Transcript (Cantonese to English 粵譯英)
Bot: Hello, everybody.
Keith: Hello, everybody.
Bot: Welcome back to our show and watch two bald men chatting.
Keith: We still have some hair though.
Bot: Our heads looked shining when the source of light comes from (the ceiling) above us.
Keith: Nope. It shows that we have lots of inspiration and we can come up with some ideas at any given time.
Bot: Did someone upload some bald head (photos)?
Bot: Some actors were taking up minor roles when they had thick hair. When they have less hair, they became major stars.
Keith: So when is our turn to become major stars? We are fine with that.
Bot: Such as The Rock, when he and friends had more hair, they were not famous. I think our time is about to come.
Keith: Same goes for the footballers. They did a lot of heading when they were younger. Their heading was too much that they started to lose hair. When they became bald, they had already won many trophies and honours. When they entered mid-30s and forties, they ascended to the position of role models for younger footballers.
Bot: Same goes for Michael Jordan.
Keith: Jordan, oh ya?
Bot: Getting bald is such a pain for men.
Keith: We can only soothe ourselves.
Bot: We are not doing a live show today; we are recording our talk show. We want to chat with you guys.
Keith: It is a sharing.
Bot: A sharing. While we are sharing, we would also like to try playing local songs.
Keith: Yup. I want to listen to the old songs. I feel nostalgic.
Bot: There are many songs here. I browsed and searched a bit and I have several of them with me now. As we do our sharing, it could be one hour long.
Keith: So, the copyright problem. Would that be just fine?
Bot: I hope the song owners don’t come after us. We have no choice though, if you wanna take action. We are doing this testing to promote our favourite local songs.
Keith: We introduce those songs. It is not for the sake of commercial gains.
Bot: It doesn’t involve commercial gains. Furthermore, this is only our hobby. We have no choice, if you really want to sue us. If that is the case, we can only retract the recording. Well, whatever. Nowadays, it is popular to swear.
Bot: At the beginning of our programme, let me first play this song.
Keith: What song is it?
Bot: A song from a band Equal. Before I play the song, the old days come across my mind.
Keith: What stories of the past?
Bot: The competition in the past. What was the name?
Keith: Yup. Canto-rock.
Bot: Have you heard of the competition?
Bot: They published an album which collected songs from Allenoid, BabyAmps, Equal. Songs from local bands.
Keith: It was a compilation album.
Bot: A compilation album. Each of the top ten bands had a chance to record a song.
Keith: For how many years did the competition last?
Bot: I can’t recall. I only know that I started learning how to play electric guitar when I listened to their songs.
Keith: That was the time.
Bot: When I listen to these songs… Many friends know this song when I play it. It was a famous song back then. All musicians know it.
Keith: It strikes a chord with us.
Bot: Yup, it strikes a chord. This is the song, News Headlines. Let me find it out. Okay, let’s listen to News Headlines by Equal.
(Playing of News Headlines 頭條新聞by EQUAL)
Bot: How is it?
Keith: Wow. Back to 1990s again? That’s the feeling.
Bot: Was it late or early 1990s?
Keith: After 1996, right? After they signed a contract with Polygram.
Bot: That should be after 1996.
Bot: How is it? Did anyone of you recall of the old days when you were playing band? Speaking of local bands, our era was definitely influenced by Beyond.
Keith: It started with Beyond, as well as Tai Chi Band (太極樂隊). And also, Zen. Did you also listen to them?
Bot: Yup. Zen was the last.
Bot: It belonged to the last wave.
Keith: The earliest influence comes from Beyond.
Bot: I don’t feel (surprised). Speaking of Hong Kong,
Bot: In Hong Kong, they had the whole team.
Bot: Other than music, they had opportunities to act in films and dramas. They worked together to promote one thing.
Keith: The chain, the supply chain is there.
Bot: They worked together to promote something. For example, Beyond starred in many films, right?
Keith: Yup. Ka Kui starred in some films.
Bot: They could play the supporting roles or as protagonists. They excelled in the sense that they are a band. And the band elements were included into the films.
Keith: Yup. The theme songs brought up the elements.
Bot: Remember a film named The Fun, the Luck & the Tycoon (吉星拱照) by Chow Yun-fat?
Keith: I can’t recall. That was so long ago.
Bot: It was a Lunar new year film.
Keith: So long ago.
Bot: Back then, the story was about four young guys working in a restaurant.
Bot: The young men worked and played band.
Keith: I see.
Bot: They were not protagonists. But they worked and cooked together. They played their electronic guitars and drums at night. Another person brought them to participate in a music competition.
Keith: Because they have the entire supply chain over there. Local bands don’t have a chance to act?
Bot: Forget about acting. Even if you want your songs to be played more often by radio stations, they either complained your songs to be too noisy, or commented that your appearance was not good enough.
Keith: They should have some songs which are easily accepted by the mass market. Why the low chance for broadcasting?
Bot: They played those songs as well. But if you compared to the exposure of foreign songs…
Keith: Those pop songs.
Bot: Yup. I asked some seniors. They said that it was impossible for you to play all local songs.
Bot: Because we don’t have sufficient number of songs.
Keith: Local radios and their sources…
Keith: Insufficient number of songs.
Bot: Our songs…
Keith: The production.
Bot: The production.
Keith: Insufficient production.
Bot: That’s how they put it. Those were merely excuses. We should play local songs when possible.
Keith: They might prefer foreign songs.
Bot: Songs played on TikTok or Facebook. Those so-called brainwashing songs. I don’t find those songs to be particularly nice. But you hear them everywhere.
Bot: That means, someone sitting next to you at a coffee shop and his phone rings. It is that song. Some cafes are playing that song. It enters your memory already, so you might have thought that was a famous song. The point is, you need to give more exposure for good songs.
Keith: Let the songs loop all the time. That’s how you create a chance for yourselves.
Bot: That’s tough. I couldn’t find (someone to help). I tried to discuss this matter with others. But, forget it. I work on it as a pastime. That’s good enough already.
Bot: We play the songs. It is fine if you don’t play them, we’ll play. Although ours is a short programme.
Keith: Yup. We shall listen to old songs.
Bot: Did you find their lyrics? How was it?
Keith: The lyrics are… The beginning part about collection of old newspapers. It only strikes a chord among Malaysians. This is the environment where we live in. Since young, you saw lorries making rounds in your neighbourhood to purchase your old newspapers.
Keith: And you sold them your old newspapers.
Bot: I anticipated them when I was little. A van came by and collected (newspapers).
Keith: Yup. You can’t see that in Singapore. But in Singapore, you saw karang guni. The buyer took a bag and bought your unwanted items at home. Such as selling to him your utensils and miscellaneous items at home.
Bot: I see.
Keith: You see that in Singapore.
Bot: The buyer is walking.
Keith: They are walking. And some of them walked level by level at HDB flats.
Bot: That’s tiring.
Keith: That’s for the sake of making money. They could be making some profits from selling miscellaneous items.
Bot: Old iron and steel, newspapers and batteries.
Keith: Don’t underestimate their value.
Bot: I don’t know. If rubbish worth money…
Bot: If rubbish worth money, someone collect them and our world will become cleaner. But we have only one planet Earth. How do you recycle rubbish produced in one place? I am curious about this.
Bot: You can only move it from left to right, from right to left.
Keith: To bear the grievance, poorer countries had no choice but to accept rubbish.
Bot: Such as our country, right?
Keith: We have to suffer a bit.
Bot: We are not talking about collection of old newspapers. Ours is a rubbish recollection centre.
Keith: That’s right. Their lyrics talked about their concerns for the society. What they observed. Such as traffic jam, police and robbers, and biological mothers. They also talked about foreign countries, including Africa and Palestine, where people are suffering a lot. It reminds me of one song. Do you know which one? Tai Chi has a song What For (一切為何).
Bot: That is…
Keith: I want to know what are all these for… (願可知一切為何).
Bot: Yup. Heard of it.
Keith: I recalled of that song.
Bot: Heard of it.
Bot: It is more than Tai Chi. Why did we listen to Beyond? If our friends have Beyond’s cassettes or CD, we borrowed from them. Because we didn’t have money to buy albums.
Bot: Tai Chi was not as popular as Beyond back then. It was not easy to look for their albums.
Keith: Let alone Tat Ming Pair.
Bot: That’s even more difficult.
Keith: More difficult to buy their albums.
Bot: Speaking of Tai Chi, it is always ‘Oh my Crystal’.
Keith: The several songs, Every Sentence (每一句說話).
Bot: When you go to karaoke and pubs…
Keith: I sing their songs at karaoke.
Bot: If your band performs at a pub, it is okay if you don’t know other songs, you play Beyond’s or Tai Chi’s songs and the listeners will give you a round of applause.
Keith: They clapped hands. Please let me stay… (留住我吧)
Bot: In addition to this song. Here comes another band.
Keith: Who are they?
Bot: They’re also our friends. We started our music journey about the same time.
Keith: I see.
Bot: They are Mad August. I think they are working on their new album recently.
Keith: New album. I see.
Bot: I noticed their updates on Facebook. I haven’t received the new song. I might share with you guys next time.
Keith: They know they can promote new songs here and they will pass you their songs.
Bot: Not that I want them to pass me the songs. I will buy their new album.
Bot: It is tough for local musicians to survive. This group of friends of ours is miraculous.
Keith: They are earnest musicians.
Bot: Earnest musicians. Their new song is Break Up Again (再分手一次).
Keith: Oh no.
Bot: That’s a very saddening song. The song title suggests it.
Keith: I dare not listen to it.
Bot: Do you feel down lately?
Keith: I feel the pain in my heart.
Bot: Not saddening enough, huh?
Keith: I feel the pain.
Bot: Don’t think too much. Let me drink my cup of herbal tea. Let me play this song, Hey I Don’t Know (喂，我不知道). I was at the scene when they were recording the MV.
Keith: Wow, nice.
Bot: So did my son. Their MV is not bad. For our listeners who rarely listen to local songs, you may search for the band Mad August. How do you translate that in Chinese?
Keith: We shall discuss later.
Bot: Was it Crazy August? Let’s listen to the song.
(Playing of Hey I Don’t Know (喂，我不知道) – MAD AUGUST)
Keith: What’s your feeling after listening to the song?
Bot: It blends rock with pop elements. It is not very indie and underground. That’s my viewpoint.
Keith: Is it pop rock?
Bot: I am not sure about the genres. What is pop rock?
Keith: Similar to Luna Sea?
Bot: Luna Sea falls under the genre of pop rock?
Keith: Someone categorised that way.
Bot: I am not sure. Speaking of bands in the past, we would observe if the drummer plays drums very steadily, if the guitarist plays good solo during live shows. If you watched Mad August’s live show, you would have noticed their explosive live performance.
Keith: The vocalist is jumping around.
Bot: He has a high pitch.
Bot: He sings in high pitch.
Keith: Energetic, and he is always running around.
Bot: How to put it. He doesn’t suppress his voice. You don’t find him to be shouting. He could easily bring out his voice.
Keith: His voice is moving and forceful.
Bot: You see it when you watch their live shows. I used to spend time with them and I once became their photographer during a countdown gig.
Bot: I was at the stage watching their show. I was not among the audiences down the stage.
Bot: Their performance is explosive.
Keith: You were the only photographer.
Bot: Was any other photographer also around? I wasn’t sure. Because we are friends. And the previously appointed photographer couldn’t make it. They asked me for help and I complied.
Keith: I see. You are very helpful.
Bot: Very helpful? Well, that’s fine. Since I have known them for a long time already. But their songs do not fall under the category of my favourite songs.
Keith: Which is your favourite category?
Bot: I prefer kind of strange style.
Keith: Do you prefer something more odd?
Bot: Not to say more odd. It is about the pattern. Among those music genres, I don’t listen much to this genre of rock music.
Bot: But this is not of poor quality, speaking from a songwriting perspective.
Keith: Oh, this is not of poor quality. This looks fine.
Bot: Speaking of their melody, they followed a pathway between mainstream and indie. They observed it and didn’t anyhow write the song.
Keith: It is a well-balanced song.
Bot: What do you think about it? You searched it just now? How do you translate Mad August?
Bot: Means mad?
Keith: A furious August.
Bot: Furious August?
Keith: Furious August… But what is the matter to be furious about in August? It is always raining in November, because (of the song) November Rain.
Bot: Translation is not bad. My old band used to have a weird English name. Many asked for it. Which indicated the importance of name because it influences many other matters.
Keith: Mind to disclose it?
Bot: My band name was Wu Feng Ling (烏風鈴).
Bot: So we transliterated it. Wu Feng Ling.
Bot: When fellow Malaysian emcees of other races read our band name, they weren’t very sure of the pronunciation, so it became Wu Leng Fing and the like.
Keith: That’s why I suggest the bands out there to have proper Chinese and English names. Your English name should reflect the meaning of the Chinese name.
Bot: It was popular earlier. What was the popular way to set a band name? It could be colour mixing with fruit.
Bot: It was funny. They had some categories for your selection.
Bot: You can mix and come up with a weird name.
Keith: I am listening to a Taiwanese band named Hello Nico.
Bot: Hello Nico? It is as if implying an AV nature.
Keith: Is it Hello Nico or Super Nico? I am sorry. I always forget their name.
Bot: Hello Nico? How’s their music? That’s the key question.
Keith: Not bad.
Bot: There are too many (choices for music).
Keith: There are many indie bands in Taiwan and you can’t quite follow all of them.
Bot: I saw this comment from a senior. If you subscribe to Spotify and iTunes.
Bot: If you subscribe, its AI observes what songs you listen to.
Keith: And it recommends some songs.
Bot: It recommends songs which fall under your favourite style.
Bot: Right now, if we are want our favourite songs, we need not look for them. The songs are looking for us instead. How about that?
Keith: I have more trouble. I have loads of audio files to listen to and can’t finish listening to all of them.
Bot: Which is why it is related to the value.
Keith: This is information explosion.
Bot: In the past, we used to search for it. It was fun. You visit a place and find out their music. You play their CD and found it to be not bad. When I was travelling in Thailand…
Bot: Thai music albums are rarely sold here. Or when we visited Hong Kong or Taiwan.
Bot: Your friends might ask you to look for a CD. That was precious.
Bot: But now?
Keith: When I was young, I used to follow Beyond’s CD very closely. When Hands Off Please (請將手放開) was released, I bought it immediately. So did the Surprise (驚喜) album.
Bot: They gave a pick.
Keith: Yup. It came with the album of Hands Off Please.
Bot: It was not for you to play guitar. But the design was nice.
Keith: I wonder where I kept the pick.
Bot: It was nevertheless better in the past and we kept something. But now, the songs came to you and you don’t necessarily have the time to listen to them.
Keith: You had something to hold onto.
Bot: Something in your hands. And you can read the lyrics.
Keith: Did you know how Wyman Wong learn lyrics-writing skills?
Bot: How was it?
Keith: During his secondary school days, he used to buy albums. I am not sure whether he bought cassettes or CD. He bought a new album and hopped on a bus. The first thing he did was to read the lyrics. Think of his era. He should be studying secondary school in the 1970s or 1980s. Yes, it should be around that time. The famous lyricists during that time were Jimmy Lo (盧國沾), Cheng Kwok Kong (鄭國江), and James Wong (黃霑). They were the gurus to the younger lyricists. Think of it. Immersed in such environment and you will have new lyricists emerging.
Bot: Unlike what we heard now. Meow meow meow and it became a song.
Keith: It seems like this is a popular song. Many know how to sing this song.
Bot: I went to a restaurant the other day and a song was looping ‘you are my little apple‘. What shall we do?
Keith: Thinking of the past, the songs were of very good quality. You walked past a coffee shop…
Bot: But we can’t criticise the recently released new songs. Thankfully, we were born earlier. What do we do if we were born now? Listening to Korean songs? What on earth.
Keith: Visiting a coffee shop in the past, we used to listen to the most popular songs of Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Bot: We used to wait for their Jade Solid Gold (勁歌金曲). During Lunar new year, there would be a replay of the award ceremony.
Bot: It was really a good show.
Keith: During Lunar new year in the past, we used to follow Hong Kong (entertainment) programmes.
Bot: But now, not anymore.
Keith: Not anymore.
Bot: Huh? Has this film been screened? Did it win an award? I haven’t watched it and I wanna watch it now.
Keith: Which is why Stephen Chow’s films are often replayed during Lunar new year.
Bot: What’s the purpose? For old viewers like us?
Keith: Not really. I heard that young people in their twenties watched Stephen Chow’s films during their formative years.
Bot: That’s right. They have that culture in Hong Kong, but it is fading already.
Keith: That’s why they watched old films, right?
Bot: New works have no choice. Because the goal to be more commercial make it worse for direction of artwork. When a style seems to be making money, everybody would move to that direction.
Keith: Bringing down the market?
Bot: Bringing down the market. Not that you can have all stalls sell pork when pork is selling like hot cakes at night market.
Keith: Michael Hui (許冠文) always complains about this. He said the old songs were sweet to ears. Riding the boat and facing each other (曳搖共對輕舟飄).
Bot: Pick a lyrics and it will defeat you hands down.
Keith: He was grumbling about modern songs. Sexy lady… Such lines became lyrics of Korean songs.
Bot: It was a loop.
Keith: He said he couldn’t withstand it.
Bot: You need not memorise the lyrics.
Bot: You need not appreciate the lyrics. It is not for appreciation.
Keith: Thinking of which…
Bot: It is for relaxation. Music makes you relax. They don’t appreciate it.
Bot: Hang a painting on the wall for relaxation.
Keith: Don’t let them think too much. That’s the thing.
Bot: Appreciation. What do they appreciate? Let’s listen to another song. They worked hard and they are our friends. This is a song by Manhand.
Bot: I am not sure if any of our listeners hasn’t heard of it. All of our friends heard of it.
Keith: Yup. Perhaps all of us have heard it.
Bot: Let us have a recollection. Let’s listen to it.
(Playing of Slow-walking (慢行) – MANHAND)
Bot: How was it?
Bot: Any feeling for slow-walking?
Keith: It expresses my idea. Hope that you guys don’t mind because I am a slow thinker.
Bot: I don’t know. When Manhand released their songs, they brought up a new atmosphere to local music scene. There were many indie bands before them.
Bot: Their music style is easily accepted by the public. They mixed rapping with singing.
Keith: It can be promoted to the market.
Bot: They have better appearance. They looked similar because they designed their image.
Keith: Made an arrangement.
Bot: They arranged it.
Keith: They put in effort.
Bot: Some bands have no budget. Underground and indie bands worried a lot about budget. Whether or not they had money to work on image. Their height and weight and body shape have to be compatible. That’s a headache.
Keith: It is not easy for you to achieve compatibility.
Bot: Not that you can bring together two bald men like us.
Keith: Or getting two long-haired men to run a show.
Bot: It is tough to achieve compatibility for band image. I forgot to show their photo when playing their song. I am sorry, my friends. Hope you don’t mind.
Keith: You didn’t show it?
Bot: I didn’t show it just now because I concentrated on their song. Sorry that I only show your photo now. Can you guys see it?
Keith: Don’t enlarge our angle.
Bot: Can you see their image? Let me enlarge it.
Keith: This is good for album photo.
Bot: Yup. Good for album photo.
Bot: Can you see it? It’s larger now. I think this is a photo for promotional purpose.
Bot: I don’t think this is an album photo.
Bot: This is really not bad.
Bot: The time they appeared in the market was quite close to China’s emergence (in entertainment industry).
Bot: There were many singing competitions.
Keith: Chinese contents appeared in the market after (Beijing) Olympic Games.
Bot: There were Chinese contents and One Million Star (超級星光大道). Which was why the attention of audiences…
Keith: Had shifted elsewhere.
Bot: Shifted elsewhere. And they forgot about songwriters.
Keith: Good music produced locally.
Bot: I don’t know. That was also the time when things slowed down a lot.
Keith: Local music scene slowing down?
Bot: Even those artists who made it to Taiwan, they seemed to be less active since then. Some unknown artists emerged. Some of them are songwriters hailed from China.
Keith: I see. They were introduced through competitions?
Bot: Introduced through competitions.
Bot: Introduced through competitions. It is quite a headache when you are facing such situation. I wonder if it is for better or worse. Perhaps we can slow down a bit.
Keith: Slow down? Perhaps there are more platforms out there now. Audiences have many choices.
Bot: I used to enjoy taking photos. I was taking photos during secondary school. People snap photos with smart phones, which come with high resolution and good quality. You don’t print photos now. You skip the procedures and have less surprise. When you take a photo carefully, you feel like sharing with friends on social media. But people don’t pay attention to that nowadays, because any person can take photos.
Keith: Furthermore, you overlook your friends’ photos and you still find online photo store.
Bot: Yup. Same goes for songs. In the past, the musicians have to enter a studio to record a song slowly. And you needed a producer.
Bot: You need to think about the direction.
Bot: But now, not anymore. You can record at home with a computer and a microphone. Some of them shot to fame.
Keith: In the past, you needed a concept for an album.
Bot: Yup. Before this, new girls with big tits enjoy popularity. They are new and not seen before this. Wow. This is a local girl; this girl comes from Ipoh or somewhere else. But now, you see pretty girls everywhere.
Keith: There is an abundance.
Bot: You need not scout for them.
Keith: There is an abundance.
Bot: Yup. Unlike the feelings we had in the past. You talked about a pretty girl studying in a school nearby. The boys were talking about her. And you could only see her during sports day. You couldn’t see her during usual days.
Keith: I heard of my friends’ romance stories. One of them said he was attending a cram school in Damansara Jaya and ran into a girl who came from this school. He said, “I was sitting at the back row and she was next to me. We exchanged phone numbers and notes.”
Bot: That’s the feeling of Morning Train (早班火車).
Keith: That’s right. The feeling of Morning Train.
Bot: You see the pretty girl from window reflection. This is real appreciation.
Keith: This is appreciation. Do you remember Taiwanese singer Phil Chang (張宇)?
Keith: His wife is Shi Yi-lang (十一郎).
Bot: She is a lyricist.
Keith: Yup. I love her lyrics.
Keith: Do you know how did they date during secondary school days?
Bot: They were involved since secondary school?
Keith: Yup. Since secondary school.
Keith: Since senior high school, if I remember correctly.
Keith: They knew each other since junior high school.
Keith: They were romantic. Phil left his classroom five minutes before the school day ended. He took a bus. He hopped on to see if his girlfriend was on the bus. If she wasn’t there, he would alight at the next stop. His girlfriend caught up with him in the next bus.
Bot: He then hopped on again.
Keith: They reconnected again. The love experience in the past was very romantic. But now, it is all about chatting on WhatsApp and you have less feeling about falling in love.
Bot: It is different now. In the old days, if you like a girl, you remember your girlfriend’s image in your brain.
Bot: You see her and the image was strengthened. But now, it is okay if you forget about her look. You can search for her photos on social media.
Keith: It’s such a trouble for you to forget your favourite girl’s look.
Bot: You can search and check what she has been up to. You have nothing to share nowadays. Not as good as you.
Keith: What about me?
Bot: You are good in the sense that you rarely log onto Facebook. I don’t know what you have been up to and I can ask you when we meet up.
Keith: I think this is more interesting.
Bot: I am thinking about this method. Am I going insane because of them (social media)?
Keith: I think one will go insane if using Facebook too frequently.
Keith: As you know, in the past five to six years, we have had two exciting general elections. You come across a lot of comments on Facebook. If you read too much political comments, I think you will go insane. I am sorry, but this is my feeling.
Bot: Insane. I feel exhausted because of that.
Keith: Don’t think too much about politics. You could be…
Bot: Because that was the time you felt very excited. Wow, this is the time to claim victory. Would the culprits be imprisoned? But the cases have been delaying. I feel bored when I talk about this.
Keith: There is a judicial procedure to go through.
Bot: I don’t know. Some said if the next election is won by the other side again, the culprits could walk free…
Bot: Some might be able to clear their names.
Keith: Don’t think too much. We still hold hope in our judiciary. Don’t be pessimistic.
Bot: Even if imprisoned, the jail term could be just a few years.
Keith: Do local songwriters talk about current affairs and politics in their lyrics?
Bot: But, when the other side wins election again…
Keith: Some individuals would be unhappy.
Bot: It hurts so much when one has to be imprisoned because of lyrics-writing.
Keith: Doesn’t worth it, if imprisoned for lyrics-writing.
Bot: Let me introduce this song, which you haven’t heard of before this.
Keith: I am not sure.
Bot: Heard of it?
Keith: I don’t think so. You may introduce it.
Bot: When the song was released, I like this style.
Bot: I like this style. I wonder if we can listen to it from a radio station. It is a waste, if they don’t play the song.
Keith: Let’s listen to it.
Bot: I’ll let you listen. The song name is Survivor (生存者), a Mandarin song. When I first listened to it, I thought it was Taiwanese production. Here we go.
(Playing of Survivor 生存者 by MOON 阿滿)
Bot: How was it?
Keith: This is similar to the songs you hear in Taipei streets.
Bot: It has the ambiance of Japanese culture.
Bot: The sound of the guitar, drum and guitar solo.
Keith: Yup. Just as a song you heard in Taipei.
Bot: Japan influenced Taiwan a lot.
Keith: Yup, thanks to Japan colonised Taiwan for 50 years.
Bot: Same as us.
Keith: Ours was brief.
Bot: Theirs was not because of war. It was colonisation.
Keith: Yup, colonisation. The Japanese Occupation of Malaya lasted only three years and eight months.
Keith: They signed a treaty and Taiwan was conceded to Japan.
Keith: A Japanese rule for fifty years. In 1945, Taiwan welcomed its Retrocession Day, the day when Taiwan was returned to Republic of China.
Bot: Did they go through wars?
Keith: I can’t recall. Those were not major battles, but I remember there were some clashes – not the major ones though.
Bot: That’s better.
Keith: Not a war, as far as I am concerned.
Bot: That’s better.
Keith: After 50-year Japanese rule, old Taiwanese are able to speak Japanese. They studied in Japanese schools.
Bot: Their cleanliness, the way they take care of their environment…
Bot: They are similar to each other.
Keith: We need to understand one thing. The root of Taiwanese culture is Chinese culture. Same goes for Japanese culture. These two cultures are identical.
Bot: That’s right.
Keith: Frankly speaking, pure Chinese culture can only be found in Japan and Taiwan. If you are talking about very classic and pure Chinese culture, you can only see it in these two places.
Bot: Their countries preserved something.
Keith: They have an awareness to preserve it.
Bot: They preserved it. But we don’t preserve our things here. I am not sure. It has something to do with the overwhelming inferiority of a nation. We don’t see ours as good stuff; we perceive that foreign things are of better quality.
Keith: Could it be related to this in Malaysia? Take music for example. Is there such thing as Malaysian music? I think that Malay songs actually have this ambiance (of Malaysian music).
Bot: Malay songs have it. Each ethnic has its uniqueness. We have it in local music.
Bot: When you observe architecture and costume, we don’t have traditional stuff. We blended things up. Things have been mixed up.
Bot: Unlike in Japan, they developed to a stage and they had their conventional costume.
Bot: They have cultural streets and they do relevant things. We don’t see much of such effort here.
Keith: Ours is a shorter history.
Bot: You rarely see that and yes, (the history) is shorter. This is not ideal. Even if you want to see very beautiful houses of Malay style, you need to visit remote rural areas.
Bot: The richer families have their houses built on taller stilts. They have unique roof design.
Bot: These are the beautiful houses.
Bot: But nobody preserved it.
Keith: Is this possible? I mean, when we are producing our music. When we write Cantonese songs, you inevitably present Hong Kong style.
Bot: Not that it comes from Hong Kong. Or that is the style of Cantonese?
Keith: That’s the style of Cantonese.
Bot: Cantonese songs flourished in Hong Kong.
Keith: Of course, it was impossible for Cantonese to flourish in Guangzhou.
Bot: That’s why. Not to say this is unfair. This is how we grow up. When we write Cantonese songs, we have that style already. That could be the original style.
Keith: Hong Kong’s influence in culture has never been terminated since 1940s. This is a comment by Chong Keat Aun (張吉安). There is a reason why Cantonese became such a dominant language. Hong Kong has never been absent in cultural influence since 1940s. From his comment, I thought of this. If you study, you either study in English, if you read economics in Taiwan, your professors explained about economics in Mandarin. Other than English and Mandarin, you can study one whole subject or topic in Cantonese.
Keith: Have you heard of someone explaining laws in Hokkien? Nobody did that. We haven’t heard of it.
Keith: In Hong Kong, they explained laws in Cantonese. What is it about rule of law? What is Hong Kong law about? It is a comprehensive language of knowledge. You have another advantage if you can master Cantonese.
Bot: It doesn’t need to borrow words (from other languages).
Keith: Doesn’t need to. It is an independent and comprehensive language to explain concepts.
Bot: Mandarin and Cantonese are broad languages.
Keith: They offer many terms. If you complement them with English language, it is good for your learning.
Bot: It was peculiar in the past. When you talk about bible or anything, when the planet had less people, how did the many languages emerge?
Keith: They separated and went to different places.
Bot: It was peculiar to ponder about what was the first language like. It was strange. Cantonese and English are clearly different from each other. It is the same if you compare Japanese and English.
Bot: Skin tone varies greatly as well. Things changed after that…
Keith: After many years of separation.
Keith: Separated and lived in different tribes. In each tribe, they spoke their own language. More people inhabited the place, it became a town and the language flourished.
Bot: If First Emperor of Qin didn’t burn books, there could be more languages now.
Keith: First Emperor of Qin… I heard this from Taiwanese. He standardised the characters. He didn’t touch on the pronunciation part.
Bot: He couldn’t touch pronunciation.
Keith: He couldn’t interfere with that. Which contributes to the uniqueness of Chinese culture. Take these two words, weeping (哭泣), in Cantonese it is huk1 jap1.
Keith: In Mandarin it is ku1 qi4. I am not sure about the Hokkien pronunciation though.
Bot: The characters are the same, but they have different pronunciation.
Keith: Yup. Such as what (什麼), in Hokkien it is siánn-mih.
Bot: Chinese and Japanese languages have similar words.
Keith: Particularly similar to Cantonese and Hokkien.
Bot: The way the characters is written.
Keith: The pronunciation.
Bot: I visited Cambodia the other day. From a glance of their characters, you might have thought those to be Thai words.
Keith: Those curly words.
Bot: And (Khmer) words are similar to Vietnamese. We can’t distinguish these characters.
Keith: We can’t tell.
Bot: They can tell.
Bot: Thai words have such special features. It is difficult to explain such thing.
Bot: How did it become so developed? I imagine this: I bring my wife and children to a remote place without humans. In my tribe I talk to my family in my own language. I keep talking and it becomes my language.
Keith: That’s possible. This was how tribes function in the past.
Bot: For the sake of communication, I might be an illiterate, I didn’t know how to write. I had to come up with my own way to jot down some characters to pass down to others. The characters developed and became a standalone wording.
Keith: That was how things work in the past.
Bot: The accents developed. Look at China. Guangxi is also Canton. They use Cantonese words. But they have different accent.
Keith: Many of them. You have an abundance in Guangdong province.
Bot: I am not sure. It is peculiar.
Keith: It is interesting to delve into the research.
Bot: We are lagging behind already.
Keith: In what aspect?
Bot: Everything has been standardised now. We mixed every language.
Keith: Mixed up.
Bot: You have no special feature anymore. Things are all the same.
Bot: Hip hop is popular in the United States, so is our region. When rock music is popular, it sweeps across the globe. You have the same musical instruments. In the past, each tribe might have its own instruments.
Keith: Talking about this song, if the style is similar to Japan and Taiwan – this is his style.
Bot: His favourite style.
Keith: He favours this style.
Bot: He appreciates this style.
Keith: He feels comfortable when performing with this style. And he is a Malaysian.
Keith: This could be a special feature of Malaysian music. I stick to the style that suits me well. This could be a perspective.
Bot: If we close doors for ten to twenty years, and we rarely get in touch with foreign music. We could be developing well.
Keith: It is impossible (to close door) in a modern world.
Bot: Impossible. Because everything is known.
Keith: Not that you need to close the door. The development of Cantonese songs comes across my mind. Mandarin songs were popular in Hong Kong. People in that era thought that Cantonese was not mainstream and elegant. Cheng Kam Cheong (鄭錦昌), Sam Hui (許冠傑), Peter Lai (黎彼得) brought Cantonese into lyrics. It created a trend. They went through a phase in 1980s and 1990s when they bought copyright of Japanese songs and wrote Cantonese lyrics. After 1990s it was stipulated that all songs must be originally created by their own songwriters. It transformed slowly from there. It went through a progress.
Bot: It is different nowadays. Everything is about economic (benefits). We want everything to be fast. Let it appear and shoot to fame in no time. It has to be good for memorisation and easy for singing.
Keith: You have to count on contents.
Bot: You must have simple contents and don’t make them complicated.
Bot: This is a headache. Which shows that we are regressing.
Bot: (Contents) have to become simple. Not that audiences appreciate deeper things. You make deep things easier so that others can easily accept them.
Keith: Old lyrics taught us a lot.
Bot: It wasn’t easy to wear old costume. The way it was tailored. It is different now. You put on a t-shirt and that’s it.
Keith: It is all westernised.
Bot: I don’t know. Such trend could be inevitable.
Bot: Alright. We have been chatting for a while and it is about the end of our programme now.
Bot: Let me give you a song for ending. I think our ending is not very good. How about this song by Nao? Is it Nao2?
Bot: How do you pronounce it in Mandarin?
Keith: Now? Take it as English pronunciation.
Bot: Nao is such a special band. They don’t sing.
Bot: They focus on music.
Bot: All music.
Keith: Three-piece band, right?
Bot: Yup. When you watch their live show, you feel like their music brought you to another space.
Keith: I have a lot of pictures in my brain when listening to their music.
Bot: Lots of images.
Keith: Those are cartoon images.
Bot: Lots of images. It is peculiar. Their music made it to foreign scene.
Keith: That is…
Bot: It is a very special way. In local market, ordinary audiences rarely listen to their music.
Bot: But musicians and fans who attend foreign music festivals tend to like their music. Let’s listen to their song. Let me change the photo.
Bot: Bye for now.
Keith: Bye. See you next time.