Here are some songs I love to Karaoke. Languages - Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), English, Hindi, Korean. The ones in Chinese have been translated into Hanyu Pin Yin or Kantonglish. So it doesn't really matter if you cannot read Chinese, Hindi, Korean - YOU CAN STILL SING! If you have any special requests for translation, leave me a comment.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Sing K and the art of writing Kantonglish – Part II

Start up
I did study Mandarin and Pin Yin at the British Council some months back (for a few weeks)…don’t laugh…they do teach Chinese. But Cantonese was alien to me. I accept that I had ignored it in the past. Why? Everybody told me that it is a difficult dialect to learn and that you cannot write down the words in English. And learning Chinese characters would probably take me years if not decades…
But, I thought, if Chinese is based on sounds then those sounds could be written down in any other language as long as one could modify it to adapt to some sounds which are difficult for us to speak. Having learned English during school and with the ability to write Oriya and Hindi in English faster and more effectively than in those scripts, I decided to bend it like Oringlish (nobody coined the word…it sounds better than Engloriya anyways which is close to Anglo-oriya which itself stands for English and Oriya union) and Hinglish.
I sat down one afternoon and started playing that Eason song again and again and again. Trying to write down the sounds…then when I had the whole song ready I took it to GW for review…he said it was good…bet he did not read it completely…how else could he have overlooked the BIG mistakes which I found recently when I revisited that piece. Anyways, he encouraged me enough to go on and sing it. And thank God for the patience which GT and BK displayed. I was literally humming it all day…even during office hours…I tried that piece out at the next K and it went down well…more encouragement and requests (I shall not call them demands yet since I am no longer a DJ).
The next break came through BK who helped translate an Alex song through a tool. I got the version in English with his help (so credit to him too). And it sounded closer to Cantonese rendition but needed a lot of polishing.
So this song was also added to the list of Cantonese songs I was performing (with reference to American Idol William Hung.
But as I went on attending more and more K I realized that I was singing the same songs over and over again and the audience was really being tested. But the time taken for writing a song in Kantonglish would take very long and by the time I put together one, the audience’s taste had moved on. So I started thinking…how could I produce them faster and how could I get to know the latest and popular songs. How…how…how…

Continued in ….. Sing K and the art of writing Kantonglish – Part III