la vida sin amor

After much agony over the difficulty of a DPP parliamentarian getting a visa to Hong Kong, I finally got the long-awaited document last week. I managed to put aside the guilt of being a member of the chaotic circus called the Legislative Yuan, and after the fist-fighting, shoe-throwing finale of our last session, I took off on the kind of trip I rarely take, a trip for my own pleasure, a trip to see Il Divo in concert at the Asia World Arena in Hong Kong.

I’ve been doing politics as a profession for over a decade now; I’ve made countless trips abroad for various speeches, meetings, conferences and missions. Most of these trips have been short, business-only trips where I only see as much as the airport, hotel and conference room. Last August I spent my birthday in Hawaii, not basking in the sunshine on the beach, but in a “Senior Policy Meeting,” a conference room of true seniors with an average age at least twenty years more than mine. It occured to me, why can’t I take trips for myself, just for myself? Not for the revolution, not for the common cause, but just for myself?

So I gave myself a break and got a glimps of an utterly amazing desert sunset, and then I found out that Il Divo, my new musical passion outside of baseball and politics, was coming to Asia.

After failed attempts to convince event organizers in Taiwan to bring them into town, I got my banker friend, Grace, who lives in Hong Kong to buy us concert tickets. I also tried to get my Japanese parliamentarian friends to obtain tickets in Tokyo.

Monday night, they were truly fascinating. Nella fantasia, solo otra vez, la vida sin amor… my favorites. Even my friend Alan who previously said he had zero expectations but joined us just to be nice, admitted they were talented.

I admire people who can do things that I can’t (I always refuse constituent invitations to sing karaoke in public). I also admire people who do things with passion. Indeed, they sang with captivating passion, with voices that carried contagious emotions. Though their lyrics were mostly in Spanish and Italian, the language of love was definitely understood.

Aside from their enchanting voices, I must confess that their incredible good looks add to the attraction.

When I was a teenager, I was fanatic about George Michael. I collected all his posters and saved up my part-time job earnings to see three of his concerts at the Madison Square Garden in New York. But ever since I became politicized during college, that was the end of carefree fun. I guess it was a kind of intellectual arrogance that dominated my decision to put aside the silly crushes on singers and re-orient my attention to serious political causes. Now this very serious political life of mine has become almost unbearably stressful and suffocating.

So there is rationality in the craziness of traveling to another country to see four hot guys singing. It brings me back to the days when there were other interests and passions, when there was more balance in life. Besides, tryng to figure out what they are singing is a great incentive for language learning, and I’m already picking up some useful Spanish/Italian words and phrases, like una noche, ti amo! What’s more, men are always more attractive from a distance, and an unattainable crush will never get close enough to hurt me.

But I have to say that it wasn’t just middle-age women living la vida sin amor, at the concert looking for the kind of passion and romance that’s lacking in their real lives. I actually ran into an old friend, Surin, former Foreign Minister of Thailand, who traveled from Bangkok for the same purpose of seeing Il Divo!

That was a real treat for myself, a temporary political blackout, being treated by my sweet and generous friend to dinners at the best restaurants in Hong Kong, a night of Il Divo passion, what more can a girl ask for? Well, my buddy Grace got even luckier when she ran into Carlos the DIVO and got A HUG as she was trying to hail a cab at the Four Seasons. I guess life is full of surprises, and it can only get better if I can learn to paint los colores de mi vida with happy strokes and a little more excitement.

2007/01/23, Bi-khim Hsiao