My aunts and uncles are well aware of the conflict I have with my parents. They’ve since become a surrogate family; the ones I call on Mother’s and Father’s Day, the people I visit when I go to Toronto.
With every cheque they send, my thank yous feel less and less meaningful. It’s difficult to show how much I appreciate their love and acceptance and support when they’re well off and tend to have everything they could ever want or need.
One of them mentioned Teresa Teng as a favourite singer during a conversation last year, and I realized a cover of one of her songs would be a befitting gesture. The arts were tightly controlled by the Chinese government for 30 years and any song heard on the radio was either patriotic or political, until The Moon Represents My Heart was released in the late 1970s. It marked an important cultural shift when emotions were considered puerile or bourgeois, and became a favourite among many generations.
This song in particular is well-known by people from all three China’s (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan), as Teresa Teng’s popularity extended beyond both borders and dialects. She became a comforting familiarity when I was growing up, as I would catch her voice floating in the background no matter where I went or who I visited.