The Straits Times
Sunday, Jun 29, 2014
She's a "Malaysian woman", he's a "Singaporean guy" - and, make no mistake, they're both not Korean. A triculture mash-up has been playing out, of late, online, in song.
Last month, Malaysian teenager Joyce Chu's song Malaysia Cha Bor hit YouTube, its title cheekily using the Hokkien term for "woman" to strike a humorous note while staking out the boundaries of South-east Asian identity.
Composed by Malaysian singersongwriter Namewee, the song has the fair, doe-eyed and long-haired lass from Johor Baru singing about how she is often mistaken for a Korean girl. The ditty soon went viral and has garnered more than five million views to date.
The parodies that quickly sprung up included a Mat Salleh (Malay colloquialism for "Caucasian") version, a duet between a Malaysian and his expatriate counterpart on their respective girl-pulling woes; and a Singapore Cha Bor version, in which a young girl pleads not to be mistaken for a Japanese as she is "from the Lion City".
But, out of all these parodies, a Singapore Da Por's love song in reply to Chu's Malaysia Cha Bor has been pulling the most eyeballs.
YouTube user "Singapore da por" sings in his parody, uploaded three weeks ago, that he "follows" Chu on Facebook and would love to profess his affection for her.
His rendition has since received more than 300,000 views, with encouraging comments from viewers who say they found the lyrics "sweet" and "creative".
Asked if he is smitten with Chu, Singapore da por - whose real name is Gary Chun - says his cover was done "just for fun".
"I feel that most Singaporean guys would wish to express their love for her, so I put that kind of feeling into the cover," says the 25-year-old recruitment consultant. "She looks sweet and cute, and she can play the ukulele. Which guy would not like that?"
He cobbled together the parody in two hours.
"I started to change some lyrics, and one verse led to another. Soon, I had rewritten the song and recorded it in my room," he says.
His girlfriend of 11/2 years, a 24-year-old human resource executive, is cool with it.
"It would have been nice to date Joyce if I'm 18 or 19 years old, but she's too young for me."
Still, if he had a chance to meet Chu, what would he say to her?
"I really don't know. I would probably greet her jokingly with the opening line from her song: 'I feel like saying Annyeong Annyeong Haseyo (hello in Korean)'," he says with a laugh.
While the song has attracted many positive comments, there have also been a fair number of brickbats. Some YouTube viewers felt she was "acting cute", while others blasted the song lyrics.
Others such as Goodh Lee posted that Chu is "just another singer singing a song to put herself in controversy to get attention. Maybe this chick is implying that she's naturally good-looking while Korean girls are pretty because they have plastic surgery".
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