Music

People walk through Red Square's Resurrection Gate with backdrop of St. Basil's cathedral at the City Day celebrations in Moscow, Russia, 10 September 2022. (Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters)

Cultural historian: Impressions of Moscow [Part 1]

In the first of four articles, cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai shares his impressions of the Moscow he knew from a decade ago. He notes that in bleak and cold surroundings, facing an autocratic regime, a nation’s people found a way to survive. And whether it was against Napoleon or Hitler, the heavens always stood on the side of lumbering Russia as it waited out its opponents.
Traditional Chinese dancers in full costume. (iStock)

How the Chinese learned dance and music before there was YouTube or TikTok

Former journalist Lim Jen Erh reflects on two boxes of old books he chanced upon, containing dance manuals and guqin scores. Before the advent of technology, these old volumes were the only way to pass on such knowledge and instructions, which makes them invaluable today.
Singaporean conductor Wong Kah Chun conducting the New York Philharmonic during a Chinese New Year concert held at the David Geffen Hall in New York, US, on 6 February 2019. (Photo: Chris Lee)

Building bridges through music: A young Singaporean conductor leads the way

Lee Huay Leng was touched by the live broadcast of a concert in the park put up by the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra with Singaporean conductor Wong Kah Chun at the helm and Singapore Chinese Orchestra musicians taking part. Chinese instruments found their place in Wong’s arrangement of 19th century Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition”. In the aftermath of Covid and an international milieu where politics meddles even in the arts, the young Wong had found a way to stay composed and build a bridge with music. Can countries learn to do the same?
A general view of a village in Pu'er, Yunnan province, China, 12 May 2022. (Xinhua)

Can’t bear to part: A cultural historian in Yunnan's Pu’er

In Pu’er, Yunnan, if you get the chance to meet the Lahu, Wa, Yi, Hani or the Dai people, you’d be blessed, as cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai was, with their down-to-earth hospitality. Their ties to the land and their traditions are captured beautifully in Can’t Bear to Part, a folk song that every Pu’er native knows.
Chinese pianist Li Yundi was arrested for hiring a prostitute. (Internet/SPH)

Li Yundi's case shows the immaturity of Chinese society?

Last month, Chinese pianist Li Yundi was arrested for hiring a prostitute, setting off a storm of controversy, including the loss of some titles and accolades, and various institutions distancing themselves from him. His arrest shows that Chinese laws are fair but does it also expose the immaturity of Chinese society?
This photo taken on 20 March 2021 shows people viewing cherry blossoms in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, China. (STR/AFP)

Taiwanese art historian: Why we no longer find beauty in contemporary art

Art colleges today may be missing the point by teaching students various forms of aesthetics without offering a true path to beauty. An affinity for beauty — to see, appreciate, and ultimately to create it — is best honed keeping close to nature, says art historian Chiang Hsun. Qing dynasty calligrapher and painter Zheng Banqiao would have approved. After all, didn't he ask, “If people really love birds, why not plant more trees?”
Bruce Lee was an outstanding martial artist. He was an excellent communicator who brought together the cultures of East and West and changed Western perceptions of Asians as small and weak.

[Photo Story] Hong Kong was once the Hollywood of the East

Hong Kong has produced many excellent films and stars in its time, especially during its heyday in the 1980s. Names such as Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Chow Yun-fat are familiar to people in both Asia and the West. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao brings back the shared memories of generations.
Wolf Disco by Gem is the hottest song in China this year. (sohu.com)

The hottest song in China: Wolf Disco

What is the hottest song in China right now? Apparently, a little rap song called Wolf Disco has been making waves, with its take on what life was like in the late '90s and early 2000s. Journalist Yew Lun Tian is reminded of her own teenage years, as she delves into what makes this song so popular.