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Vienna Teng - Singer, Song Writer, Human

Updated on March 12, 2019
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Before retiring, Jack worked at IBM for over 28 years. His articles have over 120,000 views.


While on vacation in Scottsdale Az, I was sitting in the peaceful living room looking out on a rocky mountain next to a green golf course. I happened to come across this youtube video of Vienna Teng singing ”Green Island Serenade”, one of my favorte old classic song from Taiwan. She sang it without musical instrument background and it was beautiful. I decided to look her up and find out who this person is. I found that we have something in common. This article is a trubute to a human being that I admire.

- Mar. 2019


Vienna Teng is her stage name. She is 40 years old and her parents came to the US from Taiwan. Though a generation away from my own, we share some of the same attributes. She graduated from Stanford with a degree in Computer Science. I also have a Computer Science degree from NYU.

She worked for Cisco for a while before deciding to focus on a career in music. Being Asian, that is perfectly understandable. The focus of our parents was always on a career with a good paying job. Acting, music, and the arts are not considered serious professions. I give her credit for going against the grain and seek out her own path. It took real courage to stand up to her parents and grandparents and follow her own dream.

Having released several albums and touring the country, she decided to go back to school. In 2010, Teng announced to her fans that she had been accepted into the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan. Through the program, she received an MBA from the Ross School of Business and an MS from the School of Natural Resources and Environment.

She wrote a song that embodies the Hope Punk philosophy, called “Hope on Fire.” This is the first time I heard of this term. I had no idea what this was about. In one of her introduction to the song, she gave a quick summary. As someone who has always been interested in global warming and climate science, I can see how this relates. I am not a global warming activist. In fact, just the opposite. I am an AGW skeptic when it comes to the theory of man cause climate change. I have been following this for many years and have attended lectures at the LDEO Columbia campus. I am not convinced that globsl warming is as serious a threat as some made it out to be.

Lyrics - Hope on Fire

gotta fight gotta strike
'cause there's no turning away
from what you don't want to know
gotta see gotta be
if they're all going astray
don't let them take you in tow

you're a one-man shift in the weather
you're the woman who just won't sell
climbing up and ringing the bellooh

you're gonna make your mark this time
ooh you're gonna set your hope on fire

gotta leave gotta bleed
you've gotta stop lying still
'cause this is no kind of life
you don't need guarantees
you just want something to build
before you turn to the knife

when the streets are aflood like a fever
it's a holiday of the new
we're coming closer now to the truth

gotta move gotta choose

you've got a difference to make
don't watch it happen again
gotta change rearrange
something's bending to break

it's just a matter of when

Songwriters: Batcho / Henry / Vienna Teng

Hope on Fire lyrics © BMG Rights Management US, LLC

Vienna Teng - Green Island Serenade


I think Vienna Teng reflects a generation of young people that grew up in the new age. They are a product of our society right now. Every generation had its visionaries. Bob Seeger and Joan Baez in the 1960s. Harry Chapin and John Lennon in the 1970s. The Hope Punk is new to me. I am a product of my generation and I can relate to this feeling. Though I don’t agree with some of this stuff, I can appreceiate where some people may embrace it.

Vienna Teng has a voice that is raw and innocent and transparent. She lets you in on her thoughts and feelings. Whether you agree with her or not, you can’t help but sympathize with her. She is a talent that is rare these days. I wish her success. This article is just a brief introduction to her music. I hope to hear more from her in the future.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Jack Lee


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