Click here for some theme music! (© Nick Choo)
PATRIOTIC, public-service music has never gone out of vogue. Some people have favourites. Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim recently cited Budi Bahasa Budaya Kita as a shining example of the genre. I like to remember the IT song, because in the age of mechanised love dolls and sexting it sounds lewd. (Maybe it’s just me.)
Since Rais has announced a nationwide search for the best lyrical description of the not-like-Malaysian-Malaysia-at-all 1Malaysia, I thought it would be amusing to scour the media for any like-minded contests. I can’t believe I missed this one:
Song contest to raise swine flu awareness
PUTRAJAYA, 29 April 2009: The Health and Well-Being Ministry will launch a contest to find the best swine flu public-service song.
“It would help spread details about the virus to ordinary Malaysians, to raise their awareness,” minister Datuk Ling Lam How said.
Ling said that he had been inspired by Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, who announced a song contest for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia concept on 27 April.
“Like Rais, I also believe in the power of music,” Ling said.
(Music image by ilco; pig image by weirdvis / sxc.hu) The swine flu outbreak, which began in Mexico, has been classified as a Phase 5 or “widespread human infection” pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Caused by the H1N1 virus, its symptoms include fever, coughing, and diarrhoea.
Ling said that composers interested in entering the contest would have to explain the symptoms of the H1N1 virus, and how it is spread, adding that such details could be found on the Ministry’s website.
“The song must include tips on hygiene, and advise people not to travel to Mexico and other countries where swine flu cases have been reported,” Ling said.
According to Ling, Bahasa Malaysia entries would be prioritised. However, composers could not use the word “khinzir”, to respect the sensitivities of Muslims.
“The song must also represent all races,” Ling added.
Ling stressed that the government was taking “drastic measures” to ensure that the swine flu pandemic is kept out of Malaysian borders. He said that a public service advisory, widely aired on all TV and radio stations, would “keep people on their toes about serious health issues”.
By the way, did you know that an annoying tune you can’t get out of your head is called an “earworm”?
And, while it isn’t a contest, this has also been in the news:
Election agency official song breaks record
KUALA LUMPUR, 3 May 2009: The Election Administration Agency (EAA)’s official song has entered the Malaysia Book of Records as the Longest Malaysian Patriotic Song.
When queried by the reporters, EAA Director-General Datuk Rosman Yusoff Ariffin said that he felt “very proud”.
“This is another significant achievement that belongs to all Malaysians,” Rosman added.
The 19-stanza, 350-word song, Demokrasi, Demokrasi, was first unveiled after the Bukit Gantang, Bukit Selambau, and Batang Ai triple by-elections. Composed in the traditional keroncong style, it was designed to advise the public on the need for free and fair elections, and cites passages from the EAA Act (1959) and Election Offences Act 1954.
“We felt that the people had to know how we work,” Rosman said, adding that the agency had been receiving bad press.
“The opposition has been inciting public sentiment against us,” Rosman said, citing the pondok panas issue as an example.
“People who listen to the song will realise that they are being misled,” he continued.
Rosman revealed that Demokrasi, Demokrasi will be played daily, before the 8pm primetime news slot on national TV and radio stations, beginning this month.
“This is so that the message will get out, and the people will bear facts in mind when they listen to current affairs,” Rosman stressed.
Originally titled Pilihan Raya Pilihan Kita, the song’s first three verses were changed after the Public Advisory Department (PAD) cautioned that it could encourage more elected representatives to resign.
(Ear pic source: sci.utah.edu; worm
pic by IngerM / sxc.hu)Apparently, anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder medication can alleviate the symptoms of an earworm. I wonder if sales of anti-depressants in Malaysia are unusually high.
Could this depression be related to the religious matters which are all the rage these days? (Okay, okay. When have they never?)
Jacqueline Ann Alfonso lends voice to non-Muslim nasyid compilation
PETALING JAYA, 4 May 2009: Akademi Impian winner Jacqueline Ann Alfonso will contribute a track to a compilation of nasyid songs performed by non-Muslim artists.
“I am very pleased to be part of this groundbreaking project,” Alfonso said.
The 22-year-old rising star said that she had agreed to be a part of Penyayang Records’ 20 Lagu Nasyid Kafir because she wanted to promote interfaith understanding.
“Islam is such a beautiful religion. I’m very excited,” Alfonso said.
According to Penyayang Records producer Ronnie Tan, the compilation of religious music is meant to diffuse religious mistrust among Malaysians.
“This is our way of bringing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s dream of 1Malaysia to reality,” Tan said.
He stressed that the songs in the compilation would not be using the word “Allah”.
“We need to take into account the sensibilities of our fellow man [and woman],” Tan explained.
Other confirmed artists on the project include Mandarin pop star Rockie Han and bhangra dance group Groove Sonix. Tan revealed that his company had also approached notable Malaysian performers Francissca Peter and Pete Teo, but they had declined due to “scheduling difficulties”.
Zedeck Siew wants disco nasyid.