Monday 24 August 2015

《歌台星力量》"Ge Tai Challenge" Finals and Toggle Awards

The finals of《歌台星力量》"Ge Tai Challenge" was telecast on Channel 8 on 16 August 2015. By now, most people would know who the winners were. 黄振隆 (Desmond Ng) was the champion, 陈建彬 (Marcus Chin) was the first runner-up, 皓皓 (Hao Hao) was the second runner-up and 朱莉莉 (Zhu Li Li) was in the fourth place.

I couldn't get enough of the show so I watched it again last Saturday night. I especially loved Hao Hao's performance of the song 《菊花台》with his lady friend.《菊花台》was originally sung by Jay Chou. I find this song was even better when it was performed as a duet by a man and a woman. I also noticed that the prelude/starting music of this version of the song, performed by a Chinese orchestra, was different from the original version. It was a combination of the tunes from some other songs. I only know one of the tunes was from the song 《梁祝》("The Butterfly Lovers"). There were also some dancers dancing before Hao Hao and his friend started singing. It seemed more like watching a musical play than a competition. A hearty Thumbs Up for the performance! 

For the second part of the final competition, Hao Hao performed the song "Para Para Sakura", originally sung by Aaron Kwok in a movie with the same title which was released in 2001. Wow, it had been a long time since I last heard this song. He also got the audience involved in dancing along with the him and his performers during the second part of the song. This really made everyone perk up! I really liked the songs he chose and the way he presented/performed the songs. 

Hao Hao got the Best Costume Award (最炫服装奖) and Most Popular Award (最高人气奖) whereas Desmond Ng got the Best Interaction Award (最佳互动奖) organized by Toggle. These three awards were given based entirely on results of online voting.

Related posts:
《歌台星力量》"Ge Tai Challenge" (Episode 9)
《歌台星力量》"Ge Tai Challenge" (Episode 10)

Monday 17 August 2015

《信约:我们的家园》 "The Journey: Our Homeland" - The Love Triangle between Zhang Jia, Meixue and Yisheng

Yisheng (played by Zhang Zhenhuan) was the boyfriend of Meixue before he left for China. China was having the Cultural Revolution at that time and he was uncontactable for a long period of time. In episode 11, Meixue and Yisheng's parents thought Yisheng had already died in China following receipt of Yisheng's belongings. 

A few years later, Meixue had since resigned from the hospital and worked in Zhang Jia's company. By then, Meixue already developed feelings for Zhang Jia. Just when Zhang Jia was about to confess his love for Meixue, Yisheng returned from China and went over to look for Meixue. Meixue was shocked to find Yisheng alive and crippled in one leg. 

Yisheng encountered many traumatic experiences in China and seemed eccentric at times. However, he was not willing to talk about it to his parents and Meixue. Meixue felt that they had been separated for a long time (12 years) and needed some time to understand each other. Yisheng, on the other hand, was pushy and wanted to marry her as soon as possible. This led Meixue to break up with him.

Around the same time, Zhang Jia wanted to shift his business to Hong Kong. He  gave Meixue an envelope which contained the compensation package. On the day when Zhang Jia was leaving for Hong Kong, Meixue's mum found an air ticket to Hong Kong and a letter from Zhang Jia in the envelope. As Meixue read Zhang Jia's love confession, she was moved to tears. Meixue and her mum realized that the air ticket was for that day. Just when they were going to pack to go to the airport, Yisheng's mum came knocking on their door claiming that Yisheng was attempting suicide. When Meixue reached where Yisheng was, Yisheng said he had nothing to live for and wanted to commit suicide by jumping off the building. Meixue had no choice but to agree to marry him, else Yisheng would jump off the building. 

About 5 years later,  Meixue learnt from her mother that her father was still alive. Her father was a Japanese and went back to Japan after the second world war. He could not bring Meixue's mum and herself to Japan then as his parents did not approve of him marrying a Chinese girl. Meixue's father had sent them 2 air tickets to Japan now. Meixue could not go to Japan with her mum as she was pregnant and her pregnancy was unstable.

At this time, Zhang Jia came back to Singapore to comfort and help Hong Kuan who had lost his close colleagues in an industrial accident. Zhang Jia met Meixue at the hospital. Meixue had gone back to working as a nurse. Yisheng saw them talking. Yisheng was getting suspicious of them especially when Meixue hid the fact that she knew Zhang Jia had returned to Singapore from him. In episode 21, Zhang Jia met Meixue at the airport. Zhang Jia knew Meixue's pregnancy was unstable and as she did not look well that day, he insisted on sending her home. 

Yisheng was enraged again upon seeing that Zhang Jia and Meixue coming back together. Zhang Jia then left them alone. Yisheng had an argument with Meixue and left Meixue behind without realizing that Meixue was in pain. In the end, she had a miscarriage. Even then, Yisheng did not visit her inside her ward. Instead he went to Zhang Jia and wanted to punch Zhang Jia. He blamed Zhan Jia for causing Meixue's miscarriage. He was not able to fight Zhang Jia (Zhang Jia was a good fighter) and Zhang Jia subdued him. Zhang Jia said Yisheng did not take good care of Meixue and he was being irresponsible by trying to shift the blame to him (Zhang Jia).

Meixue was very upset over the loss of her baby and lost hope in her relationship with Yisheng. She decided to go back to her mum's flat after discharge from the hospital. Zhang Jia was worried about her and followed her secretly. When Meixue asked him to show himself, he came out and Yisheng came out too. Yisheng then accused them of having an affair again. He then asked her to choose one of them. Meixue said she would choose neither of them and closed the door angrily. 

Subsequently, Meixue went back to Yisheng's house to get back her passport and sought the forgiveness of her parents-in-law. Her mother-in-law asked her to tell Yisheng herself that she wanted to leave him. Meixue went into Yisheng's room. Yisheng asked her about the air ticket to Hong Kong and the love letter from Zhang Jia that she kept. He believed Meixue had not forgotten Zhang Jia after all these years. He refused to let her leave and strangled her. Meixue shouted for help and his parents came in to drag Yisheng away. Alas, Yisheng had gone mad after all those years of mental torture.

Meixue met up with Zhang Jia and told him she would be leaving for Japan the next day. She wished Zhang Jia could find his own happiness.

While Meixue was in Japan, she asked her mum why she was willing to forgive her father and even came to look after him. Her mum told her it was out of love for her father Life is short and that there was no point holding on to unhappy thoughts. Cherish what you have and you will be truly happy. Meixue's mum said she hoped that Meixue could find true happiness. If she found someone she loved, cherish him and don't let him go.

At that point, Zhang Jia appeared before Meixue. The next scene, they were in a restaurant. Zhang Jia then told her that all those years while they were working together, he did not confess his love for her. It was because he believed he was a jinxed person; any women who got together with him would suffer a terrible fate. He did not want that to happen to Meixue. However, his sister told him that it was unfair to Meixue if he should give her up just like that. She said Meixue had the right to make the choice herself. He also told Meixue that he had brought a ring along ready to propose to her on that day when they were supposed to meet at the cafe (which she did not turn up). Similarly, he also brought a ring today and propose to Meixue. Meixue stretched out her fingers for Zhang Jia to put on the ring for her :) . This is what I call “苦尽甘来” (happiness comes after periods of hardships/sufferings) and “有情人终成眷属” (two person in love finally got married).

Yisheng was a pitiful character from the moment he returned to Singapore. His mental illness stemmed mainly from his guilt of causing his friend, Zhiqiang to be beaten to death and Peishuang to lose an eye. He refused to seek treatment. He was not willing to confide in anyone too. His friend, Peishuang came to look for him once but he refused to acknowledge him. Actually, if he had spoken to Peishuang, he would have realized that Peishuang did not blame him at all. He kept having hallucination of people speaking ill of him and was overly suspicious of Meixue and Zhang Jia. If he had treated Meixue better after their marriage, they would probably not lose their baby and Meixue would not leave him. All these were due to his own ego problem that finally resulted in his total mental breakdown in episode 22.

According to Channel 8's facebook page. episode 22 was the last time Rui'en would appear in 《信约:我们的家园》 "The Journey: Our Homeland". Subsequently, the focus would be on the younger generation.

Related posts:

Episodes 1 to 10 of 《信约:我们的家园》 "The Journey: Our Homeland"
Cast of 《信约:我们的家园》 "The Journey: Our Homeland"
Episodes 29 and 30 of 《信约:动荡的年代》"The Journey : Tumultuous Times" (Last Two Episodes)
《信约:动荡的年代》"The Journey : Tumultuous Times"
Cast of 《信约:动荡的年代》"The Journey : Tumultuous Times"
Last Episode of 《信约:唐山到南洋》"The Journey: A Voyage"
Episode 30 of 《信约:唐山到南洋》"The Journey: A Voyage"
Quotes from Episode 18 of 《信约:唐山到南洋》"The Journey: A Voyage"

Tuesday 11 August 2015

Gardens by the Bay

Singapore celebrated its 50th birthday on 9th Aug 2015. We had a long weekend from 7 Aug to 10 Aug 2015. Many places of interest had SG50 promotions and events held during the Jubilee Weekend. Some events were even free to attend.

We planned to visit one of those places on 7 Aug 2015. However, on 7 Aug 2015, it was raining till about mid afternoon. It would not be a good idea to visit places that were too far from our house, that were outdoors and required paid admission since half the day was gone. 

By the time we got ready to go out, it was already 5 pm. We decided to go to Gardens by the Bay since we had never been there ever since it opened. 

In celebration of the Jubilee Weekend, all Singapore Citizens and Singapore Permanent Residents would enjoy 50% off admission tickets to Flower Dome and Cloud Forest from 7-10 August. All Singapore Citizens and Singapore Permanent Residents aged 60 years and above would also enjoy free entry to both Conservatories.

There was also a special edition of the Garden Rhapsody (SG50 Special) held from 6 - 10 Aug 2015 at 7:45 pm, 8:30 pm, 9:15 pm and 10:00 pm  to celebrate Singapore’s 50th birthday. This edition of the Garden Rhapsody presented nostalgic favourites from yesteryear sung by prominent local vocalists.

By the time we reached there, Sera was hungry so we had our dinner at MacDonald's.

Sera was happy to be able to purchase this SG50 edition of Hello Kitty from MacDonald's. 

After dinner, we went to the ticketing counters and found that the queue was very long with a waiting time of about 40 minutes. We reckoned that after buying the tickets, there would not be much time left to walk around the conservatories as both of them closed at 9 pm. Thus we just walked around the area and went for the Garden Rhapsody (SG50 Special) held at the Supertree Grove at around 7.45 pm. 

After the show, we caught glimpses of a fireworks display and we walked up a bridge towards the direction where the fireworks was seen but the fireworks stopped. It lasted less than 5 minutes :(. Since we were already up on the bridge, we stayed there for the next Garden Rhapsody. Below is a combined video of the Garden Rhapsody (SG50 Special) which was taken at the 7.45 and 8.30 pm show and taken from different angles. Enjoy!

Sunday 2 August 2015

《歌台星力量》"Ge Tai Challenge" (Episode 10)

In Episode 10 of 《歌台星力量》"Ge Tai Challenge", 朱莉莉,罗翊绮, 黄振隆 and 谢伟娜 competed with each other for the chance to return to the semi-finals of 《歌台星力量》"Ge Tai Challenge" . 

谢伟娜 was known for her powerful vocals and the tonal range that she was able to reach. She sang the song 《如果云知道》, originally sung by Valen Hsu, for this episode. She said that because this song was basically "very quiet", in an attempt to make a difference by singing one part slightly higher than normal, her voice cracked at one point. 

In the end, she only managed to get 79.3 marks, which was 0.7 mark short of the passing mark set by the judges to proceed to the semi finals. The other contestants managed to get above 80 marks.

One of the judges, Lin Qiyu, felt that it was a pity that she would be out of the competition. He requested for other judges to give her 1 more mark so that she could return to the semi finals. He previously mentioned that 谢伟娜 has the type of voice that could sing many different types of songs. As a music record producer, if he were to sign on one of the contestants as a singer, he would choose her. He also said that even very well known and good singers would sometimes experience voice crack when singing very high notes. 

With the support of the audience, and concurrence from the production team, 谢伟娜 was able to proceed to the semi finals.

Related posts:

《歌台星力量》"Ge Tai Challenge" (Episode 9)
《歌台星力量》"Ge Tai Challenge" Finals and Toggle Awards