Thursday, December 10, 2009

Video: The Taiwan Song (台灣小調), 1959

When I first stumbled upon this YouTube video of Grace Chang (葛蘭), a Hong Kong actress of the 1950s and 1960s, I nearly started crying tears of joy. A song about how beautiful Taiwan is, gorgeous 1950s fashions (including lots of menswear), all in fabulous color... what's not to love?

As I wrote a few days ago, finding images of Asians and Asian Americans doing normal, everyday things (hopefully while wearing wonderful vintage fashions) is a new passion of mine. It is the logical result of being a lifelong vintage lover (well, lifelong since age eleven!) who now lives in Taiwan, and it is also a way of reconciling the conflicting feelings I have about collecting things from an era when so many people who looked me were repressed, abused or worse. A couple of my vintage photos were featured on Fashion for Writers and Threadbared. Jenny on FFW wrote a really great post on the emotional impact of being exotified and I cannot wait to read what Threadbared has to say about the politics of vintage.

(And please vote once every 24 hours for Shu Flies (舒飛), my blog about life in Taipei, Taiwan. To everyone who has already voted -- thank you so much! Your support really warms my heart. The weather is chilly here in Taipei, so it needs all the warming it can get!)


  1. Your video made me cry, too! And I forwarded it to my mom, who has probably seen it, but anyway. I love the dress she's wearing, and I can only understand about half of the lyrics, but it's still really beautiful to hear her sing...

  2. Wow, what a great video, and I really enjoyed taking a look back at the post from the other day with those photos you found.
    I agree it is very sad to think about how many groups people were treated in past eras.
    Especially as an American, thinking about how this country has treated some people saddens me :(

  3. I feel the same way! Have you ever watched any of the tragically few videos of Pat Suzuki online? (Like, around 4:45.) She's an amazing Asian American vocalist whose records sold lots and lots, but she barely registers in the mainstream memory of mid-century American pop culture.

  4. Mimi-Thanks for introducing me to Pat Suzuki! Her voice is absolutely amazing. I'm looking forward to finding out more about her. (And I love that her nickname was Miss Ponytail).

  5. She has such a beautiful voice! What a fascinating piece of nostalgia...

  6. Oh I love this! I'm always so happy when you post something...

    love, Jenny

  7. Aw, thanks Jenny... the feeling is mutual whenever I see FFW pop up in my RSS reader!