|A little background information on me, this site, and why it's named Fortune Cookie 500.
I am American, non-Asian, with a deep love for Asian culture, people, movies, and music. In July 1999 a friend loaned me a Hong Kong movie, and after that I was hooked forever. I began watching Asian movies and listening to Chinese pop music (and I was coming out of an American heavy metal background, so this was very odd, and my friends still don't understand), mostly Hong Kong singers. From there I progressed into Japanese rock, Korean pop, and even some Indian music. I haven't listened to music in English since, except for an occasional foray into the past and some time listening to my friend's awesome band, Esucarys..
I made my first visit to Asia in March 2000, spending two weeks in Hong Kong. At that point I knew that I had to move to Asia and began to plan how I could do this. I was picking up bits and pieces of Cantonese from my friends, but I so wanted to learn the language in order to understand some of the music I was listening to and also communicate with the friends I was making online. In September 2000, I enrolled in Mandarin classes at the local university (since Cantonese wasn't offered) and began my love affair with the Chinese language.
I returned to Hong Kong in December 2000, which only reinforced my desire to move, either there or another Asian country, figuring I could teach English as a second language. While on that trip, I picked up a new CD, Wu Bai's "Movie Songbook," because I recognized his name from the ads for the movie "Time and Tide." Now, I was eagerly awaiting the release of this movie on DVD because 1) I am a Tsui Hark fan and 2) I was at that time a Nic Tse fan. I listened to the CD and I liked it, but it got stuck on my CD rack, and I forgot about it - until I got the movie.
Now, I bought that movie because Nic was in it, but I watch it over and over because of Wu Bai! He made such an impression on me from his first appearance - he just took over the whole film. And when I heard his songs in the movie, I dug out the CD I'd gotten in Hong Kong and started playing it. Apparently this one was some sort of bootleg, because it didn't have the songs from the movie. However, I found that I simply couldn't stop listening to the thing! I finally got the official Movie Songbook, and from there I proceeded to buy every other Wu Bai and China Blue CD, VCD, and DVD that was available.
I was badly addicted. The more I listened and watched the videos, the more I found that Wu Bai's music was miles above the fluff I'd been listening to. Watching Wu Bai on stage was such a treat, seeing the passion he pours into his music and the sheer joy that radiates out of him when he performs. I knew I was going to the next concert, no matter if it was Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore - I'd go anywhere just to experience Wu Bai and China Blue live on stage. I do think he's the most beautiful man I've ever seen, and that beauty comes from the inside and shines out. And in 2002 I made my first trip to Taiwan for the 9 Layer Heaven concert, then back again that December for the Plush pub show, returning in 2004 for concerts in three cities and to make arrangements for my permanent move to Taiwan.
My friends, Belinda and Carol, two more Americans who are head over heels in love with Asian cinema, also got bitten by the Wu Bai bug at the same time I did (the man is a magnet). Belinda finally talked me into starting this website since there was next to nothing online in English. We had all been joking around about being the unofficial American fan club and wondering what to call ourselves. I first thought of Fortune 500 Club, borrowing the name from the list of the 500 richest people in the world, but that just didn't sound right. The idea of Fortune COOKIE 500 came from my musings on how Wu Bai is like a fortune cookie: a bit unassuming on the outside, but crack it open and inside you find words of wisdom. And since the fortune cookie was invented in America, I thought the name rather fit :)
So, this the Fortune Cookie 500 Club, and Carol and I even made up some little buttons and keyrings with Wu Bai's picture and the name emblazoned on them, which we distributed to fans when we came to Taiwan for our great concert experiences. Yeah, silly, but fun nonetheless. We're not kids, we're grown women, but in our hearts we're forever teenagers with a mad crush on a marvelous man (and pish, who cares that he's married, it's not as if we really want to deal with REALITY, because fantasy is soooo much better). Along the way we've gathered some other non-Asian fans, and we've met some wonderful fans from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
The music of Wu Bai and China Blue transcends language and nationality. You don't need to understand the lyrics to appreciate the talent, but I'll tell you that he writes beautiful words. His lyrics are intensely poetic, and he uses a lot of classical Chinese (especially in the Legend of the Sacred Stone soundtrack). With the help of people like Natari, who translated the lyrics of the Dream River CD into English, and my great friend and teacher, Wei Wei, I've come to realize that there are depths to this music that will require years of studying Chinese before I ever completely understand what Wu Bai wants to convey.
I moved to Taipei in March 2005 so I could continue to study Chinese, and hopefully one day I will truly understand the lyrics that Wu Bai writes. It's great to be living here and able to get to the concerts and other events so easily! The news media in Taiwan seems to enjoy writing that I moved here just to be closer to Wu Bai, but that's not true. I had made the determination to live in Asia before I even knew who he was. I moved here because this is where I belong, and having Wu Bai so close is just a bonus for me.
If you read this far, you deserve a medal!