Sparrow Building Nest
In 2013 a local film production "The Girl in Pinafore" 《我的朋友，我的同学，我爱过的一切》brought back memories for those Singaporeans who had grown up with XinYao (Singapore local school pop) with the song "Sparrow Building Nest" 《麻雀衔竹枝》.
There were stories about this song. Even the writer of the song Liang Wen Fu wrote an article in Zao Pow (Singapore local main Chinese Newspaper) on this song: it was the evening of 1st Aug 2013, for the first time in Singapore history, the top 3 main Chinese board casting stations of Singapore board casted the same song " Sparrow Building Nest" after the song was banned in Singapore for 23 years! One of the DJ said for that moment there was this urge to cry. The song writer could still recall the warmth of his father's shoulder while listening to this song of his over the air.....
Those year Singapore Government was promoting speak Mandarin campaign and all dialects were banned from TV programs and board casting stations. The aim was to have a common spoken language within the Chinese Community to forge better communication and unity.
It then made me start digging out my CD with this song. Actually there were more than one songs written by Wen Fu that were banned. I do not have the original release, but I have this particular song under the CD collection 《笑说城事》, which collected Wen Fu works from 1987 to 1990. These works were about events and happenings in Singapore, with very strong local flavour. Some of the songs were "One Step at a Time” 《一步一步来》, "Eve of History Exam" 《历史考试前夕》, "The Good and the Bad" 《好与不好之外》, "Some People and Many People" 《有些人和很多人》, "Too Many" 《太多太多》, "Good Song" 《好了歌》, "Tragedies of a Eastern Man" 《一个东方男子的悲剧》, "The Town that the Somebody Stay" 《某某人住在很那个的小镇》, "Singapore Pie" 《新家坡派》, "New Flute Tune" 《紫竹吹新调》, "Love Stories" 《爱情烈士外传》, "Three Daughters of Mr Chang" 《老张的三个女儿》, "Rock and Roll Stories" 《摇滚话三分》, "Sparrow Building Nest" 《麻雀衔竹枝》, every song is a master piece by itself, with lots of local flavour, witty and humorous, and if you are not familiar with local Singaopre history, Chinese history and Chinese Swordsman Fictions, you may not be able to understand the lyrics fully!
Other than the outstanding music and lyric of Wen Fu, I also only discovered recently that actually the recordings were quite good indeed. As for arrangements, it has always been good in those days, where real instruments were used for recordings like violins, cello, piano, erhu, pipa, Chinese flute, percussion and etc, which to a classical music lover like me would find the music full of colour, rather than the artificial synthesizer.
Maybe Wen Fu's songs will bring back too much memories of the past. While listening to this song that was banned for the past 23 years, I could not help but tears drop in the eyes........