yi lu shang you ni

In melodies on September 9, 2006 by carinasuyin

Me and Chinese songs, we have a blossoming love affair.

I remember growing up with songs by Teresa Teng because Mama and Atah were big fans. There were also numerous Chinese folk tunes that Atah likes to sing with Mama although we have come to remember their comic singing more than the songs themselves. Anyway, I’d prefer listening to Teresa Teng over Engelbert Humperdinck anyday, anytime. Pleeeaaasseee release meeeeee…. let me gooooo, and let me run far, far away. Heh. Whenever his album was looping on the home stereo set, there was just no escaping the `torture’…

I guess I am especially enamoured with Chinese songs because there can be a hundred different songs about love for example, and yet every single one of them will still be unique and absolutely beautiful. The beauty lies in the honesty and creativity of the lyrics themselves. From simple direct ones to complex metaphorical lyrics, the songs never cease to amaze me with how meaningful they can be. A song can convey love despite not ever mentioning ai 爱 or about loving in its lyrics. Whoever says that Chinese people are not romantic must have never listened to any Chinese songs.

Being Chinese illiterate, I depend a lot on the vocals and the melody of a particular song to get me hooked enough to find out what the lyrics mean. Fortunately, the composition of Chinese songs rarely disappoint, especially those from my favourite artistes. I particularly love the use of piano, cello, guitar, violin and traditional instruments such as erhu, sanxian, or guzheng in ballads or pop/R&B tunes. I also appreciate the fact that the vocals take centrestage most of the time rather than playing second fiddle to the tune.

And when I do finally understand the lyrics, it simply takes the whole song onto a different plane of appreciation. Thanks to Chinese songs and being in Singapore, my spoken Mandarin vocabulary has expanded to a more decent size. Supra for example, learns written Chinese by translating Chinese songs that she likes with Atah’s help. I still remember Atah going “Hwahhh… these poor fellas, so lovesick ah!” or “Aiyoh… so painful punya love!” as he was helping her figure out the lyrics to several Michael & Victor songs. There were also times when he’d complain good-humouredly that the translation work is getting tiring because his bulu roma stood up so much.

Personally, there’s nothing like a lovely playlist of Jacky Cheung, Sandy Lam, Wang Lee Hom, David Tao and Jay Chou ballads to accompany a sleepless night. Insomnia is bittersweet when one ends up in complete lam sei-ness (Cantonese for jiwang sampai mati) or just feeling all warm inside when one finally nods tiredly to sleep.

Oh, and another reason why I love Chinese songs- the look on Atah’s face when I do an emo rendition of the chorus line from Bobby Chen Shen’s 把悲伤留给自己:

“把我的悲伤 留给自己
妳的美丽 让你带走”

… utterly priceless! Hee…


7 Responses to “yi lu shang you ni”

  1. the other day my mom went to watch a concert by some hong kong oldie songbird.

    so i was like “mi, where are you going tonite?”

    and she was like “going genting watch concert”

    so i was like “concert? who lar?”

    mom: some old lady singer lar.. you dont know wan larr

    and i was like “oohh… Tang Lai Kuan (Teresa Teng’s name in canto) is it?”

    mom: You CHEE SIN (crazy) is it? CHOII!!! Tang Lai Kuan DIED already lah! you want me to go to hell to watch her sing is it?

    I never laughed harder at my mom. Then she kept on saying Choi, Choi Choi.

  2. Muahahahha… so tak baik, sendiri blur but laughed at your mom instead!

  3. Thanks Rijac, watched the MV a couple of days back already and the tune is happily stuck in my head. Can’t wait to listen to the entire album!!

  4. I love the way they blend the traditional instuments into the song. So harmony, especially when I’m in a jiwang and relax mood.
    Since I couldn’t understand the language, I depend mostly to the melody instead of the lyrics to get me hooked on to the songs. Jay Chou is definitely my favorite and am currently addicted to nan quan mama.

  5. Hi Hyrza, yeah same sentiments here 😛

    Check out this link for pinyin and English translations of all Jay Chou songs (though they haven’t updated Still Fantasy) 🙂

  6. thanks for the link! ^_^
    I also like to go to

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