Book review: Confessions of a Global Negotiator

I’ve read a few books on negotiation. What makes this book special is its practicality and story-telling. It’s full with many a readily implementable tip on this subject, with each chapter ending with neatly summarized takeaways of the chapter, which makes it an ideal textbook on negotiation. Yet, it’s by no means textbooky. it wasn’t a dry read for me. In fact, it was fun thanks to the author’s great storytelling ability, and he does have great stories and anecdotes to share with you, the reader.

With the far-reaching principles and tips, this book will prove to be very beneficial for both professional negotiators and “occasional negotiators” alike – we all will have to engage in negotiation at some point in our lives, be it haggling with a prospective landlord, car dealer, or negotiating a potential pay raise with your manager. With that said, make sure you pick this book up before going to the negotiation table!

Check out this book on Amazon

 

 

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day & Acoustic project

Happy belated Saint Patrick’s Day, guys!

I’d like to take this opportunity to announce my acoustic project. It was actually my guitarist’s idea few months back, and so far we’ve got 2 gigs under our belt.

While I didn’t record our first gig, I did remember to do so in our second gig, which happened to be on Saint Patrick’s Day.

Below is the complete playlist, 5 songs in total. Hope you’ll enjoy!

I’ll continue to upload our acoustic recordings on my SoundCloud, so stay tuned, fellas!

Rock on!

Fronting a Black Sabbath (Ian Gillan era) tribute band in Tokyo

Hey guys, it’s been a while since I posted anything here, so I thought I’d bring you up to speed with what I’ve been doing.

My friend and I formed a Black Sabbath (Ian Gillan era) tribute band in Tokyo last year and we’ve been working on a set since (basically the whole Born Again album). I’m of course the one behind the mic, hehe 🙂 Check out one of the songs we’ve performed live so far – Born Again. That’s also my favorite song from the album, but I gotta say that this song requires quite a wide vocal range to say the least, aside from the tone and other aspects one must have to handle this piece.  Hope you’ll enjoy it!

For more tracks, visit: https://soundcloud.com/alvisyu/sets/ian-gillan-era-black-sabbath

Peace out!

Book review: American Accent Training

Many (including native English speakers and other non-Chinese speakers) people have asked me how I managed to acquire such a heavy American accent, despite the fact that I’ve never been to any English-speaking countries. Furthermore, numerous ESL learners and even some native speakers (Americans included) thought I was an ABC (American-born Chinese), until I told them otherwise. Well, this book is the answer. It was very helpful during my early years of studying how to speak “the American way.” It goes without saying that consistent, frequent practice and actual application (i.e. by conversing with Americans) are essential for your pursuit of the otherwise elusive American accent (that is, if you weren’t born and raised in the States). Trivia: Back when I was dating an American girl, she insisted that I must have stayed in the USA for a long time and that I simply had memory loss. Like I said earlier, I’ve never been to the States to this day. If I could make it, you can, too. Trust me, you CAN change your accent, provided that you’re committed enough and that you do your practice regularly for a considerable amount of time. Fake it until you make it.

To conclude, I can’t praise this masterpiece enough. Ann Cook surely knows what she’s talking about. If American accent (by which I mean the so-called “standard American accent” commonly heard in public broadcasts such as NPR and among educated Americans) is what you’re aiming for, you do not want to miss this book.

It’s not a hyperbole to call it the Holy Grail of American accent. Period.

I finished reading this book sometime around 2012-2013, so this book review is long overdue!

Amazon link

張雨生 Zhang Yu-sheng (or spelled as Chang Yu-sheng, my all-time favorite musician and rock singer, hitting one of the highest notes (D3-D6) a male could ever achieve in mixed voice

Below are a few clips of the late Zhang Yu-sheng (1966-1997), a Taiwanese musician who has been my all-time favorite musician, rocker, singer, song-writer, and, above all, my mentor.

He was very talented as a singer-songwriter, but he’s mostly known for his ability to hit ultra high notes, with purity and power at the same time.

It’s a shame that he died young (at the age of 31); while driving on a weary condition, he accidentally hit a traffic island at a high speed. He passed way at the hospital 24 days after. Contrary to what some people think, he did NOT drive under the influence (DUI).

Caveat: All the English translations next to the Chinese titles are mine, i.e. they’re not the official ones (if there’s any). 

Hitting high notes (A5)
He is asked to hit some insanely high notes by the hosts. (After hitting the very last note [an A5], he tells the hosts that he used mixed voice to achieve that.)

Xiaobao Lianxiqu (小寶練習曲) (HD)
(This is a recording of his rehearsal at the studio, about 10-minute long. This clip basically gives you an idea of how monstrous his voice was. All of the songs he sings in the clip are his own creations. FYI, Xiaobao [小寶] was his nickname.)
(He starts singing at 2:50.)

Zhang Yu Sheng’s (張雨生) high note compilation (C5 – D#6)

Zhang’s  vocal range (D2 – sustained D6)

High Notes in Rock: Power, Pt. 2
(Zhang is featured as the last vocalist in this compiliation, indicating that he’s the most impressive vocalist among all the great singers listed in the clip.)

Distortion/fry/hyper glottal distortion (a sustained D5 note in chest voice; isolated vocals)


Blow are some of my favorite songs written by Zhang (both lyrics and melodies)
Meigui De Mingzi (玫瑰的名字/The Name of the Rose) (HD)
(This is one of those rare occasions where he uses distortion and heavier sound.)

Wo Qidai (我期待/I Look Forward To…) (HD)
(This is probably his most famous song.)

Live version of Wo Qidai (我期待/I Look Forward To…)
(This live performance truly showcases his mastery of his vocals. The ending is simply incredible and jaw-dropping.)

Xiongdi Ya (兄弟呀/Oh My Brother)  (HD)
(This is the song where Zhang famously hits a D#6 [4:08-4:30]. It’s a shame that there’s no live recording of this song.)

Houzhihoujue (後知後覺/When I realize it, it’s too late) (HD)

He (河/The River) (HD)
(What he does during 4:03-4:20 is simply monstrous…)

Younggongjie De Jiezhang (永公街的街長/The Chief of the Younggong Street)
(Though this piece is almost 10-minute long, I am sure you’ll enjoy it all the way. Please note that the section after 8:14 isn’t sung by Zhang himself, but by a Taiwanese female singer called “馬毓芬.” He dedicated the song to the homeless and the mentally challenged, whose suffering he thinks the society is responsible for.)

Heaven On Fire – Metal Kids (HD)
(With this song, Zhang and his bandmates won the first place in the first Rock&Roll band competition held by Yamaha in Taiwan. Metal Kids was the name of his band. It is said that this studio version is a compromised version due to the demand of the label company; the original version was much heavier than this one, but it is unfortunately no where to be found.)

Koushixinfei (口是心非/False Words) full album
(This is arguably his best album, also his last album, with every single song written by himself.)


TV appearances

Live version of Wo Qidai (我期待/I Look Forward To…)
(This live performance truly showcases his mastery of his vocals. The ending is simply incredible and jaw-dropping.)

Speaking of jaw-dropping, his singing did make a grandma drop her jaw. This is one of my favorite clips.
(Starts at 1:02)

Koushixinfei (口是心非/False Words) (2:22-3:08) & blues jam session (4:04-end)

(Again, the jam session is a rare occasion where he uses a lot of distortion.)

The Phantom Of The Opera (HD) (6:40-8:20)

Love Potion No.9

So Much In Love (0:00-1:07)

Without You (Air Supply)

Tonight (5:25-6:05)/ Smoke Gets In Your Eyes & Unchained Melody (13:39-end)

A medley of his songs
(All of the songs in this medley were written by someone else for primarily commercial purposes, and that’s why they sound so poppy..)

A medley (some of which are not his songs)


Below are some of his epic renditions of classic English rock tunes. Hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do

Paradise city

Crying in the Rain-Whitesnake

Dream on- Aerosmith

Separate Ways- Journey

Turn me loose- Loverboy

Highway star

Keep the faith

Mr.Crowley

Show must go on

Smoke on the water

Final countdown

Carrie

You give love a bad name (incomplete)


For those of you who want to dig more, you’re welcome to check out my playlist where I collect his live performances and songs.

Last but certainly not least, this is a thread on his vocal range in the range place.

R.I.P. Zhang Yu-sheng

Edit:
I’ve complied some playlists of Zhang’s songs by category. Hope you’ll find them interesting! So here goes:

Demos:

Live performances:

Zhang’s “latest” album (雨夜星空; Yu Ye Xing Kong) based on his unpublished demos, compiled by his former colleagues, friends, and fans.

Other recordings that aren’t available on YouTube or SoundCloud:

Keep the faith – 1993 blog.xuite.net/mr.tu/guitar/34680637
Desperado – unspecified blog.xuite.net/mr.tu/guitar/24645258
CHEROKEE – 1988 blog.xuite.net/mr.tu/guitar/17655730
Rehearsal version of 「跟得上我吧」 – unspecified blog.xuite.net/mr.tu/guitar/17557771
We ain’t gonna take it 1988 blog.xuite.net/mr.tu/guitar/14272068
Holiday (Scorpions) – 1988 blog.xuite.net/mr.tu/guitar/14271906
Dream (Van Halen) – 1988 blog.xuite.net/mr.tu/guitar/13871708
Here I Go Again – 1993 blog.xuite.net/mr.tu/guitar/13759417
Unchain the Night 1988 blog.xuite.net/mr.tu/guitar/13714635

Beatles medley -1988 December vlog.xuite.net/play/ZmlZbk10LTczNzIyMjguZmx2
Spread your wings – unspecified blog.xuite.net/mr.tu/guitar/12787380
Separate ways – 1993 – blog.xuite.net/mr.tu/guitar/13360852
More Than Words – 1993 – blog.xuite.net/mr.tu/guitar/12714483
To be with you – June 1993 – blog.xuite.net/mr.tu/guitar/12677024

The Demise of Freedom of Speech in HK?

I found another piece that eerily resembles my earlier commentary about the abrupt disappearance of 5 Hong Kong booksellers: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/28/world/asia/china-hong-kong-magazine-editors.html?ref=world
Yet another relevant note that directly involves a magazine based in mainland China: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/28/world/asia/china-yanhuang-chunqiu.html?ref=world&_r=0


It turns out that some of the abducted HK booksellers are of non-Chinese nationalities, just like the one in the above-mentioned news article (the first one), which calls for an international outcry over the blatant breach of freedom of speech in an otherwise autonomous Hong Kong.

This is truly saddening.

I realize that I might have charged too much of a pessimistic note in my headline, but I hope I am just overreacting.

If only.

 

 

 

 

 

Black Lives Matter; All Lives Matter

Seems like the OP of a Facebook message I shared the other day about Black Lives Matter deleted her post, causing my post to disappear as a result. I wonder what happened to her. Anyway, in all seriousness, I’d like to recap on the message I said in that deleted post:

Black Lives Matter; and, for that matter, every single life matters, regardless of what race they’re told they belong to by the so-called conventional wisdom.
Yet, with a backdrop of the current disproportionate discrimination against blacks, I feel compelled to emphasize once again that Black Lives Matter.
However, that is not to say that the discriminated ought to resort to violence. Force is never the answer; it would only backfire, as can be observed in America proper recently. Their frustration is palpable; it has been so. But only through meaningful, genuine discourse can we solve the deep-rooted issue.
I am for one against all forms of discrimination, which, categorically, includes reverse discrimination, in which the initial discriminator is now being discriminated against.
Black Lives Matter; All Lives Matter.
 
That’s all that matters.