谈到新谣，想必大家都会联想起梁文福、巫启贤、颜黎明等人。就在前几天，我有幸到 Golden Village 戏院观赏《我们唱着的歌》。在去看那部之前，我只是略略知道它是一部有关新谣的记录片。但是，就因为我本身热爱新谣，对新谣辉煌的历史更是十分的好奇，因此我非看不可！
Just a few nights ago, I managed to catch the docu-film “The Songs We Sang” in a Golden Village theatre. Prior to the movie, I had little knowledge of what to expect. I only knew that it is a movie about xinyao, aka Singapore folk songs. As I am myself intrigued by the xinyao music genre, I am thrilled to catch the show to satisfy my curiosity.
Although I was born in the 80’s, my memory remains more vivid throughout the 90’s. However, xinyao has since incepted in the late 70’s, thanks to the emergence of Chinese schools. Before popular songbirds like JJ Lin and Stefanie Sun became musical icons here, xinyao sprung from Chinese schools, a movement started by Chinese students in Nanyang University’s “Poetry Music Club”. What began as a get-together during recess and after-school breaks to jam and make some music with mere guitars and vocals strummed itself to popularity in the commercial market not so long after.
Having said that, it was not all smooth-sailing for xinyao. Before it became commercialised, It was met with challenges such as the evolving education landscape in Singapore; English was made the lingua franca here, a move after the British colonial rule. Many Chinese students had difficulty trying to switch to the new language, not to mention having to use it as their primary language across other subjects. Also notable in history was the merger between Nanyang University and University of Singapore to form the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 1980. Before xinyao caught up with overseas music markets, the challenges it faced were unthinkable.
Still, I’m glad that we have arrived at where we are today. Thanks to local veterans like Liang Wern Fook and Eric Moo, the ripples of xinyao could be felt through later movie/drama productions such as “That Girl in Pinafore” and MediaCorp’s “Crescendo”. I am heartened to know that such productions helped to reach to the younger crowds who probably had little inkling on what the genre is about.
Xinyao is an exemplary case study of perseverance. As an educator who embraces music, I see this as a splendid match between language and music. Hereby, I hope that xinyao could reach more audiences, and that the beauty of Chinese literature could spread on for many years to come!
The Songs We Sang is now showing exclusively at selected Golden Village theatres.