Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Eileen Chang

A hundred years later and you have a reversal.

I return to Eileen Chang every few years. She remains the master of the short story from the early 20th Century. Whether you read her in English or Chinese, she is devastating.

I recently read a Penguin collection of her short stories translated in English, which includes the classic, Red Rose White Rose. I have read this before in Chinese but have forgotten that the Red Rose character was an overseas Chinese from Nanyang. You see, back then, girls from Singapore or Malaya were the 'bad girls'. If you want to marry a nice girl from a good family, find one from Shanghai or Beijing.

That's a total flip from today. PRC girls are bad, or 'crows' to use a term from some years ago.

So for all those brothers out there who got burnt and got their heart broken by PRC singers, enjoy the irony.

Oh yeah, Red Rose White Rose will be staged at next year's Huayi Festival. Should be good.

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