Catmint Writing

Culture & Politics

Category: Uncategorized

On Cantonese Composers

Below is a Cantonese classic by the Cantonese composer Peixun Chen (No. 1 from Four Piano Pieces based on Cantonese Melodies, Op. 5) that’s also part of the London ABRSM Level 8 Piano Practical Exam (Toronto’s RCM Level 10 Piano Practical Exam) repertoire. I now realize that the Canadian RCM curricula is too rigid, restrictive, stifling, and narrow. It is completely out of touch with reality, unwilling to modernize and consider other styles. Medieval, Baroque, Classical, and Romantic are not the end all and be all of music and they are perpetually stuck in a living time warp. Music is music regardless of where it came from. Even rap is a form of music and deserves to be studied seriously like how they would at progressive music schools such as Berklee School of Music (the Boston Conservatory) that produced music legends such as Leehom Wang. Unfortunately, this is precisely why there is a lack of musical innovation in Canada.

I know this because every Canadian music student has to go through the RCM system unless the music teacher has trained with other conservatories and knows how to put his or her students through alternative examination systems such as the ABRSM system in London.

ABRSM sends out examiners to over 90 countries every year and has international recognition.

Europe and the US are still leagues ahead when it comes to formal musical training in the Western tradition.

Please see the link below for more information about Peixun Chen.

http://oxfordindex.oup.com/view/10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.49311

Below is the original guzheng (Chinese zither) version of Autumn Moon Over The Calm Lake – a Cantonese classic by the Master of Cantonese music, Lu Wencheng. This piece has been arranged many times for different instruments and even for vocals. Isn’t it beautiful? I can almost feel as if I am really by a lake and looking at the bright and shimmery reflection of the bountiful autumn moon on the watery waves.

Lu Wencheng’s Autumn Moon Over The Calm Lake is a fine example of Southern guzheng. There’s also the Northern guzheng as there are two schools.

Below is a link to Lu Wencheng’s biography.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%C3%BC_Wencheng

Peixun Chen transcribed Lu Wencheng’s Autumn Moon Over The Calm Lake for the piano.

Peixun Chen is very traditional Chinese. He had surpassed Lu the Master without being unfilial and disrespectful by paying homage to his masterpiece through the piano transcription.

 

On Imperial Era Vengeful Spirits and Remaining Apolitical

There are angry, depressed, and teary-eyed vengeful imperial era spirits/energy working in unison in our realm today regardless of their ethnicity. The excerpt below is eerily accurate about the state of affairs today. Both China and Taiwan claim to be the legitimate successors to or offspring of the Qing/Ch’ing Dynasty (they both use Mandarin as the official language) like the Manchu princes fighting for the throne during the Qing/Ch’ing era. I don’t dispute it when there are some enthusiasts who tell me that China and Taiwan “belongs” to the Manchus/Mongols. The concept of it is true at the very least. Look at the territories that both claim to be theirs and then look at the Qing/Ch’ing maps. Southern China including Hong Kong and Macau are derived from the Tang/Song Dynasties – they all speak Southern Chinese dialects/languages that are descended from the original Old and Middle Chinese and they all know that. We always call ourselves “Tang people (唐人)” instead of “Han people (漢人)”, but they are really the same thing. Or referring to Cantonese cuisine (粵菜) as “Tang cuisine (唐餐)” among ourselves. That is why there are separatist movements in the South whose geography is not completely unlike the territory under the Southern Song Dynasty and whose separatist movements are not unlike the Han rebel movements during the Mongol Yuan and Manchu Qing/Ch’ing Dynasties.

You have to be crazy if you think there is not something there.

The KMT being infiltrated by double-agents that is not unlike the Ming Dynasty traitors. Even now I think there are double-agents in that party in Taiwan. They need to examine themselves. Mao using Qin Shihiangdi’s methods to create a new writing system and to carry out the Hundred Flowers Movement and Cultural Revolution. Chinese people immigrating abroad in perpetuity due internal problems not unlike the Toisanese migration during the late Q’ing/Ch’ing era and well into the 20th century. The civil war era refugees are like the southward and overseas migrations during the Mongol invasions during the Southern Song era. I do feel like as do some of the other enthusiasts that there is some sort of imperial curse from all the Han and non-Han dynasties for doing away with them completely. We are cursed to always fight among ourselves and never be truly unified under any form of republican-style government because we did away with the imperial system completely. This is very, very creepy and eerie. I am not following any of modern-day territories. It is best to follow the imperial culture and ways – food/drink (cuisine), the religions, the festivals along with the dress, philosophical ways of being, etc.

No matter what they become or how bad they get, that love is unconditional like that of a parent because the monarchy is above politics. It wouldn’t have mattered if the last dynasty was Han or not, that love is unconditional. The people who lived through the dynastic period consider themselves to be above politics – China, Taiwan, Southern China, Hong Kong, and Macau are their children depending on which period you are talking about. Just ignore them and their crazy rants because they will always fight like siblings. Take the culture out of its political context, keep the spirit of the 2000 year old imperial tradition alive, and keep progressing onwards. That’s the only way to maintain one’s sanity in the crazy world we live in today. There is still a sense of stability in following the imperial way regardless of which dynasty came to power. You can’t go wrong with the imperial way. After all, it has worked for 2000 years.

Only those who have experienced civil war, loss of peace and stability, physical destruction, the death of close family members attributed to the war, and the psychological trauma of loss of country first-hand with their very own eyes would truly understand.

People who advocate war today need to really see how destructive it is to society. My late maternal grandfather always said to us that young people today have never experienced war.

Below is an excerpt from Lisa See’s Shanghai Girls with my comments:

“During the coming months, many people visit, and I listen to them speak highly of my father-in-law, calling him a successful Gold Mountain man, but when I look at him during these final days, I see only a ruined man. He worked so hard, only to lose his businesses and property in China and almost everything he’d built for himself here. Now, in the end, he has to rely on his paper son for his housing, food, evening pipe, and copies of China Reconstructs that Sam buys from under the counter at the shop on the corner.

Father’s only consolations in these final months, as the cancer eats his lungs, are the photographs I cut from the magazine and pin to the wall next to his recliner [My Commentary: No politics – taking them out of their political context as the political editorials mean nothing to people like him, especially when he is part of the last generation to have lived through a dynastic period and babies born during the last few years do not count as they have no memories of it, so those babies are Republican babies who only have formative memories of the Republican period and thereafter]. So many times I see him with tears running down his sunken cheeks, staring at the country he left as a young man: the sacred mountains, the Great Wall, and the Forbidden City [My Commentary: He left China as a young man when it was still under the Qing/Ch’ing Dynasty, made money during the Republican period, and died shortly after it became Communist]. He says he hates the Communists, because that’s what everyone has to say, but he still has a love of the land, art, culture, and people of China that has nothing to do with Mao, the Bamboo Curtain, or fear of the Reds. He isn’t alone in his nostalgia and desire for his homeland. Many of the old-timers, like Uncle Wilburt and Uncle Charley, come to the house and also pore over these captured images of their lost home; that’s how deep their love of China is, no matter what it’s become [My Commentary: Again, politics mean nothing for dynastic people like these old uncles]. But all this happens very fast, and too soon Father dies.”

To that end, I also suggest that the young and independence-minded Hong Kongers who advocate war to leave the civil war generation (the “Old Seafood”) in peace. Please show some respect because you are just as bad as the Red Guards.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén