Saturday, May 03, 2008

Zhou Xuan as my mother' s idol in Batu Gajah

My mother, who was born in Batu Gajah in Perak in 1929 and who has never visited China, loved the movies and songs of Zhou Xuan (周璇), when she was a theatre-goer in the late 1930s. In her hometown, she had learnt to sing March of the Volunteers simply as a stirring theme song of a best-selling film also in the late 1930s, not knowing at that time that it would one day become the national anthem of a country with the fastest growing economy in the world and nuclear warheads.

My father' s favourite Engelbert Humperdinck


Blogger Unknown said...

The anthem is an inspiring piece of music either played by brass band or sung by choir. I have different versions in my collection.

"Kao Hong" is one of my mother's favorite of her songs. Even though it is not of my generation, I like it too, it reminds me of the time when we lived in rubber plantation and we only had the shortwave radio as the source of entertainment.

5:47 PM  
Blogger James Wong Wing-On said...

As a Boy Scout who has developed the love for stirring anthems of all types, I think it is in the class of The Star-Spangled Banner and La Marseillaise.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Vincent said...

Zhou Xuan's story is a phenomenal one, and if she lived in today’s world she would undoubtedly be known as a megawatt “superstar”. As part of a project to digitally restore early images from China and Japan, I came upon her legend and was quite taken. As a Westerner, I was intrigued by the similarity of her story with that of Marilyn Monroe, who also allegedly took her own life at a tragically young age (official accounts of both incidents claim otherwise but have long been clouded in controversy.

As the digital restoration artist responsible, I restored an image of her on the cover of “New Cinema Forum” magazine. This cover exists in poster form in flea markets in China today, however, they are actually just copies made from a much older copy showing fading and wear and tear. By contrast, the version I digitally restored now undoubtedly the most pristine image of her in the world, having undergone 5 weeks of exacting digital restoration in order to recapture the precise look and feel of the original artist, and it remains part of the larger collection now showcased as digitally restored images for view in the Old Orient Museum, as well as one of her early songs which is imbedded in the museum's flash soundtrack.

Vincent Lexington Harper


12:24 AM  

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