Breaking online Chinese nationalist hearts, 'Fragile' goes viral in Taiwan, HK

10/21/2021 01:51 PM
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Photo courtesy of Namewee
Photo courtesy of Namewee's agent

Taipei, Oct. 21 (CNA) Days after it was banned in China, a Mandarin ballad satirizing nationalistic Chinese internet users is trending at No. 1 on YouTube in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

"Fragile" (玻璃心) by the Taiwan-based Malaysian rapper Namewee (黃明志) and Australian singer Kimberley Chen (陳芳語) offers a tongue-in-cheek apology to "little pink" internet users, a disparaging term used to describe patriotic keyboard warriors from China.

After racking up over 9 million YouTube views, the song is also at No. 3 on the site in Malaysia as of Thursday noon, according to Kworb, a website that analyzes music data from around the world.

It is also the only Chinese-language song on Kworb's list of music videos trending worldwide on YouTube.

The R&B duet, described by Namewee as a "romantic, sweet love song filled with pink," takes light-hearted aim at young nationalists in China who use the internet as a battleground for hashing out perceived nationalistic grievances.

The music video for "Fragile" sees Namewee and Chen, decked out in pink clothes and heart-shaped glasses, pleading with easily offended netizens: "You're a bad listener, but you can't stop talking and retaliating. I wonder how I have offended you. You assume the world is your enemy."

The song goes on to say: "You claim that I belong to you. Don't deny and come home. Can't lose anything, let you win everything. It's unreasonable. You urge me to explain to the world, our inseparable relationship. And take care of your heart of glass."

While not explicit, the lyrics are an apparent reference to China's relationship with Taiwan as well as Beijing's sweeping claims of sovereignty in the South China Sea.

Namewee told CNA that his inspiration for the song came from his own experience interacting with people online when sharing his music, describing it as fascinating how some would obsess over small details and then amplify them endlessly.

A day after the song's debut, Namewee and Chen's music was banned on China's popular microblogging site Weibo and all of their songs were taken down from music streaming sites in China.

In response, Namewee chose instead to thank everyone who had liked the song: "Whatever reason brought you to the song, I'm okay with it. You are the person I'm looking for, whether you feel happy or unhappy after listening to the song."

Namewee, known for his satirical songs that touch on sensitive social and political topics, is an award-winning hip-hop artist who has been nominated three times for best Mandarin male singer at Taiwan's Golden Melody Awards.

He has previously stirred controversy in his home country Malaysia, with several of his music and film releases resulting in arrest after authorities accused the works of racism, tarnishing Malaysia's image and insulting Islam.

(By Wang Hsin-yu and Yeh Kuan-yin)

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