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鄧麗君/テレサテン/Teresa Teng

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.


中文:


鄧麗君總也不老。


早逝令人遺憾,卻換得青春永駐。沒有人看過鄧麗君老的樣子,因此她的音樂和她的故事永遠不會有年華逝去的一天。以華文寫的「鄧麗君」近乎是整個華語文化圈的共同記憶,她甜蜜蜜、她夜來香、只盼何日君再來。以日文寫的「テレサ.テン」,同一個鄧麗君卻是陌生的名字。這一現象同樣也是整個華語文化圈的共同記憶,曾幾何時任何事物以日文呼喚之都不甚討喜。陌生可以引人注目,如果既熟悉又陌生就更叫人不得不產生好奇心。《愛人》這個計畫以鄧麗君的日文歌曲為素材,我們注目她日文歌曲中的女性世界也好奇愛國藝人——鄧麗君與國家的關係。


5月23日,我、意淨與協作者月崎進行了第一次的會談。我們先談了在新加坡脈絡中,鄧麗君給新加坡人的印象。月崎談起她與父母聊到鄧麗君,而她的父母也提起鄧麗君曾到新加坡與新加坡軍人一同錄製音樂節目(1983年),刷新了月崎對鄧麗君的印象。我很納悶,為什麼鄧麗君老是跟軍隊扯上關係呢?我猜想,那是一個鮮花配美人和坦克配美人一樣自然的年代。


不知怎的,鄧麗君的日文歌經常伴隨著情婦的身影。處於不健全的男女愛情關係裡,這些歌詞中的情婦感情真摯到不像真人,她們沒有恨只有愛。彷彿愛到了極點就可以忘卻恨意。然而沒有恨的感情,算什麼感情?


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。


鄧麗君的嗓音裡也沒有恨,她的轉音、顫音都如此婉約。回想起來,鄧麗君好像從來沒有負面過。隱藏,是巨星的代價。也是經由我們集體記憶篩選後,只看見願意回想一百次的甜蜜。


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