Friday, April 22, 2016

Endurance


I decided to write this article after a flash of inspiration that came across my mind yesterday. I am currently searching for a "good" distributor of imported books – that is, one that can offer low prices/discounts; I would like to "resurrect" my "now-extinct", precious dinosaur and English books, which have brought me to this point of my life.

As you are a close friend of mine, chances are you already knew that my little house got burned by a big fire last year. The much sadder thing is this disastrous event decimated almost ALL my imported books, which were worth approximately 8,000,000 rupiahs (around US$605). And, "uniquely", this took place after my second trip to Vietnam, which was very exciting.

Sad? Of course, I was. But this is life. We cannot really predict what is going to happen, and both good and bad will surely come along in our lives. I didn't let myself to get carried away and made up my mind to be a tough cookie instead.

I reckon endurance is a quality that everyone must possess in this world. We need to foster an accepting attitude towards reality and stay strong. Life is not always full of sweet and sparkling things; there are a lot of rocks and spines ready to torture you down the road. These can be in the form of getting dumped by your boyfriend/girlfriend, losing your dream job, being lied to by your best friend, experiencing bank fraud, and so on. Many people have decided to end their lives, but it is not a very wise decision. We have the opportunity to live (although only once) and there is always more we can do. :)
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Friday, April 8, 2016

Why Jay Chou?

Who is this guy? Perhaps many of you have heard his name but are not sure who he is exactly (some people might mistake him for John Cho, a South Korean actor and musician). To make a long story short, Jay Chou is a famous – especially in Chinese-speaking countries – Taiwanese singer, songwriter, producer, actor, and so forth. And he was dubbed the "heavenly king" for a reason.

Me with Jay Chou wax statue at Madame Tussauds Singapore

Those who know me well – or at least friends of mine on Facebook – must know that I am a staunch fan of him. Thomas Huxley supported Charles Darwin's theory of evolution so much that he got referred to as "Darwin's bulldog"; I would be more than happy to be called "Chou's T. rex". :)

Maybe people around me are wondering, "Why is he fanatical about Jay Chou? What's so special about this man? Why is he always rhapsodizing about him?" I listen to and sing his songs every single day; I attended his first concert in Indonesia; and I have even written a few articles about him (never listened to Jay's songs? Click here) – well, it is a little act that I can do to spread the "good news" of JC (= Jay Chou): this is called "evanjaylization", a term which I coined last year.

Nowadays, many people, especially girls, are crazy about the Korean drama series Descendants of the Sun (which reminds me of birds: descendants of the dinosaurs). I guess it is largely because of the main actor Song Joong-ki, who is thought to be handsome or cute. It is also easy to point out other popular Korean artists, such as Girls' Generation (SNSD),  2NE1, Kara, T-ara, and SISTAR (bands consisting of several beautiful and sexy girls capable of singing and dancing energetically and simultaneously) and their male counterparts, such as Big Bang, Super Junior, SHINee, and 2PM, not to mention Psy, whose Gangnam Style MV has amassed over 2 billion hits.

Let's move from the east to the west. Countless names are ready to overwhelm us when we are talking about music. Beyonce, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry are some examples; they have enormous fan bases scattered all over the globe. Justin Bieber seems to have gained favor again with his new catchy songs, such as What Do You Mean? Bands such as One Direction have also attracted people all around the globe and there's also old-time favorites, like The Beatles, Queen, The Rolling Stones ... you name it.

But... Why Jay Chou? Why do I only stick to this not-talking-much, slanted-eyed man. Why do I always look for his CDs and/or DVDs when entering a music store but not others?

First of all, I 'm not a moviegoer. It is not that I loathe going to the theater, but it is just that the silver screen is not something I am enthusiastic about (seems legit, doesn't it?). I don't know much about acting and that sort of stuff, so although Jay has starred in several movies, including the Hollywood action flick The Green Hornet and the self-directed one Secret, I'm not really keen on them. (Nevertheless, as a "layman" I know that he is NOT a bad actor and CAN act.)

But music is my thing. It colors humans' lives in infinite ways, and Jay is a special gift in this matter. I think the answer to the question (the title of this article) is that, in terms of music, nobody can be compared to Jay Chou (this reminds me of his Incomparable concert and his war-themed song 無雙 (Wu Shuang), which translates to "incomparable"). Jay has a talent that no-one else has. He is a multi-instrumentalist in that he can play the piano, guitar, drums, and many others, but there's something more than that. American paleontologist Steve Brusatte says in an Earth Unplugged video that there's just something about dinosaurs, there's some magic to them, and there's some indescribable essence to them. Jay Chou is similar to dinosaurs in this way.

Bang Jay*, as I often call him, is a music prodigy. Other than his fantastic ability to play lots of musical instruments, some things that might fascinate you are as follows:

  1. he composes and sings all his own songs
  2. he writes lyrics for his songs (although a big part of them are contributed by Vincent Fang)
  3. he writes songs for other singers
  4. he has won countless music awards

HOWEVER, it's JUST NOT enough... Frankly, it is probably almost impossible to explain why I adore his music so much. You need to get your feet wet and I'm sure (hopefully) you will get addicted to it.

Jay's music is unique. To be honest, personally, I think his songs can't be categorized into any well-known genres, such as pop, ballad, and rock – that's why when people ask me what my favorite kind of music is, I answer "Chou style". However, it seems that Jay Chou's music can divided into several major types. Jay Chou's songs range from Chinese style (zhong guo feng) songs, such as 東風破 (Dong Feng Po) and 青花瓷 (Qing Hua Ci), through romantic, lovely ones, such as 簡單愛 (Jian Dan Ai) and 手寫的從前 (Shou Xie De Cong Qian), to gloomy, heartbreaking ones, like 說好的幸福呢 (Shuo Hao De Xing Fu Ne) and 安靜 (An Jing). Jay is also well-known for his rap ability: catch some melodies in 聽媽媽的話 (Ting Ma Ma De Hua) and 雙截棍 (Shuang Jie Gun). On top of that, Jay has attempted to produce rock-like songs, such as 龍戰騎士 (Long Zhan Qi Shi) and 跨時代 (Kua Shi Dai).

Jay Chou has been my idol for around 13 years. "Officially", the first song that I listened to was The One concert version of 雙截棍 (Shuang Jie Gun), thanks to my first brother, who borrowed his friend's VCD or DVD. Since that moment, I have grown up listening to his songs, which is something that I am proud of. Jay Chou was, is, and will always be in my heart.

*"Bang Jay" is a term that is occasionally used by Indonesians to refer to Jay Chou – "bang" is short for "abang", which means "older brother" in Javanese. I am not sure, but this was probably invented by me myself. :p
Connection with Jay Chou:

English website about Jay Chou:
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