Thursday, December 10, 2015

Ngoc Lan Remembered on Facebook Reaches Milestone

Dear friends,

I'm very happy to announce that our Facebook page for Ngoc Lan Remembered has just reached the milestone of 1,000 likes.  Thank you to all of our readers for your viewership here and for having liked our Facebook page.  This could have not been possible without you.

Much love,

Viktor Lassley AKA Thien Phu
Ngoc Lan Remembered Admin

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Ngoc Lan on Her Favorite Singers

Ngoc Lan was one of those people that if she didn't have anything nice to say about someone, she wouldn't say anything at all.  During the time I knew her, we rarely spoke about other singers.  I do recall only one occasion while she was driving me around to look for costumes for our video shoot that I just flat out asked her at point blank just who was her favorite singer.  She hesitated a bit to answer and then she said, "I think Kieu Nga sings really well."  And then I asked her, " Well, who was the singer that had inspired you?  Who was your idol growing up and before you became a singer?"  She paused for a bit.  Then she uttered, "Thanh Lan".  Of course, I had to put my two cents in and tell her how much I had also idolized Khanh Ha and Julie Quang, in addition to her.  I asked her what she thought of them.  All she said was that she liked them, especially Julie Quang whenever she sang in French.  Being the nosy person I am, I had really wanted to ask her which singers did she not particularly care for.  But I didn't dare go there.
Kieu Nga and Ngoc Lan 

When I asked Ngoc Lan who was her favorite Vietnamese male singer, she readily answered that it was Duy Quang.  I then told her I liked Duy Quang's voice, as well.  And then she said something to the effect that all singers are great in their own distinct way.  I could tell this was her way of closing out the conversation and hinting to me that we should move on to another subject.  Somehow I had gotten the feeling that she didn't like to be asked such questions.  I think perhaps she might have been concerned that if she were to disclose who she did and didn't like among Vietnamese singers, the word just might get out which might bring about tensions between some of her colleagues and herself.  I'd have to say that that was a quality I really admired in Ngoc Lan.  She was obviously smart enough to realize that in the world of showbiz what you say can easily get misconstrued and end up biting you in the back.  From that day on, I never asked her about what she thought of other singers ever again.

I did pay attention to one other thing during the times I had spent with her.  And that was, who she would listen to while she was driving me around, which cassettes were in her selection kept in her car.  Most of the time she would be listening to songs that she was in the process of rehearsing and about to go into the studio to record.  A few times I heard her listening to Olivia Newton-John.  And other times, she would play Elsa Lughini.  As for Vietnamese singers, I remember listening to one or two cassettes of Kieu Nga.  And there was one occasion when she made me listen to Nhat Truong and Thanh Lan on an old cassette recorded way back in Saigon prior to 1975 during the entire drive.  She kept playing over and over again, Nguoi O Lai Charlie and Mua Dong Cua Anh.  I do like Thanh Lan's voice.  But as far as Nhat Truong and his music, just imagine how I felt listening to it considering how I was a kid who had grown up in the United States and was then just familiarizing myself with Vietnamese music.  Nhat Truong's music is anything but even remotely close to that of American pop music.  A few months later, I finally figured out the reason why she had me listen to those two songs over and over that one day when I saw that Ngoc Lan and Duy Quang had just released another duet album which included their version of Mua Dong Cua Anh and again, on some compilation cassette of various artists produced by Lang Van that included their duet version of Nguoi O Lai Charlie.  It just goes to show how much of a hard worker Ngoc Lan was.  Even when driving around, rather than listen to music as a way to relax, Ngoc Lan was actually listening with her work in mind.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Thanks for Liking Us!

When I created our Facebook page for Ngoc Lan Remembered a year ago, I was a bit worried that we wouldn't get anyone to like our page.  Then after it had reached a total of over 100 likes within a few days, it made me a bit more at ease and also realize that there are others who appreaciate what I've done here on and such links I've set up like the Ngoc Lan Remembered Pinterest board, the Ngoc Lan Remembered hub article on, and of course, the Ngoc Lan Remembered Facebook page.  These were all created with the same purpose of paying tribute to our beloved Ngoc Lan.  That was really gratifying to know that people do like us. I'm proud to announce that the page now has a total of 886 likes.  That goal of reaching 1,000 likes doesn't seem so far fetched anymore.  Thank you to all that have taken the time to like the page.  I can't wait until the day when we do reach our goal of 1,000 likes.  I have a feeling that day is coming soon.

Thanks again,

Thien Phu AKA Viktor Lassley  

P.S. Remember to keep liking us on Facebook, friends!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Year Has Passed

It is rather hard to believe but it has been a year now since was created.  I still remember just how agonizing it was trying to figure out what to write on that very first posting.  There was so much I had wanted to say about Ngoc Lan that I really didn't know where to begin.  I think it took me a total of 8 days to finally come up with just a paragraph that consisted of only 7 sentences total for the intro.  I was really terrified and kept thinking to myself, what if what I have to say isn't agreeable with what my fellow fans of Ngoc Lan want to hear?  I certainly didn't want to disrespect her legacy in any way.  She is afterall one of my biggest idols, inspiration and at one point like a sister to me.

Luckily, to my delight the overwhelming positive feedback I've received from readers have made me quite gratified.  I'm glad to know that by my creating this blog site I'm doing my part in keeping Ngoc Lan's legacy alive.  I sincerely thank all of our readers in this past year and hope that you will all continue to read future articles I'll be posting here on


Thien Phu AKA Viktor Lassley

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Ngoc Lan Musique 1: Buon (Sadness) Album Review

After recording solo albums for other labels such as Giang Ngoc and May Productions, finally in 1994 Ngoc Lan decided to release an album under her own label, Ngoc Lan Musique, entitled Buon (Sadness).  This would be by far not her best work.  The album seemed like a mishmash of contemporary songs thrown together at the last minute.  None of the tracks on the album, which included the title track written by Y Van, Trai Tim Nguc Tu written by Duc Huy and a pair of uptempo songs written by Quoc Dung, Hoang Vang and Tim Dau, left any impression on me at allIt seemed Ngoc Lan's deliveries of all the songs on this album were rather mundane.  I'm assuming perhaps her health matters played a significant role in her lackluster performance.  But being such a devoted Ngoc Lan fan, I went out and purchased for myself a copy despite how unimpressed I was after hearing some of the tracks played on the radio for the album's promotion.  If I were to choose any of the tracks on this album to be the most bearable to listen to, it would have to be Tinh Trong Phut Giay written by Ngoc Trong and to a lesser extent, Buon, the title track.  I must say though, during the same year that this album had been released I had heard the title track recorded by another singer for the first time ever.  That was by singer Thanh Ha on her debut solo studio album, Mot Doi Xin Nho Mai, released earlier in 1994.  I usually don't like to compare Ngoc Lan with other singers, especially whenever it is in favor of anyone other than Ngoc Lan.  But I must admit, I preferred Thanh Ha's rendition of Buon over Ngoc Lan's rendition here. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Ngoc Lan and Vu Khanh Duet Album Review

Diem Xua has been one music production label known for its high quality in production.  When Diem Xua came out with a duet album combining its top male vocalist, Vu Khanh, with Ngoc Lan, this was no different.  The album was entitled Nguoi Em Sau Mong and released in 1992.  Of the twelve tracks, the album included four duet tracks that were very well done:  Hoa Rung Ven Song, Con Quy Lay Chua both written by Pham Duy and Chieu Phi Truong and Bai Ca Hanh Ngo both written by Le Uyen Phuong.  My favorite of the three was Hoa Rung Ven Song.  Their voices blended beautifully with this song.  Of Ngoc Lan's solo tracks included a pair of songs written by Duc Huy, Xin Mot Ngay Mai Co Nhau and Mot Tinh Yeu.  When it comes to songs written by Duc Huy, you just can't go wrong with Ngoc Lan as the vocalist.  Ngoc Lan also did a fine job with her deliveries of Tuan Khanh's Noi Niem and Quoc Dung's Anh Da Thay Mua Xuan Chua, as well.  Out of Vu Khanh's solo tracks, my favorite on this album was Dan Trong Dem Vang (Johnny Guitar).  Although I prefer listening to duets between Ngoc Lan and Duy Quang, I must admit this was a very competent project that combined two very fine vocalists in a very pleasant style.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Ngoc Lan Trivia

This is to all fellow devoted fans of Ngoc Lan out there.  How much do you know about Ngoc Lan?  Would you say you're an expert who knows a lot when it comes to facts about Ngoc Lan's career, music and life?  How read up are you about Ngoc Lan?  I challenge you to take our Ngoc Lan Trivia and try to answer the following questions.  It just might surprise you on how much you know about our beloved Ngoc Lan.

Ngoc Lan Trivia - Part 1:

Here are the first five questions.  I assume these questions are fairly easy and that you don't have to be an expert on Ngoc Lan to know the answers.

  1. What was Ngoc Lan's given birthname?  A) Nguyen Ngoc Lan  B) Jade Orchid  C) Nguyen Thanh Lan  D) Maria Le Thanh Lan  E) Tran Ngoc Lan
  2. What city was Ngoc Lan born in?  A) Hanoi  B) Saigon  C) Nha Trang  D) Da Lat  E) Paris
  3. Other than Vietnamese, Ngoc Lan was famous for singing in what language?  A) English  B) French  C) Chinese  D) Korean  E) Spanish
  4. When and where did Ngoc Lan began her career as a professional singer?  A) After she left Vietnam for the United States first resettling in Minnesota  B) At the age of 20 while she was still in Vietnam at cabarets and nightclubs in Saigon  C) While she was in college as a foreign exchange student in Paris, France  D) As a child while still living in Nha Trang  E) In Hollywood during the 1990s where she also appeared on the Hollywood Night music video series
  5. What was the cause of Ngoc Lan's untimely passing?  A) Cancer  B) Multiple Sclerosis  C) Suicide  D) Diabetes  E)  Automobile Accident

So, were you able to answer all five of the previous questions?  If so, then you're definitely a fan of our beloved Ngoc Lan.  But not so fast.  Just by knowing the answers to those five very easy questions about Ngoc Lan doesn't necessarily make you a devoted fan of Ngoc Lan.  The answers to those five questions are pretty much public knowledge.  Maybe that's putting it a bit too extreme there.  Let's say the answers to those previous questions are basic information about Ngoc Lan.  Therefor, one would have to be a fan of Ngoc Lan in order to know the answers.

Let's continue on to the next set of questions.

Ngoc Lan Trivia - Part 2:

The following ten questions here are designed for those that are considered to be devoted fans of Ngoc Lan.  These questions are a bit harder and require fans to do a bit of reading about Ngoc Lan to know the answers to.  For those devoted fans who have followed Ngoc Lan's career closely through the years, you should have no problem answering these trivia questions.

  1. When Ngoc Lan resettled in Southern California in 1982, what was the name of the music production label that she first recorded professionally for?  A) Asia Productions  B) Da Lan  C) Doi Magazine  D) Lang Van  E) Giang Ngoc 
  2. During the 1980s, what was the name of the first major nightclub that Ngoc Lan had become an exclusive weekly peformer at for an entire year?  A) Majestic  B) Diamond  C) Dem Mau Hong  D) Ritz  E) Au Baccara
  3. Ngoc Lan had recorded duets with a lot of male artists during the 1980s and 1990s.  Which one of these male artists did she not ever record a duet with?  A) Duy Quang  B) Don Ho  C) Trinh Nam Son  D) Lam Nhat Tien  E) Nhat Truong
  4. What was Ngoc Lan's best selling studio album during the 1980s?  A) Tieng Hat Ngoc Lan  B) Nguoi Yeu Dau  C) L'amour Tinh Ta  D) Tinh Xanh  E) Nhu Em Da Yeu Anh
  5. Ngoc Lan had also recorded many duets with other female artists?  Which one of these female singers did Ngoc Lan record the most duets with?  A) Kieu Nga  B) Khanh Ha  C) Nhu Mai  D) Huong Lan  E) Julie Quang
  6. Ngoc Lan had come from a large family.  Including herself, how many children did her parents have altogether?  A) 10  B) 12  C) 6  D) 8  E) 11
  7. Among her siblings, Ngoc Lan was ..... A) the fifth eldest.  B) the eldest.  C) the second eldest.  D) the third eldest.  E) the youngest.
  8. In 1990, May Productions released Ngoc Lan's ground-breaking first solo music videotape which consisted of beautifully shot music videos for five of her recorded songs.  What was the title of her first solo videotape?  A) Ngoc Lan in Hollywood  B) Nhu Em Da Yeu Anh  C) Khi Co Chang  D) Lai Gan Hon Em  E) Ngoc Lan on Video
  9. During her career as a professional singer, Ngoc Lan toured extensively and performed in concert for live audiences in many different countries all over the world.  Ironically, there was one country where her fans never did get to see her perform live in concert.  Which country was that?  A) United States  B) Australia  C) Canada  D) France  E) Vietnam
  10. How old was Ngoc Lan when she passed?  A) 32  B) 50  C) 44  D) 36  E) 40
So how did you do with that last set of ten questions?  I told you they were going to be harder than those first five.  Well, if you had no trouble answering all ten of those questions, I must say then that you are definitely a devoted fan.  Actually, if you were able to answer at least half out of the ten questions, I'll say you still qualify as a devoted fan of Ngoc Lan.  How many of you are courageous enough to move onto the final set of questions?  If you can answer these next five questions without any problems at all, then you have my total respect.  You would then not only be considered either a truly devoted fan of Ngoc Lan or even an expert about her, but a qualified obsessive Ngoc Lan fanatic like myself.  Not to worry, it's alright to be one.  I should know, I've been an obsessive Ngoc Lan fanatic for years and proud of it.  

Ngoc Lan Trivia - Part 3:

All I can say is, good luck on these last five questions, friends!

  1. What was the name of Ngoc Lan's very first recorded song?  A) Nguoi Yeu Dau  B) Nang Chieu  C) Mua Dong Cua Anh  D) Lo Mai Sau  E) Oh, Mon Amour
  2. Ngoc Lan's debut solo studio album, Tieng Hat Ngoc Lan, consisted mostly of covers she recorded of popular French songs and Vietnamese ballads.  Only one out of the twelve songs on this album had never been recorded before by any other artist.  It was a Vietnamese song written by a former beauty queen who had been crowned as Miss Vietnam - USA in the Hoa Hau Ao Dai Long Beach beauty pageant in the early 1980s.  What was the name of that song and who was the songwriter?  A) Sao Danh Xa Em written by Marguarite Pham  B) Sa Mac Tinh Yeu written by Khuc Lan C) Hay Den Voi Em written by Giang Ngoc  D) Song Xuan written by Que Phuong  E) Con Yeu written by Cam Van
  3. Ngoc Lan's height has been exaggerated to as tall as 5' 8" by some unreliable sources, yet in reality, she was anything but 5' 8".  How tall was she?  A) 5' 6"  B) 5' 4"  C) 5' 3"  D) 5' 2"  E) Under 5 feet tall
  4. During the 1980s, long before Ngoc Lan had gotten married to Kelvin Khoa, she had been romantically linked to a famous Vietnamese-American saxophone player and musician.  What was his name?  A) Vu Anh Tuan  B) Tuan Duc  C) Thanh Lam  D) Trung Nghia  E) Truc Ho
  5. Ngoc Lan's first album, Tieng Hat Ngoc Lan, was released in 1986 available in the form of audio cassette.  A couple of years after, it would be reprinted and re-released available in the form of compact disc by the production label, Doi Magazine.  Which production label had released it back in 1986 available in the form of audio cassette?  A) Giang Ngoc  B) Da Lan  C) Asia Productions  D) Lang Van  E) Ngoc Lan

If you had no trouble coming up with answers to all 20 Ngoc Lan Trivia questions, I seriously tip my hat to you.  Way to go!   But if you did have trouble answering these questions, relax, that doesn't disqualify you as a fan of Ngoc Lan.  Who am I to say you are a fan or aren't a fan of Ngoc Lan anyway?  The fact that you've taken this trivia.... Actually, the fact that you've taken the time to visit this blog site, for that matter, already shows that you certainly are a true fan of our beloved Ngoc Lan.

Answers to Ngoc Lan Trivia - Part 1 Questions:
1. D  2. C  3. B  4. A  5. B
Answers to Ngoc Lan Trivia - Part 2 Questions:
1. B  2. D  3. D  4. B  5. A  6. D  7. A  8. B  9. E  10. C
Answers to Ngoc Lan Trivia - Part 3 Questions:
1. D  2. D  3. E  4. C  5. E

Friday, May 8, 2015

Ngoc Lan on Viet Celeb's List of 50 Most Beautiful

It's really of no surprise that our beloved Ngoc Lan is listed on Viet Celeb's 50 Most Beautiful Vietnamese Women of All Time.  There's no question Ngoc Lan was indeed quite beautiful.  To many of Ngoc Lan's fans, she has even been considered as the most beautiful Vietnamese woman ever.  I must say that I agree with many of Ngoc Lan's fans.  She was very beautiful both inside and out.

Here are some more photos to display Ngoc Lan's beauty.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

10,000 Hits! Yay!

We've done it, my friends.  Ngoc Lan Remembered today has reached a total of 10,000 hits.  That's amazing!  Thanks to all for your viewership.  We certainly couldn't have done it without you.  There are many more stories to come.  Please continue reading.  Love always, Thien Phu 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Julie Quang Remembers Ngoc Lan

Last month was the 14th anniversary of Ngoc Lan's passing.  Tran Quoc Bao of The Gioi Nghe Si Magazine had put together stories written by many Vietnamese singers about their memories working together with our beloved Ngoc Lan.  There was one particular story written by singer Julie Quang that I had found to be quite compelling.  In her story, Julie writes about her memories shared with Ngoc Lan during a trip where they had traveled together to Montreal, Canada to shoot volume 12 of the live show music video series produced by Asia Entertainment.  This would be the live show taping where Ngoc Lan had performed the song, Con Duong Toi Ve, written by Le Tin Huong.  Julie was there to perform in a medley of French songs together with Thanh Lan and Jo Marcel.

This was a rather touching story as Julie describes in detail the difficulties Ngoc Lan had to endure during this trip due to the advanced stages of multiple sclerosis.  This was also the time when Ngoc Lan's eye sight was starting to fail.  Julie recalls seeing Ngoc Lan in tears after being interviewed by a radio program during the morning prior to the taping of the show.  Apparently, the interview had entailed questions asked to Ngoc Lan about her health.   It was really disheartening to read about Ngoc Lan's struggles.

Julie Quang
I really liked how Julie had described Ngoc Lan as being well-mannered, beautiful and sweet.  It just goes to show that Ngoc Lan was beloved not only among her fans, but her colleagues, as well.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ngoc Lan on PBN

When we think of Ngoc Lan in music videos, naturally May Productions would most likely be the first production company that would come to mind due to her lengthy association with the label and the two very memorable solo videotapes of Ngoc Lan that had been released in the early 1990s.  Asia Productions would probably come second in terms of a production company associated with Ngoc Lan's appearances in music videos.  It is only fair to say that Ngoc Lan's work on her first two solo music videotapes produced by May Productions truly revolutionized the Vietnamese music video production industry setting higher standards in quality.  The enormous success from both of Ngoc Lan's solo music videotapes produced by May Productions undoubtedly enabled the label to launch the Hollywood Night series in the early 1990s, in which its popularity for a number of years really had given the Paris by Night series produced by Thuy Nga Paris a serious run for its money.  With each volume of Paris by Night that Thuy Nga Paris was dishing out during those years in the early 1990s, May Productions would immediately right behind them coming out with a new volume of the Hollywood Night series with just as wide of viewer audience reception.  The competition between the two labels was quite stiff as the performances of each of their products out in the market were really neck and neck.  But then right around the mid 1990s, another competitor joined in on the race, Asia Productions.  Like the saying goes, only the strong survive.  That was the case with this war between Thuy Nga Paris, Asia Productions and May Productions.   Despite having Ngoc Lan on their lineup of regular performers along with the recruitment of several top players from the Paris by Night stage such as Lynda Trang Dai, Huong Lan, Y Lan, Tuan Ngoc and Nguyen Cao Ky Duyen, May Productions couldn't stand up to the fierce competition against Thuy Nga Paris and Asia Productions by the mid 1990s.  Following the downfall of May Productions, their biggest star, Ngoc Lan, would venture out and collaborate with Asia Productions as well as Thuy Nga Paris to make appearances on each of the production companies' live show music video series.  This move by Thuy Nga Paris of recruiting Ngoc Lan onto the lineup of Paris by Night performers came as of no
Ngoc Lan's Debut Appearance on Paris by Night
Performing Duc Huy's Mua Xuan Trong Doi Mat Em 
surprise.  Afterall, Ngoc Lan was one of the most bankable recording artists among overseas Vietnamese singers.  Since Thuy Nga Paris has been the most prolific overseas Vietnamese music production label with its extremely successful Paris by Night series which has served as the primary stage for overseas Vietnamese entertainers featuring all the biggest names, why wouldn't Ngoc Lan be recruited?  Ngoc Lan certainly ranks as one of the biggest names ever among overseas Vietnamese singers.

Ngoc Lan on Paris by Night
 performing Con Mua Trong Doi
Ngoc Lan's tenure at Thuy Nga Paris, although brief lasting only from 1995-1996, would, however, entail performances on the Paris by Night stage that have been considered to be some of her most memorable.  Contrary to her performances on Hollywood Night, we see a more mature Ngoc Lan on the Paris by Night series.  The songs she had selected to appear on video for Thuy Nga Paris were more heartfelt and geared specifically toward a more mature adult viewer audience.  All five of her appearances on Paris by Night, Ngoc Lan was seen singing ballads.  Even her style of dress had changed.  Ngoc Lan would be seen wearing elegant evening gowns in all but one out of the five music videos for Thuy Nga which was a far cry from the days when she was either dressed in shorts singing and dancing to Joe le Taxi with a group of back-up dancers on the Hollywood Night stage or better yet, when she was dancing around in a lake dressed in a gothic all-black dress and wearing a hat in her music video of Johnny, Johnny.  It's not that she didn't look cute back in those earlier videos.  She certainly did.  But Ngoc Lan was an artist with enough wisdom to know how to dress and appear in a style that is age appropriate.  During the time of Ngoc Lan's collaboration with Thuy Nga Paris, although still quite beautiful, she was by then approaching 40.  She was fully aware that her days of being seen in skimpy shorts singing and dancing on stage to bubble gum music were well over and that a more sophisticated look and sound were evidently the appropriate image for her to now take on.  As it turned out, Ngoc Lan's calculations were dead on.  And because of that, she would only further gain the respect and adoration of her huge following of fans.

Ngoc Lan looking very sexy
while singing Duy Quang's Kiep Dam Me on Paris by Night  
All five of the songs that Ngoc Lan had performed on Paris by Night were nothing short of phenomenal beginning with her debut appearance on the series on Volume 33 with the song, Mua Xuan Trong Doi Mat Em.  Since this is a tune penned by Duc Huy, what other singer would be more well suited to record this song than our beloved Ngoc Lan, herself?  Ngoc Lan's performance of Kiep Dam Me was just flawless.  She looked incredibly sexy in that dress.  After hearing her rendition, I must say no other singer could even match Ngoc Lan's interpretation of this beautiful, heartbreaking ballad penned by her friend, the legendary singer/songwriter Duy Quang.  In Em Ve Nao Co Hay, written by composer Hoang Trong Thuy, Ngoc Lan really pours her heart and soul into the song.  Again, I can't think of another singer's version of that song I'd rather listen to.  Con Mua Trong Doi, a song that was originally written in Japanese and given Vietnamese lyrics written by Khuc Lan, was another flawless performance from Ngoc Lan on Paris by Night.  And finally, my favorite of them all, Ngoc Lan's performance of Trinh Nam Son's Ve Day Em clearly exemplified why I had become a devoted fan of hers.  Ngoc Lan's delivery of this song was gentle and sweet, yet passionate and full of emotion.  I still get chills everytime I watch this video on YouTube.

Ngoc Lan and Ve Day Em on Paris by Night
I wish Ngoc Lan's tenure on Thuy Nga Paris had been a longer one.  As a matter of fact, I wish Ngoc Lan's life and career had been longer.  It is rather difficult to accept how such a great artist who was so beautiful and talented like our beloved Ngoc Lan is no longer with us.  But at least we still have her music and videos to remember her by.  The legend of Ngoc Lan definitely still lives on. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

What Exactly Is Multiple Sclerosis?

The disease that had taken our beloved Ngoc Lan's life, as we all know now, was called multiple sclerosis.  For many of us, prior to Ngoc Lan's passing, we had probably never heard of this disease before.  I, myself, had heard vaguely about the disease in the past when it had affected a few famous people, mainstream American celebrities such as Annette Funicello and Richard Pryor.  But I really hadn't made much of an effort to learn about the disease, mostly because of the old cliché that it hadn't really hit close to home yet.

Many other people of Asian descent, such as myself, have also shared the same apathy that I had had about multiple sclerosis.  I've learned that perhaps it is quite understandable why multiple sclerosis might not be much of a concern with people of either Asian or African descent, since the disease has been known to affect mostly victims belonging to the Caucasian race, especially those of Scandinavian ancestry.  It seems like multiple sclerosis is more rampant among people from regions of the world that are far away from the equator.  Since Vietnam is a country situated just slightly above the equator, there hasn't been many, if any, cases of multiple sclerosis documented in Vietnam since the initial discovery of the disease by French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot in 1868.  The disease is not hereditary nor is it contagious.  The fact that someone like Ngoc Lan, a Vietnamese, had come down with multiple sclerosis could mean that the disease can be caused by environmental factors and not necessarily because of one's ethnic origin.  Think about it, if Ngoc Lan had spent her entire life living in Vietnam or in places of tropical, warmer climates, rather than having relocated to places like Minnesota and even here in Southern California, perhaps she would have never been stricken with multiple sclerosis.  Of course, that's all based on a "maybe" or a "perhaps".

What causes multiple sclerosis remains unknown to this day.  But what doctors do know about the disease is that it is a neurological disorder that is a result of an inflammatory infection of the brain which causes the one's own immune system to attack itself.  There is no cure for the disease.  However, the earlier the detection of multiple sclerosis and the sooner one starts to seek treatment for the disease, the greater the chances one has in possibly prolonging his or her life.  Although the amount treatment that is now available for victims stricken with multiple sclerosis is rather limited, it can make a big difference the earlier a person is diagnosed.  The symptoms range from anything such as fatigue or feeling unusually tired to having sudden bouts of pain or nausea without any reasonable cause.  In Ngoc Lan's case, she wasn't properly diagnosed with having multiple sclerosis for several years and therefor, she did not receive any treatment until the disease had already taken over.

Ngoc Lan's untimely death is indeed a tragedy. The fact that the cause of her death was multiple sclerosis, a disease that rarely any other Vietnamese has ever been diagnosed with, given how she was so well known has helped raise awareness of the disease and that she did not die in vain. We now know that the disease can affect just about everyone, and that nobody is immune to it.  For those of us that did love Ngoc Lan, after learning about multiple sclerosis and what can be done once diagnosed it's difficult for anyone of us not to wonder, just what if?  For more information about this disease, contact the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America with the link below.


Multiple Sclerosis Association of America

Monday, March 2, 2015

Did You Know That Ngoc Lan Could Also Sing in Chinese?

When we think of Ngoc Lan and the several different languages that she could sing in other than Vietnamese, the first language that would come to mind would naturally be French with all of the beautiful French love songs she had recorded throughout her career.  We all loved Ngoc Lan's covers of French love songs not just because her pronunciation in French was rather good, but more so because of how she was able to put her heart and soul into the music with each recording.  She could easily just break your heart with her somber, yet sweet voice that just seemed perfect for such easy listening, romantic French ballads with the most beautifully written sad lyrics.  I still get goose bumps everytime I listen to Ngoc Lan's rendition of Je Pense Encore à Lui that was featured on her first solo studio album.  That was probably one of the most heartfelt performances I've ever heard.  Of course, there are countless others such as Vivre Pour Toi, Mourir Pour Toi, Viens M'embrasser, Ne Laisses Pas Ma Vie Sans Toi, and pretty much any of the rest of the songs she had recorded on her third solo studio album, L'amour Tinh Ta.  The songs she had selected along with her deliveries on that album were nothing short of perfection.  I could go on and on about Ngoc Lan and the long list of French songs she had recorded which I loved so much.  But this article is about another language that Ngoc Lan was able to sing in other than Vietnamese.  I'm not talking about English.  We all know our beloved Ngoc Lan had made many efforts to sing in English during her career, and although her English was pretty good as she was able to speak, read and write in English pretty well, when she sang in English, she just couldn't get beyond her thick Vietnamese accent.  That was rather odd, when I think about it, because when she spoke in English, she barely had any accent at all.  The language that Ngoc Lan was able to sing in that I find to be rather shocking was Chinese.  When we think of Vietnamese singers that were able to sing in Chinese, singers like Kim Anh, Tuan Dat, Lucia Kim Chi and Thai Doanh Doanh pop up in our minds.  Afterall, these singers are of Chinese descent and are able to speak Chinese.  But not Ngoc Lan.

During the era sometime in the 1980s, Chinese dramas had become so popular with Vietnamese people, as a matter of fact throughout all of Asia, this period became known as the Chinese Wave.  The Korean Wave is now in effect with the popularity of Korean dramas.  Haven't you noticed how a lot of Vietnamese are now listening to Korean music?  Well, during the Chinese Wave, many Vietnamese singers jumped on the band wagon and started to sing in Chinese.  Among them were Elvis Phuong, Kieu Nga, Hai Ly, Julie Quang, billed simply as Julie,  and even our own beloved Ngoc Lan.

I've found three songs that Ngoc Lan had recorded in Chinese.  The first was a song featured on Asia Productions' third volume cassette, Da Vu Xanh.  The name of the song in Vietnamese was Cung La Buon.  I wasn't too crazy about the song.  But I did, however, like Ngoc Lan's vocals on it.  I found it a bit surprising to hear Ngoc Lan sing in Chinese the first time I heard it.  The other two were released by Da Lan.  One of them was a song she had recorded on a compilation album entitled as Co Gai Do Long, which consisted of 12 popular Chinese love songs recorded by various Vietnamese artists such as Tuan Anh, Huong Lan, Kieu Nga, Luu Hong, Nhu Mai, Tuan Dat, Duy Quang, Hai Ly and Bich Ha.  The Vietnamese title for the song Ngoc Lan had recorded on this album was Dong Song Ly Biet 2.  I especially loved this song.  Ngoc Lan did an excellent job with this recording.  I don't speak any Chinese, myself, to know whether her pronunciation was good or not.  But the other day, one of my good friends, Richard, who is Chinese was listening to it.  He smiled a bit.  When I asked him what he thought of her pronunciation, he just said he thought it was very cute.  By the way, there is one other track on Co Gai Do Long that is worth mentioning.  Singer Luu Hong had recorded a track featured on this album entitled as Lau Dai Tinh Ai which really took my breath away the first time I listened to it.  I still get goose bumps whenever I listen to Luu Hong's outstanding performance with this song.  I'd say out of all the tracks featured on Co Gai Do Long, the two tracks recorded by Luu Hong and Ngoc Lan really made the entire album.  The last out of the three songs that Ngoc Lan had recorded partially in Chinese was featured on Da Lan Volume 22:  Nhac Phim Bo Chon Loc.  Like the previously mentioned compilation album released under the Da Lan label, this album would also consist of 12 tracks, all of which were covers of popular Chinese love songs.  Ngoc Lan had recorded two tracks on this album; a duet track with Vu Khanh, Tron Kiep Yeu Nguoi, and a solo track, Cuoc Doi Phu Du, in which she had recorded about half of the song in Mandarin.  I neither cared much for her delivery of this song, the melody of the song nor the Vietnamese lyrics that had been written for Ngoc Lan to record.  As a matter of fact, this entire album was rather disappointing.  Despite the impressive lineup of various artists featured on this compilation album which included Vu Khanh, Ngoc Lan, Kieu Nga, Duy Quang, Nhu Mai, Mai Huong, Thanh Phong, Luu Hong, Hai Ly, Thanh Mai, Tuan Vu, Kim Tuyen, Tuan Anh and Bich Ha, the entire production just seemed like a sham.  I tried my best to listen to the entire album from beginning to end, and I couldn't even come up with the slightest compliment for anything.  Not the sound quality, photo cover, vocals, arrangements, song selections were even of mentioning.  Overall, the quality level of production for this album was poor.  If it were to be given a grade, I would give it a C minus only because I'm rather generous.  It should really get a D grade.  

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Paris Van Doi (Paris Still Awaits) - Ngoc Lan and Kieu Nga Duet Album

For many of us die hard Ngoc Lan fans, we really loved it whenever she had teamed up with Kieu Nga on their many duets recorded together.  During the latter years of the 1980s, when it came to the Vietnamese music genre known as Nhac Tre, there was no doubt that Ngoc Lan and Kieu Nga were the two most celebrated divas.  When May Productions had released this album in 1990, I was sort of displeased with the mediocre level of production.  In a way, it seemed like a rehashed version of the magic that Ngoc Lan and Kieu Nga had once captured in their earlier recordings with Asia Productions and Nguoi Dep Binh Duong years ago.  I'd have to say that I enjoyed listening to Ngoc Lan and Kieu Nga's earlier duet album released by Nguoi Dep Binh Duong back in 1988, Khong Can Noi Yeu Em, a lot more despite how its less elaborate arrangements and promotion efforts.  They both sounded much more natural and much more energy in the deliveries of the songs recorded.

In Paris Van Doi (Paris Still Awaits), a lot of the songs they had selected seemed like variations of songs they had each recorded before, only scrambled among one another, or by other Vietnamese singers on compilation albums they each had appeared on.  For example, there was En Courant, in which Kieu Nga had recorded for Nguoi Dep Binh Duong a couple years prior.  Johnny Johnny was another one Kieu Nga had recorded for Asia Productions.  And L'amour à la Plage that had been recorded by Julie , also known as Julie Quang on a compilation album that Kieu Nga had also been featured on released by Kim Ngan years ago.

I can't say that Paris Van Doi wasn't enjoyable to listen to.  It was.  But I had expected so much more.  If anything, the album is worth listening to just because it was an album that featured two of our favorites, Ngoc Lan and Kieu Nga, and for one other reason, the classic duet track, Toi Jamais.  That track alone makes the entire album worth listening to.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Ngoc Lan Vs. Cam Ly

Many people have taken notice of the similarities between the voices of Ngoc Lan and Cam Ly.  I must admit there are indeed similarities between the two of them.  I especially like Cam Ly's version of Nang Chieu.  There's a timber in Cam Ly's voice that is quite reminiscent of Ngoc Lan's.  I've never met Cam Ly in person to ask her what she thinks of Ngoc Lan.  I'm sure Ngoc Lan must be one of her idols for Cam Ly to sound so much like her at times.

Cam Ly has certainly become one of the most popular singers of Vietnam today.  But can she replace Ngoc Lan?  I don't think so.  Ngoc Lan will always be my idol.  For those who idolize Ngoc Lan as much as I do, I'm sure they would feel the same.  

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Author's Selection of 10 Other Personal Favorite Ngoc Lan Songs

When it comes to choosing my favorite Ngoc Lan songs, I must say that there are so many.  Here are some of the songs that weren't as popular that Ngoc Lan had recorded, yet are some of my favorites of all time.

1/ Hai Loi - This was a song Ngoc Lan had recorded on an album entitled Trai Sau Dau, which was a collection of songs written and composed by Hoang Thuong Dung and Chau Dinh An.  There were quite a few great tracks on this album, as it had featured some of the biggest names among overseas Vietnamese singers at the time such as Khanh Ly, who had recorded the title track in addition to a duet with Chau Dinh An on another track, Elvis Phuong, Huong Lan, Le Thu, Duy Quang, Thanh Thuy and Nhu Mai.  Of course, Hai Loi recorded by Ngoc Lan would be my favorite track from this album.  The way she had delivered this song was as close to perfection as one could possibly get.  She gave a really heartfelt and clean performance with her vocals here.  No music video was made for this song.  However, there is a website where this song is accessible,

2/ Duong Ve Son Cuoc - Produced and released by Ngoc Minh, this is a pleasant tune Ngoc Lan had recorded on an album entitled, Nu Cuoi Son Cuoc, in 1988.

3/ Hoa Lan - Ngoc Lan had recorded this album for Doi Magazine in 1987.  This was featured on a compilation with various other artists that included Jo Marcel, Kieu Nga, Huong Lan, Hai Ly and Lynda Trang Dai, entitled as Da Vu Bien. 

4/ Ao Anh - This popular tune that was written by Y Van was recorded by Ngoc Lan in an album produced and released by Da Lan in 1987 entitled as, Da Vu Nho. 

5/ Ngat Ngay Ben Anh (Je M'envole) - Ngoc Lan had recorded this French classic originally made popular by chanteuse, Nicole Rieu, on an album produced by Trung Hanh for Nguoi Dep Binh Duong, entitled as Nhac Phap Tru Tinh - Les Chansons D'amour in 1988.  This album included a compilation of various artists such as Elvis Phuong, Julie (formerly known as Julie Quang), Minh Xuan, Kieu Nga and Trung Hanh.

6/ Gui Em Hanh Ly - A heartfelt song that had touched the hearts of many Vietnamnese-Americans on the topic of being away from their homeland, Ngoc Lan did an excellent job with this recording.  A television music video had been made for this song on Vietnam Performing Arts Television.  This song had been produced and released by Da Lan.  Today, this song is available on YouTube.

7/ Phu Du - Written by Phan Kien, Ngoc Lan had recorded this song on a duet album with Duy Quang, Bien Mong, released by Kim Ngan Productions in 1987.

8/ Bong Nho Giao Duong - This is one of those classic songs written by Phuong Linh that Ngoc Lan had recorded that I could listen to over and over again and never get sick of.  Luckily, this song is available today on YouTube.

9/ La Derniere Valse -  Ngoc Lan did an incredible job covering this Mireille Mathieu classic on Asia Productions Volume 7 Da Vu Vang.  As with most of the earliest compilation albums produced by Asia Productions, on this album Ngoc Lan would be in the company of other great French-language Vietnamese singers such as Julie, Kieu Nga, Elvis Phuong, Minh Xuan and Billy Shane, who had often recorded French songs as part of a duo with Duy Quang.  There was one thing different that had set this particular album apart from all the others produced by Asia Productions during the time.  And that was, all of the tracks were linked together, a feature called non-stop dancing, which made it sound like one long medley of six different songs bunched up together on each side of the audio cassette.  This made it a pain if you had wanted to pick out only some of the tracks on this album to record onto a blank cassette of your own personal favorite songs.  I know that making such copies were technically in violation of copyright laws since they would be considered as unauthorized duplications.  But who didn't do that back then?  And besides, we weren't turning around and selling these songs after copying them onto a blank cassette.  This was just a way of weeding out the good tracks from the not so good ones, which was often the case in many of these compilation albums featuring various artists that were out in the market back then.  By the way, this song is now available on YouTube.

10/ Thang 6 Troi Mua - Diem Xua Productions had produced this song recorded by Ngoc Lan.  Too bad no music video had been made for this song.  I think she did this song better than anyone else.

There you have it.  These are 10 of my personal favorite songs recorded by our beloved Ngoc Lan.  Tell me some of yours.  

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Ngoc Lan, the Lyricist

We all know what a tremendous singer our beloved Ngoc Lan was, but did any of you know what a talented lyricist she was, as well?

The first time I had heard some of Ngoc Lan's works as a lyricist was on her album, Nguoi Yeu Dau.  Like many others, I was deeply enchanted with the song, Hoi Nguoi Tinh.  Recently, singer Thanh Ha had pointed out that this had been one of her favorite songs and that although the song was not originally a Vietnamese composition, the lyrics are so well written that it seems like an original Vietnamese song.  I'd have to agree with Thanh Ha.  On this same album, Ngoc Lan had also penned the lyrics to two other songs, Tinh Nhu Giac Mo and Nguoi.  

Through the years, Ngoc Lan has penned the Vietnamese lyrics to many other French and Chinese tunes.  One of my favorites is Ngay Vui Nam Ay (Magic Boulevard).  I like how in particular Ngoc Lan doesn't try to literally translate the song into Vietnamese lyrics, but gives it a story of her own.  The same was done with Mua He Nam Ay.  However, in her album, L'amour Tinh Ta, Ngoc Lan did write Vietnamese lyrics to several French songs that were quite literal in translation, yet also turned out to sound quite poetic and meaningful.  I particularly liked Tat Ca Cho Anh (Vivre Pour Toi, Mourir Pour Toi), Con Mai (Encore), and Dung Xa Nhau (Ne Laisses Pas Ma Vie Sans Toi).

Ngoc Lan's lyrics are quite heart wrenching and usually tell a story of either unrequited or lost loves.
That gives me the impression that perhaps she was a very sentimental person who had experienced quite a bit of sadness in her personal life.  What are some of your favorite songs written by Ngoc Lan?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Author's Selection of Ngoc Lan's 5 Best Music Videos

Just like every fan of Ngoc Lan's, I immensely enjoy watching her music videos for obvious reasons.  Not only did Ngoc Lan have a beautiful voice, she was also extremely beautiful.  There was something about her that the camera just loved.  She had a certain charm about her that made her videos really likable.

Here are the five videos I've selected as my favorites of Ngoc Lan's.  It was really difficult to narrow down to just five.  Also, I couldn't decide which one was my absolute favorite, so these five videos are listed in no particular order.  Share with me which are your favorite Ngoc Lan videos.

1.  Khi Co Chang (Je Ne Suis Que de L'amour):  In this video, Ngoc Lan displays her acting abilities.  Just when she's crying, everybody watching just cries with her.  She looked beautiful in every scene.  I really liked her choice of wardrobes in this video.

2.  Doi Cho:  This is a personal favorite.  Or shall I say, a guilty pleasure?  I loved this video for its cornyness.  The storyline really doesn't make sense.  But it's just too delicious to pass up, watching Ngoc Lan dance in the studio, in the lake, as well as on the ramp of some building.  I've always wondered what would Jeanne Mas think if she ever saw this video of Ngoc Lan's rendition to her hit song, Johnny, Johnny.

3.  Joe Le Taxi:  Ngoc Lan looked so sexy in shorts dancing with dancers on the Hollywood Night stage.  This is a fun song.  She certainly looked like she had fun making this video.

4.  Mua He Nam Ay:  I must say Ngoc Lan had great taste when it came to fashion.  I loved the blue evening gown she wore on this music video.  And how the production crew came up with the special effects at the end of the song with Ngoc Lan disappearing into thin air was just genius.  I wonder if members in the live audience were able to enjoy this special effect, as well.

5.  Mua Thu Ru Em (Autumn Lullaby):  As with most other songs written by Duc Huy that Ngoc Lan had recorded, her vocals with this song is nothing short of fantastic.  As for the music video she had made for this song, I'd have to say this was probably the most artistic out of all of Ngoc Lan's music videos ever.  I especially liked how natural she looked.  Despite how she was not dressed in a glamorous evening gown, her natural beauty made her even more radiant.  I'd say this was the best music video on her second solo music videotape, Mat Troi Ben Kia Mua Ha (Sunny on the Other Side).

Well, there you have it.  Those are my five favorite Ngoc Lan videos.  Which ones are your favorites?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wishing Our Beloved Ngoc Lan Happy Birthday Posthumously

This past December 28th would have been our beloved Ngoc Lan's 58th birthday.  It's hard to believe when I think about it.  I wonder how she would look like today if she had not been taken from us.

Last week I went with a friend to go visit her grave site.  It was an emotional experience for me.  This was the first time I had been there since her funeral almost 14 years ago.  When I arrived at the cemetery, I went to the front office to ask where exactly her grave site was located.  It has been a long time.  I still had a pretty idea where it was,  but there are so many that I really didn't have the time to be walking around searching.  When asked by the reception desk, I gave them the name Maria Thanh Lan Le since that was her real name.  Nobody had any idea who that was.  Then I looked at this Vietnamese man who was also a worker there and said, "Do you know where singer Ngoc Lan is buried?"  Right away, he pulled out what looked like a brochure from his desk drawer that had her photograph printed on it along with a map to where her grave site is located.  I then asked if people still visited her grave site often.  His response was, "Yes, her grave site is probably the most asked about since I've worked here."  In a strange way, that made me happy.

Even with the map, it wasn't easy to find.  I walked over to the region where she is buried and I still couldn't find it.  Just when I was about to give up, I looked up and said aloud, "Chi Lan, where are you?"  And then as I turned, I saw her picture at her grave site.  I was amazed.  It was as if she heard me.

There were no flowers at her grave site that day.  I was rather surprised.  I sat down and started to cry.  I said, "Chi Lan, it's me, Phu.  I always wanted to tell you thank you for all that you had taught me.  I love you very much.  Happy birthday!"

Just then I couldn't take it anymore and so I left.  I hate talking about her death.  A part of me still wants to believe she is still here with us.