Monday, 9 April 2018

Just Sing It

I dropped Ilyas off to kindergarten this morning with the song Panama playing during his morning exercise. We looked at one another and I started "Zile zile, aa aa". While walking him to the gate, we moved our hands along with the rhythm and Ilyas can't stop smiling; I know he loves this song, so do I. As usual, he will ask me later to sing and dance like how the teachers did. Therefore, I have to at least remember a few lines and repeating them as if I know this song well; it makes him thrilled! So, the eager me googled the net with the hope of singing it out loud to him but wait! This song is in Romanian language! Romanian my goodness, how on earth should I sing it?? 

Another catchy song which reminds me of last year's Despacito. While listening to Panama song, I am writing the thoughts that I had back then when I first listened to Despacito.

Despacito; the song by Luis Fonsi is one of my 2017 favourite songs. When the song first hit the billboard, my Facebook page was spammed with news feed about this song. Since I am from Malaysia, most of the feeds came from our local sources; especially videos of Malay girls singing this song. To be honest, I am impressed! It is so cool that you can sing in Spanish without having to learn about the language at the first place. It takes an appreciable effort to actually articulate the words since Spanish is not our mother tongue; not even our second language. As for me, nothing seems wrong about singing Despacito. I myself have been listening to this song every Wednesdays during Zumba session with my colleagues since months ago. Zumba steps with Despacito is such an enjoyment, you should give it a try. 

I have read from the news that Despacito is actually a bit sensual; based on the lyrics *have to translate it since it is not in English*. In my culture, sex or anything related to it is considered as a taboo subject and it is classified as highly sensitive and not to be discussed openly. No wonder the comments received from the videos of our Malay girls singing the song were a bit controversial (mostly from our locals). A Malay girl singing Spanish's sensual song is unacceptable, they claimed. But, what is so wrong about a Malay girl singing a Spanish song? Have we at the first place ever thought of the meaning behind the song when we first listened to it? Even Justin Bieber was criticized for not pronouncing the words right while singing it. So, ladies and gentlemen, let's look at this issue holistically, shall we?

#1 - Language Acquisition

Do you know that there is a term called a "critical period" for language acquisition? Generally, language can be easily acquired before the "critical period" ends i.e. before the age of seven or at about the age of puberty. That is why it is important to expose your kids with different languages at the early age to promote better acquisition of languages. This situation applies not only for the first language but also to second or even third language. In Malaysia, English is our second language and learning the language itself has been a great challenge. In this Despacito issue, the Malay girls who managed to sing in Spanish with good articulation of the words deserve a token of praises. It is not easy though! The effort of memorizing and articulating language with different phonemes; it should be counted.

#2 - Self-Confidence

Confidence is one of the important pulling factors in oneself to do something. Being confident helps us to be one step ahead of everyone. To be able to sing a Spanish song; someone has to believe that he or she can pronounce the words correctly. Remember when we first started to learn ABC? The process is similar whereby we have to look at the alphabets and memorize the sounds before we can pronounce them fluently. Certain languages have different pronunciation of the letters. I am taking one word from the lyrics; Si, sabes que ya llevo un rato mirandote. The word "que" is pronounced as "k". If I don't listen to the song and simply read it (mind that I don't have any basic knowledge in Spanish language), I will pronounce it is "q". So, if you ask me now about singing this song, I would honestly say that I don't have that confident to sing Despacito. It takes courage and I don't have enough of it for the time being. Who knows later I will learn Spanish? I will upload my video singing Despacito then haha! Let's be more confident with ourselves in everything that we do, ocay? And hats off to those who successfully delivered this song with their beautiful voice. I like it!

#3 - Generalization

Gender bias? When we think of gender as the highlight; we are actually treating this issue unfairly. Yes, the occurrence is so obvious when people tend to criticize only a specific gender singing Despacito. Cultural sensitivity? Like I have mentioned, my culture restricts any taboo subject to be brought up publicly. I was not bothered to look into the translation when I first listened to this song; not until this issue came up. I felt quite offended with the negative comments especially made by our locals as if a Malay girl singing the song is sinful and immoral. I believe it will not be an issue at all if we change the subject to a Malay boy, haha! To simply put a negative remark on a person because of gender and culture; it shows that we are generalizing our thinking based on perception and not on the value that the person possesses. Hence, let's stop generalizing people and appreciate their values. At the end of the day, it is only a song that we are arguing about *sigh*

No issues so far for this Panama song; only the dance challenge which triggers the fun out of it! Oh, well nothing to be highlighted by the locals because the lyrics are not controversial enough I guess?? Haha.. Let's sing it! Panama aa aa, Mile mile..

The end. Thank you! =)

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