10 Sep 2007

Jews in Beijing and Old French songstresses

Stay tuned, folks. I'm busy assembling my stray notes on the Etruscan god Suri into something coherent for my inevitable article "Suri, the saga part 2" to go with my previous article. Suri is just full of poppycock goodness and it's hard to explain it all in one installment considering all the garbage peddled in books about Etruscans in the past hundred years.

In the meantime, while I collect my notes on that, I found a bunch of fun links online that probably have nothing in common with each other except for the fact that it shows us how we live in one big, beautiful melting pot called earth.

Just yesterday, I was having lunch with a friend of mine and I just couldn't convince the stubborn Newfie that there was a Chinese version of HBO's Sex in the City coming right out of Beijing. Not made by HBO at all, but a damn close imitation to the original. It's called 好想好想談戀愛 (Haoxiang Haoxiang Tan Lian Ai). He said that it surely must be from somewhere non-communist like... say... Taiwan. Nope. Yes, that's right. Sex in the City communist style.

Most non-Chinese people in North America have the impression that Beijing is a very scary place where only Chinese live, where outsiders are avoided, where people are prudish, traditional and overall closed-minded. That just doesn't appear to be the case from what I see online and from what my Chinese friends tell me when they go to Beijing every year. Here's a few links that will brutalize any lingering belief you may still have that China is somehow a backwards, unfriendly country:
Haoxiang Haoxiang Tan Lian Ai
My friend introduced me to this one day. I was delightfully amazed. It's a TV series just as polished as you would find on a North American or European station except for the slight technicality that it's from Beijing and everyone speaks Mandarin.

Sexy Beijing: A Jew Brew
I found this link looking for Haoxiang Haoxiang Tan Lian Ai. I'm glad I did. This girl is funny, Jewish and gabs with locals in Mandarin while bridging the communication gap for all of us Chinese-challenged anglophone folk. In this episode, we are educated about the Jewish community in Beijing. Who knew?
Then there is the beautiful voice of chanteuse Emma Kirkby. Listen closely. This isn't modern French. She's actually singing in Old French as it was spoken around the year 1300. The name of the song is Foy Porter, originally composed by Guillaume de Machaut during the Middle Ages. Even if you hate all foreign languages with a vengeance, I'm sure you'll agree that her sound is refreshing and warm.

(May 9 2008) I corrected a typo. I typed de Michaut but the French composer's name is in fact Guillaume de Machaut. Thanks Graham for pointing that out! Much appreciated.


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