Thursday, March 24, 2011

Year of the Horse - 属马的

I've come a long way from middle school when I used to follow my horoscope religiously (at least for a month or two). But every so often, I'm tempted to take a peek at what a Libra should expect... but since I'm in China, I should probably check my Chinese zodiac horoscope huh?

Occupying the 7th position on the Chinese Zodiac, the Horse symbolizes such character traits as strength, energy, and an outgoing nature. Extremely animated, Horses thrive when they’re the center of attention.

Horses are extremely intelligent so they’re able to grasp new subjects with ease. They’re also capable of multi-tasking however they don’t always finish what they start because they’re forever chasing the next opportunity. Horses are honest, friendly and open-minded. They’re perhaps a bit too centered on themselves and have been known to throw tantrums when situations don’t go their way.

Translation?: I think too highly of myself and think everyone should love me. I have a bad case of ADD and when I'm having a bad day -- you'll know.

Horses enjoy positions in which they can interact with others. They aren’t fond of taking orders and they’ll run from jobs they consider routine. They’re able to grasp new subjects with ease making them capable of handling most any job. They’re effective communicators and they enjoy power. Good career choices for Horses include: publicist, sales representative, journalist, language instructor, translator, bartender, performer, tour operator, librarian or pilot.

Translation?: I won't settle down into a stable job until my late 30s apparently, but no worries -- I'm good at bullshitting and good at delegating.

Horses, being spontaneous, have a tendency to fall fast and hard for others. They tend to give themselves fully in each new relationship a quality that ends up chipping away at their inner being. Fortunately, this exhausting trait mellows with age and relationships are stronger and more stable later in life.

Translation?: I'm a tumbler. I'm in love with the idea of love. I like being the 'perfect' girlfriend. But really? I'm a fake. It's tiring, and I run away before the other person founds out.

Metal Horse – Years 1930 and 1990
Free-spirited in every sense of the word, commitment is the easiest way to scare Metal Horses away. They prefer jumping from one relationship or job to the next. Because of this, Metal Horses make better friends than partners.

Translation?: I'm a heart-breaker. You've been warned. Catch me when I'm not traveling... I dare you.

Disclaimer: Don't take any of the above seriously. If you want to get to know me, take the time to. :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

方大同 - Khalil Fong

So after becoming infatuated with 方大同, I decided to look up his songs...

But, I never quite liked any of the translated lyrics that Google or Baidu gave me for this particular song... so here we are. Constantly lost in translation.

It's not a literal translation of the Chinese version-- since that never works unless you want to sound like Yoda... but it's a pretty accurate translation, if I do say so myself. I tried to keep to the original version, but used a bit of artistic license to convey the flow/feeling of the song.

If you would like to fix any of my translations or have a better way of wording the lyrics -- let me know! I'm open to constructive criticism.


Why won’t you grow your hair long again?
Why did you even bother learning how to drink?
That boyfriend of yours,
Seems to be able to hold his liquor.
I’m just afraid that talking for an entire night won’t be enough.

你为什么跟她闹酒 ?
Why do you get drunk with her?
Is it possible that you’re drowning your sorrows?
That girlfriend of yours,
Are you still with her after all?

搞不好我们四个人 去旅游
Can’t figure this out. The four of us, let's go travel.

Looking back,
Couldn’t see your tenderness until I looked back,
At that time, my love just wasn’t enough.

At that time, we could only be friends.
Our past happiness didn’t change to sorrow,
原来在那关头 全因舍得分手
At that moment, we had every reason to part.

You say, “Isn’t it ridiculous?”
“We’re even closer now than we were before.”

One of these days, I’ll stop by to see your mother.
I went for a walk with my girlfriend.
你就知我理由 不外乎太羞
You know there's only one reason I didn't greet you -- too shy.

如果要一起去旅游, 去欧洲
If you want to travel together - let's go to Europe.

那天澎一声关门 就走
That day, the door slammed and you were gone.
I really wanted to ask…
你有没有眼泪 想流?
If you had any tears you held back?
You think…?

You have just enough charm --
How rare.

It seems as if we’re just being nostalgic.

还去不去欧洲 四个人不许酸溜溜
So, are we still going to Europe? The four of us together, can’t be that bad.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

First Impressions – Part Two: Arrival

It was around 4:30 AM in late August, when I arrived by train to Changsha– with way too much luggage and jet lag. “Tc, where the hell are you?” and similar thoughts crossed my mind…but mainly adrenaline was rushing through me as I took in the setting.

The Changsha train station? Sketchier than New York’s back alleys. Darker than that parking garage scene where the serial killer is about to come out at any moment. There was the overpowering smell of urine, the screeching of the departing train, and the suffocating humidity.


SCENE I: A dark train platform illuminated by one light. Two other shadowy figures stand nearby.


COMMENCE monologue.

TC VU: I think I had a moment of panic when I first stepped off the train -- I mean… I must have… right? But to be honest, I don’t remember how I felt at that moment in time. Bewildered? In a state of shock? Maybe, just sleep deprived... Too tired to care that there were two men in front of me getting into a fist fight over who would carry my luggage to the exit.

Enter WOMAN.
TC VU walks towards her.

I walked past them and entrusted my luggage with another woman who helped me carry my belongings – she seemed sane – at least she wasn’t on the floor fighting with the other two scraggly old men.


Yes. Definitely a state of shock, I’ve decided. Yet, there was silence beyond my immediate surroundings and my immediate shock… the silence that comes with any place after people quickly exit -- leaving you standing alone, on a platform, by yourself.


The silence that signals that you’re alone.

END monologue.


Luckily, a not-so -familiar face was there to greet me at the exit. My Chinese teacher’s student’s student or 我的老师的学生的学生 -- who happened to be a good friend’s ex girlfriend’s student. Oh, the connections…

Withy – a cheerful, optimistic, and warm hearted Chinese-Indonesian girl with the biggest smile that legitimately could fill the Grinch’s heart with warmth – waved enthusiastically as I stepped past the exit gate.

What would I have done without her?
To this day, I still don’t know. She was my perfect welcome.

Welcome to Changsha.