As news of Hong Kong’s decision to return Singapore’s confiscated Terrex armoured vehicles went viral on social media, at least two netizens have taken to writing songs to mark the latest development.
Popular Singaporean blogger Lee Kin Mun, better known as mrbrown, produced his music video Terrex Come! in under an hour and uploaded it at about 10.30pm on Tuesday night, some four hours after the news first broke. Alvin Oon, who wrote an earlier song on the Terrex seizure that became an online hit, is penning a sequel.
Lee’s latest effort is sung to the tune of the Lunar New Year evergreen Cai Shen Dao (God of fortune comes), and features tongue-in-cheek lyrics that reference the upcoming festivities, such as “Finally give back liao. Thank you for this Ang Pow”.
He suggested, in jest, that the Hong Kong authorities’ decision might have been prompted by the belief in some quarters that it is pantang, Malay for taboo, not to return someone else’s belongings before the Lunar New Year.
As of 8pm on Thursday, his Facebook post of the song had been shared more than 1,500 times. His latest hit is a sequel to an earlier song, written to another Lunar New Year tune, Gong Xi Gong Xi, called Give Us Our Terrex Back. That song, which was first posted on January 10, was viewed more than 280,000 times on Facebook.
Lee’s song and another creation Give Me Back My Terrex Chia (car) by Oon were so popular online that they were even featured in a BBC article on how Singaporeans adopted a creative approach to demand the return of the impounded vehicles.
In creating his latest song, Lee said that “speed was of the essence” because he wanted the infantry carrier vehicles to be returned in good time. “I didn’t even use my soundproof recording studio, just the Blue Yeti USB mic connected to my iMac. Because going down two flights of stairs would slow me down,” said the 47-year-old.
“I think Singaporeans have never been so passionate about our military vehicles. I think the Terrex is now more popular than the Leopard tanks,” he said, referring to the Singapore Armed Forces’ refurbished Leopard tanks from Germany.
Oon, creator of the first viral hit, is also hard at work. The 49-year-old had received “numerous requests” for a sequel since the news broke, and said he was already “planning to write a happy song” and the “requests mean more reasons to do it”.
His new song, which will take a few days to produce, will briefly mention the return of the Terrex vehicles but focuses on “happiness, joy, friendship, goodwill and celebration” to move on from the episode, said the creative director of Peranakan Sayang, an entertainment production company.
Oon’s Give Me Back My Terrex Chia was uploaded on YouTube on Jan 9 and has garnered more than 400,000 views. It was such a hit that he jokingly said it was giving him some “totally unexpected” spare income.
The light-hearted “song diplomacy” approach Oon took was his way of lessening the tensions in the two-month wait. “I think most of us were aware of the situation but we all kept mum about it,” he said. “Humour is a great way to communicate.”
Joking that he may have had a small role to play in the return of the Terrex vehicles, Lee quipped: “Maybe our ministers played my songs to their Chinese counterparts and they laughed so much that they said, ‘OK, OK, we will return the Terrex! You guys are so funny!’”
This story was originally published on the TODAYonline website on January 25.