Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Of Friendster, Tagged, WAYN and such

Many people around me are crazed with friend-making services like Friendster, Tagged, WAYN (Where Are You Now) and many others. To me, I'm not against the usage of it. Who knows, you can really find some good friends with it. However, what irritates me is when you have buaya (someone who simply grabs anything within reach) people who just add anyone and everyone to their friends list without even knowing you, and not following up with this new friendship. What are they trying to do? Trying to create a false image of themselves being very popular? To boost their self-esteem? In the past I've been too naive into thinking that everyone who add me really wanted to befriend me. However, after years of using such services, I began to think elsewise. Hence, from now on, I'll not accept any friend-adding request, unless they are already my friend (have at least corresponded with me via email or private message for a while to begin with). For those already in my friends list but have not even corresponded with me for over half a year(without any reasons), sorry to say, out you go too! I do not need "spiritual" friends, that is friends who looks more like spirits lingering around the cyberspace (I am not Da Shu from Hana Kimi!), thank you very much!


Tank, the stage name of talented singer-songwriter Lu Jianzhong, is from the same company as Fahrenheit and S.H.E. I have heard of his name quite some time ago, but it was only recently, due to Hana Kimi and Fahrenheit that I started noticing him, and I feel that his compositions and vocals are good. In Jiro's blog, he even mentioned that "though Tank has got a small built (he's still taller than me!), he's full of power once he stood on stage". I like Tank because unlike some other R&B-influenced singers, he doesn't deliberately put on those exaggerated dramatic accent in his singing. Thank God for that; we do not need roller-coaster divas (or male-divas) in Asia!

I was told he was of Taiwanese Aboriginal background, no wonder when I first saw him in his MV for "My Personal Angel" (專屬天使), I thought I saw a Malay guy singing Mandarin song! But nevertheless that song was still great. Anyway, this is another MV titled "When We Were Young"(我們小時後) which I think is nice too.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Stars and Road Tragedies

My mind was still thinking about the autograph session yesterday when I was suddenly shaken back to reality by a news article: Xu Weilun, a popular and pretty Taiwanese idol drama actress passed away yesterday after failing to survive a severe road accident which took place a few days ago. While on her way travelling down south to Taichung for filming, Xu Weilun's car swerved and crashed into a road barrier due to some unknown reasons, and a truck coming from behind failed to stop in time, hence resulted in the tragedy. Doctors tried in vain to save her life, and she finally lost her battle to death at 5.09pm yesterday afternoon, 40 over hours after she was admitted to hospital.

Prior to this news, I had totally no impression of her. Afterall, I was never a fan of Taiwanese idol drama, and had only seen her name when it came out in Yahoo Taiwan's news section days ago after the accident occured. However, there was something eerie here: there're many cases of Taiwanese stars who lost their lives in road accidents! Singer-songwriter Zhang Yusheng and singer-actor Yang Qinghuang are among those few. And, I'm not sure if it's mere coincidence, but 18 years ago on the same day, Taiwanese singer Wang Mojun and one-half of the now-defuct duo "Seasame & Longan" (Zhi Ma Long Yan) Lin Yuru met with an road accident together. Wang Mojun died on the spot, while Lin Yuru passed away 14 days later.

This is indeed a very tragic news, even though I do not know her. It simply strengthens my belief in that life is too fragile, and that we should make use of every possible opportunity to try achieve what we wish to achieve in life. Afterall, everything will come to a halt when the pulse is gone, not even if you're a superstar. Rest in peace, Xu Weilun!

Fahrenheit's Autograph Session

Yesterday, I went for Farenheit's autograph session at IMM. This is my second autography session in my entire life.

Judging from their popularity regionally, as well as my previous experiences (either as an attender or just a watcher), I knew I had to go very early for there'll certainly be a lot of people queuing as well. I went straight after lunch, and arrived IMM at around two, four hours before the autograph session, but I was shocked to see that the fans were already queuing out of the mall and into the carpark. I think these fans might have arrived since the mall opened for business yesterday! I quickly called Amai to informed her of the situation, because she wanted to come as well, but was not about to leave that soon. On hearing my report, she immediately dashed out of her house. Well lucky for her that I was already in the queue, or else by the time she arrived at her orginally planned timing, she'd most likely have to queue up to the open space in front of the mall.

The queue started to move at around 5.30pm, and in a matter of seconds, Amai and I were already standing inside the mall. Though we were granted entry already, the stars of the event did not turn up until around 6 something. Their appearance onto the stage immediately resulted in screams from their fans, but as we were still far away from the stage, we weren't able to see or hear much. As if this was not bad enough, it was made worse by the poor crowd control yesterday. I would not want to blame it on the security personnel hired for the event, but the management did not set up enough barricade for the queue, and many thick-skinned fans were actually cutting queue at various points in the human chain, resulting in our queue not moving at all for at least the first 2 hours. I even met a group of hypocritical young girls who purposely made loud sacarstic remarks about people cutting into their queue, but in the end they themselves resorted to such despicable moves.

The queue started to move a bit about a long wait, and everytime the queue inched a bit, everyone behind would be pushing and rushing. Fortunately, though it was a bit chaotic, nothing drastic really took place. As I moved closer and closer to the central stage, the queue cleared faster, and by around 9.30, half an hour before the official ending time for the autograph session, I could finally see the stage, as well as the four members of Fahrenheit. It was a long and tiring wait, but actually, it was equally tiring for Fahrenheit because they had been signing for hours, only taking about 5 minutes of intermission break. I guessed like us, they had not even taken their dinner yet. Therefore, as a token of appreciation, I decided not to say the usual "Oh-how-I-support-you" kind of standardised phrases, but thanked them for their autograph and also to acknowledge their tiring effort. They were still very friendly and replied that they did not find it tiring. Well it may be just out of courtesy that they said that, but at least they replied, unlike some stars or actors who were only keen to sign autographs and make you disappear from their faces immediately. As for Jiro, I gave him some words of encouragement as well, as I knew he wasn't feeling too good lately. He was kind of surprised by my words, but as with his chracter of acting tough, he gave me the "I'm-fine-thank-you" kind of gesture. That's so typical of him!

Amai and I left at around 10pm, feeling contented that our programme booklet for Fahrenheit's album was finally signed. The quartet was actually scheduled to sing one last song after the autograph session closed, but we did not want to linger around any further as we need to take care of our stomachs. So what's my impression of each individual member of Fahrenheit? Chun was more focused on his work; he was eager to finish signing every album he was presented, but it was also because of his focus in his work that made him spent relatively less time interacting with the fans. Aaron was the most shy among the four, and hence talk much as well. Jiro was the friendliest and was always smiling widely. Calvin seemed very approachable too, and is a good talker. In short, all of them are rather nice. See you around, Fahrenheit!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Two Happy Things

There're two things which makes me happy today.

First, my favourite Thai rock band Potato has finally released their 6th album "Sense" today! I feel like buying it straight away, but I'll have to wait till pay day before I can order it off the eThaiCD.com (the original album is unavailable in Singapore totally). So for the time being, I think I can only stare at the miserably small album cover on eThaiCD.com as a "compensation", because neither their website nor any other Thai music portals carry any audio preview clips for this album. Anyway, I felt a big sense of relief when I saw their new album cover; they still have got 4 members! That means they're still going strong, and I hope they will remain that way for years to come.

The second thing which made me happy is Fahrenheit's autograph session tomorrow. This shall be the second autograph session that I'll be attending in my entire life (the first one was for Fann Wong's "Shopping" album; autograph signing by Chinese opera stars and artistes not counted), and I supposed I'd have to go real early to avoid any chance of not being able to get Fahrenheit to sign on my CD. Afterall, their fame was too big, and I believe there'll surely be even more kiasu fans who would start to queue up at the venue once the mall opens tomorrow.

I can't help but feel delighted as I type this post, a completely different feeling from the past few days when I was feeling moody because of Jiro's blog. Hopefully tomorrow will be another happy day for me!

Jiro & Me

Back on the topic of Jiro of Fahrenheit, I may be one of those who got to know this talented actor-cum-singer at a very late stage. It was only when the Hana Kimi craze was blowing very strong that I started to notice him, in his role as Jin Xiuyi.

Actually it wasn't solely because of his talent in singing and acting that made me take notice of him; it was his personality. As I started reading articles about him and visiting his personal blog, I found that there are several aspects of his character that is similar to mine.

Jiro, a.k.a. Da Dong, appeared to be a happy-go-lucky person on camera, but deep down inside, he's a rather emotional and sentimental person who would rather bottle up all his feelings than to share it with others. In his latest entry in his blog, he lamented about having too much regrets, and even though he didn't really write much, I could feel for him, because I'm not much different than him. I seldom show my sadness in front of my friends, so everyone assumed I'm a carefree person. Before I blogged about our "Romance of the Dragon Princess", nobody would have imagined that I had been hurt on several occasions during my past 8 years, chasing after my Chinese opera dreams; I've been hurt when my already very minor role has been revoked to help out at the backstage, I've been hurt when my juniors surpassed me in getting meatier roles even though I know well I'm not a lousy actor, I've been hurt when the shows I've been looking forward to excitedly were shelved indefinitely without any valid reasons. I also have my fair share of regrets; I had spent almost all my free time in Chinese opera, thus forfeiting my rights to upgrade myself or further my studies years ago, and now I can only settle for my current lowly-paid job. But, I never told anyone about all these, not neither create a fuss, for I know it wouldn't change the situation much, and I would never want to burden people with my personal problems.

Looking at Jiro's entry upsetted me, because it's almost like a mirror reflecting my true self. Of course, his circumstances is different from mine, but then it was his character of making others happy at the expense of his own self coincides with my character. I am not unhappy about my own situation, but I don't wish to see him suffering from similar fate. I hope he could buck up and be a happier person; whatever he does, he'll always have the support of his huge pool of fans and me!

Note: Picture extracted from Jiro's personal blog.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Cai Luong version of "Butterfly Lovers"

I've bought this Cai Luong DVD "Luong Son Ba Chuc Anh Dai" (Butterfly Lovers) quite some time back together with some other titles from an Internet website. However, due to my busy schedule, I am only able to blog about it only today.

This version of Cai Luong was produced in 2001, starring Manh Quynh and Phi Nhung (once known as the "Golden Couple" in Vietnamese entertainment scene) as the lead roles. In terms of costumes, I think it was a big improvement from those produced in the 90s, as the clothes looked more stylish. Those produced years ago featured costumes which looked more like costumes borrowed from street opera troupes. However, the hairstyle of the male roles are still not very nice; many of them still spot those clip-on hair-pieces, which do not quite go well with the actors' real hair. As for the "golden couple"'s performance, although they looked compatible on screen, they are somehow lacking in their emotions, which I think is a pity.

Well, enough of my comments. Allow me to show you some of the clips extracted from the show!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Curse Of The Ring

There's a particular ringtone that has taken the China handphone market by storm due to it's cute and funny lyrics. However, this ringtone has also proven to be an "unlucky" one. Here is the link to this ringtone.

For those who doesn't quite understand Mandarin, here is the translation to the lyrics:
"Who's looking for me? Let me take a look at who it is that's looking for me.
Why is it you? How come it is you who is looking for me?!
I'm not answering, I'm not answering, I'm not answering your call!
I'll answer all other people's call, except yours.
Even if you die of frustration I'll still ignore your call!"

One of the "victims" of this ringtone is a female executive who is in charged to laising with clients of her company. There was an ocassion whereby she was supposed to call an important client, but due to the bad reception in her area, her call was disconnected after a while. Her clients tried calling back, but he kept hearing "I'm not answering, I'm not answering...". In the end, the frustrated client decided to terminate their business contract, and the innocent female executive was fired by the company.

Another victim was a student who was applying for a position in a university. This student waited for a long time for the news of his application but to no avail, and when he called up the department in charged of the processing the applications, he got the shock of his life. "Why bother to call and check? Didn't you say 'even if I die of frustration you'll still ignore my call'?" the person-in-charge of contacting the applicants told him. It turned out that the university this student had applied for for was full, and the person-in-charge had wanted to call him to ask if he wanted to try another university. However, when he heard the ringtone, he got fed up and decided to dump his application aside.

I couldn't believe my eyes when I read these news over the internet. To think that such cute and harmless ringtones can actually create such misfortunes! So I think from now on, it's best that one stick to "normal" and conventional ringtones, and not something too innovative or special. You won't know who will take your ringtone too seriously and results in any drastic consequences!

Jiro Fahrenheit

Recently the Hanazakarino Kimitachihe (花样少年少女) wind is blowing strong and many people around me are caught in it's frenzy, including Amai, who only likes Chinese opera and Takarazuka. "Hanazakarino Kimitachihe", or "Hana Kimi" in short, featured Ella from S.H.E. as the female lead and Wu Zun (Chun) and Jiro (Wang Dongcheng) as the first and second male lead respectively. Being labelled as the "most 'manly' idol drama" in Taiwan, the show enjoyed immense popularity, and anything that features Chun and Ella will bound to create a storm once released into the market.

I supposed I'm one of the very few that actually preferred the second male lead Jiro (Wang Dongcheng) over Chun, as I feel that his role in Hana Kimi is much better. Not that Chun did not do well, just that acting directly opposite Ella just makes his role look less attractive because Ella's role is simply too striking. Jiro's acting is indeed quite good; he's not only good at comical roles, which he himself is already a rather whacky guy off-screen, but he's equally good at playing sentimental roles. Those who have watched "It Started With A Kiss" (恶作剧之吻) would have known; in the show he acted as a sentimental but dreamy guy whose goal in life is to marry his dream girl, whom he had always loved since his first year in college, although he knew well that the latter only had eyes on another guy.

When it comes to singing, I feel that Jiro is one of the better ones in Fahrenheit. Although there's still room for improvement technically, his singing is still acceptable. For Chun, though his vocal quality is not bad, his singing's slightly pitchy, probably due to his "south-east Asian Chinese accent".

I may not be a "头号Fans"(imitate Ella's signature gestures in Hana Kimi) of Hana Kimi, nor a die-hard fan of Taiwanese idol drama, but I hope to see more of Jiro is future shows. He's really talented and I feel that he shouldn't be always given the role of a pitiful secret admirer or a comical second lead. With his talent in acting, he should be able to go far if given more chance. So for now, I shall make do with "Hana Kimi" and "It Started With A Kiss". Hopefully 2007 will be a better year for him, with better on-screen exposures!

Jiro in Tank's MV, "給我你的愛" (theme song for "終極一班")

Jiro in vegetable juice commercial (guest starring other three members of Fahrenheit)

Jiro in ISWAK, dreaming of singing his love theme to his dream girl

Jiro in ISWAK, these are the two scene which really made me take a different look at Jiro as an actor

Jiro and Joe Cheng lip-sync to the theme song of ISWAK