Thursday, April 14, 2005

A Mix Tape You Made - Cheer Chen / 陳綺貞 (HK)

Well, after a break of a week or two, I'm back. Did you miss me madly? Rhetorical questions aside, it's time to put up some new music under the guise of 'it's new if it's new to me'.

That being said, introducing 陳綺貞, which I believe means 'Cheer Chen'. After hearing my share of J-Pop, and a smattering of Hong Kong pop, which pretty much of the same saccherine variety, this is the polar opposite - a pretty folk pop songstress whose quite and clear voice brings me back to The Gentle Waves, the side band of then-Belle and Sebastian-er Isobel Cambell. While Cheer Chen's voice has much more authority, it's so simple and clear it makes you want to sway in a seat as you look at those old high school yearbooks.

The folk twee factor picks up beyond the acoustic guitar strumming, when a lonely horn floats in with some playful children 2/3rds of the way through, picking up the backdrop of the guitar as it peters out itself. A fairly simple track, but the pretty vocals and minimalist nature stay with you for a bit, and goes great with the kids frolicking outside school in the spring sun.

Tag: One is the lonliest number
RIYL: Julie Dorion, Isobel Cambpell
Track: Cheer Chen (陳綺貞) - After 17


Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Housekeeping Note

My apologies...I'm right in the middle of exams, and that's taking up far too much of my time. Expect posting to be light for another week, but anticipate a move to a new website not long after that.

Good times will be had by most...


Thursday, March 31, 2005

No love for the Gwai Lo

Reading Big White Guy, I've found the sad truth is that, while it seems that Chinese women love the forigners, that love may not be everlasting. A choice quote:

(While) nearly 63 per cent of Chinese citizens would like to marry a foreigner, according to a survey … of contemporary Chinese attitudes towards international marriage...Marrying a foreigner is no guarantee of long-lasting happiness, said the paper, citing a separate survey showing that international marriages tend to have high divorce rates.

The survey by the Shanghai municipal government showed 60 per cent of marriages between Chinese and Canadians failed.

While I know this isn't Hong Kong per-se, I don't know if I should be setting myself up for love or heartache. See, none of this would be an issue if I could pass for a Hong Kong local. Hey, look at my picture. If I walked in that perpetual blue shadow all the time, I could pass...

Yet, maybe I should do the real foreigner thing and fall for a local. Ok BWG - I see you article, and I also see the subtle hint for your very own BWG Personals. I get it, I get it...


Wednesday, March 30, 2005

知半解: Avril Lavigne loves Japan? Or Hong Kong?

According to Hanzi Smatter, Avril Lavigne was spotted playing a concert in Hong Kong with writing on her arm stating something to the effect of 'Japan is the Best!'

While it looks like the photo was indeed taken from Japan (but likely used to promote the show in Hong Kong through chinese newspapers), the possiblity of it being true just makes it blog-worthy.

And she's Canadian. So everyone wins...


Hong Kong University Residential Halls...advice?

Does anyone have any advice on which HKU residence I should stay in? I'm debating between Starr and Swire...and if I can, I'm going to change it to St John's Graduate hall...but I could use advice.

Or even more general advice. Do I want a private room or a more sociable hall with kids in their 20's? Any thoughts would be appreciated...


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Hello Kitty iPod mini

As reported by Gizmodo, the new Hello Kitty iPod is soon to be on the market.

This comes complete with a 6GB iPod, plus Bearbricks, the new fad sweeping Hong Kong and Asia, and slowly making their way towards North America. Basically, it's like collecting sports cards or something similar, but in cute plastic bear form - or Kitty form.

While I want to hate the consumerism of it, I really don't. I mean, if I like bunnies, then there's no justifyable reason not to love Hello Kitty, right? But I wonder, is the stereotype true that all girls from 10 to 25 in Hong Kong are in love with Hello Kitty? Maybe someone can enlighten me...


Monday, March 28, 2005

Bunnies! (and classy fine art...)

Yes, maybe I'm a sap. But between learning to love Manet, despise the YBA art movement, and develop my own sense of style of what makes fine art, I've found myself drawn to some simpler, almost amateurish art.

Not to devalue the work of Mr. Clement, but it's hard to take it seriously. That being said, there's something I love about his mix of the fantastic and his use of real life - best seen in this photo set. It has a playful asthetic to it, yet does more than just tell a story - it draws you close with some sort of warmth I can't just pinpoint. For some reason, he reminds me of the humour of David Shrigley (whose website featuring his more subtle photo work has died a horrible death as of last check), yet much more subtle. More meaningful is for you to decide.

And he also does music posters and great 'on the street work'. Again, featuring bunnies. Maybe I just like bunnies...Eh, to each his own.


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A Mix Tape You Made - The Decemberists (USA)

I swear, I was planning on posting another HK band or two before the US hit the chart again, but I couldn't pass this up. There's a great video up by a band called The Decemberists called 16 Military Wives (torrent). (you'll need a program like Bit Torrent for PC or Tomato Torrent for Mac to download the file)

It's a tale that may hit a bit close to home for the American readers...a thinly disguised track about America marching off to war, the reasons behind it, and the price that may be paid. That being said, it's not a downer of a track my any means...

In fact, the song comes bouncy with quirky, Neutral Milk Hotel-sounding vocals, and a toe tapping structure that for some reason, evokes memories of The Beatles 'Life Goes On' (Ohblah dee, oblah dah...excuse me if I've got the wrong name). The required marching band horns and choruses including 'Lah de dah de dah de ditty ditty dah' go along with the dictatorial vocals exclaiming that America...well, you'll just have to hear it for yourself.

And bravo to the video, both for tongue-in-cheekily using a Model UN to show how the hurtin' goes down, and for sneakily tossing a copy of copy of Craig Thompson's Blankets in the locker of Luxembourg. You'll understand when you see the video. Anyway, those looking fora mature loo at childhood love in graphic novel form, Blankets is one to check out. I've bookmarked a couple pages for possible framing in my future-hopeful-big-boy-house...

Well, didn't bookmark the pages. Didn't wanna crease them.

Stay tuned for some Hong Kong music from Cheer Chen and the Keh Leh Feh recommended Eason Chan in the near future...


Candid Cameras and Tourist Traps

After checking out the Flickr photo set by Siu Tung, a fellow Hong Kong blogger who is currently living outside the city (or so it looks), and thinking back to my favourite photos, I started thinking about what makes tourism photography worthwhile.

If you go back a couple posts, you see a happy family posing in front of landmarks, and obviously staged photos of local women - who may or may not have been paid for their images, I can't help but think of the photos from my past trips.

When I was a kid, while I never enjoyed being photographed, I always managed to find myself in front of the Empire State Building, or at a baseball game, or something like that. The images hold up over time, basically as an artifact not of the trip, but me growing up alongside my family.

However, when I travelled alone, I loathed asking to get my photo taken. I always tried to take candid shots of locals, shots of beautiful scenery, lush greenery or frosty mountains - and I often found myself passing on tourist photos of landmarks, except for anything Gaudi-related (Flickr link). I find that, in retrospect, looking at the random photos of other people's everyday lives and beautiful vistas that I have explored stand up much more over the smiley, happy photos of yesteryear.

This just makes me want to go buy myself a nice digital camera. Something with some weight, at least 5 or 6 megapixels, interchangable lenses, and the like. Basically, a normal camera, minus the film. Suggestions are appreciated, and I'll update you on the search...


Monday, March 21, 2005


Spandex: A Father's Tale

This short film was made by a friend of mine from NYU, and has been accepted into a number of film festivals. Anyone in the NY area should head off to support local comedy.

NYU First Run: Saturday, April 2 at 8:00 PM (Main screening, room 200)
NYU First Run: Sunday, April 3 at 12:30PM (Alternate screening, room 102)
Tribeca Film Festival: Friday, April 22 at 2:00PM (Regal Battery Park Theater 4 )
Tribeca Film Festival: Saturday, April 30 at 5:15PM (Regal Battery Park Theater 10)
Tribeca Film Festival: Sunday, May 1 at 2:45PM (Regal Battery Park Theater 11)

Movie Preview here.