Teresa Teng is never old.
Passing away prematurely is devastating but privileging one of eternal youth. Nobody ever saw Teresa Teng old, which makes her music and stories always fresh and never out of fashion.
Written in Mandarin, the name of 鄧麗君 (Teresa Teng) is an icon and collective memory within Chinese speaking world. She is sweet, she is like a blossom, she is the one we all long for. Written in Japanese, notwithstanding, the name of テレサ ．テン is far from known among Chinese speakers. It is also our collective memory to know little about her under the name of テレサ ．テン because there was an era that everything became awkward when called or written in Japanese.
Teresa Teng sang the song "Lover" in Japanese TV show in 1985.
Strangeness makes people curious. Being strange and familiar at the same time is even more attractive and interesting. In the project of Lover, we use Teresa Teng’s Japanese music to look into how women behave in her songs as well as how Teng was branded the title of Patriotic Artist by the country, namely the relationship between the government and Teng.
On 23 May, the facilitator Gua Khee had a conversation with Ching and me. Firstly, we talked about how Singaporeans think of Teng. Gua Khee mentioned that she asked her parents about Teng. Surprisingly, Gua Khee’s parents told her that Teng used to be in Singapore filming and singing with the Singapore Armed Forces. And that totally renewed how Gua Khee felt about Teng. I can not help but wonder why Teng always had something to do with the military? I guess that is the time when flowers went well with women just like tanks went well with women.
Teresa Teng featured in the Singaporean TV show "Come On Singapore" in 1983.
For uncertain reasons, Teng’s Japanese songs were often related to mistresses. Being in an unhealthy relationship, women in Teng’s music are so devoted to love that they seem unreal. They only know how to love, not how to hate. However, love without hatred is not worth loving.
In order to listen to the true voice from mistresses, we explore PTT (the biggest bbs in Taiwan) where mistresses write down their stories or feelings anonymously. In a non-intrusive way, we read and selected various articles from PTT and shared some pieces with Gua Khee. She picked up the word “vulnerable” in a sensitive tone. In the lyrics of Teng’s songs, these mistresses love so deeply that they appear one-dimensional and unreal. They seem strong yet vulnerable to the real world. One the other hand, the mistresses in PTT are not shy to show their desire to hate, to curse, to regret, to denounce and to love. In fragility, I can feel the vibrant power from these women. By reading the lyrics and articles, truth /fiction and powerful/fragile are bonded together.
The voice of Teng reveals no negative emotion as well. When I try to think of Teng, there is nothing negative about her. Concealing yourself is the price to pay to be a superstar. Concealing is also what people do when we only want to keep the sweet parts of somebody.
為了聆聽第三者真實的聲音，我們以不介入的方式閱讀、選錄了多篇 PTT 第三者板的文章。並且在會談時將某些素材與月崎分享。月崎以敏銳、感性的口吻提到「脆弱」這個詞（當時她用 vulnerable 這個詞）。鄧麗君歌詞中的情婦，愛的全心全意以至於面目全非，偉大卻脆弱。PTT中第三者的獨白，有怨恨、詛咒、懊悔、指責與深情，在脆弱的情感中有真實、強大之處。虛構與真實在此刻互為表裡。