Radiodiffusion Internasionaal Annexe

Teresa Teng
June 24, 2008, 8:16 pm
Filed under: Taiwan

(Wishing You) Well In The New Year

Teresa Teng was from Tienyang, Taiwan.

The main island of Taiwan, also known as Formosa, is located in East Asia off the coast of mainland China, southwest of the main islands of Japan but directly west of the end of Japan’s Ryukyu Islands, and north-northwest of the Philippines.

Teresa Teng was born Deng Lijun in Tienyang, a village in Yunlin County, to a mainlander family originating from Hebei province. She was educated at Ginling Girls High School.

In 1968, she became famous after giving a performance on a popular music programme in Taiwan, and released eight albums within the next two years. In 1973, she attempted to crack the Japanese market, taking part in Japan’s Kōhaku Uta Gassen, a year-round singing match of the most successful artists of that year, and won the prize for “Best New Singing Star”.

In 1974, with the song “Airport” (空港), she conquered Japan, where she remained a leading star despite a short exile in 1979 when she was deported for having entered on a fake Indonesian passport, bought for $20,000, a deception rendered necessary by a break in relations between Taiwan and Japan on China’s entry to the UN Security Council. Singing by now in Cantonese, Japanese and English as well as her native Mandarin, Teng was soon popular as far as Malaysia and Indonesia.

She was well known and her music was also hugely popular in mainland China despite the fact that the authorities had branded most Western music, including her music, as “decadent”. However, she was never to perform there. She performed in Paris during the 1989 Tiananmen student uprising, singing for the students and proclaiming her support for them and for democracy..

Teng died from a severe asthma attack while on holiday in Chiang Mai, Thailand at the age of 42 (43 by Chinese reckoning) on May 8, 1995. She is buried in a mountainside tomb at Chin Pao San (金寶山; translates to Golden Treasure Mountain), a cemetery near Jinshan, Taipei County in Taiwan. A memorial was built at the tomb with a statue of Teng and her stage clothes on display, with her music playing in the background. There is also a large electronic piano keyboard that visitors can play by stepping on the keys.

Thanks to Ho Chui-wa for tanslating the titles.

Catalog number LFEP 3102 on Life Records of Singapore. No release date listed.

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