The wife and I went to watch Jay Chou (周杰倫) on Friday night, and had a blast. Our tickets were five rows from the front and compliments of sponsor OCBC Titanium card (the "cheonging/air miles/concerts" card, I am told). Any nearer and we would have smelled Jay Chou's sweat rolling down his very pronounced abs.
The concert was pretty awesome, and a buff Jay sang and danced his way through a very high-energy concert. I only wish that he sang more of his older songs, you know, for the older fans like us. Has it been TWELVE years already? (Yes, I've been listening to Jay Chou since I was 9.)
He has gotten better with age, I feel. The kiampah face is gone and his diction is better now.
My only other complaint was that I watched half of Jay Chou's concert from the screen of some guy's Galaxy Note 2. I plan to buy the DVD of the concert from him.
Friend, your arms not tired one ah?
Say, what DO you call Jay Chou fans anyway? Jay Chou-wians? Or is it Jay Chou-ists? Jay Chowders?
It was value for money because you got to see more than one Jay Chou sometimes.
The audience sang along with him quite a bit. Having the karaoke lyrics on the big screens helped a lot. This lyrics thing happens only with Chinese concerts, I think. I never see it in English concerts.
Of course there was an encore. The whole house shouted his name together with the drummer for a long time till Jay returned.
Jay's guest star was singer-songwriter Cindy Yen (袁詠琳). She was the first artiste to be signed with Jay Chou's company, JVR Music, in 2009, and he sang a few duets with her.
The concert came with light sticks included for every attendee, which prompted the wife to say, "These light sticks make us look like Jeddah Knights."
"Jedi, dear," I said. "Jeddah Knights are from Saudi Arabia."
According to the Guardian, Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has sued Forbes magazine for libel in a British court, for valuing him at ONLY 20 billion. Oh poor thing, what will his billionaire prince friends think of him if they read that report?
When I shared this on FB, one of my readers said it reminded him of this joke:
'A Saudi prince goes off to study in a university in Berlin.
A month later, he sends a letter to his dad saying: "Berlin is wonderful, people are nice and I really like it here, but I'm a bit ashamed to arrive to school with my gold Mercedes when all my teachers travel by train."
Sometime later he gets a letter from his dad with a ten-million-dollar check saying: "Stop embarrassing us, go and get yourself a train too!"'
Ryan and I are in Nanjing, courtesy of Scoot, who flew us on their inaugural flight there. Thanks Scoot! It was nice to fly direct to Nanjing, unlike the last time, when I had to change planes in Hong Kong.
We are staying at the Sheraton. It is located on Hanzhong Road which is very central and it is a pretty decent hotel. My only complaint is that the China woman in the hotel room next door to mine talking so loudly on the phone, I can hear her whole sad love story through the walls. Nanjing Love Story sial.
Cherry season is apparently in, because every mother-son is selling cherries, some vendors even venturing into the subway station to hawk their wares.
Nanjing is a really nice city to (re)visit. It is as cosmopolitan as the biggest cities in China but the people here are more polite, more laid back, and more cultured.
The city is clean and you hardly see graffiti. Ok, sometimes.
I have remember not to do the Singaporean thing of using my iPhone while walking. There are only two kinds of pedestrians in China: the ones who use their smartphones while crossing the street, and the ones who are still alive.
We visited the Chaotian Palace (Nanjing City Museum) because I am a museum geek. It wasn't too bad. Very importantly, the aircon was strong.
This must have been the quiet season because the staff were playing badminton inside the courtyard. We have a good time posing next to important figures in the exhibits.
I am appreciating the MRT lines here in Nanjing, except they play Kenny G music in the Nanjing subway station. The Chinese are truly knowledgable in the ancient ways of torture. At least it's not Richard Clayderman.
Every street corner, we see food stalls selling red lobsters, with the same poster. It's like the Universal Lobster Photo From Flickr they are all using.
And we see 兰州拉面 a lot too. It makes us giggle because the Cantonese pronunciation of it is Lan Zhao Lai Meen.
I also think it sucks to be a duck in Nanjing. They eat every part of you. Your legs, your tongue, even your blood. I am surprised the ducks haven't rioted yet.
We have also gotten used to seeing shrink-wrapped bowls and plates in some of the restaurants we visit. It is a symbol of hygiene in a Chinese restaurant. You open it by ramming your chopsticks through it.
Finally, I'd like to say that Nanjing has many 美女 (chiobu). This is purely an anthropological observation.
"Her life was pick up one," said my mother-in-law, using a Chinese turn of phrase (她的命是捡回来的). "We almost lost her."
"I remembered going to the hospital every day to visit her," I said.
"I don't remember much," said the wife.
"You were in a daze most of the time because of the fever," I said. "You kept holding on to my hand and saying weakly, 'Don't go, don't go, stay with me.'"
"That part I remember," the wife laughed.
It was the early nineties when this happened. My in-laws were away at Bali with her two younger brothers for a holiday and the wife, then my girlfriend, was at home alone with her paternal grandfather. I was in the midst of my university exams and was trying to make it through my papers.
Then Ginny complained of a fever and I told her to see her doctor. The GP said it was just a fever and gave her some meds for it. For the rest of the week, her fever came and went, came and went. She was getting weaker and weaker.
Worried, I told her to see another doctor, to get a second opinion. Her family had also returned home by then, and her mother immediately sent her to another GP because her skin had reddish spots and she was getting darker.
Her grandfather, who was recovering from a stroke from a fall, sat in the house, and reported to my mother-in-law, in Hakka, "Chin Nee hao xing ku." ("Ginny is in a lot of physical suffering.")
"If I had come home from the holiday even a day or two later, who knows what might have happened?" said my mother-in-law.
This new doctor took one look at Ginny's skin and said, "It is dengue, she has to be hospitalized".
She spent one week in the hospital battling the dengue fever. She got really dark, like she had a tan, even though she was not exposed to the sun at all. Those rashes mean that her platelets were likely crashing. The hospital gave her a blood transfusion, I recall.
Sometimes, she was awake and lucid. Other times she would seem like she wasn't all there.
I visited every day, trying to make time to be by her side, even though the exams were quite a burden.
Eventually, the fever subsided and she was allowed to go home. I learned from then on, never to ignore fevers and always to be serious about dengue, especially now that I have three kids of my own.
As you know, dengue cases aren't getting fewer, even after 23 years. In fact, they are continuing to rise. It gets worse during the June peak season and since dengue is caused by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, preventing the breeding of mosquitoes is key. The deadly buggers can breed in a pool of water as small as a 20-cent coin.
Please do the 5-step Mozzie Wipeout every Sunday, and every alternate day if you live in RED alert dengue clusters like Tampines. You know what? My wife lived in Tampines before we got married, when she got hit by dengue. I guess it was a red alert area even two decades ago.
You may also visit the NEA Dengue Portal for more info on the dengue situation in Singapore.
You can die from dengue. My wife was fortunate but I don't take chances any more. You shouldn't too.
(This is one of our earliest dating photos. We were a very prim and proper couple.)