During last month’s visit to the U.S. National Institutes of Health in Maryland, USA, I stopped by the city of Los Angeles on my way home for five days. In those five days, I met a friend for the first time, who drove six hours from the state of Arizona to see me.
She was Laura Clancey, an advance practice nurse who became a friend after reading Lee Hom’s writing about me.
Needless to say, Laura and I are both avid fans of Wang Lee Hom. Laura doesn’t understand Chinese, but she likes the music Lee Hom composes and his personality. Besides Lee Hom, we also have a similar passion to serve humanity in our own ways.
Laura met me at Seton Hall of St. Vincent Medical Center where I was staying. Together with my mom, we had lunch at the hospital cafeteria before driving to the Santa Monica Pier in West L.A.
We strolled through the pier’s theme park rides followed by the boardwalk all the way out to sea. At the end of the boardwalk was the pier itself, on which we stayed to watch the beautiful West L.A. sunset that I love.
While we were admiring the sun’s gradual descend, a couple was taking pre-wedding photographs on the beach below us. There was the bride and the groom, and their entourage of photographers and assistants.
As I watched the two hopeless romantics pose and gaze into each other, with the waves and sunset beyond, a familiar music played in my mind.
Lee Hom’s Forever Love.
Ai ni bu shi yin wei ni de mei er yi
Loving you, not because of your beauty.
Wo yue lai yue ai ni mei ge yan shen chu dong wo de xin
I love you more and more, your every eye contact touches my heart.
因为你让我看见 forever, 才了解自己,
Yin wei ni rang wo kan jian forever cai liao jie zi ji
Because you make me see forever and understand myself.
Wei lai zhe xie ri zi yao hao hao zhen xi
We should treasure the days that are about to come
Ai wo you xie tong ku you xie bu gong ping
Loving me, there may be some pain and unfairness
Ru guo zhen de ai wo bu shi li suo dang ran de jue ding
If you really love me, understand that it’s not an easy decision.
Gan dao ni de hu xi zai wo er bian xiang wei feng shen qi
I can feel your breath next to my ears as fresh as the breeze.
Wen rou de an fu wo de bu an ding
You softly comfort my restlessness.
所以我要 每天研究你的笑容 ouu… 多么自然
Suo yi wo yao mei tian yan jiu ni de xiao rong, duo me zi ran
Therefore I want to examine your smile every day, how natural it is.
Forever Love, Forever Love
Wo zhi xiang yong zhe yi bei zi qu ai ni
I really want to spend my whole lifetime loving you.
从今以后, 你会是所有 幸福的理由
Cong jin yi hou ni hui shi suo you xing fu de li you
From this moment on, you will be the reason of all my happiness.
Ai qing shi chang zui mei zui yuan de lu xing
Love is the most beautiful and furthest journey.
Yan tu yu ji ni ning ou er zu ai wo men de qian jin
There’ll be rains and mud along the way which may sometimes prevent us from moving forward.
Gan dao ni de ti wen zai wo huai li xiang yang guang he xu
I can feel your temperature in my arms as warmly as sunlight.
Qiao miao de rong hua wo de bu an ding
You magically melt my worries away.
不可思议 证明我爱你的理由 ouu… 多么自然
Bu ke si yi zheng ming wo ai ni de li you, duo me zi ran
Unbelievably, this proves my reason for loving you, how natural it is
Ni gan dong de yan jing
Your touching eyes
Wo chen mo de sheng yin
and my silent voice
Fang fu jiu shi zui hao de zheng ming
are the best evidence of our love for each other
就让我再说一次 I love you …
Jiu rang wo zai shuo yi ci, I love you…
So please let me repeat this. I love you….
Zhi dao yong yuan…
Oh, I am moved to tears just reading the lyrics above and correcting the translation. This song was released in the year of 2005 – the year I finally lost my residual hearing to Neurofibromatosis. It’s released as part of an album called “The Sun and Moon in my Heart”. It’s the last of Lee Hom’s albums that I heard with my natural hearing.
When I lost my hearing, I was sad that I would never get to hear his music naturally again. But I learned something interesting lately. From the comments I read about his recent compositions, I gathered that the music he composed which I knew and heard prior to 2006, were among his best.
In a way, I am glad. I am glad that I have, at least, learned his best music to date by memory. They are immortalized in my mind forever.
I have faith that he can compose such wonderful music again.
Lee Hom’s music compositions – those that I have heard – touch people across culture and geography because they spoke about life. They spoke about the natural processes and experiences of life which everyone goes through and experience at different times. His compositions then, had an element of hope. Many also had the element of faith in life. Some song lyrics may have described a regrettable life experience, but the music behind them was always fluid. They carried a sense of continuity in them, which made listeners feel hopeful. Like someone who did something wrong and confesses his or her mistake, with the hope and self-belief to do better. Anything positive and hopeful attracts people, and these were reasons why many people across culture loved Lee Hom’s music so much.
I have faith in Lee Hom that he can compose such great music again. They can be as great as, or better than, those that I have heard.
I am not patronizing Lee Hom. I am saying this from experience.
Do you know that, after I lost my hearing in mid-2005, my self-expression improved? I used to be a music vocalist. I also played the piano and violin. After I lost my hearing, I could not sing or play music anymore. It was saddening initially. But I did not dwell on it for long, because I had more important things to concentrate on. I was desperately raising funds to remove the brain tumor that robbed my hearing, in order to continue living.
In that desperation and pressure to survive, I could not dwell on the loss of my hearing. I must communicate with people. I must communicate my cause any other way I could.
I could no longer sing. I could no longer hear. But I could still talk, and talk I did. No one was there to teach me on how to be an effective public speaker. But because I was once a stage performer and vocalist, I could stand on stage, before an audience, and project my voice coherently even though I could not hear myself while everyone could.
My written expression also improved by leaps and bounds like magic the moment I lost my hearing. Those of you who have followed my blog since many years ago would be able to recognize the change and maturity of my written compositions. I do not use bombastic words or complex sentences, yet people have been saying that I write very well.
I think it is not that I write well. Rather, I can express my inner self well. Yvonne Foong today is a lot calmer on the inside and matured with control over her life. My writings reflect my inner self. I am expressing my inner self when I write. I accepted and made peace with my hearing loss within two years. I have also made peace with the fact that I am living with Neurofibromatosis. You are in truth feeling my inner self when you feel encouraged and touched from reading my words.
But just like Lee Hom, there was a short period of time after I lost my hearing, that I felt frustrated and upset. My relationships with people were affected. My expression wasn’t very nice. But it was temporary. That phase gradually came to pass when I found out that I could still express myself well by other means – by writing and speaking. It came to pass as I gradually regained control over my life in spite of circumstances, when I found inner peace and stability. When I rediscovered my purpose and direction.
Hence, I have faith in Lee Hom that he will pull through this phase and be able to compose beautiful music once again. Meanwhile, continue to support Lee Hom personally and enjoy this old song from him which, to me, is timeless.