Thursday, August 10, 2017

Sechs Kies 20th Anniversary Album

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Hailed as the Blackstreet boys of South Korean boy band, Sechs kies made a comeback with the latest album to celebrate their 20th anniversary in the Korean Music Industry. Sech skies consisted of leader Eun Ji Won, members Kang Sung Hoon, Jang Su Won, Lee Jai Jin and Kim Jae duc. After the success of the special reunion of Sechs kies in the well-known variety show Infinity Challenge, it brought about the reminiscent of old school music.

The teenagers that debuted in 1997 had blossom into matured and sophisticated men now. They are the fine example of the saying, “Men are like fine wine.” Miraculously, the boyband signed a recording contract with YG Entertainment and made a comeback as the veteran first generation idols. Coincidentally, Lead dancer Lee Jai Jin is the brother-in-law of YG Entertainment founder Yang Hyun-Suk. Therefore, he paved the way for Sechs kies to join the big company. Sechs Kies reunion was at a great timing according to main vocalist Kang Sung Hoon. Despite having the thoughts of reunion throughout these years, it was never finalized and Infinity Challenge created a platform for Sechs kies reunion and they became a hot issue overnight ever since their disbandment in year 2000.
Having tasted the displeasure of disbandment, Sech skies treasured the opportunity to perform onstage again. The repackaged of the new album 20th century introduced the new fans to the upgraded version of Secks kies and brought out the sentimental feelings of their past hit songs in the 20th century. They had removed the voice of Ko Ji-Yong who is currently an inactive member of Sechs Kies. For those who are interested in Ko Ji-Yong, he appears in the famous variety show “The return of the Superman with his son Seung Jae. He is a businessman now and he will consider participating in Sechs kies activities only if his schedules allow him to do so which is unlike to occur anytime soon.

To the delight of yellowskies (Fan club name), Sech skies released their latest comeback album with three new songs and they repackaged and choose their classic hits for the rest of the tracks. Let's take a look at this much anticipated album. 

Sechs Kies 20th Anniversary Album

Track 1: Be Well

I love the introduction of the song with Eun Ji Won deep and husky voice. I have to take Eun Ji Won seriously as a singer. Despite having a silly image as variety genius, he can immediately transforms into a charismatic leader of Sechs Kies. I remembered during an episode of Radio Star with Sechs Kies, Sung Hoon mentioned that initially Eun Ji Won and himself were supposed to debut as a duet instead of a boy band. I can see how compatible their voices complemented each other. In fact, the Hawaiian friends truly shines in this comeback. I love the way Eun Ji Won rapped in a distinct manner and Sung Hoon crystal clear voice. Be well gave a gloomy tone of longing to the listeners and it was tailor made for Sechs Kies new matured image. It's a fact that they are no longer the teenagers that sings of puppy love now. Therefore, their music style were improvised to suit their current image. Although each members had developed their own individual style, Eun leader truly shines brightly with swag! 

Track 2: Sad Song

Some people may think that Sad Song is yet another ballad from Sechs Kies judging from the song title, which is surprising not sad at all. In fact, this is a mid-tempo song delivered competently by the veterans. I love the energy of the song and the catchy chorus which is easy to sing along and dance. Their hairstyle and overall styling is much better now compared to the past. They look very trendy and cool in the music video too. I am sure Sechs Kies will continue to grow old handsomely and will always occupy a  place in their fans heart. 

Track 3: Three Words 

This is the first single that they released after their reunion. It was well composed by label mate Epik High's Tablo. This R&B, hip hop song is easy on the ears and the catchy chorus make it easy to sing along. I can feel their sincerity in delivering this song, it contained their emotions after they met their fans again after so many years. The 90's idols experience were evident in the way they expresses themselves. Each member style is unique and nobody overshadows each other as they were each given a verse to sing. Although Sechs kies did not have any 'powerful' dance steps in their latest singles, which considered their age its not advisable to dance like before, the members still shines like a crystal in their own ways. Three words is a beautiful song specially dedicated to the fans and i can say that it's worth the wait after all.   

Couple M/V

The re album contained their previous hit songs. Among those classic songs, Couple stood out as one of their greatest hit song. The repackaging of this song sounds pleasant and not to be mistaken, the entire song still sound somewhat the same. It's simply more modern and classy now in comparison. I am glad that they preserve the essence of the song which i had heard years ago and make a new version out of it to reach out to the younger generation. Unlike the idols nowadays, Sechs Kies painted a different colour to the music industry. They are a legend in Korean music industry and they do live up to their reputation.  

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Drama Queen Report: Kim Woo Bin Throat Cancer

Korean Entertainment was plague by yet another heartbreaking news. The famous actor that starred in The heirs is diagnose with a rare cancer which happened to a small percent of people. Unfortunately, Kim Woo-Bin was down with the illness. He initially wanted to keep it low profile and even wanted to complete the filming for his upcoming movie. However, the director advised him to rest and recuperate at the hospital. Thankfully Kim Woo-Bin heed his advice and went for body check up. Apparently, Kim Woo-Bin showed symptom such as nose bleed and decided to go for a health screen. It was found out at the initial state and it's still curable with medication and therapies. 

His girlfriend actress Shin Min-ah is presentally taking care of Kim Woo-Bin health and giving his emotional support. After reading the article, I was so shocked! How can a person that look healthy be sick so suddenly? Actually, the workload of an actor can be demanding. I appreciate his professionalism but at the same time he need to take care of his health. I am glad that he found out about his illness in the initial state and decided to focus on his recovery. This issue also serve as a reminder to us not to take our health for granted. 

I am glad that Kim Woo-Bin shared about his illness through the media as this matter will sooner or later dig up by the paparazzi. I just hope for his speedy recovery. I believe he does not want to be disturb during this period of time. All the best his recovery and I hope to see him soon on the silver screen. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

BTS won the Billboard top social artist award

BTS otherwise known as Bangtan Boys really shone in billboard Music Award, It is an internationally acclaim music ceremony. The top social artist award which had been awarded to Justin Bieber was specifically given to BTS this year. I know it sounds unbelievable and crazy. BTS made history and open the market to K-Pop to reach a wider audience, thanks to Armies (Fandom) all around the world. These few days, I have been following the news, twitter and stuff and I must say that I am truly impressed. Rap Monster, the leader of BTS carried the whole group on his shoulder and went through all the interviews and pressure from the media like a professional. He has good knowledge about social media, social issue and is well read.

I love the way Rap Monster calmly replied the questions with confidence, despite some minor grammatical mistakes. J Hope role is always to light up the atmosphere despite any type of situation. He may be awkward in the way he overreact, but he did played his role well. He is truly the sunshine guy in BTS. Jin the worldwide handsome man! Yes he is the third member on the left. He is so good looking and dreamy. Rapmon and Jin are the two strong pillar in BTS. I see how much the members respect the both of them. 

Suga is as usual full of swag. He is calm and observant throughout the whole event. Through all the interaction and interviews, I can say that Suga is the second best in English. He understand but find it difficult to express himself. Jin is pretty good too. J hope and V were pouring out words that they knew in English. Those may not be perfect English but hey they did put in a lot of effort and it's not easy for them to speak in a foreign language since they do not speak that much English at home. 

Some people said that Jimin look sad in the billboard music awards. I am sure it is partly due to tiredness and he was unable to completely understand what is going on. We knew he had limited comprehension of English. However, something that I had noticed recently is that Jimin became more quiet and self-conscious. Perhaps that is what we call growing up? Anyway, he maybe showing us a better version of himself.

I think BTS prepared a lot for the billboard. They must have been overwhelm by the pressure of speaking in a foreign language at a unfamiliar setting, however they managed to pull through gracefully.  BTS met many international musicians such as Chain Smokers. Perhaps Billboard will invite BTS for a live performance next year? Whatever it is, BTS had already accomplished a dream and we look forward to their future venture. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

何为贤妻 (Being a Virtuous Wife) : Chapter 4.1 Embarassment

A new morning, another day has begun. The concubines had all come to the main courtyard to pay their morning respects to the Prince Consort. But instead of getting to see Her Highness's face, they had been waiting for almost an hour in vain.

Out of the concubines who were stiffly seating in their wait, Side Consort Feng's face was already showing hints of impatience. Despite the long wait, none of them dared to leave before the arrival of the Prince Consort. In an effort to quell her impatience, Side Consort Feng took a sip of tea and asked the maidservant behind her, "Chun Yu, what is the time?"

Chun Yu, the maidservant, took a look outside and saw that the sun had already risen, thus she deduced, "Mistress, it is already past nine in the morning."

From the side, Side Consort Jiang observed the interaction between the two with a snot. Lowering her gaze towards her lotus-shade dress, she ignored them with indifference and wait for the Prince Consort to arrive. 

It was after another 15 minutes of waiting that they finally saw the Prince Consort's first-ranked maidservant, Mu Jin, slowly walking towards them with an apologetic face. As she approached the concubines, she bowed as if in apology and said, "Dear Mistresses, please return. Her Highness has said that paying respects to her on a daily basis is a torture. Paying your respects every 3 days would be sufficient."

Having waited for almost the whole morning, they had received a cold welcome and were even rejected! But yet all they could say was, "We thank Her Highness for her considerateness." 

Their emotions were complicated as they said this all the while with an honored face on the outside. Being one of the Side Consorts and the most senior in rank amongst the concubines, Side Consort Jiang agreed while smiling: "In that case, we shall not disturb Her Highness any further."

"Her Highness is busy everyday. If there was a notice earlier, there would not be such a disturbance today. Apologies for our rashness," continued Side Consort Feng. "I am but a coarse person who is not very disciplined, so my perception is lacking. I hope Her Highness forgives me."

Hearing Side Consort's words, Mu Jin's smile did not weave in the least as she bowed with a glint in her eyes and said, "Side Consort Feng does not need to worry. Her Highness has always been a lenient and forgiving person. She is not one to get upset or angry over such trivial matters."

Side Consort Feng's smile became colder and faded as she left with her maidservants, Chun Yu and Xia Yun; leaving behind the rest of the concubines. 

The remaining concubines were more well mannered and left the main courtyard with fake smiles plastered on their faces. As they came out, they heaved a sigh of relief. Madam Luo could not help but comment, "The main courtyard's atmosphere has become frightening."

Side Consort Jiang smiled wryly and mumbled to herself, "The one who lives there is the Prince Consort, the mistress of this residence. No matter whether I am favored or not, I cannot afford to offend her."

Madam Han was the oldest amongst the concubines in age and had been a maidservant who was critical in teaching His Highness about adult matters; having been assigned by the Department of Household Affair. Although she did not like what Side Consort Jiang had said, she could not help but to agree on the inside. Initially she had assumed that Her Highness would make her serve her at breakfast again. Never would she have guessed that Her Highness would made them leave instead, without showing up at all.

Looking back at the main courtyard, she grimaced, "It's fine if there's His Highness favor, but if there is no favor... will there be any good days in the future?"

The remaining consorts were silent. None of them had any children at this point yet, so nobody could be certain of the future. If the Prince Consort wanted to make their days difficult or even torture them, it would be as easy as 123.

Within the main courtyard, Qu Qing Ju had just finished her bath and was sitting in front of the copper mirror fiddling with a jade scepter. Seeing Mu Jin come in, she casually raised, holding Yin Liu's hand as she moved to sit down at the table in the outer room, asking, "Was there any who was unsatisfied?"

"The others were alright, only Side Consort Feng voiced out a few words", Mu Jin answered as she approached to the front to serve her breakfast, and continued, "This maidservant was not too courteous with her, so Side Consort Feng left in a huff."

Motioning Mu Jin to pause, Qu Qing Ju rinsed her mouth before she commented, "That was well handled. As the saying goes, even the gatekeeper of the Prime Minister is akin to a seventh-ranked official, what more you are my first ranking maidservant. Every action you take represents the main courtyard. Being courteous does not imply being weak. Previously when I took a step back, there was none of them who respected me."

Hearing Her Highness words, Mu Jin understood the responsibility and authority that was being placed upon her, making her excited. "Your maidservant remembers Your Highness's words."

Qu Jing Ju nodded at Mu Jin's response and started her breakfast. After she was done, it was rinsing and washing again.  When everything had been cleared and put in its place, it was the beginning of a new day.

Next Chapter >>

Sunday, March 19, 2017

何为贤妻 (Being a Virtuous Wife) : Chapter 3.2 Prince of Duan

Side Consort Jiang  commented, "Your Highness, you have really humiliated Side Consort Feng. If His Highness know and blamed you than..."

"There's no need for you to worry," Qu Qing Ju interrupted laughingly with her gaze in the direction of the study, "His Highness is no ordinary person." Inwardly she added, "A man of his caliber would not bother himself over trivial matters."

As long as she was his Consort and did not do anything to damage the reputation and interest of the Prince of Duan, he would still give her respect that is due to a primary wife. Even if her paternal family did not care for her, her maternal uncle (brother of her mother) held the rank of a marquis and was also the Supreme Justice. His wife's father was the Minster of Defense. They did not have any daughters, only 2 sons. So they were very attentive towards their niece and her well-being. It was thanks to them that the original's mother's dowry was protected and conferred to her safely, else it would have long gone been squandered away.

Although the Prince of Duan might not need to depend on his Consort to accomplish great things, a person of his standing would never favor a concubine over the main wife. Every son of the emperor at this point of time was restless, and Prince of Duan was not an unambitious person.

That said, Qu Qing Ju was not the sort of person to live in discomfort. If life were to to be hard and unpleasant for the rest of her life, she would rather just jump into the pond and drown. How she would be treated if the Prince of Duan gained the throne was too much of a hassle for her brain to think. Who know what would happen in the future? Even if she was a generous and virtuous wife,

She wasn’t the type of person live in discomfort. If she really had to live in hardship and unpleasantness for her entire life, it would be better for her to just jump into a pond right now. As to how Duan Wang would treat her if he gained the throne? She was too lazy to think that much. Who knows what would happen in the future. Even if she was really virtuous and generous, it didn’t appear that this Duan Wang likes her very much.

Despite not understanding what the Prince Consort had said, Jin Zhan did not dare ask. She along with Mu Jin and the rest, walked Her Highness back to the Main Palace. When they arrived, the steward of the kitchen was already there waiting for them. 

The moment the kitchen steward saw the Prince Consort's entourage, he immediately approached with a formal bow, and blabbered a rushed list of explanations and requests for mercy.

How unlucky for them. Previously they had also sent the same food items to Her Highness, so there was no warning that Her Highness would erupt into a violent temper today of all days. If she had flared up earlier, it would not have been so bad. But now, even the eunuch serving His Highness, Ming He, came to berate them.

As a result of this episode, the original kitchen steward was discharged and he the current steward had been the assistant who saw an opportunity to be promoted. Wanting to start on the right foot, the new steward had arrived early to make amends and pave a smooth path for himself.

Qu Qing Ju glanced at the new steward: he seemed like a simple man who did not talk much and looked honest.  From his posture, he seemed obedient and docile, but to have become a steward in such a complicated Prince's residence, he was by no means simple. She was weary of his apologies and dismissed him, "I do not care what the kitchen is like, but if you are not attentive in the future, you need not bother to kneel here."

Upon hearing her decree, the steward nodded his head frantically and handed over a menu, which he emphasized was for her to select the dishes for today and the next day.

Not taking the menu, Qu Qing Ju simply smiled at the steward and said, "In the past, every was done according to protocol, so it would not be appropriate to order." 

In response, the steward immediately replied, "Reply Your Highness, while it is true that your food is mandated by protocols, it is still possible to order dishes. The messenger who delivered such a message must have said it wrongly." Inside his heart he was already cursing and swearing at the messenger for being an idiot and causing such a misunderstanding. 

Not wanting to hearing anymore nonsense from the steward, Qu Qing Ju consented and said, "Fine, I get it. I know you will be attentive. Yin Liu, hand me the menu."

With the menu in her hand, displayed before her was all the methods of cooking for every kind of dish. Qu Qing Ju picked a few dishes that she preferred and ordered, "In the morning, I do not like having greasy or heavy food. Other than that, the kitchen can prepare the meals as usual. If it meets my expectations, of course there will be rewards."

Feeling the weight of her words, the steward inwardly wondered, other than Her Highness herself who else would now what would suit her palate? While outside he repeatedly thanked and declared  that she was generous and compassionate. 

With the kitchen steward being sent off his way, Yin Liu massaged Qu Qing J's shoulder and expressed disgruntlement, "What a bunch of useless spineless cowards!" 

The pressure that Yin Liu applied was perfect. Qu Qing Ju leaned back leisurely on the recliner and replied smilingly, "There are many such people in this world. So it is not worth to get angry over an insignificant steward."

At this moment, Mu Jin entered the room with a goblet containing date and honey tea. She heard what the Prince Consort had said and agreed, "Your Highness is correct, this servant thinks that from now on there will no longer be any more  disrespectful and disobedient servants." 

Qu Qing Ju opened her eyes and sighed at the comment, "In the past, I thought the best of others but it is today that I have opened my eyes and decided to return goodness where it is due and evil for those who have done me injustice. That is the mantra of living in the Imperial family."

Placing the teacup on the redwood table Mu Jin smiled and pulled a thin blanket over Qu Qing Ju, "If Your Highness thinks in such a way it is a good thing." Amongst the first ranking maid servants, Mu Jin was the oldest. From the beginning, when the Madam had bought her and taken her into the residence, the little mistress was only a year old. Now this same little mistress had become a Prince Consort and she was over two decades old. She had always been adamant about not marrying, her only wish was to stay beside this little mistress and guard her. With this change, it was for the best.

Looking at Mu Jin, Qu Qing Ju recalled the meaning of her name. Mu Jin, it meant resolve. Such a name was appropriate for such a character. It was one of the good things the original was blessed with, this maid servant was one who always wanted what was best for her.  

Qu Qing Ju closed her eyes and assured, "Mu Jin's wish, I understand."

Mu Jin's eyes reddened with emotion but she smiled and blushed, "Your Highness words are embarrassing your maid servant." Once she finished, she covered her face and left. 

Meanwhile in the study, He Heng had closed a missive and was waiting for it to dissolve in a bowl of water. While waiting, he told Ming He, "Do not bother with what is happening in the south. Big brother and third younger brother are fighting fiercely. It would be better to watch from the sidelines." 

Ming He nodded in agreement. He saw the pieces of missive continuing to be dissolved in water before changing the topic," Your Highness, the kitchen servants have been reprimanded. The new steward seems to be quite smart. He already went to the main palace to ask for mercy."

Not paying much attention, He Heng nodded and concurred, "Madam Qu is this prince's wife. What she is due, she will be given." Recalling back to Qu Qing Ju's lively new appearance which was a contrast to her previous dull soft-spoken self, his brow slightly arched, "As to how she would perform in the future, we will have to wait and see."  

Ming He silently nodded. This matter was between the main masters of the residence. He was only a servant, hence he had no opinion. However, he sense that the Prince Consort of today was different from before and it was no just a change in wardrobe, but her personality. Being the main steward of the residence, he had seen the Prince Consort a few times before, but the feeling he had after he saw her today was... it gave him the impression that a little harmless gray bunny had transformed into a cunning female fox? 

Realizing that he was speculating about his masters, Ming He buried his head between his shoulders. Dear god ah... he should be punished.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

何为贤妻 (Being a Virtuous Wife) : Chapter 3.1 Prince of Duan


From a distance, He Heng had noticed the entourage in the garden but they were too far away for him to identify them. Although he could not see very clearly, the movements of the woman at the front of the entourage seemed unfamiliar. 

“Ming He, can you see who is it?” He Heng questioned. He had just return from the royal courts and did not want to waste his energy dealing with a bunch of chattering women. Having said that, He Heng stopped his advancement and waited for a reply, his expression turning darker by the moment. 

Although Ming He was an eunuch, he dared not stare at his master’s women. Ming He squinted his eyes and took a quick glance look at the entourage in front before quickly lowering his gaze, “Your Highness, it seems to be the entourage of the Side Consorts, Consort Feng and Consort Jiang.” 

“Then who is that at the front of the entourage?”, He Heng asked as he squinted his eyes and tried to make out who it was. “She does not look familiar.” 

Upon hearing his master’s comments, Ming He raised his head again and took a look. The woman leading the entourage exuded an extraordinary aura and although he did not know what flowers had been embroidered on that wide-sleeved silk dress, it was captivating. It took him some moments to recognize who that silhouette was and hesitantly answered, “Maybe it is Her Highness, the Prince Consort?” 

Even though Ming He did not believe his eyes and what he was saying, who else other than the Prince Consort would dare walk in front of the Side Consorts? At the mention of Prince Consort, He Heng remembered that woman with a weak personality, whose father was the Duke of Chang De, and maternal uncle was the Xiang Qing Marquis and held the a high position in the Supreme Justice of the Court. With her upbringing, it was no wonder that there was little opposition when his royal consort mother chose this Madam Qu as his wife. 

Qu Qing Ju spotted a figure in the distance, one that the original feared - the Prince of Duan. Appearance wise the Prince of Duan was somewhere in his twenties. His stature tall and was posture good. The white robe he wore was edged in black and overlay with a white jade cornet, exuding the impression of a lofty personality who stood above others, a dragon among men.

As her entourage approached nearer, Qu Qing Ju noticed that although the Prince of Duan was smiling, there was no mirth in his eyes. When they had arrived where the Prince of Duan was Qu Qing Ju curtsied and smiled, "Greetings to Your Highness, have you just returned from the royal courts?"

He Heng's gaze landed on Qu Qing Ju delicate wrist which was a contrast against the blood red bracelet she was wearing, giving the illusion that it would break at the slightest touch. "Has my Prince Consort already recovered?"

"Yes, it is all thanks to Your Highness's good fortune," Qu Qing Ju smiled wryly as she used a handkerchief to wipe at the imaginary sweat on her forehead. "After this bout of illness and my weak body constitution, the imperial doctors had actually advised on a light diet. Who would have expected that the kitchen servants would only pay lip service and prepare greasy and oily foods, all of which are what the imperial doctors advised against. Hence, I was so angry that I punished them."

At the mention of the incident, Side Consort Jiang, Jiang Yong Yu, sneaked a peek at the Prince of Duan curious as what his reaction would be. What she saw was a nonchalant prince that did not react to the matter, as if it were something insignificant.

While He Heng did not care to bother himself with such insignificant details, he was surprised by his Prince Consort's boldness and being able to order the servants and actually managed to carry out a punishment.  He might not have any feelings towards this Prince Consort of his, but he would give her respect where it was due and would not embarrass her unnecessarily. She was after all, his main wife, and someone who was supposed to manage the household. So he nonchalantly concurred and replied, "Servants who are not faithful and obedient should be thrown out."

In response, Qu Qing Ju replied, "Your Highness's consideration is of great fortune to this wife." If she was correct, that the Prince of Duan had a personality of being ambitious and well-controlled. Before she transmigrated, in her previous life, Qu Qing Ju could have been considered a successful judge of character. So what kind of man had she not seen before? Besides, this Prince of Duan was not stunningly gorgeous in her eyes, so she couldn't care less. 

When He Heng saw that the other party had not intentions of continuing the conversation, he looked at the other women in the entourage. He noticed that although Consort Feng's face held a smile, it was stiff and it would seem that she had been insulted. He looked back to his Prince Consort, who lowered her head once his gaze was on her. 

In the end, He Heng only nodded his head and said, "Since you have recovered, it would be beneficial for your to have some exercise and fresh air outside." With that said he made his way back to his study room.

The moment He Heng left, Qu Qing Ju turned around and looked at Consort Feng wryly. She stretched out her right hand and tilted Consort Feng's chin upwards, and while rubbing the flawless chin, Qu Qing Ju used a gentle tone and said, "This face of Consort Feng, the more one looks at it, the more one seems to fall in love with it."

This movement made Consort Feng shudder and she retreated away from Qu Qing Ju. After touching Consort Feng's face, Qu Qing Ju used a handkerchief to wipe her thumb and index finger, the digits that were used to grasp and tilt Consort Feng's face. Once done she held on to Jin Zhan's hand be before she left, said, "That's ok. I am tired. You all may leave now."

Consort Feng looked at the handkerchief which had been used by Qu Qing Ju to wipe her hand after touching her face. It was now on the ground, 3 steps away from her, mocking her. Her smile was frozen in anger and humiliation. What made her angrier was that she was actually intimidated by the Prince Consort's gaze! How dare such a dull, timid woman treat her like this?!!

To make matters even more worse was that the other 3 concubines were actually laughing at her right now. Her expression darkened, her icy gaze swept across them, retorting, " What are you looking at? There is nothing to see. Leave immediately!."

The two lower ranked concubines curtsied to Consort Feng before leaving. However, before they could leave, Consort Jiang, Jiang Yong Yu, wanted to show her authority and magnanimity said, "Little sister concubines should return to your rooms early. I will take my leave first." Without a second glance to see Consort Feng's expression, Consort Jiang left. 

Gritting her teeth and mincing her words, Consort Feng stomped on the fallen handkerchief and exclaimed with a dark expression, "Qu Qing Ju!!"

Sunday, February 26, 2017

何为贤妻 (Being a Virtuous Wife) : Chapter 2.2 - A Side Consort is still a Concubine


Standing next to Feng Side Consort was Jiang Side Consort, Jiang Yong Xu. Upon hearing this Jiang Side Consort tried to hide her smile as she lowered her head. Feng Side Consort had always used a fake facade of being warm and friendly, to invoke the sense of pity in His Highness, but Her Highness had said the exact opposite hinting at her split personality. It would seem that this Prince Consort is not as soft-spoken and weak as the rumors would have it. Rather this Prince Consort who had just entered the prince’s residence had her own way of doing things.

Seeing that Qu Qing Ju was ridiculing at her, Feng Side Consort was struggling to keep the smile on her face as anger raised within her. “You Highness , please do not jest. This lowly one does not deserve such compliments. What us lowly ones admire about Your Highness is your open-mindedness and innocent heart.”

“What this Prince Consort is like has already been stated very clearly by His Majesty when this marriage was being bestowed”, Qu Qing Ju smiling gazed at Feng Side Consort, as if in surprise that this little concubine dared to discuss the behavior and etiquette of the main wife. She continued, “ His Majesty’s words are set in god and his eyes are sharp as that of a dragon’s, naturally His Majesty sees things more clearer than anyone in this world.”

With those words, Feng Side Consort’s words were stuck in her throat unable to come out. Bringing put the emperor, what else could she say? The Prince Consort was personally handpicked by His Majesty. She was but a insignificant Side Consort who had not position against the highly esteemed Emperor. Even His Highness, the prince, could not say anything about that.

There were only 4 imperial sons that had survived to adulthood and the Emperor was already reaching his sixth decade on the throne. Although the struggle of for the throne was not obvious, behind the scenes a storm was already brewing; making all of the imperial sons cautious in their actions.

Her Highness, the Prince Consort, had dared to say something this audacious, using the words of the Emperor to her advantage and twisting its meaning, clearly aware the even His Highness could not repudiate her status and position as his wife.

Recalling the imperial decrees mentioned the words like ‘naturally outstanding’, ‘virtuous’ and ‘of good standing’ etc… If the Emperor had declared the Prince Consort as virtuous and of good fortune, who could refute? Having a bitter smile on her dace, Feng Side Consort curtsied a full bow and clarified, “Have mercy Your Highness, this lowly one has spoken wrongly.”

Sighing Qu Qing Ju said, “Whatever that is said in front of me is fine and within the confines of this prince residence, however if word of this were to get outside and rumors spread that I am unable to maintain the discipline with int the prince’s residence, it might be a minor matter but it would be a different matter if the Prince of Duan’s Residence is shamed.” She added, “As someone who has the most seniority in this household, I should not need to waste my words any further.”

Seeing an opportunity, Jiang Side Consort come forward with a bow and interrupted, “It is our honor as Your Highness is showing your concern for us lowly servants.” She continued, “We may have spent more time in the prince’s residence but as lowly concubines are certainly not as respected and knowledgeable as Your Highness. We have certainly learned a valuable lesson.”

The other 3 present did not think that Jiang Side Consort would actually lower herself to such a degree of respect to the Prince Consort. Although their hearts held disdain and disrespect for the Prince Consort, outwardly they showed looks of agreement.

Fend Side Consort looked at Jiang Side Consort in displeasure, inwardly thinking to herself that Jiang Side Consort was a cunning one trying to gain favor with the Prince Consort as her background was not that of nobility nor of high standing.

Observing the colourful expressions on each of the concubines faces, Qu Qing Ju used her hand to prop her chin on the armrest as she tapped her right index finger on the chair. Out of the 4 women who were in front of her, Feng Side Consort, whose name was Feng Zi Jin , had the noblest background: her father was a third ranking minister in the Ministry of Works. Jiang Side Consort, known by her name Jiang Yong Yu, on the other hand was the daughter of an official who held a sixth-rank position.

As for the other two concubines, they were even lowly down in the ranks. Han Qing He, Madam Han’s father was only an eight-ranked official and she was only promoted to a concubine as she was the one who had taught Prince Duan on matters of adulthood. Madam Lou, Luo Yin Xiu, was fatherless and was dependent on her uncle who held the position of a seventh-ranking official in the Department of Transportation.

By appearances, Feng Zi Jin could be consider the most beautiful, Jiang Yong Yu was be second. Just like her name, Han Qing He was clean looking. On the other hand, Luo Yin Xiu was just as unremarkable as her personality. These 4 women, together with those few unmentionable lower concubines that warmed the Prince’s bed were enough to cause the original owner of this body to be critically ill. They were not simple creatures at all.

“Of course, it would be good to remember”, Qu Qing Ju said as she stood up, holding on to Mu Jin’s hand for support as she started to walk outside. Seeing her leave, the concubines followed her out to the courtyard. The courtyard had been cleaned of any aftermath of the punishment that took place earlier.

Squinting her eyes as she took a quick look towards the sky, Qu Qing Ju turned her gaze to the four concubines and commented, “ The weather today is not too bad. Accompany me for a walk. After so many days being sick and cooped up in the palace, there wasn't any time to bond with you, my sisters. Let us remedy that from today onward, step by step.”

In other residences, when the main wife was sick, would any concubine lower than the main wife not pay their respects and show their concern? Only in the Prince of Duan’s residence existed concubines that only sent presents but never personally made the effort in to pay their respects. While the original Qu Qing Ju had endure the disrespect, this Qu Qing Ju would not tolerate it.

After hearing the Prince Consort’s words, Luo Yin Xiu, being the most timid, shuddered at the undertone that Her Highness was implying. She had wanted to pay her respects daily but seeing that Feng Side Consort did not so so. She could only follow her example. She was but a lowly concubine who was also not favored, making her standing in the prince’s residence weak. Everything she did had  to be cautiously thought out and she could not afford to stand out. Now the Prince Consort wanted to settle old scores, Feng Side Consort had the favor of His Highness, so she was save from the Prince Consort’s disgruntlement. But what could she, a lowly concubine, who was even lower than the Side Consorts and have no favor with His Highness do?

Jiang Yong Yu, also stopped after hearing the Prince Consort’s words and looked at Feng Side Consort. While she did not have the favor of His Highness, her position in the prince’s residence could be considered to be neither horrible nor fantastic. Seeing the Prince Consort of today who had an aura of authority about her, she felt that something was about to change. She was not as weak as the rumors made her out to be. Testament was in the kitchen servants who were beaten for the mistake as an example of her flexing her authority in the household.

Noblemen who were normal would always give the main wife a certain degree of respect, and someone as intelligent as His Highness surely understood this unwritten rule. However, in the past the Prince Consort was soft-spoken and did not take up any issues with being slighted over Feng Side Consort. But not that Her Highness wanted to settle the scores, things were not going to be so tranquil as previously no matter who was more favored.

Although the Prince Consort did not have the attention and love of there father and step-mother, she had an influential maternal family and His Highness was not a person without any ambition. He naturally knew how to respect his main wife because he would need the support.

Jiang Yong Yu looked at Feng Side Consort sympathetically before shifting her gaze away. She notice that there was an entourage that was making their ways towards their direction and who else would it be but the master of the household - His Highness, Prince Duan.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

何为贤妻 (Being a Virtuous Wife) : Chapter 2.1 - A Side Consort is still a Concubine


For the Side Consorts and concubines who had arrived to the wonderful scene of authority being played out, they were slightly puzzled as looked at the Prince Consort and the kitchen servants who had just been punished. All of them were wondering what had happened.

As they saw the Prince Consort walking back into the palace, the four of them did not care about priority and simply followed behind Qu Qing Ju without any respect. When Feng Side Consort passed by the kitchen servants who were still kneeling on the floor with pained expressions, she ordered the other servants present to carry them back. However, none of the remaining servants gave any heed to her instructions, making her expression turn black as she continued making her way into the palace.

With their heads lowered, Yin Liu and Jin Zhan guided the Side Consorts and concubines, opening the curtains for them to enter the room. From a distance the both of them saw Mu Jin and Yu Zan arrive with meal boxes. So they paused and waited for Mu Jin and Yu Zan to approach. Seeing the bewilderment on Mu Jin and Yu Zan’s faces, the four maid servants exchanged glances between themselves before they entered the room, as they looked at the servants who had suddenly become more obedient.

The room had already been cleared of the previous dishes and the greasy smell of meat was being covered up with fragrance being burnt. However, even with the fragrance masking the meat smell, Qui Qing Ju did not like the fragrance and casting her glance at the brazier adorned with a flying crane and golden beast which was burning away.

Noticing her expression, Rui Xiang immediately took the initiatively and extinguished the burning fragrance, replacing it with something lighter in fragrance. Only when Qui Qing Ju’ expression soften did Rui Xiang breath a sigh of relief.

Bowing slightly, Feng Side Consort said with a upturn of her mouth, “Look at how attentive Prince Consort maid servant is. It is no wonder that even His highness complemented your maid servant.” Inside her heart however, she was ridiculing Qui Qing Ju as just a few days earlier the prince had taken one of the Prince Consort’s maid servants’ as a lesser concubine; a rank lower than a normal concubine.

At the end of her comment, Qui Qing Ju simply ignored Feng Side Consort and looked through her as if she was invisible. A heavy awkward silence soon enveloped the room as Qui Qing Ju held Shu Kui’s hand and sat down on a chair. Looking over at Mu Jin and Yu Zan with the meal boxes in their hands, she instructed, “Serve the food.”

Soon the meal boxes were served: various types of porridges were displayed, along with a few light vegetable dishes and desserts; the food was exquisite yet light. Steam rose from each dish and with just a glance one could tell how much effort had been put into them.

As she held a delicate ceramic spoon and took a sip of porridge Qui Qing Ju said, “At least there seems to have some kitchen servants who have skills. Reward those kitchen servants who had prepared this 5 taels of silver each.” Looking at the side stood Han Qing He, Madam Han, a concubine whose status was low but her good point was that she was obedient and low-key.

“I heard that His Highness mention that you were good at serving. So for today you will serve the food.”, Qui Qing Ju stated as she was in a good mood with the food. Seeing that there was no reply, Qui Qing Ju was not irritated but asked in a slow tone, “Oh, is Madam Han unwilling?”

“You servant does not dare, your highness”, Madam’s Han face blushed from embarrassment and humiliation. She was but a lowly concubine and it was in the natural order of hierarchy that she was to serve the Prince Consort who was the primary wife and mistress of the household. Even if she did not want to, she did not have a choice.

The other two Side Consorts and concubine looked in disbelief at Qui Qing Ju, who was lowering her head to drink the porridge. They were thinking in their hearts, “Has her highness gone mad?”. Even if Madam Han was a lowly ranked concubine and not very favoured by His Highness she was still the one that had taught the prince on certain matters. The Prince Consort, on the other hand, only had the position in name only, she was not even favoured by His Highness at all and she dared to order Madam Han to serve her food.

Disregarding the opinions of others, Qui Qing Ju declined the piece of vegetable that Madam Han was about to place into her bowl, “I do not like this dish, Remember not to serve this the next time.”

Madam Han’s face froze slight as Qui Qing Ju said that, her hand holding the chopsticks tightened but she did not argue with the Prince Consort. She stiffly bowed and pleaded, “Have mercy our maid servant your highness. This lowly one has served His Highness for a long time and assumed that Your Highness would like the same dishes as His Highness. This lowly servant was wrong.”

Qu Qing Ju smiled without speaking while thinking to herself, “So this was reminding her of her seniority with the prince?” Turning her attention to a dish of lettuce stems with pig stomach.

The silence was like a slap to Madam Han’s face. It was obvious that the Prince Consort totally disregarded Madam Han and treated her no different from the other lowly ranked concubines who had to serve the food and attend to the primary wife in noble families.

Qu Qing Ju took quite a long time to finish her morning meal. Feng Side Consort and the other concubines were standing throughout and by the time Qu Qing Ju had finished her meal, their legs were wobbly. But as there was no instructions for them to sit, they could only stand at the side looking at Qu Qing Ju as she ordered Madam Han to serve her food.

Seeing that the Prince Consort was about done with her meal. Feng Side Consort, Feng Zi Jin, could no longer tolerate and blurted, “Is there a reason Your Highness has called us over? Or were were called over just for conversation?”

Not answering immediately, Qu Qing Ju took tea that Jin Zan held to rinse, and washed her hands in the rose and lemon water. After drying her hands with a piece of absorbent cotton fabric , Qu Qing Ju looked at Feng Side Consort and said, “It would seem that the rumor is true. Feng Side Consort’s personality is as gentle as water, rush as river and impatient as boiling water.”

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

何为贤妻 (Being a Virtuous Wife)

What does it mean to be a virtuous wife? Does being virtuous mean tolerating his cousin, enduring his concubines, and get along with his over bearing mother?

If you refuse to let me live freely, why should I make your life easy for you?

Did fate let her time travel just for the sake of learning how to be a virtuous wife in ancient times being bound by the three morals and four virtues? Forget it, instead of leaving like a coward bound by pointless rules, it would be better to live to in satisfaction!

Translated Chapters

  • Chapter 1  
  • Chapter 2.1 Chapter 2.2 
  • Chapter 3.1 Chapter 3.2 
  • Chapter 4.1 Chapter 4.2 
  • Chapter 5
  • Chapter 6
  • Chapter 7
  • Chapter 8
  • Chapter 9 
  • Chapter 10
  • Chapter 11 
  • Chapter 12
  • Chapter 13 
  • Chapter 14 
  • Chapter 15 
  • Chapter 16 
  • Chapter 17 
  • Chapter 18
  • Chapter 19
  • Chapter 20
  • Chapter 21
  • Chapter 22
  • Chapter 23
  • Chapter 24
  • Chapter 25
  • Chapter 26
  • Chapter 27
  • Chapter 28
  • Chapter 29
  • Chapter 30
  • Chapter 31
  • Chapter 32
  • Chapter 33
  • Chapter 34
  • Chapter 35
  • Chapter 36 
  • Chapter 37
  • Chapter 38
  • Chapter 39
  • Chapter 40
  • Chapter 41
  • Chapter 42
  • Chapter 43
  • Chapter 44
  • Chapter 45
  • Chapter 46
  • Chapter 47
  • Chapter 48
  • Chapter 49
  • Chapter 50
  • Chapter 51
  • Chapter 52 
  • Chapter 53 
  • Chapter 54
  • Chapter 55
  • Chapter 56 
  • Chapter 57
  • Chapter 58
  • Chapter 59
  • Chapter 60
  • Chapter 61
  • Chapter 62
  • Chapter 63
  • Chapter 64
  • Chapter 63
  • Chapter 66
  • Chapter 67 
  • Chapter 68 
  • Chapter 69
  • Chapter 70
  • Chapter 71
  • Chapter 72
  • Chapter 73
  • Chapter 74 
  • Chapter 75
  • Chapter 76
  • Chapter 77
  • Chapter 78 
  • Chapter 79
  • Chapter 80
  • Chapter 81
  • Chapter 82
  • Chapter 83
  • Chapter 84
  • Chapter 85 
  • Chapter 86
  • Chapter 87
  • Chapter 88
  • Chapter 89
  • Chapter 90
  • Chapter 91
  • Chapter 92 
  • Chapter 93
  • Chapter 94
  • Chapter 95
  • Chapter 96
  • Chapter 97 
  • Chapter 98
  • Chapter 99 
  • Chapter 100
  • Chapter 10
  • Chapter 102
  • Chapter 103
  • Chapter 104
  • Chapter 105
  • Chapter 106
  • Chapter 107
  • Chapter 108
  • Chapter 109 
  • Chapter 110
  • Chapter 111
  • Chapter 112
  • Chapter 113
  • Chapter 114
  • Chapter 115 
  • Chapter 116
  • Chapter 117
  • Chapter 118
  • Chapter 119 
  • Chapter 120
  • Chapter 121
  • Chapter 122
  • Chapter 123  

[E-book] [Audiobook]

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

何为贤妻 (Being a Virtuous Wife) : Chapter 1 – Being a Reasonable Person


Within the residence of the Prince of Duan, it was an ordinary day in the kitchen: servants were busily moving to and fro in an orderly manner. Granny Ma had just returned from delivering pastries to the inner court with a group of servant girls, and her face was not looking well.

Seeing her expression, another old granny servant asked, “What is the matter? Why does your expression look so terrible?” Handing over a cup of tea to Granny Ma to calm her nerves, the latter further inquired, “Didn’t you just deliver the pastries to the inner court? How come…”

“Don’t even mention it! Her highness, the Prince Consort, just woke up this morning. You know rough labor servants like us cannot enter the palace. We only saw one of her highness’s attendants, Miss Yin Liu,” Granny Ma rambled. Taking a big gulp of tea and looking around, Granny Ma lowered her voice and whispered, “The moment I saw that their expression were not right, I quickly hurried back.”

Upon hearing this, the other granny servant sighed, and in a half-pity half-gossipy tone said, “It hasn’t been that long since Her Highness married into the Prince’s Residence, even the wedding decorations have not yet been taken down yet.”

Granny Ma added, “It has been less than 2 months since the Prince’s Consort married and moved into the Prince’s residence. However, since the wedding night, His Highness has not stepped foot into the main palace. Furthermore, in the recent days that the Prince Consort had gotten sick, His Highness had only briefly come and gone. No wonder the Prince Consort’s attendants were not happy.”

Thinking to herself, Granny Ma thought back to her encounter with the Prince Consort – such a dignified and beautiful woman. She could not understand why His Highness did not like his consort.

Suddenly someone cautioned, “Enough of this chatter nonsense. I just saw one of the servant girls’ of the Side Consort (a concubine beneath the Main/Primary Consort, yet higher than the other concubines) come over to the kitchen”. At a drop of a hat, both grannies stopped their chatter and went back to their duties.

Within the main palace, a group of servant girls was preparing the Prince Consort for her morning ablutions. Slender fingertips brushed across a piece of first-rate silk brushed before setting it at the side. Unlike the previous days, there was no hint of anger on her highness, Qu Qing Ju’s face. Lazily, she took off a grade jade bracelet from her wrist and casually threw it into an intricately carved wooden mahogany box and commented, “The color is too old-fashioned.”

Upon hearing this, a servant girl named Jin Zhan paused briefly before signaling to the other attendants behind her. Soon, several boxes containing various designs of bracelets - gold, adorned with pearls, jade etc… - were presented before Qu Qing Ju. Briefly glancing at the bracelets, she finally decided on a blood-red jade bracelet which accentuated against her pale fair wrist. 

Seeing Qu Qng Ju wear that blood-red bracelet made Jin Zhan’s expression falter. Her highness had always thought that that particular bracelet was too gaudy and never worn it. However today she had picked the same piece she disliked without hesitation and even wore it!

Recalling the days of her highness before marriage, where she was such a warm and gentle soul, carefree of the scheming and pettiness of the inner courts of a household with concubines. Having such a personality would be considered a virtue, but in a household where there were concubines and especially when marrying into royalty, this virtue was but a weakness.

Noticing the change in Jin Zhan’s expression, Qu Qing Ju gave a faint smile as she stood up and spread her arms to allow the female attendants to dress her in a wide-sleeved silk dress she had picked out. The dress was made from the highest quality of white brocade and had red plum blossoms embroidered onto it. When the silk dress moved, the embroidered plum blossoms looked as if they were really swaying in the wind.

Hanging from her waist was a spice bag that was embroidered with two blossoming lotus flowers on a single stem, along with a jade beaded knotted ornament. With her long supple hair tied up in a flying fairy braid, perfectly drawn eyebrows and vibrant red lips… the overall scene was one of a bewitching beauty.

Finally inserting a hair ornament into her hair on her own, Qu Jing Ju slowly stood up and cryptically smiled as she looked out the window, “It should be about time for them to pay their respects.”

Jin Zhan, who was a few steps away, forced a smile and resignedly said, “Your highness, as you were sick for the past few days, his highness had told the concubines not to disturb your rest.”

“Oh?” Qu Qing Ju leisurely sat down while caressing the pair of jade earring adorning her earlobes and adjusted their position into one that was more comfortable. After she was done with her action, Yin Liu handed over a cup of warm water for rinsing. As she put the lid back on the cup, Qu Qing Ju said, “In that case, send someone to each of their palaces and tell them that this consort has just recovered from her illness and has missed her ‘sisters’.”

Upon hearing her words, the 4 first ranking maidservants exchanged quizzical glances amongst themselves. Even if they did not understand for her highness’s change in personality upon waking up, they still followed out her instructions.

As she came out of the main palace, a worried Jin Zhan said. “Her highness does not seem to be normal ever since she woke up today. I don’t know why, but she seems different.”

Yin Liu concurred, “In this Prince's residence, although everyone seems to be showing her highness respect, it is only on the surface. Behind her highness’s back, they actually try to curry favor with the Side Consort in the West Palace. Her highness has been married for just 2 months, but other than the first 3 days of marriage where His highness stayed in the main palace, he has spent all his time with the other concubines. Where does that leave our mistress? It is humiliating.” She added, “That Feng Side Consort has a lofty attitude thinking she is a master, but she is still a concubine and beneath our mistress no less.”

Hearing what Yin Liu said, Yu Zhan looked around cautiously and after seeing that there was no one else, cautioned Yin Liu, “Don’t go around saying such things. Even though his highness favors the Side Consorts over the Primary Consort, he still gives her highness the respect she is due. Don’t add fire the the fuel and create troubles for her highness.” 
“You call that respect?” Yin Liu snorted in displeasure, thinking about her mistress’s warm and soft personality, she helpless sighed, “Jin Zhan and I will go over to invite Feng and Jiang Side Consorts. The second ranked girls can go over to invite the other concubines.”

Mu Jin nodded, “Ok. Bai Lu and Pu Er are sufficient to invite the concubines Madam Luo and Madam Han.”

The Prince Consort’s first ranking maidservants were named after flowers, while the second ranked maidservants were named after teas. As for the third ranking maidservants and those doing heavy-labor, there were no such naming conventions.

Mu Jin, Yin Liu, Mu Jin, Jin Zhan and Yu Zan, had followed Qu Qing Ju when she married the Prince. They were from the Chang De Duke’s residence, so they were naturally closer to the Prince Consort and thought of her well-being. Before being married, her highness was neglected by her stepmother and was not taught how to manage a household. It is even worse when she had married into royalty as the environment was more complex. As a result, her highness quickly became ill just 2 months after entering the Prince residence.

Mu Jin has always been concerned for Qu Qing Ju, so when she saw Qu Qing Ju having the desire to establish her foothold in the Prince residence today, she heaved a sigh of relief. As long as her highness was able to protect herself and establish her presence in the Prince residence, that was all she asked for.

When all the maidservants had left, Qu Qing Ju stood up and walked towards a large copper mirror. The craftsmanship of the mirror was exquisite, and even though it was not as clear as a glass mirror, it was enough to identify a person’s features. In the reflection stood a beautiful girl of around sixteen or seventeen year of age. If this girl was in the era she lived in, she would just be a beautiful high school student.

Trying to piece together the memories in her head, Qu Qing Ju sighed as the memories fleeted across her mind: this girl was not loved by her father and her stepmother was no less horrible, even her husband did not love her and there was even a group of irritating scheming concubines. The original character was a soft personality and somehow she had gotten sick while she was in this complicated Prince residence. During the illness, the original character had mysteriously been replaced with her, a woman from the future. She did not know what warmth or love was, and even in her death there was no justice. 
Qu Qing Ju’s thoughts were soon disrupted by a unfeminine voice, “Your highness, the kitchen servants have delivered breakfast.”

It was probably the voice of one of the eunuchs’ who served within the Prince’s residence. But unlike the eunuchs in the palace, these eunuchs were appointed to serve the Prince when he was given the title, during the time he was in charge of the Department of Household affairs.

“You may proceed”, Qu Qing Ju voiced out as she made her way out while playing with the strands dangling from the gold hair ornament in her hair. Rui Xiang and Shu Kui were already waiting in an adjoining room. Upon hearing the Prince Consort orders, they quickly parted the curtains, and welcomed Qu Qing Ju out, one of them supporting her.

Both Rui Xiang and Shu Kui were maidservants from the Prince residence; hence there was not as much respect for Qu Qing Ju as she was too nice of a person and a pushover. Had the previous Qu Qing Ju not been such a soft person, they would have already been thrown out of the Prince residence. After all, who in their right state of mind would allow potential rivals to serve them and be a temptation to their husbands?

As Qu Qing Ju sat down at the table, her eyes looked over the food that was presented on the table. Stewed pork shoulder, and a bowl of bird’s nest porridge with strands of chicken accompanied by a variety of side dishes that were greasy and fatty. The only dish that looked healthy and palatable was a small side of sautéed lettuce stems.

Just as Shu Kui was about to move forward to serve her, Qu Qing Ju waved her hand and looked at the servants bowing at the entrance with a smile, “The food was delivered by you?”

“Yes, your esteem highness this lowly one has duties in the kitchen”, came the reply from the puzzled kitchen servants.

Leaning back into her seat, Qu Qing Ju nonchalantly commented, “Really such a good kitchen in the Prince’s residence.” Her face slowly darkened as puzzlement washed over the servants present. Swiping over the dish of stewed pig shoulder onto the floor, the room was soon overflowing with the smell of meat. “Men, take them away and give them a good beating.”

Silence filled the air as no one managed to respond as they were in a state of shock. They could not comprehend how a soft personality like her highness would suddenly act so fiercely.

Qui Qing Ju eyes narrowed as she spitted out the words, “What is this? This esteemed princess does not have any authority to command you people now?” Glancing across the servants in the room, she angrily added, “Or do you think it is naturally proper for the kitchen in the Prince’s residence to disrespect me?”

As her gaze went over the servants, they shook in fear and some managed to respond to her commands: a few eunuchs and some strong grannies rush rushed to the front and started to drag the kitchen servants away.

The kitchen servants who were being dragged away did not dare protest or struggle, they only begged for mercy. One kitchen servant even yelled that they were being framed, that they had served her highness with the best foods.

Looking at the kitchen servant who was shouting about being framed and wronged, Qu Qing Ju commanded, “What you people still standing around for? Bring them down and punish them in front of me now.”

Hearing her command, a quick-witted eunuch took out a handkerchief and stuffed it into the mouth of the rambling kitchen servant. When his mouth was stuffed, the eunuch then proceeded to drag him towards to outer yard to carry out the punishment.

Soon the other servants who were holding down the kitchen servants always dragged them out. The remaining servants, cleared a table outside and spread out refreshments for her highness to enjoy while watching the punishment.

“What is that eunuch’s name? He seems quite strong.” Qu Qing Ju asked Shu Kui as she was supporting her outside.

“That eunuch’s name is Xiao Gao Zi (Little Tall) and he is in charge of sweeping the yard”, Shu Kui replied in reverence unaware that her movements and actions were more subservient. 
“He doesn’t seem like he is very tall. Why don’t we change his name to Huang Yang, and make him serve in the inner courtyards?”, Qu Qing Ju mused.

When she was at the outside yard, the kitchen servants were already tied to long benches and being punished as the heavy wooden paddles came into contact with their behinds mercilessly. Qu Qing Ju mentally counted to twenty as she sat down in a chair prepared for her. She calmly said, “Other than the servant who talked back just now, the punishment for the other servants can stop.”

Casting her gaze upon the 3 kitchen servants who were enduring the aftermath of the punishment whilst kneeling down and thanking her, Qu Qing Ju leisurely took a sip from her cup and said, “You must be wondering why you are punished.”

“I am a reasonable person; however, you people who are part of the kitchen staff have crossed the boundary. So much so, I am left with no other choice but to punish you.”, Qu Qing Ju helplessly lamented as she put her cup down.

Even if the Prince Consort did not have the favor of the Prince, she was still the consort that the Emperor had personally decreed to enter the Prince’s residence with the title of primary wife. How would the servants from the kitchen date to disrespect her? Despite finding something amiss, no one dared to say anything, as a good example of someone who voiced out his complaints was being punished in front of them. So who would dare say a word?

Qu Qing Ju continued, “Everyone in the Prince’s residence should know that I have been ill. Even the imperial doctors’ have advised what I should and should not be eating. But what have you been serving every day?” Sighing, Qu Qing Ju with her face filled with anguish went on, “I know you people could not be bothered to treat a sick Prince Consort properly and with respect, so I was resigned to fate and was only waiting for death. But since I have recovered, I will have a good life. Yet you heartless creature have purposefully only brought oily and greasy foods! Is it in the hope that I will die faster?!”

The 3 kitchen servants who were spared the prolong agony of punished wanted to explain but did not dare to, in case they incurred the wrath of her highness and continued their punishment,

Having deemed that the effect was just about right, Qu Qing Ju waved her hand weakly as though she were emotionally drained and wounded, “That’s enough. You all can leave now.”

Turning over to Rui Xiang, Qu Qing Ju instructed, “Give them ointment for their injuries, they are after all servants who are essential to the running of the Prince residence, we can’t have them incapacitated from the punishment.”

Upon hearing her words, the 4 kitchen servants were in despair. Her highness's words meant that even if they were to crawl they still had to continue their work at the Prince’s residence as they were indispensable. Otherwise, they might be thrown out and left begging in the streets.

After finishing her orders, Qu Qing Ju slowly stood up from the chair and turned over to look at the Side Consorts and other concubines who had arrived just in time. Seeing them, Qu Qing Ju showed a look of surprise and exclaimed, “When did you arrive? Since you are all here, come in.”

With that said, without caring about the looks o their faces, Qu Qing Ju took Shu Kui’s hand and walked back to the inner hall. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

DramaQueen Favourite Mandarin Pop Singer-Songwriters

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These were the singers that contributed to the mandarin pop scene with their incredible talent. Singer-songwriters were the trend in the early 20's. Although they debuted around the same time, some of them were more successful than the others. No matter how their life journey leads them, i still admire their talent in music. 

1) Tank Lu Jian Zhong 
Career line: Pearl

Tank Lu Jian Zhong is a well known singer-song writer in Taiwan. He had a few hit singles under his belt. Some of his songs were used for OST (Original Soundtrack) for idol drama. Despite his early success in the music industry, he spent a few years away from the limelight to recuperate from his genetic heart disease. According to him, his aunt and sister passed away due to heart attack. He has since moved on to behind the scene to focus in song writing. Subsequently, he went through the lowest point of life after his divorce with his ex-wife Mer Mer, whom he had a child with. During an interview, Tank mentioned that he was a bad role model in the past and he tend to escape from problems by indulging in bad habits, such as smoking and drinking. However, he refused to reveal the reason behind their separation.

Nowadays, Tank is actively involved in church activities to spread the gospel around the world. He had released his self penned christian songs and he has been giving vocal training to the kids. Tank had mentioned that he did not have the desire to return to the music industry as time passes by and he would rather sing to the Lord than to please people. It may be good for his health as he tend to be nervous or excited when performing on stage, which may trigger his abnormal heart beat. In his heyday, his signature songs include personal angel, give me your love and if i become a memory. We could hardly see him now, like a pearl that was hidden. 

At the age of 34, Tank is still young but he had already been through many hardships. Tank had matured through the years and was no longer the boyish looking boy that i remembered many years ago. He may look haggard and skinny due to his medical condition, however he still has a good vocal which touches my heart. His career in the music industry can be described as fire works which was spectacular but for a short time. Tank is good in composing music and i love his voice. He is now dedicating his life to spread the gospel. 

If i become a memory

Personal angel

Give me your love

The song he composed for his church - amazing love

2) JJ Lin Jun Jie
Career line: Diamond

JJ Lin is a successful singer-songwriter that is currently based in Taiwan. He have numerous hit singles from his albums such as Jiang Nan. According to him, there was once he had damaged his vocal cord and risked losing his voice. He turned to Christianity for strength and comfort. Eventually he recovered and continued to sing until now. JJ Lin won the best male singer in Taiwan Golden Melody Awards and became an established artiste.

Jiang Nan

JJ Lin and Tank debuted around the same time and managed to stay active in the music industry until now. He is more fortunate than Tank as he has a healthy body. I wonder if Tank has a healthy body, he may achieve as much as JJ Lin does in the music industry. 

If only

3) David Tao
Career line: Gemstone

Many people called David Tao the godfather of R&B mandarin pop songs. He had also established himself as a musician in the music industry. Some of his popular hits includes Find myself. He is a devoted christian too.

In my opinion, David Tao can compose music very well. However, his career was affected by his infidelity. Due to the scandal, he had damaged his own image in the public. Despite everything, i still give credit to his ability to compose beautiful songs. 

4) Jay Chou
Career line: Gold

Jay Chou is the king of Mandarin pop and nobody has yet to surpass his success in the music industry. He has his own distinct style in music which cater to the mainstream. Despite his spine injury, nothing can stop him from achieving wonders. Throughout these years, he had won numerous music awards. He was married and recently became a father to his daughter. He recently joins in the group of Christian celebrities too.

Jay Chou classic songs

5) Lee Hom
Career line:  Jade

I did not like Lee Hom when he first debuted,but i gradually admire him over the years. I love his hit singles such as Heartbeat and All the time you never knew.  He has always maintained a low profile until he confessed that he was already married.

All the things you never knew. 

Bridge of fate