Taitung vegetable vendor and philanthropist Chen Shu-chu, who was named one of 2010’s most influential people by Time magazine, has been invited to sing the national anthem in a music video to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the Republic of China. The recording, which is being organized by the Republic of China (Taiwan) Centenary Foundation, has proved a challenge for Chen who hasn’t sung the national anthem for over 50 years and who speaks Chinese with a heavy Taiwanese accent.
Chen is one of 22 people who the foundation chose from different walks of life to represent Taiwan by singing the national anthem. A few days before the shoot started on Dec. 13, Chen was given a songbook so she could practice on her own and a retired music teacher visited her vegetable stand to give her singing lessons.
Chen practiced diligently with her teacher, but when it came to filming, the production crew found she had problems with her speed and tonality. They therefore gave her some headphones so she could listen to the correct version of the anthem and made up a poster with the lyrics printed in large characters.
When it came to recording, it proved difficult for Chen to sing the entire anthem in one take because she mumbled her words and was unable to correct her Taiwanese accent. There were many outtakes and it wasn’t until nightfall that they finally wrapped up recording. Chen said she hadn’t sung the national anthem since leaving elementary school and has no interest in singing, preferring to sell vegetables.
The Time magazine article about Chen was written by world famous Taiwanese film director Ang Lee. He said that Chen’s achievement is not its extraordinariness but that it is so simple and matter of fact in its generosity. When being interviewed, she always said, “Money serves its purpose only when it is used for those who need it.”
1. philanthropist n.
慈善家 (ci2 shan4 jia1)
例: Maxine was a prolific entrepreneur and well-known philanthropist.
2. influential adj.
有影響力的 (you3 ying2 xiang3 li4 de5)
例: The professor’s theories have become more influential in the last decade.
3. bask v.
沈浸 (chen2 jin4)
例: The mayor is still basking in the approval of local business leaders.
The magazine said rather than basking in her celebrity, Chen doesn’t seem to care much about her nomination, and with a wave of her hand and perhaps with a hint of irritation, she says, “There isn’t much to talk about, because I did not enter any competition. I haven’t really made any huge donations.”
(LIBERTY TIMES, COMPILED AND TRANSLATED BY TAIJING WU)