Wednesday, December 08, 2021


Lunch in Chinatown after errands, pipe full of tobacco, and altogether between all of that, walking thirty blocks. My doctor advised me to walk more. And walking, naturally, requires a smoke. As long as I don't tell him about that second part, he'll be happy, and I shall be healthy.
When I got home my apartment mate insisted I share some of her fried chicken. She worries that I am too scrawny. Which is the result of all the walking.

Later in the evening I headed over to Chinatown again. Pipe. Mixed soda. Tea. And hot water.
This is the extent, nowadays, of my misbehaviour. Years ago it would have included a pint of beer and several whiskeys, but I am necessarily a more temperate man now, though still irritating and at times rowdy.

The rats in Spofford Alley are back again. Not exactly thriving, but worth observing while smoking one's pipe. Engaging social creatures. More likable and more sensible than the tourists. Rather than trying to exterminate them, we should give them the vote.
Chinatown is quieter at night than it used to be. The drunken white twenty-somethings are no longer an infestation. So there is considerably less vandalism, shouting, and thuggery.

Things in the old neighborhood have changed a bit. It's quiet, people are abiding till better times. Even North Beach is calmer now.



The video clip above shows Leslie Cheung (張國榮 'cheung gwok wing') singing a famous duet with Elder Sister Wang (汪明荃 'wong ming chuen'; Liza Wang Ming Chuen).
The Fragrant Sacrifice (香夭 'heung yiu'; youthful martyrdom).

One thing that was remarkable was at one point hearing a native speaker of Mandarin from Liaoning (遼寧 'liu ning') singing Cantonese opera at the karaoke dive. She did the female part of an exchange between Princess Changping (朱媺娖, 長平公主 'jyu mei juk', 'jeung ping gong jyu') and her fiance Zhou Shixian (周世顯 'jau sai hin'). The tale of her life was gruesome but "inspiring". Especially given the distaste for the horrible barbarians who supplanted the Ming. Like with Western opera, many of the stories in Canto opera are tragic, often ending in tears.
I can't say that The Flower Princess (帝女花 'tai neui faa' is one of my favourites.
But it is exceedingly well known.

[The classic performance is the one with Yam Kim Fei (任劍輝) and Bak Sut Sin (白雪仙): 帝女花之香夭 Fragrant Sacrifice 任白名曲, youtube: (]

My friend who is always part of this weekly jaunt doubts that karaoke is a good thing. Which is something of which for many years I have been trying to convince him.
It keeps dangerous people off the street.
No, I don't sing. Be glad of that.

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