An old postcard featuringTeresa Teng that Cheong Kam-mei has kept for decades. Edmond Tang / China Daily
One beautiful evening in Paris, in 1992, I had the outstanding privilege of meeting
Here is the story.
One day on Earth
By 1992, I had the privilege to meet Mrs. Dèng Lìjūn, also known as Teresa Teng, on a September day against the backdrop of a beautiful sunset on the terrace of the fashionable Deux Magots, place Saint Germain, the deep heart of Paris.
At that time, I had little knowledge about Chinese millenary culture. The only books I ever read that were set in China were written by the Belgium novelist Henri Michaux, “A Barbarian in Asia”, the “Condition Humaine” composed by the Charles de Gaulle Minister for Cultural Affairs, André Malraux, and "The Good Earth" narrated by the amazing American writer, Pearl Buck. It wasn’t enough to form much of an opinion about Chinese history or culture.
Despite my notorious inconsistency, a friend of mine, a music business mogul, asked me to meet what he called the voice of China. As I was objected that I was awfully busy, he frowned and said emotionally, "Don’t be foolish! She’s the greatest! You will lose quite everything of your short and gloomy life if you don’t talk with her at least a couple of hours."
I protested heavily telling him that I wasn’t familiar with music, and even less with China. Besides, I was genuinely ignorant of Chinese singers.
He took me by my arm and strongly advocated my meeting her.
"This lady is Chinese, but not the average one. Remember that! There are two Dengs in China, both unequalled, both talented by God’s hand, both endowed with the seeds of greatness. Deng, the man! A prominent communist, a Long March veteran. Not a blind hearted one, not an orthodox static-centrist. The opposite, a man gifted by an overwhelming in-depth common sense. For a decade, he has been reshaping china. And Deng, the woman. A native from Taiwan blessed with a splendid voice, singing alternatively in Japanese, Chinese, Cantonese and English. Do you know someone able to do so? Remember that! The two Dengs are the two faces of the same universe. Altogether they are rebuilding the Chinese spirit as it stands in the old times. What I am asking you is to keep something of her mind. A whisper, I mean."
Then he called her and arranged the meeting with no more interference from my part.