White Noise: Broken Records

Flogged deader than a dead horse, decomposed beyond the reach of carbon dating, these are the stale tunes that have obstinately overstayed their welcome.

Photo: Sebastian Derungs (creative commons-licensed content)

“George Soros” by Tun Mahathir

Like a bad armpit odour that refuses to go away, this song has been resurrected more times than Jean Grey. A classic from the Tun since 1997, alongside ‘The Chinese’, ‘The Jews’, and of course, ‘Anwar’, this ditty was created to shift blame when billions of the country’s money were lost to forex speculation by Bank Negara while the Tun was lord of the land. In hindsight, the lyrics are as believable as the semen Saiful preserved in his anus. Be that as it may, the Tun remains a prolific weapon of mass distraction to this day, constantly appealing to the rakyat’s base emotions to divert attention from the black legacies of his misrule.


Photo: Simpleking (creative commons-licensed content)

“Rosmah” by Various Artistes

A recent hit that has managed to stay afloat in the charts for the past four years. I am a fan of Rosmah! She is a voluptuous 20-year -old trapped in the body of a sumo wrestler blessed with a bouffant as immoveable as Anil Kapoor’s. Aside from concerns about her source of funds, she has impeccable taste in jewellery and handbags. She has a cultivated aversion to any accessory costing less than five figures (left of decimal point) but this is only to be expected, for those are the privileges to which a First lady is entitled. Shopping in London, New York and Paris. Hanging out with Bobby De Niro. Sharing the limelight with subservient hubby who is the second most powerful person in Malaysia. Deep down in your heart of hearts, don’t you just want to be like her?

Photo: Antitezo (creative commons-licensed content)

“May 13, 1969” by UMNO

A number one song in the local charts for many, many years, even outselling The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd combined. Despite being increasingly grating on the ears, it is still a key weapon in UMNO’s propaganda armoury, designed to spread fear and inculcate a siege mentality. However, with the advent of the internet, freer flow of information and the birth of newer generations who did not live through that dark period of our nation’s history, the song has slowly but surely lost its appeal over time. Its potency was recently dealt a serious blow by the disclosures from declassified British Government documents referred to in Kua Kia Soong’s book ‘May 13‘, which indicated that a power struggle within UMNO was at the heart of the event as opposed to the breaking down of race relations. Undaunted by this, there are forces at work trying to resuscitate the popularity of the tune, as can be seen from the controversies surrounding the film ‘Tanda Putera’ which may be released soon.

Photo: Hani Amir (creative commons-licensed content)

“Hudud” by Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat

Two foes, locked in perpetual mortal combat, bizarrely collaborated on this song and dance. Following the ‘call and response’ pattern that is so prevalent in blues music, one side will ‘call’ and the other, out of some inexplicable genetic imperative, will ‘respond’. If you are searching for the perfect example of behavioural determinism, look no further! Mature and rational listeners frown every time it is played. Guys, what about diverting your energy and enthusiasm to the many, many more critical issues of the day? Like deconstructing the attraction of Gangnam Style from a theological platform for instance?

Once mixed with politics, religion is inevitably manipulated as an instrument of power and control. The winners are those in authority. The losers are the public at large, with their freedom and choices circumscribed by dogma.

So there you have it. Tunes carrying a tried and tired formula that tests the general tolerance and patience of bright Malaysians. These are not songs that deserve to be evergreen; they are songs in dire need of being erased from the collective consciousness of the nation for us to move forward. Until such time however, we can only hope no one will make any special requests for more.

(Featured image accompanying article on main page courtesy of Ian Crowther, source: http://bit.ly/TrH8Do)

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Mian‘s favourite musician is Lord Bobo. His Supreme Eminenceness is well known for his ability to play a total of 25 instruments, and to compose, perform, and produce albums all by himself. A veritable one-manmonkeyband (some say control freak), his career started its meteoric rise in the mid eighties with the release of his soundtrack to a movie starring him and the babelicious Apollonia Kotero. His songs about smooching, velvet rain and crying birds are considered modern classics. Waitaminit! Is His Supreme Eminenceness the artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known As…?

Posted on 16 October 2012. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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