Amidst the rising popularity of Mandarin-pop songs in our school, many have been mesmerised by JJ Lin’s voice and Jay Chou’s raps. I, on the other hand, have been obsessed with Stranger in the North, a poignant song written and performed by a newcomer to the musical scene – Malaysian rapper and songwriter Namewee. He also collaborated with famous singer-songwriter Wang Lee-hom. This sensational duo has created a music video which garnered a strong support of 1.3 million views within a day of its release.
The lyrics were penned with the purpose of voicing up about the plight of migrant workers, particularly in the scene of Beijing. This song was also speculated as a story about Namewee, being a Malaysian who went on to studied abroad in Taiwan. To me, the music tells the story of migrant workers in general, and is in fact very relatable to us. Someday in the future we might also have to leave the comfort of living in Singapore and travel abroad for extended periods of time to further our studies or for other reasons. It would be difficult to adapt and many of us will certainly miss home. However, this song serves as a timely reminder that we have to stay strong. Furthermore, it forces us to reflect on how we have been treating our migrant workers in Singapore.
One characteristic of Stranger in the North that I find very admirable is the fact that it manages to be both harsh and uplifting at the same time. The skilfully chosen choice of words directly highlights the harsh conditions that many workers face having to leave home for someplace alien as a means of survival. However, at the same time, the tune has a hip-hop rhythm to it that manages to bring my spirits up. Furthermore, its strong beats and the singers’ strong vocals amplify the emotions channelled into it. This creates a song that has the power to successfully emanate positive energy and remind many migrant workers that they are not alone. It is one of the many ways this masterpiece in the music industry stands out among the rest of the top hits.
I was never a fan of mandarin pop songs, but this song has found its way into my heart and left a deep impression on me ever since I first heard it over the radio. While there are still many of us who are not fans of mandarin-pop, I hope you will still give it a go. It is a song that will definitely tug on your heartstrings and I guarantee you that you will not regret listening to it!
Image from Google Images
Renee Ong (3 Unity)