Feb 14

not so “divine” after all

it was a thursday evening.  the opera house was packed.  the divine perfroming arts production consists primarily of vocal music and dance.  “inspiration from traditional chinese culture and seeks to further this heritage” was its mission and slogan. it didn’t take long to realize the production was more than music and dance.  it was also promoting falun gong (法輪功).  i sure have heard about falun gong before but didn’t really understand what it is or care enough to find out.  is it a “spiritual discipline” or is it a “highly organized political group” as declared and thus banned by the chinese government? while the dance was okay, i paid to be entertained instead of listening to religion or political messages.  can i have my money back?
Jan 19

“we are one”

An estimated crowd of over 400,000 kicked off the “We are one” concert in person on the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial with many more over the air.  It was an official start of the historic three-day Inauguration celebration.  It was a cold and cloudy Sunday afternoon but the hearts were warm.  I was glad that I was there to witness a piece of the history. The speeches were short and motivational by many celebrities.  The music and artists line up were equally amazing with great patriotic tunes.  Obama, Biden and all other speakers acknowledged that there are big challenges ahead of us not only in America but in rest of world.  The messages were clear: We are one We are all in this together We are not a collection of red states, blue states – we are the United States. Race, color, age, physical challenged, religion and sexual orientation don’t matter.  Discrimination is not only out, it is not right.  It is not good for the human race.
Jan 02

ahchung – 虫畫虫話

I met ahchung (阿虫) once in person on july 8th, 2002 in Hong Kong.  I remembered because he dated and autographed some of the pieces that I have collected over the years.  His pictures and words go together hence you need to read Chinese to fully appreciate his works. The one above is one of my favorite: “橫逆風雨來,張傘擋不了。解衣赤膊行,我嫌雨點小”. There are more here.
Dec 26

Shut Up & Sing?

One thing i like about Netflix is its instant view option for watching videos, although limited selections, online without waiting for the videos to arrive via mail. This afternoon i caught up with the documentary “Shut Up & Sing”.  It was centered on the political controversy statement that was made by Natalie Maines, lead singer of the country music group the Dixie Chicks, in reference to the invasion of Iraq war during a concert in London 2003 that the band was “ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.”  The Dixie Chicks sure did pay the price from intense criticism of many fellow Americans for criticizing the nation’s head of state in foreign territory while the Country was on the verge of war and offended its conservative audience base.  Its music were boycotted and banned by radio stations. Although the incident took place about five years ago, i didn’t paid much attention at that time.   I didn’t really know who the Dixie Chicks were.  Politic was, and still is, not my interest.  I do wonder whether the incident will be viewed or reacted differently if it took place today instead. Would it be interesting if the Dixie […]
Dec 07

the departed != infernal affairs (無間道)

not sure what to expect when watching “the departed” (79th academy awards (oscars) best picture) over the weekend.  20 minutes into the movie i started to realize the movie was a remake of “infernal affairs” (無間道).  if i have not watched “infernal affairs” before i may have enjoyed “the departed” more. if you have not watched either one, start with “the departed” first. if you have watched “the deprated”, don’t miss “infernal affairs”. if you have watched “infernal affairs”, skip “the departed” and watch this instead :-).
Nov 22

that comment hurts …

It was a casual water-cooler conversation in the office over the traditional Chinese snack in the kitchen that was brought over by a visiting co-worker from the China office a few days ago.  It was a good gesture although, apparently, others may not like the snack much.  The conversation went like this: Person A: I wish they have chocolate in China Person B: Have you been to China before? Person A: WHY would I want to go to a third world country like China? I was there but didn’t want to participate in that conversation.  First of all china is not a third world country and it doesn’t matter even if it were.  I wonder whether that comment would have been made or been worse if I were not there. Regardless, It hurt.
Oct 17

hao jiu bu jian

Between paying a dollar to download a song that i like vs. obtaining a pirated copy, I will probably pay the dollar and get it over with.  If a song does not worth a dollar, it probably is not worth to occupy space in my iphone anyway. The issue is for Chinese songs, there aren’t many places on the net that sell download-able song for any price legally either DRM-free or DRM-locked. You would think itune has it.  no it doesn’t.  How about mp3 download from amazon.com?  It is a good attempt but there are so few selections.  What i disappointed most about the amazon.com mp3 download service is its poor user interface and no Chinese support.  How can one has a good Chinese song buying experience without the ability to search and browse in Chinese?  With my poor pinyin, I would not know Gai Shi Ying Xiong from Leehom Wang is 王力宏的蓋世英雄. Come on amazon, Apple and many other companies out there, you can do better than this.  And i have a dollar and want to pay you.