Regards to Official Cui

Happy To Hear That Official Cui At Tai Yuan Served The Imperial Censor,
And Also Sends Regards To The 3rd And 2nd Year Fellow Exam Candidates 

One day, Shangyin told me, “I was summoned to the Emperor. Terrified and amazed, I kowtowed before him. He looked at me sternly and said “Shangyin, why do you upset everybody?”

“What did you tell him?”, I asked. We were in the produce section of the Jusco supermarket at the junction of Shennan Boulevard and Honey Lake Park.

“I said , ‘My liege, in the barbarian lands the populace in millions sing music called  Thriller by a wild haired man-woman called Jackson. Far fewer people loved the far greater Song of the Earth by Mahler. When it was composed just a handful appreciated the incomparable Paysage or Chasse Neige of Liszt. ‘”

A little girl walking by interjected, ‘Old fogy[1], I love Michael!”

Ignoring her, Shangyin picked up a succulent yellow youzi, and went on, “The Phoenix and the Roc are the greatest of birds, Storm clouds rise over their wings, and they flies thousands of miles in an instant, and vanquish gods and dragons. While little fish swim in narrow streams, the great Kun forms tsunamis when it shakes its fins. Meanwhile, the little birds and fish say, “How impossible – such a great bird, and such a marvelous fish!”

I shook my head in bewilderment.

“You do not understand, do you?” retorted Shangyin. “At least you are polite about it. So many people complain about me. About my work, and my writing. So I said to the king, ‘How can the bird hidden in the bamboo possibly understand the Phoenix? Or the little fish in a metre wide pond know the Kun? That’s why the reproaches of others do not bother me. I see what others cannot. I am what others are not. That is most natural!’”

鹏鱼何事遇屯同,  péng yú hé shì yù tún;zhūn tóng;tòng,

云水升沉一会中。  yún shuǐ  shēng chén yī huì;kuài zhōng。

刘放未归鸡树老,  liú fàng wèi guī jī shù lǎo,

邹阳新去兔园空。  zōu yáng xīn qù tù yuán kōng。

寂寥我对先生柳,  jì liáo wǒ duì  xiān shēng liǔ,

赫奕君乘御史骢。  hè yì jūn chéng;shèng  yù shǐ cōng。

若向南台见莺友,  ruò  xiàng nán tái jiàn;xiàn yīng yǒu,

为传垂翅度春风。  wèi;wéi zhuàn;chuán chuí chì dù  chūn fēng。

Your Roc and my Kun face troubles to match their size[2]

We are clouds and water that fall and rise

Returning to the Rooster Forest was too late for Liu Fang[3]

Leaving for the Imperial Rabbit Garden didn’t help Zou Yang[4]

I’m abandoned and alone by the willow tree

You ride the Censor’s piebald mare, grandly, a sight to see

If you happen to meet my oriole friends[5] at the Southern Base

Please tell them my wasted wings (with the Spring breeze) failed to keep pace!

 Musical Interlude: Chopin ‘Hades’ Prelude Op. 28/16: Performed by Mark Obama Ndesandjo

This is considered the most difficult of his preludes. The greatest challenge here is keeping the right hand aligned with the left.  Listen and hear what seems like galloping hooves in the left hand, and the driving motion in the right handthat almost, but never , falls apart. There is a Chinese saying: There is nothing more fearsome in the world than a man with a will (世上无难事 只怕有心人). This piece embodies that saying.

Liszt’ Transcendental Etude No. 12  ‘Chasse Neige’ played by Mark Obama Ndesandjo

The Chasse Neige (Snowstorm) is the last of Liszt’ transcendental etudes. The work is an ocean, vast and beyond words, yet evoking storms and blizzards.  What starts as a simple theme, expands across both hands, always accompanied by tremolos. It climaxes in several places, with an almost Wagnerian ecstasy (this Tristan of the piano). I play it a little fast, but how one can fail to be carried away by such magnanimous and generous music?

[1] A slang reference to a person who is quite conservative and old-fashioned, which is understandable considering LSY was about 1300 years old when he arrived in Shenzhen.

[2] The Roc and Kun are a mythological bird and fish respectively, of vast sizes and supernatural qualities.

[3] Liu Fang (d. 250 CE) was a high official of the Wei period (220-265).  He was one of the most influential court officials and was more or less the right hand of Emperor Ming. On his deathbed, the Emperor entrusted Liu Fang with the care for his young successor.  (

[4] Zou Yang was an eminent scholar and artist of the Western Han Dynasty and was a target of much court slander. He was a favorite retainer of the Han Prince Xiao who was a patron of the arts and had beautiful gardens.

[5] Orioles are often euphemisms for prostitutes. Here may also refer to exam candidate friends.

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