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Mandarin Cantopop

Death before remakes!

It has been rated one of the hundred best Chinese songs of the last fifty years. It is perennially among the top ten songs ordered up in KTV joints. It was one of the top five ring tones downloaded in China in 2005. "Shanghai Beach," from the pens of Joseph Koo and James Wong and sung by Frances Yip, made a huge splash in the 80s as the title theme to the historical mobster drama of the same name, and has remained popular ever since.

Now there's a new version of the TV series being shot, and this is, of course, not welcomed by everyone. Not only do we face the prospect of seeing today's hot young actors fail to measure up to legends like Chow Yun-fat and Angie Chiu, but the original Cantonese theme song is being replaced by a Mandarin version.

True, there was one series remake back in the 90s that apparently no one ever watched, and the less said about the Andy Lau movie version the better. But we can take hope from the relative success of the recent Vicki Zhao remake of the classic "Moment in Peking" (which also starred Angie Chiu). Not only did it not bring about the end of the world, but it was actually watchable, and in some respects superior to the original version. So there's hope for a new Shanghai Beach.

At the very least, the availability of a Mandarin version of the theme song will provide drunken Beijing businessmen with an alternative to butchering the Cantonese lyrics.

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