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Malaysia Char Bor gets love song in reply

The Straits Times | Bryna Singh | Tuesday, Jul 1, 2014

She's a "Malaysian woman", he's a "Singaporean guy" - and, make no mistake, they're both not Korean. A triculture mash-up has been playing out, of late, online, in song.

Last month, Malaysian teenager Joyce Chu's song Malaysia Cha Bor hit YouTube, its title cheekily using the Hokkien term for "woman" to strike a humorous note while staking out the boundaries of South-east Asian identity.

Composed by Malaysian singersongwriter Namewee, the song has the fair, doe-eyed and long-haired lass from Johor Baru singing about how she is often mistaken for a Korean girl.

"I come from JB, a place near Singapore I am a Malaysia cha bor (girl)," sings the 17-year-old while strumming the ukulele with a winsome smile. "I know kimchi tastes delicious, but I prefer having chendol and keropok."

The ditty soon went viral and has garnered more than five million views to date. The parodies that quickly sprung up included a Mat Salleh (Malay colloquialism for "Caucasian") version, a duet between a Malaysian and his expatriate counterpart on their respective girl-pulling woes; and a Singapore Cha Bor version, in which a young girl pleads not to be mistaken for a Japanese as she is "from the Lion City".

But, out of all these parodies, a Singapore Da Por's love song in reply to Chu's Malaysia Cha Bor has been pulling the most eyeballs.

YouTube user "Singapore da por" (da por is guy in Hokkien) sings in his parody, uploaded three weeks ago, that he "follows" Chu on Facebook and would love to profess his affection for her.

His rendition has since received more than 300,000 views, with encouraging comments from viewers who say they found the lyrics "sweet" and "creative".

Asked if he is smitten with Chu, Singapore da por - whose real name is Gary Chun - says his cover was done "just for fun".

"I feel that most Singaporean guys would wish to express their love for her, so I put that kind of feeling into the cover," says the 25-year-old recruitment consultant. "She looks sweet and cute, and she can play the ukulele. Which guy would not like that?"

He cobbled together the parody in two hours.

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