Sunday, January 28, 2007

Some recent photos

Took this one with Mitch Woods, now a Blues Awards nominee, back in October 2006.

These two photos represent different aspects of HK: 1) subculture, and 2) the decline of interest in reading.

With Prof. Joe Sung who I'm proud to call a friend.


Any resemblance to this?


Friday, January 26, 2007

Thanks for the love!

What an amazing night! Musically there was much to be improved on, especially the volume. But it was the overwhelming support from my family and friends that really moved me. I can't begin to thank all of you for coming and creating a strong support unit for me. I hope my music moved you as much as your warmth moved me.

On top of that, when I got back, I got a nice e-mail from Gigi with a picture of her and Oscar Peterson wishing me good luck and another e-mail from Lanessa Hill saying "everyone at FDA says hi." Life cannot get better than that.

Like I said, this has been a roller-coaster ride of a week. When all is said and done, I'm grateful that there are so many of you who watch out for my well-being. I just sent out a thank you note to each of the people (I saw and knew) who came to my show. If I missed you, it was not intentional. It just might mean I don't have your e-mail address or phone number. It's also an excuse for me to ask for it.

This is one of the most eventful weeks of my life. I find myself counting my blessings more and more these days. So I if appear grumpy at times, please note that I'm usually grateful and forgiving and cheerful.

This is the real me. Right here. Right now.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

After all, life is a parallel parking experience!

I deleted my earlier post today, because I want to stop bragging about myself. I've placed too much emphasis on how people think of me by looking at how many or what kind of comments I've been getting. And the result is, there aren't many. Frankly, I don't know who's reading my blog or who else has been following my daily life. I used to care about what kind of stuff I write because I want to cater to my target audience. Now, I don't know who my target audience is; I might have lost some of them. After all, my blog isn't the most interesting one on the net and I seem to regurgitate and dwell on my themes too much (like recent Woody Allen movies and Van Morrison albums).

It's been a roller-coaster ride of a day, week, maybe even month. I've gained a lot during the past months, and at the same time, I've learned a little more about myself. Self-identity is something that differentiates between the wise and the foolish. I'm somewhere in between. Sometimes I think too highly of myself, other times I lack confidence.

The thing is, success and failure are all relative. Wong Wing Fai asked me yesterday, "Have you ever fallen down and encountered obstacles in your life?" I said, "Yes, relatively." My sufferings are trivial compared to people starving in Afghanistan or the homeless children in mainland China, but they were still sufferings that I experienced. They were *real* to me. My happiness is real too because I can pinpoint to one snapshot of my life and say, "At that time, I was happy." And it is this longing for being *real* that still drives me every day. I want to be real to you, and I hope you can reciprocate similar feelings to me. For now, I strive for being tangible to my neighbors.

Life is a parallel parking experience. Like a street parking space, what is destined to be yours will ultimately belong to you. To get the perfect parking spot, sometimes you just have to drive around it. Eventually, a car will leave that spot and it will be free and clear of encumbrances and you can slide your car right in. To borrow an old cliche, timing is everything. So you always have to be prepared for that open parking space. It is that time when you're soul-searching in silence that you can really hear and see clearly.

It is just that simple. To be free is to be happy. No one is absolutely free. However, the mind is the most important tool to attain freedom. I remember watching this scene Shawshenk Redemption and thinking to myself, "I'm going to use this line by Morgan Freeman to become my motto." Obviously, I've forgotten this motto for the past few years. I found it on Youtube again. So instead of posting something braggy, I share this with you instead:

This is hard to do, but today is a good day to start.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007


...was a good day, to borrow Ice Cube's language.

It was indeed.


Monday, January 22, 2007

You can sing along with this....

曲:鍾立吾, 鍾一諾
詞:鍾一諾, 鍾一匡 


Vocals, Percussion: 鍾一諾 (Roger Chung)
Harmonica: 鍾一匡 (Henry Chung)
Acoustic & Electric Guitars: Kelvin Lee @ kleeworkshop






副歌(重唱 X 2)



Pebble Beach

Background Music: Vince Guaraldi Trio playing "Pebble Beach"

I'm just really happy, for no apparent reason.

Done a lot this weekend, and managed to squeeze everything in, in due time: The Law Fair, preparing the material for Sunday Bible School, going to the Saturday night worship, the SG exercise, and even completing my first attempt at both composing the melody and lyrics for a Chinese song (hymn)! That was a first for me.

That piece is an entry for the MEM competition for original compositions of worship. The deadline is this Thursday. Once the sheet music is completed, I'll post the pdf file here for you music lovers' inspection. It's a waltz in 3/4 beat in D with an emphasis on its own playfulness. I envision the background beat to sound like Anthony Wong's "Little Prince," with a spice of European touch. So, accordion and violin may be needed, we'll see.

Also, *the concert* is coming up this Friday. I would like to thank especially my PCLL classmates. After my initial lowkey announcement, the response from them is just overwhelming. Thanks especially to Keith Lau and Mr. Holden, who are so keen in spreading the word. And also to my family and my dear non-PCLL friends for their support. This is going to be a kick-ass concert, I know it. And most importantly, it's my first full blues gig in nearly five months. I'm going to give my 110%.

And I'm looking forward to this semester's homework, although I still need to gather my thoughts together. Today is only Monday, and I already look forward to this week!

Tomorrow will be a fabulous day!


Friday, January 19, 2007

Funniest man alive!

I said this two years ago and I say it again now. Congratulations to Sacha Baron Cohen for winning best actor (comedy) at the Golden Globes. Here's his speech:


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I'm on BC Magazine!

Slowing venturing into the ex-pat world....and right next to Cliff Richard. I guess I ain't doin' too bad myself....

Check it out here. Or simply get a hard copy from your nearest Starbucks or Pacific Coffee. Cheers!


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Two types of gifts

This is inspired by Director Yim Ho, but I somehow formulated it before I saw his movie.

There are two types of gifts for girls, the expensive kind and the intellectual kind. The expensive (or materialistic, if you will) kind is self-explanatory, e.g. Millionaire Lau's one page's newspaper ad wishing a Michele happy birthday, the bidding of a license entitled "I Luv U" or "Aaron," a very expensive ring from Tiffany's.

The intellectual kind is often simple yet speaks a thousand words. For example, a hand-drawn birthday card, a mix CD of songs carefully selected (or back in the days, a mixed cassette tape), the First Edition of a book you only mentioned it once during conversation that you have always wanted to read but never have read, a drawing, etc.

Director Yim says, if you are a girl who often receives the intellectual gifts, then you are special because in order to receive an intellectual gift, you must have worked magic on the guy first.

So are you the kind of person who usually get the expensive gift or the intellectual gift?


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The downfall of collective memory (集體回憶)

Remember way back when collective memory (集體回憶) was a hip phenomenon? Wikipedia defines the term as "對超過一個人以上感情、場景、音樂、圖片及事件的共同擁有的回憶."

However, thanks to 民政事務局局長何志平 (who used to be an eye surgeon), the term has now become a cliche, an unpopular verbiage, a definition subject to much abuse.

集體回憶 once meant James Wong (黃霑)'s amazing lyrics, 山頂老襯亭, 荔園, 啟德機場, Simon & Garfunkel. Now it means Soft Hard, The Wynners, 天星碼頭, 出前一丁. Suddenly, Hong Kong people have substantially increased their awareness about our tradition, history, and buildings that used to (and still) give us sentimental values.

I still remembered vividly the route I took every day to Queen's College from F.1-F.3 I had to pass through a playground, a few grocery stores, a big market, a karaoke box, and a few dumpling kiosks. Back then Pak Lok Cinema's large painted movie ad (most memorable being Veronica Yip's Category III movies) was hanging right opposite our school. Now I take the same route down and the memories come back. It's not the same route anymore, but I will never forget walking down Tai Hang as a teenage boy.

I feel very sad that the government will be restructuring a street in Wanchai, a narrow street full of printing stores. What else do they want to take away from us? The tram, the peak tram? Sooner or later, even Lan Kwai Fong could be wiped out.

On New Year's Eve, I went to Cheung Chau for the first time in 13 years. I was pleasantly surprised to have found out that Cheung Chau hasn't really changed after all these years. I thoroughly enjoyed riding on the ferry to Cheung Chau, bringing back old memories from my childhood. At the same time, I was disheartened that Hong Kong can never be like Cheung Chau. Hong Kong's changes are often too rapid, sometimes unnecessary.

The person who knows the most about "collective memory" is 羅啟銳, also a HKU grad. His two landmark books are 歲月神偷 and 兩毛錢往事:

He wrote the following (which I have excerpted):







For me, "collective memory" may mean walking on Hollywood Street with a 泰昌蛋撻 in my hand, searching for old records in a washed-up 3/F unit in an old Chinese building, or looking for a used 朱自清 literary combo in Shanghai Printing Press in Sheung Wan.

So 何志平局長, please stop ruining 集體回憶 for us!! We already loved Hong Kong before you were 局長!

(N.B. For more Alex Law entries, please click below.)
兩毛錢往事 | 歲月留聲 | 薄荷傷口


Monday, January 08, 2007

Life is such a fragile game!

Another Dynaflow, Joe Stanley, passed away this morning, in addition to Jeff Sarli's death just last September.

Joe Stanley, in addition to being a Washington music icon, was also a fixture on the swing dance scene in DC since the 50's. He had performed with any combinations you can think of. Joe is cousin to Jerry Lee Lewis and Mickey Gilley and he started playing the clubs in the 50's. He was one of the handful that would cross the color line to play with the black musicians uptown around 14th and U. He was an original member of the Rainbows with Marvin Gaye, Don Covay and Billy Stewart. He was with Billy Stewart at a birthday party the night before Billy was killed in an auto accident.

Joe could go from playing one night with Link Wray the next night to Roy Clark and the next the Orioles. His own band, The Saxtons, backed Big Joe Turner, Sam Cooke, Little Anthony, The Ames Brothers, Lloyd Price, The Drifters, Bobby Darin, Bobby Rydell, Jackie Wilson, Dion & the Belmonts, Freddie Cannon and many others. The Saxtons would alternate sets on a double bill with Jimmy Dean, his band providing the rock & roll as a counter to Jimmy's country. Joe had a standing invitation from David Bartholomew to come join in when Fats Domino would come to town. Joe Stanley helped Danny Gatton get his first gigs and was part of the Danny and the Fat Boys band and the two of them were in Robert Gordon's band.

I was proud that despite his impressive credentials, Joe agreed to be a part of the Mid-Atlantic Blues Allstars, a group that I co-formed a few months before I left DC (Joe is the one with the funky hat and tie on the left in the photo below). Joe taught me everything about music without saying a word. He will surely be missed.

May God rest Joe Stanley's kind and restless soul.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The 2007 Blues Awards nominations just came out!

For those who dig the blues, this is like the Oscars (not Grammys). It used to be called the W.C. Handy Awards, and it has been renamed two years ago. Only the best of the best get nominated, and I'm happy to announce many of my dear friends (and many with whom I've shared the stage) got nominated this year!

In particular, congratulations to:
Mitch Woods (Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year)
Deanna Bogart (Instrumentalist - Saxophone)
Mookie Brill (Instrumentalist - Bass)

My last three official blues gigs were with these great artists. The gig with Mitch Woods was my first gig back at HK. To my pleasant surprise, he was nominated just a month after I played with him! How much more privileged can I be?

Sittin' in with Mitch Woods in HK

Also, Deanna is a true heroine of mine, so I was especially delighted by her nomination. (Query: why isn't Deanna nominated for piano player for the year instead?) I still remember sitting in with her band and wowing the crowd on NYE just last year at Rams Head Tavern (one of my dream venues). Deanna's generosity makes me realize how everything is possible. She's a truly grateful person and she has done so much for me to help me advance in the blues world. I can't thank her enough!

With Deanna at Rams Head, NYE 2006

With Mookie Brill at State Theatre

Unfortunately, my good friend Bob Margolin did not get nominated for guitarist this year (he won 2 years ago), but we all know he's dynamite.

Honorary mentions:
Cephas & Wiggins (Acoustic Artist & Album of the Year)
Tab Benoit (B.B. King Entertainer of the Year, Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year)
Honey Piazza (Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year)

With Phil Wiggins at Kennedy Center

With Tab Benoit after sitting in with him

With Honey & Rod Piazza at Rams Head

For the complete list of the nominations, click here.

As my friend Wave Milor always says, "Good blues to ya."


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Long overdue videos

Finally on Youtube!

《再生頌》 (第十屆十大再生勇士選舉 主題曲)

Performed by Roger Chung
Organ accompanied by Gary Tong
Recorded on December 25, 2005
Hong Kong Methodist Church, Hong Kong


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