The second treat for today is one I got last Tuesday when the UP Diliman Confucius Institute teamed up with the UP Chinese Students Association for a cultural program that brought partner institutions which have been benefiting from our Chinese-language teachers: the Bureau of Immigration, Foreign Service Institute, University of Makati, Mabalacat City College, and City College of Angeles (CCA).

It was a treat to hear the UP Tsinoy and Tsinay student emcees hosting in three languages, but the best treat came from a CCA choral group singing one of the most popular Chinese love songs in history. See the Valentine connection? The English translation sounds mysterious, but here it is: Yuèliàng Dàibiao Wo de Xin, or “The moon represents my heart.” The song has a plaintive, almost sticky, tune that has made it popular outside China, with versions from Bon Jovi to Kenny G (saxophone), and even the Greek Nana Mouskouri who recorded her version in her 70s.

The song was made popular by Taiwanese singer Teresa Teng in the late 1970s and is said to have been the first “bourgeois” love song to be allowed into China, which was then just opening up to the world. Teng died in 1995, aged only 42, a victim of an asthmatic attack. But she is still remembered for her songs, especially this one about the moon.

The title may sound strange, but it actually resonates among Filipinos. The moon represents love from a distance, something many Filipinos have to live with given how the diaspora has separated countless couples. The song recalls sweet memories of times together, and reaffirms deep love.

The moon is eclipsed in the CCA translation, but retains the pledges of eternal love: Ang pagmamahalan na walang hanggan alay ko sa yo kailan man.

Wishing you all a sixth blessing: May you find someone to sing with, about the moon and hearts. Oh, if you already have someone, may that someone (or “someones,” and I mean family and friends) share the five good fortunes I mentioned.

The last treat is another free language lesson. Please, please avoid greeting Tsinoy friends with kung hei fat choy. That’s Cantonese, which is hardly spoken in the Philippines. Most ethnic Chinese here have their roots in Fujian and use Minnan. Here’s a simple way to greet: Giong hi, which means “wishing you happiness.” It can also mean “congratulations” or “best wishes,” so it’s multipurpose, useful any time (four seasons), anywhere. 

Excerpt from: Pinoy Kasi (Phil. Daily Inquirer)