Saturday, May 22, 2010

Teresa Teng's Chinese songs

I don't listen to Chinese songs. I got to know about Teresa Teng from an intern's mother in the following way.

On the 10th day of Chinese New Year (CNY), the intern's mother invited me for a CNY lunch at a Novena Square Chinese restaurant to thank me. The intern had gone back to Australia to study. In the 15 days of CNY, Chinese people in Singapore might celebrate by eating "raw fish" with slices of vegetables. This eating of raw fish would be considered a ritual to symbolise get good luck and prosperity for the New Year.

A brand new silver Mercedes 250 rolled outside my Surgery at 1 pm to pick me up for the lunch appointment. The intern's aunty had just got her new car on the eve of the New Year and had arrived with her sister (the intern's mother).

My friend Khin Khin was visiting me at my Surgery. I asked Khin Khin to come out so that I could introduce a role model to her. I hoped that Khin Khin who wants to be a business woman would be able to see a successful business woman who was doing the type of business she was going to do. The aunty got out of the car, was introduced and shook hands with Khin Khin instead of saying "hello" inside the car. This act showed she had the proper manners and was one reason she was successful in her cut-throat trading business.

At the restaurant, the aunty of the intern who would be paying for the lunch said: "No raw fish today." It was impolite to ask why. The aunty said: "I am a vegetarian. So, all of you eat meat." She checked the menu and ordered meat for us while she ate as small amount of rice and vegetables as she could. She even offered me half of her small bowl of rice. No wonder she was as slim as a fashion model on the runway. She dressed in a glittering violet material and wore light brown long boots. The intern's mother, her friend and I would appear to be under-dressed.

The aunty produced an National Trades Union Congress birthday voucher which entitled her to $100 off the price of lunch at this restaurant. She gave it to the Captain. "No, we don't accept this voucher today. It is for to be used for weekends and holidays like Valentine's Day and Mother's Day."

"Today is the 10th day of CNY," the aunty replied. "In CNY, there are 15 days of celebration and so the 10th day is a holiday. The voucher did not specify that it was not for use for the 15 days of CNY." This cut no ice with the Captain. The aunty stood her ground on the basis of principles. The Captain rejected her. So the voucher was no use for this strong-willed woman.

The aunty apologised to me after losing out to the Captain who had her instructions. The intern's mother said: "It is embarrassing for the doctor". After all, the aunty had bought a new Mercedes which would mean she was not in need of this discount voucher. "And in the presence of two accountants," I added. The mother said: "Two CPAs."

The aunty did not retort. I don't think it was embarrassing. It was business. A free voucher was to be claimed. The intern's mother said: "Phone the (name of a Chinese newspapers). They give $50.00 if they publish such news."

"At least you recover 50%," I said since her $100 voucher was not useful. What was there to talk to 3 career women who had seen at least 40 years of life? I asked whether the intern's mother had attended the ABBA show and heard their songs. "Who is ABBA?" the intern's mother asked. She said: "I listen to Chinese songs. My favourite singer is Deng Lijun." I had heard about this famous Taiwanese pop singer and asked: "Do you mean Teresa Teng?" The aunty nodded her head as the mum did not know.

The lunch was fun as all could converse. The lunch crowd left. It was 3 pm when I returned to the Surgery.

I checked out Teresa Teng on and discovered that she had a large fan base and could sing English songs too. Some very good ones like Stevie Wonders' "I just called to say I love you" at:

Unfortunately she died of an asthmatic attack at the age of 42 years. That was 15 years ago.

One of her famous folk songs and romantic ballads is:
"The Moon Represents My Heart". See:

From a website, a writer wrote: Well, it's always hard to do a word-by-word translation, but the following is roughly what the original lyrics mean:
You ask me how deep's my love, and to what degree.
My feelings 're true, my love is true, the moon reflects my heart.
You ask me how deep's my love, and to what degree.
My feelings won't ebb, my love won't change... the moon reflects my heart.
The above translation of her song was not the complete lyrics but it would do.

Listening to her Chinese songs could help Singaporean students finding difficulty in studying Chinese. Pop songs in Chinese may help them to be motivated and to learn more about the Chinese language.

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