Thursday, 28 March
At noon Officer Deng Jinkang invited us to have lunch at his Kangzhuang in Baihuatan. Baihuatan is at the home of the late Xue Tao at Huanhuaxi. The view was so nice and the bamboo forest was particularly nice. The tableware we used was all old porcelain made in the Jiaqing-Daoguang periods. There was a bowl which was quite nice. Mei Xinru praised it highly and Deng Jinkang immediately gave it to Sun Fo as a present. The dishes served consisted of many wonderful things. The foods that most impressed me were bear palms and the Neijiang sugar cane. After lunch [name unclear] asked Sun Fo to talk about the international situation and what our country needed to do hereafter in great detail. Deng Jinkang rather admired what Sun Fo said.
At 3.00 p.m, Deng, Pan, He and others listened to Sichuan opera at Wang’s residence. I heard that they had summoned all the famous singers from the various cinemas in the town. During the first performance Miss He Ruiting (何瑞亭) and Miss (He) Ruiyun (何瑞雲) sang Tianxia Taiping, which was just so-so. In the second act, Qingyi Qiong Lianfang (瓊蓮芳) (male), Xiaosheng Xiao Kaisheng (蕭楷成) (female), Qingyi Li Huixian(李蕙仙) – who looked fine but her figure was like Tan Lanqing (譚蘭卿) played Choumei Dongfang (Fengzengwu). Their performances were fine but the Sichuan opera singing style is very much influenced by those of Qin tone. The vocals were high but flat, which was quite similar to Chaozhou opera, whereby it did not conform to musical principles in many aspects. Qingtan, which was played by the famous Qingyi Zhou Mulian (周慕蓮) (Ten years ago was dubbed as Mei Lanfang of Chengdu), was quite good. It was one part of the script Huozhuo Wang Kui written by Zhao Xi (趙熙). I heard that a son-in-law of Zhao Xi wanted to divorce his daughter. Zhao Xi wrote this script to warn his son-in-law about the theory of karma so his son-in-law did not dare to do so. Choujiao Zhou Qihe (周企何) was a graduate from secondary school so what he said was really humorous and quite good. All in all, Sichuan opera had not made much progress, its development is far behind those of our Guangdong. As for its musicians and the singing, they are the same as Chaozhou opera.
Tan Lanqing (1908-1981) was a famous female actor of Cantonese operas and movies. She had been Huadan, but as she was getting fat in middle age she changed to be Chousheng. She later lived in Hong Kong and was a famous humorous actor in Hong Kong Cantonese movies. She died in Hong Kong. Here Fu Bingchang implied Li Huixian was as fat as Tan Lanqing.