TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Just three days before the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, Malaysian rapper Namewee (黃明志) on Saturday (June 1) released his latest track boldly praising Taiwan's democracy, surely preventing the song reaching the airwaves in Communist China anytime soon.
The title of the video "鬼島 Ghost Island" is a nickname for Taiwan first used by writer and New Power Party member (郭冠英) to describe its ambiguous political status in 2009, but was later adopted by users of the Taiwanese online message board PTT as a way refer to the country in a self-deprecating way. Nowadays, and including in the video, the nickname Ghost Island has taken on an endearing and defiant meaning in the face of oppression from its menacing communist neighbor to the west.
In the video, the camera pans to Taiwan's rocky coast and Namewee starts out by repeatedly singing "Naruwan" (那魯灣), which is an indigenous Amis greeting meaning "welcome, for we are all in the same family." Namewee starts by introducing Taiwan as "a small island" south of Japan with a population of 23 million.
He then introduces the cultural diversity of the country, including speakers of Taiwanese dialect (Taiwanese Hokkien, Southern Min), indigenous peoples, Mandarin speakers, and the country's famously fine females.
Namewee then quickly cuts to the chase and starts rapping about the freedom Taiwanese have to protest, censorship-free internet, legalized same-sex marriage, transgender singers, and the rise to fame of former terror suspect An Tso "Edward" Sun (孫安佐).
He then proudly declares, "This is the Ghost Island, an out-of-order Ghost Island." Namewee then lists all the chaotic ways Taiwanese express themselves under the country's democratic system, criticism of leaders by the media, selection of officials through voting, and gangsters brawling in the legislature.
The rapper then sarcastically sings that "democracy and human rights here are the gross impropriety," and that freedom of speech is considered "a blasphemy to the leaders." For comic relief, the video then shows several clips of the ubiquitous scooter accidents frequently seen on Taiwanese TV news.
Namewe then appears to make a reference to Communist Chinese disinformation about Taiwan by singing that history claims that "everything in this land sucks." He then claims that he was told that Taiwanese people are "ungrateful and disappointing."
Taiwanese rapper Dwagie (大支) then starts his section by rapping in Taiwanese dialect that Taiwan's rulers say that they are short of funds, but they are busy serving the underprivileged community. He points out that many Taiwanese make donations when earthquakes occur in other countries.
Naysayers claim that the National Health Insurance system will go bankrupt, but "people here don't know about it," raps Dwagie. He then highlights the freedom of movement in Taiwan and its high-speed railway.
Dwagie also mentions the new immigrant community and that their children are educated in their native languages. He points out that there are still many indigenous peoples on the island, taking a jab at China's failure to recognize any ethnic groups on Taiwan other than Han Chinese.
Unlike China's leaders, Dwagie says that Taiwan's leaders apologize to the people. He then harkened back to student protests, such as the Sunflower Movement.
The rapper then touches on religious freedom by mentioning how people "are cheering for" Falun Gong and the Dalai Lama.
Dwagie then points out the fact that he and Namewee are able to rap what they please, proving that Taiwan's government permits artistic expression, something tightly restricted in China. Nevertheless, Dwagie calls on Taiwanese society to continue to work on improving itself, such as stamping out corruption and nepotism.
Dwagie closes out his rap by saying that Taiwanese should be grateful for what they have.