Hard lessons on life
This time I'm playing three songs of mature taste. The first one is from Cabaret (music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb). Joel Grey the MC (Master of Ceremony) sings If you could see her , dancing with a gorilla in woman's dress, a satire on Nazi Germany's prejudice against Jews in 1930.
'If you could see her with me eyes, you would not wonder at all. If you could see her with my eyes, I guarantee you would fall, like I did . . . 'When we go out in the public, I hear society moan. (Remember to use present tense after see, hear and feel) But if they could see her with my eyes, maybe (perhaps) they'd leave us alone . . . I understand your objections. I grant you (that is, I admit) the problem's not small. But if you could see her with my eyes: she doesn't look Jewish at all.' The second is another Andrew Lloyd Webber/Time Rice classic from Evita , called Another Suitcase in Another Hall .
Eva Peron - played by Madonna in the film of the same name - is describing her many love affairs. 'I don't expect my love affairs to last for long. Never fool myself that my dreams will come true. Being used to trouble I anticipate it. But all the same I hate it, wouldn't you? Another suitcase in another hall.
'Take your picture off another wall. You'll get by. You always have before. Time and time again I've said I don't care. That I'm immune to gloom, that I'm hard through and through . . . so anyone can hurt me, and they do . . . Call in three months' time and I'll be fine, I know. Well, maybe not that fine, but I'll survive anyhow.
'I won't recall the names and places of this sad occasion. But that's no consolation here and now.' A last song from Les Miserables , music by Schonberg and English lyrics by Kretzner. Fantine sings of her past dream of love in I Dreamed A Dream .
'I dreamed a dream in time gone by. When hope was high and life worth living. I dreamed that love would never die. I dreamed that God would be forgiving . . . But the tigers come at night, with their voices soft as thunder. As they tear your hopes apart, as they turn your dreams to shame. He slept a summer by my side. He filled my days with endless wonder. He took my childhood in his stride (ie without special effort, easily and casually). But he was gone when autumn came . . .
Think carefully about the lyrics and you will learn a few important lessons in life.
Mr Chan is director of the External Relations Office, University of Hong Kong