Thursday, January 24, 2008

First Thai, Jay Chou's Birthday Concert and Romans 1

First Thai Mosaic
Having managed to avoid being sent to strange lands for business, meant that Friday night found 6 of us squished around a table in the middle of First Thai on Purvis Street, braying with laughter under the disapproving glare of The Painted Lady, tom yam coming out our noses. 2 had tanked up on happy hour apéritifs at New Asia Bar before dinner. 2 were high on teeth-meltingly sweet thai iced tea. 1 was migrating to Hong Kong and was happy to trash what was left of her reputation (itself of doubtful existence). The last, having no excuse, was looking around nervously for students with handphone cameras.

Raffles Creamery Mosaic
Later, we took our colourful dancing fast-talking circus to Raffles Creamery, where the smiley ice-cream man was duly harassed with huge complicated orders, then set upon by a sweet eyelash-fluttering emissary asking for extra strawberries please, then by an even sweeter emissary demanding to know, excuse me ah, why our scoop of kitkat ice-cream had gone astray. We spent the rest of the night in tearful hilarity and wild gesticulation. And when we'd finally stumbled home, Facebook statuses were changed to say "had the best company for dinner". And exclamation marks weren't necessary.

Maxwell Market Mosaic
The Friday after found another 6 of us crowded round a table in Maxwell Food Centre, re-fuelling with Stall 77 Fish Soup Noodles for the Jay Chou karaoke sing-a-thon later.

Jay Chou Sing-a-thon Mosaic
Because, advised wise Chinese concert veterans, one must practise for Chinese concerts. And also, one may, if one wished, bring in cameras to Chinese concerts.[1]

Rihanna butts in
No prizes for guessing what Rihanna song butted into the sing-a-thon. Twice.

And then it was 18th January 2008. And we beheld 周杰倫[2] (Jay Chou)'s much-heralded Birthday Concert in Singapore. The best Chinese pop concert evah. (Well, being the only Chinese pop concert I've ever attended... but let's not have these niggling little details spoil the pleasure of superlatives.) Many thanks to the B (who doesn't read this blog so the expression of thanks is really one of acknowledgement) for free tickets.


Approximate set list

Quite similar to the ones he had for Taipei, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

0. Promo video for Kungfu Dunk

1. 黄金甲 (Huang Jin Jia)
2. 无双 (Wu Shuang) - yeah, the one that sounds like Linkin Park. I like.

3. 最后的战役
3. 最后的战役 (Zui Hou De Zhan Yi)

4. 不能说的秘密 (Bu Neng Shuo De Mi Mi)

Did anyone bring me a birthday cake?
(Jay has a friendly chat with the audience. Asks if they know whose birthday it is. Asks if they know of anyone else so hardworking that he'd work even on his birthday. Says he likes Singapore because no nasty paparazzi types around. Then asks if anyone brought him a birthday cake. [1,000 diehard fans mentally stab their eyes out in shame.] Nope? No worries, he says, his mom has prepared one for him at home. But would they like to sing for him instead? Yes, cry his fans relieved at this opportunity for atonement. He mock-conducts the audience chorusing Happy Birthday.)

5. 退后 (Tui Hou)
6. 麦芽糖 (Mai Ya Tang) - cheeky male dancers in kilts, clowns etc.
7. 牛仔很忙 (Niu Zai Hen Mang) - cowboys and milkmaids, you know 'cos he drinks milk not beer. Mashes it with a bit of Oh Suzanna.
(Jay says he's tired. And it's his birthday. Whom should he thank on his birthday?)

8. 听妈妈的话
8. 听妈妈的话 (Ting Ma Ma De Hua) - with 周润发 (Chow Yuen Fatt) and 张学友 (Jacky Cheung) on-screen.

9. 黑色幽默
9. 黑色幽默 (Hei Se You Mo) - Jay plays a transparent-ish grand piano. The transparent bit needs a polish.

Jay: it's really hot in here
(Jay stands up, takes off his jacket, says it is hot in the Singapore Indoor Stadium. 500 fans of both sexes prepare to swoon. Asks if anyone would like to take him home. Duh.)
10. 最长的电影 (Zui Chang De Dian Yin) - with relevant MV.
11. 安静 (An Jing) - Jay fluffs the lyrics.
12. 白色风车 (Bai Se Feng Che)
13. Piano Battle with 宇豪 (Yu Hao)
14. 千里之外 (Qian Li Zhi Wai) - despite hopes running high, Fei Yu Qing didn't stay another week after his own concert to make a guest appearance at this point. He might have left his props behind though.
15. 菊花台 (Ju Hua Tai)

16. 本草纲目 (Ben Cao Gang Mu) - zombies and diabolo action
(Break for 南拳妈妈 (Nan Quan Ma Ma) to do Tonight, What Can I Do and 牡丹江)

17. 夜的第七章 (Ye De Di Qi Zhang) - with Lara of the shrill/sweet (depending on your taste) voice and unplaceable looks.
18. 夜曲 (Ye Qu) - giant pink heel and 2 groping females. Jay looks sheepish.
19. 迷迭香 (Mi Die Xiang) - dancers go down to the audience, do pseudo-lapdances (Guest appearance by Jay's gran on the 19th. Sweet.)

Jay Chou and NQMM bantering
(Banter between Jay and NQMM. They ask if he's been eavesdropping on them because they were planning to sing him the birthday song. He says, well, he's a person of great intellect, is why. NQMM proceed to sing the birthday song in English and Mandarin. Unfortunately, they can't do it in Malay. Jay says they should sing this other song they had dissing him. They don't quite remember it but try to sing a few verses any way. He wonders why their record company would let them put such a song in their album. Oh wait, they share the same record company...)(People on 19th got NQMM doing a spoof of Secret.)

双节棍 (acoustic version)
20. 双节棍 (Shuang Jie Gun) - he acoustics it up.
21. 彩虹 (Cai Hong) - Jay accompanies himself on the guitar.
22. 开不了口 (Kai Bu Liao Kou) - Jay fluffs some lyrics.
(The last song I am going to sing, says Jay, 三个字的! has 3 words in its title.)
23. 甜甜的 (Tian Tian De)

(Loads of confetti.)

Encore - Drum battle
Drum battle with, erm, the drummer dude. Jay throws his drumsticks into the audience. Near riot ensues.

Jay mobbed
阳光宅男 (Yang Guang Zai Nan) - comes down to audience for obligatory sweaty palm to palm action.

发如雪 (Fa Ru Xue) - Jay plays the 古箏 (Gu Zheng. Chinese zither.)

霍元甲 (Huo Yuan Jia) - fan (not the human kind) action.

双节棍 (Shuang Jie Gun) - usual version. With nunchuck action. 弹头 (Dan Tou) runs out in an unflattering dress held up by strips of masking tape in the back. Tries to kiss Jay. Jay runs across the stage, throws the nunchucks into the crowd. Creates near riot that comes down to a mano a mano between middle-aged lady and a teenaged boy, each holding one stick each. Security breaks up the fight by informing them that they can't take the nunchucks out of the venue anyways. (Nunchucks = offensive weapon. See Second Schedule of Corrosive and Explosive Substances and Offensive Weapons Act, Chapter 65 of Singapore)

I <3 U JAY
Starhub marketing blitz.

The folk in the higher seats (ie. not sponsored premier seats but seats they actually paid for with their own cold hard cash) complained of faulty mike-ing and a terrible sound system. Maybe they should tear down the Singapore Indoor Stadium too while they're doing the National Stadium. The folk who could actually hear Jay said he went off key on the high notes, even though some of the songs had already been brought down a semitone or two. Hello, say the diehard fans, it's cos poor Jay had the flu, ok. Plus, can sing, can dance, can play piano, guitar, drum and zither (which he only took 10 minutes to learn), got dimple when he smiles, is nice to his mom and gran, banters with the audience, what's not to like? And NO. JAY CHOU IS NOT GAY!

Drinks at Old Airport Road Food Centre, where one of Jay's past concerts was blaring through loudspeakers, then home in time for some Romans.

When I first read Romans 1:18 - 3:20 in college, it made me blow a gasket. In fact, I barely got past the first chapter of Romans, so gut-retchingly offensive was Paul's arrogance and breach of peace. Worse, the narrow-mindedness that informed his homophobia was being perpetuated by modern day Christians who, perhaps having being thrown one time too many from their high horses, were obviously most lacking in the IQ department. Oh, and all that finger-pointing and you're-going-to-hell accusations? EQ = fail too.

Re-reading Romans, I realise that my former reaction was the anger of a weedhead having a really good party disrupted by incessant pounding on the door and someone yelling,"Get out! Get out! The building is on fire! You're all going to die!": dude, no one invited you to the party. So fuck off. Please.

Now that I've realised that the building was (and still is) indeed on fire and taken hold of the only route of escape, I'm standing on the outside pounding on doors and yelling at the people in the doomed building,"Get out! Get out!". Can any reasonable person do otherwise? Can any decent person walk away smugly and leave fellow humans to their fiery death? No. Not even if they were told by exasperated weedheads to fuck off. Please.

Romans 1:18 - 32 is about being weedheads in a burning building. It is a plea to take hold of the only escape route from the building before it is too late.

"Jesus saves!" goes the mindless Christian aphorism, all white-teethed and Ned Flanders-positive. In university, if one was in the mood of a bit of Christian-baiting in that deadtime between last drinks at the pub and when the clubs opened at 11pm, one might yell out to a passing Jesus-worshipper,"Oi! Jesus saves but Microsoft Word's got autosave!" or "Hey! Jesus saves but don't you think he'd get better returns on securities?"

Weedheads mocking firefighters abseiling down to save them as fugly Santas.

This is why we need saving: because of God's wrath against us. God didn't update himself to keep up with the times. He wasn't a wrathful God in the Old Testament and then a new improved loving God in the New Testament. The entire Bible is an amazing testament to his consistency in both wrath and love.

God's wrath is an anger against ungodliness and unrighteousness. It is like the anger that makes us rail against injustice, against big corporations raping the resources of undeveloped nations, against rich powerful people who bully the poor and weak. It is like the anger that makes us protest against murderers going free and child abusers smarmily smiling their way to a sunny retirement in the Bahamas. But it is far more serious than any of these awful things. It is about God the Creator and the Sustainer of the world being ignored and mocked by the creatures he created and loving provides for. It is about these foolish creatures suppressing the truth about God and instead absurdly worshipping the other flotsam and jetsam of creation, exchanging the truth about God for a lie (Romans 1:25), exchanging the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles (Romans 1:23).

These sort of creatures deserve to be uncreated. They deserve to die (Romans 1:32).

But God doesn't uncreate them or kill them off straight away, though he has every right to. In mercy and patience and perhaps love[3], he hands them over to the natural consequences of their foolishness and their rebellion against the True Object of Worship. God gives them up to the lusts of their hearts, to their dishonourable passions, to their debased minds to do what ought not to be done: acts that are contrary to how he created the world to work (Romans 1:24-27), all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice, envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness, gossiping, slandering, insolence, haughtiness, boastfulness, foolishness, faithlessness, heartlessness, ruthlessness etc (Romans 1:28-31). All of the things we hate in others but, in our most honest moments, admit to finding in ourselves.

This period of staying of judgement, this time of withholding of rightful punishment is not meant for us to breathe easy and carry on sinning and ignoring God as usual, thinking that he is either a fictional psychological crutch for the weak or an impotent entity to be disregarded. God's patience and kindness in not destroying us straight off is meant to lead us to repentance. If we do not acknowledge God as God, a person worthy of our whole-hearted service and worship, then we are only storing up wrath for ourselves for the day of wrath when God will judge righteously and we will undoubtedly be found guilty (Romans 2:4-5).

More about how we are ourselves unable to truly acknowledge God as God and how we need someone else, Jesus, as escape route to help save us from God's wrath in Romans 3:21 - 5:21. Akan datang.

[1] Under Singapore legislation, the copyright in the recording of a performance lies in the performer. However, copyright in a non-commissioned photograph of a performance lies in the photographer. Or so I understand it anyway. Corrections welcome.

[2] I hear the creak of my Chinese improving already.

[3] I suppose God demonstrates his patience, mercy and even love not just in the staying of judgement and withholding of punishment but also in not allowing us to experience the full natural consequences of our sin. For this world is not totally evil. It still knows something, dimly perhaps, of hope and faith and laughter and love.


Working through current series on Romans:
First Thai, Jay Chou's Birthday Concert and Romans 1
Feasting and Larval Thoughts on Faith and Romans 4
Privé, Cilantro and the Marvellous Comfort of Romans 8:1 - 16
Basil Alcove and the Pre-destination-based Comfort of Romans 8:17 - 39
Kapok at Newton and Romans 9 - 11
Tin Hill Wine Bar & Bistro, The White Rabbit at Dempsey, Dim Joy, True Worship and Romans 12:1 - 2
Sodagreen 苏打绿 Sing With Me 陪我歌唱 Concert, Futsal Tournament, Romans 13

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At January 25, 2008 12:00 am , Anonymous yenny said...

nice photos! so clear! don't mind if i download some?

At January 25, 2008 1:02 am , Anonymous cupboard space said...

eh, u sehr gut. wo chong bai ni. cough.

At January 25, 2008 1:41 am , Anonymous shadow said...

yenny: glad you like them. as for downloading, if it's for your personal enjoyment, sure! just leave the watermarks in and have a trackback to this post if you're putting them on the net. :-)

cupboard space: excuse me, are those jay chou lyrics? if not i no understand. because all the chinese i know comes from jay chou. ;-)

At January 25, 2008 9:40 pm , Anonymous icecutie said...

WWWOWWW....VERY HIGH QUALITY PICTURES!!!!which row is your seating?

At January 25, 2008 9:58 pm , Anonymous yenny said...

no problem! thanks a lot! =)


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