‘I Am What I Am’ by Leslie Cheung

artist Leslie Cheung

April 1st was the 9th anniversary of famous Chinese singer Leslie Cheung‘s death from suicide. In 2010, a CNN poll placed Leslie Cheung as the 3rd most iconic musician of all time, behind Michael Jackson and The Beatles and ahead of Elvis Presley and Bob Marley.

Song and Music Video:

Composer: Leslie Cheung/Zhang Guorong
Lyricist: Albert Leung/Lin Xi
Singer: Leslie Cheung/Zhang Guorong

Lyrics (Original Chinese, Pinyin Romanization, and English Translation):

I am what I am

wo3 yong3 yuan3 dou1 ai4 zhe4 yang4 de wo3
I’ll always love the way I am

快乐是 快乐的方式不只一种
kuai4 le4 shi4 kuai4 le4 de fang1 shi4 bu4 zhi3 yi4 zhong3
Happiness is that there’s more than one way to be happy

最荣幸是 谁都是造物者的光荣
zui4 rong2 xing4 shi4 shui2 dou1 shi4 zao4 wu4 zhe3 de guang1 rong2
The biggest glory is that everyone is the Creator’s glory

不用闪躲 为我喜欢的生活而活
bu2 yong4 shan3 duo3 wei4 wo3 xi3 huan1 de sheng1 huo2 er2 huo2
No need to hide, I live for the life that I like

不用粉墨 就站在光明的角落
bu2 yong4 fen3 mo4 jiu4 zhan4 zai4 guang1 ming2 de jiao3 luo4
No need to disguise, I’ll just stand in the bright corner


我就是我 是颜色不一样的烟火
wo3 jiu4 shi4 wo3 shi4 yan2 se4 bu4 yi2 yang4 de yan1 huo3
I am what I am, means being a firework of a different color

天空海阔 要做最坚强的泡沫
tian1 kong1 hai3 kuo4 yao4 zuo4 zui4 jian1 qiang2 de pao4 mo4
The sky is wide and the ocean is broad, means being the strongest bubble

我喜欢我 让蔷薇开出一种结果
wo3 xi3 huan1 wo3 rang4 qiang2 wei1 kai1 chu1 yi4 zhong3 jie2 guo3
I like what I am. May the rose blossom into what it wants

孤独的沙漠里 一样盛放的赤裸裸
gu1 du2 de sha1 mo4 li3 yi2 yang4 sheng4 fang4 de chi4 luo2 luo2
Even in a lonely dessert, may it still blossom with no reservation

多么高兴 在琉璃屋中快乐生活
duo1 me gao1 xing4 zai4 liu2 li2 wu1 zhong1 kuai4 le4 sheng1 huo2
How happy it is to enjoy life in a colored glass house

对世界说 甚么是光明和磊落
dui4 shi4 jie4 shuo1 shen2 me shi4 guang1 ming2 he2 lei3 luo4
Telling the world, what is to be candid and upright, open and honest



Leslie Cheung in the movies:

A Chinese Ghost Story 1987

A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)IMDBAmazon


Rouge (1988)IMDBAmazon

Days of Being Wild

Days of Being Wild (1990)IMDBAmazon

All's Well, Ends Well

All’s Well, Ends Well (1992)IMDBAmazon

Farewell My Concubine

Farewell My Concubine (1993)IMDBAmazon

The Eagle Shooting Heroes

The Eagle Shooting Heroes (1993)IMDBAmazon

Ashes of Time

Ashes of Time (1994)IMDBAmazon

The Phantom Lover

The Phantom Lover (1995)IMDBAmazon

Happy Together

Happy Together (1997)IMDBAmazon

Moonlight Express

Moonlight Express (1999)IMDBAmazon

Inner Senses

Inner Senses (2002)IMDBAmazon

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  • The Shadow Knows

    I feel weird for claiming sofa for this post. I’ll just claim the DVD player and the hot tub, ok?

  • The Shadow Knows

    Oh, yeah..back on topic…I did like “Days of Being Wild”. Then again, I’m a Wong Kar-Wai fan….

    • blues

      Ashes of Time for me,
      left a huge impression on me

  • sm


  • typingfromwork

    Leslie was a fucking legend. His performance alone in Farewell My Concubine deserved all the awards in the world.


  • Cleo

    He had to go because Farewell, My Concubine is one in a long line of Chinese films depicting the Japanese abuses in China where a Chinese collaborator character is a stand-in for the actual Japanese culprits e.g. what really happened to Hu Di is reflected in Christian Bale Nanking movie – my grandfather was a student in China during the war and went to all the movies and everyone KNEW but later Hongkong films representing 1930s courtesans misrepresented WHO was the least welcome customer – they were called Chinese warlords who would return beautiful and sassy women broken and covered in cigarette burns – Carina Lau played one such character but I remember such characters in films in the 1970s as well. The Japanese absolutely did force Chinese entertainers to privately perform for them but with the horrific twist of performing their arts NAKED long before stripper clubs. Our classically trained dancers and musicians were terrified into going to private gatherings of the weapon-wielding Japanese and forced to perform and then were RAPED and then sent home absolutely devastated if they were lucky. Bruce Lee with his films openly decrying Japanese villainy and Leslie BOTH had to fake their deaths and both had to leave behind nonexistent families with Mrs. Bruce Lee remarrying, his only son also faked death and Leslie being recognized as gay hence NO wife and kids to be left behind to be hunted by the “offended” Japanese.

  • XiaoHei

    3rd most iconic? I would have understood if that was in China, but you said it was a CNN poll, which means worldwide. What happened to Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton???

    And, I would like to know more about this Leslie guy.

  • Jack Lu

    There are so many people grieving over his death! He is always in people’s mind! Good singer, actor! We love you!

  • Seu Wha Wang

    I never heard the Leslie Chaung till now in this reading. It is always so very sad to hear of such great young tallant gone out of this world in such a tragic way. People should never be so unhappy. I just wish that Leslie had found a happier world for himself, in God.

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