Kara Okay

Where to begin.

There’s the bit about this weekend being pretty much one of the lowest points in my life, but I’m still thinking about whether a blog entry would necessarily be the best way of moving on and avoiding wallowing in self-pity.

There’s the bit about being #2 on the Internet for “nature bamboo gal”, which is, like, so not me.

There’s the bit about Chinky karaoke with Terry, where for the first time in my life I managed to sing more than 5% of the lyrics of a Chinese song! I think I’ll go with this. It’s happy and triumphal, unlike, er, the rest of my weekend.

I’ve documented my previous attempt at Chinese karaoke here. A few months later, I padded downstairs for the mail on an early spring morning in London and found two CDs Terry had sent all the way from Singapore. One was a Faye Wong compilation, the other was a compilation of his favourite mushy ballads, both came with tracklistings and commentary including his views on the stupidity of the singers’ names, and I listened to them lots. So the premise of Sunday’s outing was for me to flex my tiny little Chinky song muscles and enter the wonderful world of Chinese karaoke, under the encouragement and tutelage of my Chinky song benefactor.

I didn’t do great, but I did okay! I mumbled my way through Liang Ge Ren Bu Deng Yu Wo Men (I think this means Two People Don’t Amount To Us, but I’m not actually sure), and pretty much the only words I could manage in King Of Karaoke (stop laughing, it’s really rather nice) were its kickass “AI AI AI AI DAO YAO TU!” climax (translation: LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE UNTIL I WANT TO VOMIT!), but I managed to sing almost 70% of my old favourite Nan Ren Bu Gai Rang Nu Ren Liu Lei (Men Shouldn’t Make Women Cry) and Faye Wong’s Qi Zi (I have no idea what this means, but I can read the words and that’s enough), and I’m real proud!

Chinese karaoke certainly has its advantages over English karaoke. The biggest reason for this is the accompanying videos. For Chinese songs you get the actual music video, featuring the actual artist looking pouty/teary/suicidal (but still dee-lish, natch). For English songs you get some really dodgy shots of an “exotic” woman walking in slo-mo along the beach/by a fountain/in a flower garden that look like your granny put them together using all the cheesy fade-outs and romantic lighting filters she could find in DummyEdit Pro. Admittedly, given that all my attention was riveted on deciphering all those bloody fan ti zi (old, massively complicated Chinese characters which mostly resemble the blueprints to the Pyramids; we learned the dumbed-down version of these in school, but actual Chinese nations still use them), I was mostly too busy going “fuck me, that immense scribbly thing is rang?” to really appreciate the subtler points of Chinese music video artistry.


  1. I’m guessing that if I understood Manderin, then I’d find your pun “Karo Okay” even more unforgiveable.

  2. No, not really. My affinity for gut-wrenchingly awful puns is sadly limited only to English. Sorry to disappoint. Un-kara-cteristic, I know.

  3. Christ.

    I thought it was because you share one of my pet hates for western “correction” of words we do in fact say correctly. Such as Ni-Kee, not nike. Ca-fey, not Caff [not sure about this one]. And Ka-ra-o-kay, not ka-re-oh-kee.

  4. I’ve found you Michelle! That aside, “Qi Zi” means miracle. (Yes, I actually know more about chinese music then you)

    Read thru some of your blogs and I can forsee myself feeling the same when I actually have to leave Australia… I will email you sometime soon so we can catch up. Really missed you!

  5. Liv, are you sure Qi Zi means “miracle” in that particular song? I mean, she sings “wo xiang shi yi ge qi zi”.

    “I am like a miracle”???

    I know Faye Wong’s meant to be a bit of a diva, but even J-Lo doesn’t sing lyrics quite so egotistical!

  6. OH!! THAT SONG!

    Qi’2 Zi’3 actually means CHESS PIECE!

    Make sense now?

    (And I did say I know more about Canto pop didn’t I? :P)

  7. So when are you next back in Singapore, Liv? I’m currently hunched over a printout of Chinese lyrics – Eason Chan, King of Karaoke – in preparation for my marathon 6 hour karaoke session on Sunday and if I master it I’d be happy to perform it for you when you next return. :P

  8. I feel left out!! And Michelle [I can’t believe I’m even daring to enter this particular conversation], doesn’t “wo xiang shi yi ge qi zi” mean “I think it’s a miracle”?

    *fingers crossed*

    This is like when I accidently lost 2 mil yesterday [got it back, hence still employed]

  9. Tamara: Understandable mistake, but no, it’s not “I think it’s a miracle”, because it’s xiang4 not xiang3. And Liv’s sudden realization that it was a chess piece, not a miracle, now means it all finally makes sense!

    Ah, sweet memories. I fondly remember our group projects in Secondary 2. Our group had three members, Liv, Tamara and me. Tamara and me did the history project on WW2. Liv did the Chinese project singlehandedly. I seem to remember “we” did fine for both projects. Obviously a strategy that worked.

  10. So this is where you are…..she means ” I feel like a chess piece, my every move is determined by you etc….” wonderful stuff. Get ready for sunday!

  11. It was always us 3 in Secondary 1 and 2. We really hung out so much, it was insane… I remember us passing notes to each other in class, and the fits of giggles we would have during recess in the canteen.

    Those were really the good old days. I still have many of those notes we wrote stuffed in my “Katong Convent Fond Memories” box back in Singapore.

    I’ll be back in Singapore sometime in January next year, hopefully in time for Chinese New Year. And I would LOVE to watch you perform at the KTV for me :)

Comments are closed.