Saturday, July 06, 2013

NMA rocks Taiwan: Taiwan State of Mind Parody

More hilarity from the animators at NMA.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!


Jenna Cody said...

I really liked it until they devoted approxinately half the song space to talking about the appearance of Taiwanese women. There's nothing wrong with appreciating that, but a few thoughts:

1.) There's more to Taiwanese women than long legs and eyelashes, and "city of skin" is kind of offensive.

2.) What about Taiwanese men? I like 'em (I mean in that "I'm married and I just look" way, but still).

3.) Half the song? Really? They couldn't find anything else to talk about re: Taiwan for half the song? I'm down with devoting some lyrical space to long legs, but half the song?

Anonymous said...

Sweet Jesus. . .

1) The lead singer was male. It seems quite natural that he should have a male-centered view. Assuming that is a heterosexual male view then a focus on female charms seems perfectly natural.

2) The genre parodied (which to my uneducated ear seems to be rap) is not exactly noted for waxing lyrical about women's intellect, personality etc. Would the thought police agree that singing about women's long legs and eyelashes is less offensive than singing about bitches' tits and arse?

3) Other work from the people that came up with it has never struck me as sexist.

People like you make me despair of humanity. If you are so offended how about you come up with your own version?

Anonymous said...

I wasn't offended by the video, but you have to admit the first half had way more to it than the second. I'd have preferred to see more of "Taiwan" throughout as well.

Jenna Cody said...

You don't think it is possible for a male lead singer to sing about Taiwan and not focus *half the song* on Taiwanese women? You think all men are singleminded? That thought right there is what makes ME despair for society. And it's kind of sexist toward men to imply that all they're capable of thinking about are hot women and they wouldn't be all that interested in much else that Taiwan has to offer.

As I said, I don't really care if there're a few lines in there about women. It's when it's half the song and he can't think of anything else to talk about that it bothers me.

I know the original song more or less by heart (I'm a New Yorker). It doesn't go on and on about the charms of women in New York. It has a few lines about women trying to make it there as men are (and implying that some of 'em end up becoming prostitutes). Instead it talks know, NEW YORK.

I would say that generally, the whole genre is sexist. Beastie Boys were a great exception, maybe the Roots' earlier work too. I like rap anyway, but plenty of people have accused it of extreme misogyny.

For what it's worth I don't think this song is misogynistic. Just objectifying.

I also found that the song focused on a party-and-girls expat (both laowai and ABC) culture that I just don't relate to, but that's his viewpoint and whatever. I find I generally don't relate to these things.

And if you're gonna throw a "it's people like you that make me despair of society" (really, Internet Guy? You don't even know me and yet I am the worst person you've ever known? For serious? FFS), well, whatevs. Have fun stewing in your anger there bro. Maybe try commenting over on YouTube where people make horrible statements of outsize anger and that's just normal.

Jenna Cody said...

While I did think "City of Skin" was kind of offensive, btw, I wasn't "offended" by the song.

I liked the first half, found the second half eyeroll-worthy, felt that it was sad that the guy ran out of things to talk about re: Taiwan and so just started going on about Taiwanese women to the point of objectification, and felt that should have been less than **half** the song (I never said cut it entirely), and felt it was trying to get people to be all "yeah Taiwan!" but doing so by putting forward a version of life in Taiwan that I don't really relate to. I can't even be mad about that last bit - my version of life in Taiwan would probably strike whoever wrote that song as "boring" (I feel it's anything but).

That's not the same as being "offended".

Anonymous said...

Jenna, I find I generally just don't relate to rap. However, I found this song amusing. I shared it on Facebook and my friends (male and female) seem to agree.

Yeah, it's a shame it was so urban. I realize rap is an urban musical form, but you know, Taiwan's natural scenery has so much to offer. They also showed a betel nut without delving into the related environmental and health issues. This struck me as poor, even irresponsible. I also felt the Japanese colonial period got overlooked, and there was nothing at all on Chiang Kai-shek. It might have been hard to feature the 228 Incident in an appropriately 'feelgood' spirit, but surely they could have tried? Dutch-Aboriginal relations were also strangely absent. In fact, there was nothing about aboriginals at all! Who else sees great irony in using a musical form invented by people of color in America to marginalize people of color in Asia? Finally the presentation of female legs without exploring the broader context of foot binding was bizarre. Do these folk take the viewer for a fool?

Seriously, why get offended by a short, feel-good, parody song for not achieving a sufficiently broad coverage of the theme 'Taiwan'. Perhaps it is time to lighten up a little?

Jenna Cody said...

I'm gonna leave it with this because posting so much about it makes me seem angrier about it than I really am (I'm not, really, I just didn't care for the second half of the song).

When there's so much more to write about in Taiwan - not the stuff you refer to sarcastically, but everything from aboriginal culture to temple festivals to mountains to islands - did he really have to devote *half the song* to Taiwanese women?

If it been a few lines I wouldn't have mentioned it. But it was half the song, which is just overdoing it IMHO.

I shared it on Facebook too, but added the caveat "the first half is good, the second half will have you rolling your eyes".

Jenna Cody said...

Actually, I will make one more comment, but this isn't related to the NMA parody song.

Rap actually has a fantastic history of covering serious social issues. I realize that song was a parody so doesn't need to include them (but then, he did include Taiwan independence, so that's something), but good rap is more socially aware than perhaps you think it is.

I won't post links here because you probably won't follow them and it'll take too much of my time, but my recommended listening is Talib Kweli (Going Hard, Gutter Rainbows, Cold Rain, Get By are all good), Jean Grae (Uh Oh), Ghostface Killah (Motherless Child - the point may not be clear at first), MIA (Sunshowers, 20 Dollar, Come Around), The Roots - old stuff only - (Hello, Star), Beastie Boys (Sure Shot), even the super old school not-quite-rap, more-like-punk Asian Dub Foundation had some good ones (pretty much the entire Community Music album).

That's what rap's about for me anyway. I don't even have the most sophisticated taste in rap, but I feel like I know good when I hear good.

But that has nothing to do with the NMA song, I just feel like rap gets a bad name for being all about hos, Benzes, guns & bankroll.

Anonymous said...

Back to topic: great video!! Please spread and build awareness for this great country that the world is turning a cold shoulder to just to taste the riches of China's huge market.

Taiwan is a democracy, let's keep it free!!!

Anonymous said...

Rap gets a (deservedly) bad name as much because it's untalented shite as it does because of what the content of the lyrics is.