Singapore’s Maggie Teng With 愫

愫 means genuine feelings. The lyrics are quite meaningful. It’s a debate on how feelings should be expressed so that the other party doesn’t feel neglected or find it difficult to follow. It’s a 1984 classic by one of Singapore’s first singers who had made it in Taiwan, Maggie Teng 鄧妙華. The male part was delivered in female key by Taiwanese songwriter 孫建平. Sun had amazing vocal range. I actually prefer 愫 to 牵引。

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Toxic Tongues, Too Foolish

太傻 or Too Foolish is one song that I really enjoy listening to because I can’t sing it well. Unlike 梁文福 songs, it’s fiendishly difficult to sing without deliberately trying to challenge our vocal range. It’s the beautiful mountain that just happens to be there. You risk tearing your vocal chords if you dare to attempt.

The original singer for this song is not Eric Moo 巫启贤 but another Malaysian singer 柯以敏。While I thought she handled the song most competently, I didn’t really keep up with her career in the music industry. 太傻 is her only song that I know. Apparently, she went to China as well and made a name for herself as the “toxic tongue” among the judges in reality shows similar to American Idol. You can check out her “performance” in the video below. The Chinese answer to Simon Cowell?

Was she just acting out the role or did she really think she was some diva? We know that a lot of the drama that we see on reality shows are actually staged. There is nothing real about these reality shows, or is there? Did role playing lead to 假戏真做? Let’s take a look a the following video. Is she really that unreasonable? Or is her “toxic tongue” meant to spur these cloistered youngsters to perform their best? It worked in this case. The contestant even hugged her.

If she had gone overboard, then a gentle reminder would have sufficed. Was there a need to cancel her? This is where I think politics may have entered the picture. Notice in the first video that she identified herself as 中国人.。We don’t know if she had given up her Malaysian citizenship, but suffice to say that someone with a toxic tongue and so full of herself (even just on stage) can never be another Jackie Chan.

Below is her “performance” on Super Orator show. No, she’s not acting. The real 柯以敏 is really that strict and that nasty. During the show, you can see from the poll that the majority of young people (students) disagreed with her while many parents agreed with her. What’s going on here? 小皇帝 generation? Or is China always on the verge of a Cultural Revolution where students are always ready to turn the teaching tables on their teachers?

As we can see from her performances, she totally lacks the compliance, subservience, willingness to compromise and political correctness that is required of patriotic artists. Maybe she had served the reality show’s purpose and it was time to sacrifice her, just as they did with Li Yundi. Perhaps the authorities and the industry players see her as a liability as the market forces have changed. The majority of consumers are now in the younger generation that does not like to be talked down to. You don’t need to be real to make money on social media platforms nowadays. You just have to manipulate foolish followers.

Below is a video of 柯以敏 in her element many years ago.

While the entertainment industry is one where politics is the least obvious, journalism is one where it is most obvious. China’s latest policies banning all “unofficial” news reports further underlines the need to be completely pro-government and pro-party in China’s non-existent Fourth Estate. Can one run into trouble with a toxic tongue in this circle? You bet. 芮成钢 was one of them. He is most “well-known” for making the following statement during the 2010 G20 Summit hosted by Korea in Seoul. He had audaciously taken the privilege of asking the last question from the host country by giving himself the right to represent “the entire Asia”. He even asked an American diplomat flying economy class in China whether it’s because America is feeling bad because it owes China so much.

When toxic tongues go overboard like this, the authorities may decide to take action, not so much because they are an embarrassment (there is a ton of embarrassing comments on social media allowed to go viral) but because the individuals may turn into megalomaniacs who act too independently. Many Chinese influencers gain a tremendous number of followers when they “patriotically” make enemies and declare war against Western powers. Rui seemed to be doing well in this area until the public was shocked when he was arrested and slapped with corruption charges. He then “disappeared” even though he was scheduled to be released from prison in 2020. Many speculated that he may have committed suicide.

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Burning All Bridges With Heart of Glass

Malaysian pop musician cum filmmaker Namewee has done it again. He first burst onto the music scene with his controversial YouTube MV Negara Kuku and now he has launched an even more controversial MV (likely to hurt the feelings of 1.4 billion people as some would say) that pokes fun at China’s modern Red Guards – “little pinky” (小粉红)。These youngsters (mostly) are the Chinese nationalistic equivalent of radical Western woke mobs. Heart of Glass 玻璃心 is often used to describe their hypersensitive, intolerant behaviour, cancelling anyone who dares say one negative thing about China.

The response was swift. His Chinese social media accounts were all shut down and his works have been banned in China. Still, his video has nearly 5.5 million views at this time of writing. With Heart of Glass, Namewee is effectively burning all bridges with China – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing at this point in time. Cultural Revolution 2.0 (a more sedate version of Mao’s original) has been launched and folks in the entertainment industry (or for that matter any industry) should stand clear and wait for the dust to settle.

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Poem Read By Exiled Chinese Writer Ma Jian

This is an excerpt from a statement by imprisoned Chinese Nobel Laurette Liu Xiaobo. It was made on 23 December 2009. Liu addressed the following part to his wife Liu Xia.

Liu Xiaobo.jpg


The translation is below. The part in brackets has been omitted in the video. Read by exiled Chinese writer Ma Jian.

(My dear, I firmly believe that your love for me will remain as always. For so many years deprived of my freedom, our love is full of the bitterness imposed by the external environment, but it is still memorable.) I am serving my sentence in a visible prison, and you are waiting in an invisible prison for the mind. Your love is the sunlight that transcends the high walls and penetrates the bars. It touches every inch of my skin and warms every cell in my body and thus I maintain inner peace, magnanimity and brightness, making every minute in prison meaningful. And my love for you is full of guilt and regret, and sometimes it weighs on me so much that it makes me stagger. I am a stubborn rock in the wilderness. But my love is hard, sharp, and can penetrate any obstacle. Even if I get crushed in the end, I will embrace you with my ashes.

The last line is especially powerful. “Even if I get crushed in the end, I will embrace you with my ashes.” Liu Xiaobo died in prison on 13 July 2017.

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