This Garage-Band-mixed-MP3 was part of my arsenal of logistics on the actual day. I also brought along my iPod Nano, and had lined up four other significant 五月天 songs before this original composition played as the fifth song on the playlist.
I had to ensure that the entire playlist took around 20 minutes to play from start to finish. I will explain why later. I chose songs that represented different phases of our courtship. These were the songs I selected in sequential order:
- 让我照顾你 (by 阿信)
- 让我照顾你 (by 阿舍)
I remember taking out three blindfolds, charging all the gadgets that I needed for the day, packing the all-important ring, earphones and a change of clothes for the evening. I said my bedtime prayers and told the Lord that I’ve done that I possibly could. I guess I could say that I prepared ‘til my maximum, but I think it’s fair to say that I’ve prepared ‘til my optimum. Now I depend on His grace to see me through.
Yes, I think I am finally ready to write about how Friday transpired!
Next chapter: the actual visit to USS.
Here are the two stanzas that I was inspired to re-write… It’s only my second attempt at writing a Chinese song so do pardon my amateurishness. Google Translator was my buddy during this song-writing exercise. I tried to think and write like 阿信 (Ashin, lead singer of 五月天) but I had to make do with being 阿舍 (Asher, erm, me) instead. This was what I came up with…
走遍整世界 尝全美食 天堂 在你身边
心碎了流泪 我抱着你 答应 我非不变
争取了学位 烂歌俳句 为你 写多一些
萎缩的结局 馒头白发 梦想 十个孩子
The rest of the song (click here for its translation), written by the brilliant 阿信, goes like this:
昨天谁让你 受过伤 今天想要让你 都遗忘
是你 爱你让我变的更强 为你战斗永不投降
如果这一生 到尽头 换你的这句话 很足够
是你 爱你让我变的更强 为你战斗永不投降
The two stanzas were loosely based on a poem that I’ve written for her a couple of weeks ago (for the purpose of the proposal), which I would recite just before I asked her to marry me. For those whose Mandarin is equally as atrocious as mine, here’s a rough English translation of what I’ve written above:
I’ve travelled the world and tasted all kinds of cuisines
But my paradise is to be beside you
My favourite dinner and the dish I crave for the most
Is still the spinach broth that you cook
When your heart breaks or when your tears fall,
I’ll hold you in my arms and promise I will never change
I want to experience every minute and second with you,
And share every trophy and tragedy together
I’d earn another degree, compose another song and write another haiku,
All and only for you
I want to be your superman forever
Even if it means wearing my underwear as my helmet
My body will shrivel and your head will burst with white hair
As I daydream about our ten children
To be able to hold your wrinkled hand when we’re old and gray,
That is the goal of my life
On a side note, it’s amazing how the Chinese language is so much more efficient yet so much more elaborate than the English language. I used words that I didn’t even know the pinyin to (and so I had to learn how to pronounce it)!
Next chapter: the music that changed the mood.
The song that defined our relationship thus far (and our would-be proposal) was 让我照顾你 by 五月天. I rewrote the verses to contextualise it into our relationship and spent an evening recording it at Johann’s place. I spent a week rehearsing the song on my guitar, after I spent an evening learning how to play it on the guitar from Joel. I don’t play the guitar regularly so my tender finger tips were on the verge of splitting due to a week of unfamiliar overuse.
I am an ambitious sanguine and the original idea was to get Joel to teach me how to play the song on the piano. The plan was to perform the song on the piano and sing it live to her. It was a double-challenge with a difficulty that was magnified four times over.
Firstly, I can barely bang chords on the piano. Secondly, I’m a typical ACS boy and typical ACS boys do not sing Chinese songs. Thirdly, I had to do play the piano and sing the chinese song simultaneously while composing myself in public. Fourthly, I gave myself only a week to master this. And finally, unlike an acoustic guitar that uses battery power, a portable keyboard required a power outlet for it to produce sound.
Basically, it only seemed like a sound decision (no pun intended) to do something a lot more achievable – play the guitar and sing. It was actually Joel’s wisdom that helped me make this decision. He lovingly cautioned, “Joe, if you really want to play the piano and sing this song to her, I will do everything I can to help you succeed. But don’t you want to be able to look her in the eye and sing those lyrics to her instead of focussing on the next piano keys to play?”
So I heeded his advice and reverted to my tried and tested Cort.
Next chapter: the most romantic amateur Chinese song.
The world and I are worlds apart and that sets me apart
It takes more than tenacity to emerge more than a conqueror
An intransigence individual must be true to himself
Self-acceptance supersedes all human receptions
There is perfection in absolute insanity
I am the ordained dictator of my own domain
Believe in me and love me without fear for I have a blessed recalcitrance
With every accumulating disgrace, my perspectives become laced with His grace
Embrace my past as you soar along with the pinions of my future
Gold is truly refined when all existing impurities are smoldered away
I must leap over oncoming hurdles to be revealed as a victor
A sea of manmade obstacles don’t frighten me for I’ll wrestle until my heart caves in
The remnants of my uncompromising willpower are clasped securely between my palms
I’ll soon arrive in paradise but setbacks remind me to view reality with optimism
I’ll declare my unwavering convictions into a thundering zephyr
The one-time lunacy of going against all odds has its sweet rewards
by Joey Asher Tan
1st October 2010, 11:55pm
Inspired by “倔强”（五月天）