Archive for June, 2011

Wanfang Live Concert 2011 Esplanade Concert Hall

On 18 June 2011 I attended Wanfang Lin’s concert at the Esplanade Concert Hall. It was the first time I attended any musical performance in Mandarin. I must say it was pretty awesome. It was so awesome that I decided to write this review, which is rather unusual because I usually cannot be bothered about chasing the latest trends in popular music.

Wanfang is a music industry veteran who released her first album in 1990. It has been 21 years since then, but her career is still going strong. Her songs have become staples for wannabe artistes and karaoke practitioners. In fact the last time I checked, one of her most famous songs ‘新不了情’ is a top ten karaoke song at local KTV joints. It has also been covered endlessly by other artistes, which you can easily find MVs of on Youtube.

I wasn’t sure of what kind of turnout the concert would have. Most of the younger generation are not familiar with her music. Not surprisingly the audience seemed to be made up of people in their early 30s and 40s. Personally, I think I was one of the  youngest people in the audience. Anyone else there younger than me? You people really appreciate good stuff.

The opening song was ‘心像凌晨四點的天的藍‘, which is one of her yet to be unreleased songs. This song has a rather jazzy feel. I’m looking forward to the next release, which will hopefully contain this song. The repertoire was mainly consisting of songs from her album ‘One 芳’ and ‘我们不要伤心了’. It was a pleasant mix of both old and new tunes. I also came across some unfamiliar tunes such as ‘鐵罐咖啡’ and ‘知道不知道’, just to name a few. She performed so many songs, I cannot remember all of them. The vast range of songs was truly impressive. Rather than just playing based on the original scores or compositions, she has chosen to reinterpret some of her own work, resulting in a refreshing outlook.

During the performance there were few mistakes scattered throughout, which purists and perfectionists may have found inexcusable. In fact, there were times when she took control to stop the song and restart it with the correct tone. The poor pianist 阿鸡 was quite sorry about the mistakes, but she was patient and humorous about it. At a certain point she had to rally the band together for a heart to heart talk. As a consummate stage artist, she was able to turn the situation to her advantage.

Somewhere in between she even allocated time for her backup vocalists to present their own songs. Her two guest vocalists were Project Superstar contestant Kelly Poon (潘嘉麗) and indie vocalist Lisa Djaati (谢凌君). Kelly Poon is also under the same record label as Wanfang, Rock Records. Wanfang, as the eldest sister of Taiwanese pop music, seemed to be rather enthusiastic in promoting her juniors in the industry.

Originally Freya (林凡) was slated to accompany the performance but was replaced by Lisa as she had to attend the Golden Melody awards. Lisa is currently involved with her project Nature Morte ( 靜物樂團 ). The song she presented was titled ‘You’re My Dream’ (你是我的梦 ).

I was a bit taken aback that the two guests were allowed to promote their own work during her concert. I wondered if my fellow fans were thinking of this as well. Afterall, I don’t think it is very often that the main artist lets the backup vocalists present their original work. However, the audience was definitely not disappointed at any rate. The entire performance was expected to take up to two hours but lasted for three hours and fifteen minutes, including the encore of almost half an hour. It was a reward for us patient fans. The $148 for the Foyer Stall seats was well worth the money.

At the end of the concert, she had a autograph session. There was a rather long queue but it was worth the wait. It was another first for me, actually queuing up for an autograph though I was all the way at the back.

Throughout the concert, she took great effort to interact with her audience. Even though the concert hall is rather large, she was able to remain  intimate with the audience in engaging their interest. She took  many opportunities to share with the audience about her life journey, and how she composed certain songs. At some points, she encouraged the audience to sing along. To me, she comes across as very humble and genuine person. In this age of autotuned fabricated pop idols, real talent and sincere personality is rare.

Self-described as ‘怪女生’ (an eccentric girl), perhaps this is the secret ingredient that attracts many of her fans. Myself included.

Viewpoints: Putting Safeguards for Communion

My comments on the above article, posted on 16/06/2011

I agree with Dr Chung’s points on the reception of Holy Communion. We should bring back the use of the altar rail/kneelers and the communion plates. Every crumb of the Blessed Sacrament is still Our Lord.

As mentioned by Dr Chung, the position of kneeling during Communion facilitates easy administering of the Sacrament due to ‘better vantage and reach’. I am wondering why we have lost this practice over the years. At Papal Masses in Rome, the Eucharist is distributed on the tongue and kneeling, in line with the long standing tradition. Since our Holy Father is beginning to show us the ways of devotion to the Sacrament by his very example, perhaps it would do well for parishes everywhere to imitate.

Yet far from blindly copying, we should reflect on the significance of all these actions. Why receive on the tongue? Why receive kneeling? Surely there are good reasons for the Holy Father to be encouraging these small yet significant acts.

If we do not cultivate respect for the dignity of the Holy Eucharist, everything else is fair game. If this is not sacred, nothing else is. Yes, we should not aim to be scrupulous but aim to be sensible. If we do not treat the Holy Sacrament with a sense of sacredness, that is truly a senseless pity. We have received such a precious gift, therefore let us not take it for granted but treasure it.

Fellowship

I am beginning to rediscover the joys of fellowship since my early days in the Legion. It is very refreshing. I have not felt this in years. I have been quite used to acting as leader and mentor. But just lapsing into the capacity of friend, I find that I’m most comfortable here. For many years I did not seek joys or comforts in this place. Yet I am grateful for my friends here. I will take this as God’s gift and treasure it for a long time.

‘One by one my brothers left me.’ I lamented like this back in 2005. The feeling of seeing all your friends leave this ministry before you do, is not a very encouraging feeling. Senior departed; friend departed, lover departed. Everybody started to disappear and I soon wondered why I did not disappear as well.

Fellowship is a wonderful thing. It is something that we can never have too much of. But we mustn’t reduce it to simple tea parties or outings or the long gossip sessions. True fellowship is supporting one another through the rain and cold. True fellowship is helping one another through firestorms and artillery shelling. True fellowship ultimately must evolve into a sacrificial love for the sake of the brotherhood (and sisterhood, if you wish to nitpick).

No wonder we feel hurt or uncomfortable when our fellow members seems to leave one by one. Perhaps this is the nature of things. Perhaps we grow out of this, like a phase, or in the name of ‘moving on’. Nevertheless it is my duty to inform you that….

Young Legionaries, treasure and love your friends while they are still here. Make peace with your enemies. Yet do not leave simply because they are gone. Friends come and go and you can always make new friends.  Soldiers can die or desert but the battle for souls goes on. Ultimately you must recognize the reason for being here. Our work deals with souls, the most precious thing in the world. By the way if you didn’t know that, then I have really failed as your teacher and leader.

If it is any consolation, do remember that Legionaries never leave the Legion or die. In the end they merely go to heaven to regroup. Though my old friends are gone, now I have you, my new friends. I hope you will stay for the longest time. And may we all regroup at the end of our battle.


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Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us

Stella Matutina, ora pro nobis

Our Lady of Perpetual Succor, pray for us

St Michael the Archangel, pray for us

St Jude, pray for us

St Benedict, pray for us

St Dominic, pray for us

St Anthony, pray for us