‘You are here for me for life’: Beijing releases song marking 45 years of diplomatic ties with Malaysia

30-Jan-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 10:09 AM Print This Post

A song emphasising the lasting friendship between China and Malaysia has been released by Beijing’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur to commemorate the two nations’ 45 years of diplomatic ties.

Bahu Kiri (“left shoulder” in Malay) or Zuo Jian is performed by 19-year-old Malaysian singers Jeryl Lee Pei Ling and Siti Nurmasyitah Mohd Yusoff, who have recorded two versions in both Malay and Mandarin.

The song’s lyrics describe the two countries as “brothers through it all” who “nothing can stop” from bonding.

“Only you can calm my heart when troubles arise. You are here for me for life,” Lee and Siti sing.

Tang Tang, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Malaysia, said the song was just one aspect of the year-long programme of activities that are planned to celebrate the anniversary.

“The song will also serve as theme music for a micro-movie we are releasing called Gift of Time,” he said. “It is a touching story to elaborate on the friendship between the people from China and Malaysia.”

Ties between the two nations have been tested recently by Kuala Lumpur’s rethinking of several Beijing-backed infrastructure projects that were agreed upon by the administration of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak.

Dr Ngeow Chow Bing, of the University of Malaya’s Institute of China Studies, said he thought the song was “quite nice” and representative of strong relations between the two countries.

I save my left shoulder for you to lean on

Excerpt from Bahu Kiri

“Malaysia continues to need the trade and investment opportunities provided by China. In people-to-people relations, Chinese and Malaysians have very robust exchanges of all sorts,” he said.

“The new government [of Malaysia] is committed to maintaining a positive relationship with China, while simultaneously enhancing relations with other powers and also ensuring that China’s invested projects are beneficial to Malaysians.”

Other lines from the song, which was posted on Facebook to hundreds of likes including from Malaysian politicians describe the two nations “looking out across the southern sea with an epic vision”.

“Distance doesn’t stop us from knowing each other, 10,000 miles apart yet we remain neighbours,” reads another.

The song’s title, meanwhile, comes from the line: “My right shoulder blocks the wind and rain and I save my left shoulder for you to lean on”.

Its singers appear to have be chosen because of their name recognition in both countries. Lee shot to fame after appearing on Zhejiang Television’s “Sing! China” and Siti, who is also known as Masyitah Masya, made waves on social media with her 2017 cover in Mandarin of Si Le Dou Yao Ai (Still Love Even After Death) by Taiwanese band Shin.

The Chinese embassy in Kuala Lumpur has had to navigate a power shift in Malaysia since May’s watershed elections saw current prime minister Mahathir Mohamad’s Pakatan Harapan coalition unseat Najib’s long-ruling Barisan Nasional.

While Najib was seen as too close to China because of his administration’s readiness to sign large infrastructure deals with Beijing, the Mahathir administration has been keen to roll back any deals they deem too expensive or not in Malaysia’s best interests.



Category: China

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