News Day for Paocai: Taiwanese Singer Frankie Kao Dies at 63, Sang About Kimchi

Like so many pickling terms in Chinese, “paocai” (泡菜, pàocài) refers to more than one thing. Many Chinese speakers hear “paocai” and think of “Korean kimchis” (韩国泡菜). Others associate paocai with Sichuanese lacto-fermented vegetables, usually cabbage or a mix of celery, radish, and peppers. All paocai are fermented, but how they are made and how they taste vary greatly.  To make things more complicated, the “pao” in “paocai” can be used as a verb to mean lacto-fermention or soaking something in water.

But, today I am not interested in discussing Chinese pickling terminology. Today, I’d like to celebrate the life of Frankie Kao (Gāo Língfēng, 高凌風), the Taiwanese pop singer famous for his Elvis-like hip shaking and dance moves. In the ’70s, Chinese-language variety shows were dominated by swaying crooners known for their gentle demeanor. His dancing and dramatic movements contrasted this earlier style and single-handedly earned him the nickname “The Frog Prince”  (青蛙王子 Qīngwā Wángzi).

Much thanks to a WeChat friend who shared his song “Paocai”. The Karaoke music video can be viewed here:

Below, I’ve translated some of the more interesting lyrics:

The Opening
Hey boss, bring me some paocai!
Hey boss, bring me some paocai!
Paocai, paocai, ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo
Paocai, paocai, ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo

The First Stanza:
Once everyone sits around the table,
I can go put myself out there,
My goal is simple! I’m here to help people
Quickly open up their appetite.

My name is Paocai! (x4)
Everybody loves me.
Is that really so weird?

The Second Stanza:
As soon as I’m on the table,
I can see all sorts of people:
Men, women, old, young,
Fat people, skinny people, all kinds of people.


Judging from the wall decorations, Frankie is singing about kimchi. Gotta love the dance moves.

Some obituaries in English and Chinese:
[MSN] Frankie Gao dies from leukemia at 63
[Straits Times] Veteran Taiwanese singer Frankie Kao dies
[Shanghaiist] “The Frog Prince” Frankie Kao dies from cancer

Other songs:
The TV theme song that made Frankie Kao famous, “Big Eyes” (Audio only)
“Fire in Winter” (KTV version)
“Burn Phoenix Burn” (Live 2004)


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