Thursday, September 27, 2012

HK Song Spotlight: Shirley Kwan (關淑怡) – Forget Him/Her 忘記他

Recently, there was an article on that Shirley Kwan (關淑) had written in her Facebook that she wanted to commit suicide due to feeling betrayed. 

Then, Shirley disappeared somewhere, leaving her son in the care of a nanny. Shirley, already in her 40’s, experienced a career slump after she took a break from the industry to rear her son by herself. The absent father of Shirley’s child remains a mystery. Apparently, after Shirley decided to come back to restart her career, many doors were slammed in her face and she wrote on her Facebook that her own manager, who she considered one of her close friends, betrayed her. Shirley then wrote an angry rant on Facebook and then simply disappeared, shocking the celebrity world and the public who thought she went to go suicide.

Almost a day later, Shirley was found and returned home. What a close call. Perhaps she did not suicide because she still had to live for her son’s sake. Even if that was true, I am so glad Shirley is back and alive. I consider her one of the greatest Hong Kong singers of the 90’s.

All this Shirley Kwan thinking has led me to one of my favorite Shirley Kwan songs, “Forget Him.” Perhaps, Shirley should forget all the people who betrayed her and look at the bright side. Either way, this song is very soothing and sedating.

The song is actually originally sung by Teresa Teng (鄧麗君) who included the song in her first album, "势不两立" (1980). Teresa's sweet voice made the song sound so sad combined with what I feel are the sounds of a typical Italian song with a mandolin instrument.

Fifteen years later, Shirley remade the song and included it in her 1995 tribute album, "'EX' All Time Favourites." The song was also included in the HK movie, "Fallen Angels" starring Leon Lai and Michelle Reis.

Shirley made the newly updated song so tranquilizing. I especially like the bridge part where she simply sings “Da da da...” etc. The drone-like music combined with the lyrics makes it sound even more depressing like someone who can't free him or herself out of the "loop" of depression.

My other favorite parts of the song are these lines:
從來只有他 (All along, [there was] only him)
可以令我欣賞自已 ([Who] can cause me to appreciate myself)
更能讓我去用愛 (Moreover can allow me to use love again)
將一切平凡事 變得美麗 ([To] take all ordinary matters [and] change [them into something so] beautiful)

Well, judging by these lyrics, this person was really great, but the title of the song says to forget him. Sounds heart-wrenching, right?

Enjoy the video. HK music videos are nothing to rave about, but try to enjoy the music at least. 

Again, when I translate, I like to translate literally so that you can see what the actual words mean. There are other websites that will translate this song in a more understandable format. I will post one of them below. I like to take a different approach. Enjoy both versions.

忘記他曲:黃霑 詞:黃霑 編:Donard Ashley

忘記他 等於忘掉了一切 (To forget him is the equivalent to forgetting [and] parting [with] everything)
等於將方和向拋掉 ([It’s] The equivalent of [my] future direction and facing abandonment [loss],)
遺失了自已 (To carelessly lose myself)

* 忘記他 等於忘盡了歡喜(To forget him is the equivalent to forgetting happiness completely)
等於將心靈也鎖住([It’s] The equivalent of [my] future internal spirit also locked
同苦痛一起 (similar to [enduring] bitter pain together)
從來只有他 (All along, [there was] only him)
可以令我欣賞自已 ([Who] can cause me to appreciate myself)
更能讓我去用愛 (Moreover can allow me to use love again)
將一切平凡事 變得美麗 ([To] take all ordinary matters [and] change [them into something so] beautiful)
忘記他 怎麼忘記得起(To forget him, How [can I] successfully forget?)
銘心刻骨來永久記住(inscribe heart, engrave bone [meaning unforgettable] has come, forever remembered)
從此永無盡期(From now on, forever no end date)

Repeat *

 Now, here are some translated lyrics from the website. These lyrics are easier to understand if you want a quick translation. The Chinese lyrics have romanization as well:


Forgetting him
Means forgetting everything
That means losing my sense of direction
I lost myself.

*Forgetting him
Means forgetting all the happiness
That means locking up my heart
Living with sorrow and pain
It was only him
who made me treasure myself
and let me use love
to change all simple things
and make them attractive
Forget him
How could I forget
Unforgettable, I will remember forever
and ever.


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