There is a theory that “Rose Rose I love you” was written for Rose Chan. That would not be possible with the original song. She was born in 1925 but in 1940, it was already a popular Mandarin song in Shanghai.
Did Frankie Laine compose the English lyrics for Rose Chan?
The song was recorded in 1951 by Frankie Laine. The lyrics, completely different fromn the Shanghai version, mentions “Flower of Malaya” and ” in a cabaret”.
Rose, Rose I love you with an aching heart.
What is your future, now we have to part?
Standing on the jetty as the steamer moves away,
Flower of Malaya, I cannot stay.
Make way, oh, make way for my Eastern Rose.
Men crowd in dozens everywhere she goes.
In her rickshaw on the street or in a cabaret,
“Please make way for Rose, ” you can hear them say.
However, Rose Chan opened her own show only in 1951 and earned fame only in 1952.
In 1951, Chan opened her own show, The Rose Chan Revue, touring the whole of then-Malaya. The turning point of her career came unexpectedly the following year, and transformed her from a cabaret girl to the “Queen of Striptease” at the age of 27. It happened to be a wardrobe malfunction. While performing at the Majestic Theatre in Ipoh, her brassiere snapped. The enthusiastic applause from the audience caught her by surprise, and set her thinking: “Here I dance all night and sweat so much, and nobody claps. My bra breaks and they clap”.
Spotting a market for snapping-underwear, Chan shot to fame overnight with an act like no other in Malaya. Hence the “Striptease Queen” was born. She was just as quick to earn the “Charity Queen” moniker. Even before her unexpected fame, she had started to do charitable work by dancing in aid of the Nanyang University Fund.
According to Cecil, the hit song, “Rose, Rose, I love you” was actually written for her.
She started her career as a cabaret dancer but eventually her life changed while she was performing at the Majestic Theatre in Ipoh, her brassiere snapped. The enthusiastic applause from the audience caught her by surprise, and set her thinking : Here I dance all night and sweat so much, and nobody claps. My bra breaks and they clap. With that, a famous Queen of striptease was born.
Significantly, Ipoh was Roseís transition point. The young Wai Cheng adopted the stage name Rose Chan following a furious argument with her sister.
No Bed of Roses: The Rose Chan Story
2013. Areca Books.
Softcover, 19.9cm x 13cm, 279 pages
Rose Chan (nee Chan Wai Chang) was Asia’s undisputed Striptease Queen who took the art of shedding clothes to new heights in the 50′s and 60′s. She represented Malaya at an international Striptease Contest in Paris in 1957 and was invited to train strippers in Japan in 1958. Rose was also an accomplished ballroom dancer and gourmet cook. Beyond the boards, Rose was renowned for her philanthropic work and preferred the moniker ‘Charity Queen’ to ‘Striptease Queen’.
In 1980 Rose was diagnosed with terminal cancer and retreated to Penang, where she was introduced to author Cecil Rajendra by her stage manager of the 50′s. A unique friendship blossomed and Rose invited Cecil to write her life story which she was then negotiating to sell to publishers. Over the next five to six years, up to her demise in 1987, Rose unabashedly bared her remarkable life story which began in Soochow, China.
Tuesday September 24, 2013 MYT 2:24:18 PM
Cecil Rajendra: Rose Chan was a living legend, myth-maker
PETALING JAYA: Cecil Rajendra admits to sneaking into one of stripper Rose Chan’s shows at the New World Amusement Park when he was 15.
Needless to say, the poet and human rights lawyer and his friends were caught and were thrown out by the security guard.
In his book ‘No Bed Of Roses: The Rose Chan Story’ which was launched on Sept 15, Rajendra reveals that his subconscious was “half-expecting an approximation of the delicious Rose Chan of amusement park billboards, newspaper photographs and teenage fantasies”.
But his first impression of the famous Rose Chan was one of “shock and dismay”, as cancer and old age transmuted her into a “haggard, blowsy, bloated middle-aged housewife”.
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Tuesday September 24, 2013 MYT 12:46:39 PM
She’s not just a stripper, says Cecil Rajendra of Rose Chan
PETALING JAYA: The late Rose Chan was undeniably Malaysia’s Queen of striptease when an accidental “wardrobe malfunction” – her bra snapped on stage – catapulted her to fame.
But to poet and human rights lawyer Cecil Rajendra, who wrote the autobiography No Bed of Roses: The Rose Chan Story, which was launched on Sept 15, Rose was much more than just a stripper, as she was known for her various philanthropic works, great cooking and feisty attitude.
Rose Chan was born Chan Wai Chang in Soochow, China, in 1925 to acrobat parents. She arrived in Kuala Lumpur at the tender age of six.
Despite having no formal education, she demonstrated her entrepreneurial spirit at an early age of 12 by charging her classmates to have their photo taken.
After the failure of her first (arranged) marriage to an elderly Chinese contractor more than twice her age, a 17-year-old Rose became a cabaret dancer at Happy World in Singapore where she excelled as a dancer.
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Sunday June 23, 2013 MYT 8:50:25 AM
Book on striptease queen Rose Chan launched
GEORGE TOWN: Some 100 people crammed into a small reading room to learn about the story of striptease queen Rose Chan who rose to prominence during the cabaret heyday of the then Malaya in the mid-1950s.
They were at the By, In, For and About Penang (BIFAP) community reading room in Che Em Lane here for the launching of Rose’s biography “No Bed of Roses: The Rose Chan Story” yesterday.
The 279-page book features details of Rose’s triumphs and struggles before she succumbed to breast cancer at the age of 62 in 1987. Some of the attendees also bought the book after the launch.
“It is a sensational first-hand, unvarnished narrative of the life and times of Rose,” said her trusted confidante and award-winning poet Cecil Rajendra who authored the book.
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