

For the moment, Shila is a rave; she’d go from Hunan where things had begun for her in a provincial television to, now, a Shanghai concert where she is scheduled to perform on August 16; price 380yuan to 1280yuan (RM200 to RM1150). Here is a pre-tour promotional, over-written write-up. In informal situations when filmed on Hunan television, she has that demureness of a Melayu and that makes her more endearing to the audiences. Her Chinese fans are nation-wide, Henan to Guangxi.

Those deranged, dying Arabian PAS ulamas and the old, imbecile Zainuddin Maidin, that Malaiyoo doyen of Malaysian journalists (and ex-journalists), have nothing to worry: she is Islam-compliant; her Melayu-ness is intact. One person here, China or Malaysia, a young person who likes nothing more than listening to a good song delivered movingly, has more sense that ten thousand Hadis or Zaidins assembled in some Kelantan pantai or a Sungai Besi Riong Street. Celaka...!

Shila the Bold, above, and below, Shila the Demure.

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