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My first Chinese solo performance: Jolin Tsai’s “Pretense”

August 9, 2010

By popular request (when “popular request” = my father asked a couple times, but hey, it’s all relative, right?), I thought I’d quickly blog about my performance at Beijing Night–my first time singing a Chinese song. In front of a few hundred people.

Beijing Night is HBA’s end-of-the-summer talent show, where everyone gets the chance to perform on stage for the rest of HBA, including all our teachers and anyone else we invite to come. I decided to sing, as singing is my thang.

I looked around online and found Taiwanese popstar Jolin Tsai’s “Pretense,” or, in Chinese, “Jia Zhuang” (假装), which literally means to pretend. You can watch the music video if you’re curious. Pretty typical pop song about a relationship gone sour.

But I was super lazy about preparing, and I didn’t quite memorize my lyrics in time, so I performed with a stand in front of me with the lyrics written out in pinyin. I had a karaoke track, though, and it ended up going really well overall. Flubbed the lyrics a few times, but I my voice was in good condition, and I joked around on stage, didn’t take myself too seriously. During the musical interlude, I moved my arms in dramatic diva passion, paced the stage, and cried, “wei shenme?” (why?) into the microphone. Got some laughs.

Beijing night was so fun because I got to see people do things I had no idea they were capable of. One second year student can play the accordion, really well. A third year can use nun-chucks like a pro. People are really talented!

Afterwords, it was compliments all around, lots of pictures (although I forgot my camera, drat), and then a bunch of us went out to a bar to party. I and my best friend at HBA, Idriss (who I know is Yide, his Chinese name), are cheapskates, so we decided to find a cheaper place to drink first. We went to this little hold-in-the-wall restaurant an split a 40-kuai ($5.50 US) pint of 70-proof Baijiu. Gotta love those prices, even if the stuff is rancid. After some dancing–with glo sticks!–we ended the night splitting fries and a peach pie at McDonald’s.

To finish this post, I thought I’d post in the Google translate translation of the lyrics to “Pretense,” to demonstrate just how far computer translations have to go (although until they’re better, at least they’re amusing):


A kind of lonely the taste of breath
Heartbeat in the silence after you are slowly forgotten light
I smiled anyway, you can not see
I want happiness
Left lying in your arms


When love lost focus
Those initial good
Cause you know you put in the corner
Large crowds on the street
Looked at sleep walking symbols are destroyed
Memory can not stop
Through the reading of your heart
Through to your taste
I just want to undisturbed

How good I just pretend
Just want to again have a second
To believe that you embrace
Has let me rely on
Continue to wait
Also willing to not bailing



How good is still pretending
Remains ambiguous tone tone
One vexatious
Both the torment of the world
I was trapped in his own trap set


Like the ostrich
I believe the time is the only antidote
Knows better than the hopeless
In fact, long understood
Your love has carried by the wind
Want to find
Could not have

[CHORUS 1 and 2]

Unlock the handcuffs had been cold

One Comment leave one →
  1. Shieh permalink
    August 27, 2011 12:19 pm

    It’s really weird when the lyrics translated to English. Do you understand the meaning of the song?

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