My Favourite Music #4: Tat Ming Pair

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Tat Ming Pair

Since I already introduced Anthony Wong in my previous blog, I'll complete this by introducing the Tat Ming Pair as well. The duo was formed in the mid-80s by composer Tats Lau and vocalist Anthony Wong Yiu-Ming. They were the most successful alternative electronic music group in Hong Kong. Although they split in the early 90s, there were a number of reunions and albums released over the decades afterwards.

In this blog, I'll again translate the lyrics of few of my favourite songs, as well as brief intro on few others.

Today Should Be Very Joyful

Today Should Be Very Joyful was written for Christmas in 1988. The song was about the many people emigrating from Hong Kong to Western countries ahead of the handover in 1997. And after more than 30 years, Hong Kong now faces another mass exodus, and this song is just as relevant now as before.

今天應該很高興 Today Should Be Very Joyful

music by Tats Lau & Anthony Wong, lyrics by Calvin Poon

* 鬧市這天 燈影串串
In the busy city today, there are many decorative lights
報章說 今天的姿彩媲美當天
The newspaper says today is as gorgeous as the past
用了數天 反覆百遍
Spending few days, over a hundred times
我將心聲附加祝福 信箋寫滿
I filled the letters with my heartfelt wishes and blessings

偉業獨自在美洲 很多新打算
Wai-yip is alone in America with many new plans
瑪莉現活在澳洲 天天溫暖
Mary now lives in Australia, it's warm [over there] everyday

望望照片 追憶寸寸
Looking at the photos, lots of memories
某一個熱鬧聖誕夜 重現目前
A past lively Christmas Eve reappears

永達共大傑唱詩 歌聲多醉甜
Wing-tat and Tai-kit sang carols, [their] voices were so sweet
秀麗伴在樂敏肩 溫馨的臉
Sou-lai was next to Lok-man's shoulder with [her] warm face

# 多麼多麼的高興
How so joyful
多麼多麼的溫暖
How so warm
快樂人共並肩
Happy people side by side

今天應該很高興
Today should be very joyful
今天應該很溫暖
Today should be very warm
只要願幻想彼此仍在面前
Only if imagine everyone is still here

Repeat *

我獨自望舊照片 追憶記往年
I look at the old photos by myself, remembering the past years
我默默地又再寫 彷彿相見
I write again silently, as if we see each other [again]

Repeat # x3

Ten Firefighting Youths

Ten Firefighting Youths was a satirical song from 1990. It told a story of 10 volunteer firefighters who quitted one by one, and the few remaining eventually perished. It was written after the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989, a time when many "patriotic" Hong Kongers fighting for democratic reforms quitted and migrated to foreign countries instead. And after 30 odd years, these lyrics are still relevant in today's Hong Kong society.

十個救火的少年 Ten Firefighting Youths

music by Anthony Wong, lyrics by Calvin Poon

在某午夜火警鐘聲響遍
At midnight the fire alarm bell rang all over
城裡志願灌救部隊發現
Volunteer firefighting team was found in the city
站立在橋邊
Standing at the bridge

十個決定去救火的少年
Ten youths who decided to fight the fire
其中一位想起他少鍛鍊
One of them remembered that he didn't exercise much
實在是危險 報了名便算
It's really dangerous, so he just signed up and that's it

另有別個勇敢的成員
Then there's another brave member
為了要共愛侶一起更甜
[But] he wished to stay with his lover
靜悄靜悄 便決定轉身竄
Quietly, he decided to turn around and ran away

又有為了母親的勸勉
Then another one who listened to his mother's advice
在這社會最怕走得太前
In this society, the worst thing was to go too far in front
罷了罷了 便歸家往後轉
Giving up, so he turned around and went home

十個決定去救火的少年
Ten youths who decided to fight the fire
來到這段落 祗得七勇士
Coming to this stage, there were seven warriors left
集合在橋邊
Gathered at the bridge

為了決定去救火的主見
Due to the different opinions on how to fight the fire
其中三位竟終於反了臉
Three of them eventually fell out with the rest
謾罵著離開 這生不願見
Hurling abuses while leaving, never wanted to see each other again in their lives

尚有共四個穩健成員
There were still four stable members
又有個願說郤不肯向前
And one would only talk but refused to move forward
在理論裡 沒法滅火跟煙
In theory, he was unable to extinguish the fire

被撇下了這三位成員
The three members who were left behind
沒法去令這猛火不再燃
Were unable to stop the fire
瞬息之間 葬身於這巨變
Within an instant, they were killed in this great tragedy

在這夜這猛火像燎原
In this night the fierce fire burned out of control
大眾議論到這三位少年
The public talked about these three teenagers
就似在怨 用處沒有一點
It's like complaining that they were totally useless

在這夜這猛火像燎原
In this night the fierce fire burned out of control
大眾議論到這三位少年
The public talked about these three teenagers
亂說亂說 愈說祗有愈遠
Talked and talked, and digressed further from the subject

十減一得九 九減一得八
10 minus one equals 9, 9 minus one equals 8
八減一得七 七減一得六
8 minus one equals 7, 7 minus one equals 6
六減一得五 五減一得四
6 minus one equals 5, 5 minus one equals 4
四減一得三 三減一得二
4 minus one equals 3, 3 minus one equals 2

A Murder Case With No Publicity

A Murder Case With No Publicity was a satirical song from 1988 which is again more relevant today. This fan-made MV contains many clips from historical events and featuring many people, such as Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, prominent exiled artist Ai Weiwei, jailed dissidents and human rights lawyers etc. It contains many pro-Beijing Cantopop artists who ironically protested against the Chinese government back in the 80s, while Anthony Wong remains one of the very few who maintains his stance. It also features the former Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung, who once said when he was young, "If China doesn't honour its own promises, you cannot blame Hong Kong people losing faith". The MV projects words such as "the law is dead, freedom is dead, the arts is dead, the truth is dead, students are dead", and ends with "Hong Kong is dead" but "conscience cannot die".

沒有張揚的命案 A Murder Case With No Publicity

music by Tats Lau, lyrics by Keith Chan

法官, 黨委, 親友, 老細, 街坊, 神父齊觀看
The judge, the party official, friends and family, the boss, neighbours and the priest all watching
許多位醫生都診斷不出症狀
Many doctors failed to diagnose the symptoms
這個病人沒處方
This patient had no prescription

天真的他愛說愛想愛尋覓方向
He who was innocent loved to talk, loved to think, loved to search for directions
今天呼吸不到空氣 滿身冷汗
Today [he] cannot breathe and sweating all over
壓力異常 是沒法抵抗
The pressure is extraordinary, it is impossible to resist

舊理想 跟他安葬
Old ideals, buried with him
赤子心 跟他安葬
Pure heart, buried with him
舊記憶 跟他安葬
Old memories, buried with him
莫再想 當初一切的境況
Don't keep thinking about all the situations in the beginning

* 法官, 黨委, 親友, 老細, 街坊, 神父回家去
The judge, the party official, friends and family, the boss, neighbours and the priest go back home
TV中精彩的廣播已帶走眼淚
The brilliant shows on TV carry away the tears
繼續繁榮 又碰杯
Continue to prosper. Cheers again.

天真的他偶而也許還浮現心裏
He who was innocent sometimes perhaps still floats in the mind
追憶當中偷偷不免有些眼淚
While remembering [him] there are unavoidably some tears shed in secret
要是淡忘 亦沒有不對
If one forgets, there's nothing wrong with it

# 舊理想 跟他安葬
Old ideals, buried with him
赤子心 跟他安葬
Pure heart, buried with him
舊記憶 跟他安葬
Old memories, buried with him
(是與非 跟他安葬)
(Right or wrong, buried with him)
淚已乾 週遭一切 又如常
Tears already dried, everything around stays the same

Repeat *#

Reminiscence is Guilty

Reminiscence is Guilty was one of the most recent songs from Tat Ming Pair, written for the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 2019. This song was a reprise of another song, Ask Heaven (original album version or watch this exhilarating live version) written 30 years ago after the massacre. Both songs featured the distinctive suona, a Chinese horn.

The song was performed in the annual candlelight vigil at Victoria Park, Hong Kong on 4 June 2019, few days before the massive Anti-Extradition Bill Protest that saw a million people marched through the streets of Hong Kong. Since then, the National Security Law was imposed and the annual ritual is now banned in Hong Kong.

回憶有罪 Reminiscence is Guilty

music by Tats Lau, lyrics by Lin Xi

舊日或問天 怎允許摧毀信念
In the old days perhaps [we] asked heaven how it allowed destroying people's beliefs
浩蕩像為了 被懷念
The great tragedy was as if for the sake of being mourned
現在別問他 可有膽公開紀念
Don't ask him now if he's brave enough to openly commemorate
被現實騎劫 怎怨天
Hijacked by the reality, how can you blame the heaven?

* 如燭光都有罪 將暗黑多幾十年
If candlelight is guilty, it will be dark for many more decades
如傷疤都有靈 未變臉
If scars have their spirits, they haven't changed their faces
回憶即使有罪 真相怎麼敢無言
Even if reminiscence is guilty, how dare the truth be silent?
歷史假使有人 定被發現
As long as there are people, the history must be discovered

現在若問他 可悔當天走太前
If [you] ask him now whether he regretted going too far in front on that day
道路腐壞了 不敢涉險
The roads are rotten, dare not to take risks
現在若問我 怎會這麼想紀念
If [you] ask me now, why do I want to commemorate so much?
烈焰幻滅過 總有煙
The flame has been extinguished, but there is always smoke

Repeat *

皇天不必答辯 只怕蒼生肯忘言
The heaven doesn't need to answer, lest the common people forget their words
后土不知冷熱 生滅無念
The motherland doesn't know the temperature, no thoughts on life and death
歷史只懂向前 輾轉反側三十年
History would only move forward, 30 years of ups and downs have gone past
如今滄桑少年 莫問蒼天
Today's youths who lived through many upheavals, don't ask heaven

若舉傘 為誰命運祭奠
If [you] raise an umbrella, to whose fate will you pay homage?
廣場上 這麼多告別
In the Square, there were so many farewells
莫須有 是誰造就壯烈
Indefensible, who created such tragedy?
願廣場上 聲音不會滅
May the voices in the Square not be extinguished

Forbidden Colours

Forbidden Colours was a melancholic song from 1988 on homosexuality. The 1980s was a time when AIDS was rampant and widely feared, and LGBT people faced enormous discrimination and prejudice. Homosexual acts were not decriminalised in Hong Kong until the early 90s.

禁色 Forbidden Colours

music by Tats Lau & Anthony Wong, lyrics by Keith Chan

窗邊雨水 拚命地侵擾安睡
The rain by the window relentlessly disturbs the sleep
又再撇濕亂髮堆
Again wet the messy hair
無需惶恐 你在受驚中淌淚
No need to panic. You are shedding tears in fear
別怕 愛本是無罪
Don't be afraid. Love is innocent

請關上窗 寄望夢想於今後
Please close the windows. Put the hopes and dreams in future
讓我再握著你手
Let me hold your hand again
無需逃走 世俗目光雖荒謬
No need to flee. Although the worldly eyes are absurd
為你 我甘願承受
For you, I'm willing to bear

* 願某地方 不需將愛傷害
May there be some place that won't hurt love
抹殺內心的色彩
Killing the colours of the inner heart
願某日子 不需苦痛忍耐
May there be some day when [we] don't need to endure painfully
將禁色盡染在夢魂內
Dye the forbidden colours all over the dreams

千種痛哀 結在夢魘的心內
Thousands of sorrows are knotted in the nightmares of the heart
願我到死未悔改
May I die without repentance
時鐘停止 我在耐心的等待
The clock stops ticking, I wait patiently
害怕雨聲在門內
Scare of the rain outside the door

Repeat *

若這地方 必須將愛傷害
If this place must hurt love
抹殺內心的色彩
Killing the colours of the inner heart
讓我就此 消失這晚風雨內
Let me hereby disappear in the storm tonight
可再生在某夢幻年代
So to be reborn in some dreamy era

Forget He is She

Forget He is She was another song on LGBT topics from 1989. Unlike Forbidden Colours above, it was a much more positive and poetic song that focused on love rather than sexuality, something very rare in the 80s when homosexuality was a much taboo subject. Because the word "he" and "she" both pronounced as ta in Cantonese, the listener could not tell whether the lyrics referred to a male or female, which was intentional.

忘記他是她 Forget He is She

music by Anthony Wong, lyrics by Chow Yiu-fai

忘記他/她是那麼樣
Forget how s/he looks
只記起風裡淌漾 玫瑰花盛開的髮香
Just remember the hair that smells like rose blossoms rippling in the wind
忘記他/她是那麼樣
Forget how s/he looks
只記起寬闊肩上 紋上鐵青色的肖像
Just remember the livid green image tattooed on the wide shoulder
忘記他/她是那麼樣
Forget how s/he looks
只記起街裡闖蕩 迎我歸家溫馨眼光
Just remember the warm eyes welcoming me home after I roam in the streets
忘記他/她是那麼樣
Forget how s/he looks
只記起粗糙頸項 承載鋼鐵一般堅壯
Just remember the rough neck that is as strong as carrying steel

* 愛上是他是她是他給我滿足快樂
Fall in love with him or her or him who gives me satisfaction and happiness
是那份美麗的感覺
It's that beautiful feeling
愛我是他 什麼是他 不理上演那幕
The one who loves me is him, what is him? Ignore which scene is playing
忘記他是她不知覺
Forget he is she unknowingly

忘記他/她是那麼樣
Forget how s/he looks
只記起掩蓋荒靜 柔軟繞心間的笑聲
Just remember the soft and heart-warming laughter that covers the silence
忘記他/她是那麼樣
Forget how s/he looks
只記起灑脫不定 如烈火紛飛的率性
Just remember the easygoing and restless personality that rages like fire

Repeat *

愛上是她是他是她給我滿足快樂
Fall in love with her or him or her who gives me satisfaction and happiness
是那份複雜的感覺
It's that complicated feeling
愛我是她 什麼是她 不理上演那幕
The one who loves me is her, what is her? Ignore which scene is playing
忘記她是他不知覺
Forget she is he unknowingly

Sweet Life

Sweet Life was a 1996 song in their first reunion. It was a sarcastic song on traditional family value and challenged what was considered a "sweet" and "normal" life.

甜美生活(萬歲!萬歲!萬萬歲!)Sweet Life (Long Live! Long Live! Long Live!)

music by Tats Lau, lyrics by Lin Xi

沙灘上那一對 溫馨伴侶
There's a lovely couple on the beach
講心事散心去 朝思慕對
Talk intimately and go on dating, seeing each other day and night
趁戀愛還是美麗 去簽個盟誓
While love is still beautiful, go and sign an oath
那一半賢淑秀慧 每日答謝上帝
The other half is virtuous and smart. Thank God everyday

聽歌劇看齣戲 有時翻翻傳記
Watch a musical and see a movie. Sometimes flip over a biography
水晶燈下說天氣 愛情這麼樣美不美
Talk about the weather under the chandelier. Isn't this kind of love beautiful?
再等個時候誕下 最可愛童話
Then wait for a time to give birth to the cutest fairy tale
快想個名字也罷 叫大偉吧 大勇吧
Quickly think of a name. Let's call him Tai-wai or Tai-yung
大概沒壞嗎 完美吧 甜美吧
It can't go too wrong. Perfect isn't it? Sweet isn't it?

這溫馨的家似最美的畫 快快來個大合照吧
This lovely family is like the most beautiful picture. Come on and take a family photo
這幾口一家會永遠喧嘩 唱這裡是我家
This family is always noisy, singing "here is my family"

愛總要承上接下 再添個童話
Love must keep carrying on. Add another fairy tale
快想個名字去吧 叫大志吧 大宇吧
Quickly think of a name. Let's call him Tai-chi or Tai-yu
亦夠大路嗎 完美吧 甜美吧
That's common enough. Perfect isn't it? Sweet isn't it?

這溫馨的家似最美的畫 趁旅行拍大合照吧
This lovely family is like the most beautiful picture. While travelling let's take a family photo
他跟她跟他會永遠喧嘩 唱世界是我家
He and she and he are always noisy, singing "the world is my family"
這溫馨的家會再有娃娃 再次來個大合照吧
This lovely family will have another baby. Let's take another family photo
他跟她跟他會孝敬爸媽 最美滿是我家
He and she and he always respect their parents, "the most perfect is my family"

這生活你我心醉 溫馨萬歲
You and I are enchanted by this kind of life. Long live the loveliness
請歌頌這一對 標準伴侶
Please praise this pair of standard couple

Blessed Are The Lonely

Blessed Are The Lonely was released in 2005 on their 20th anniversary. It was a similar theme to New Romance, but in a sarcastic way. It highlighted how many lonely people had substituted the computers for love and relationship.

寂寞的人有福了 Blessed Are The Lonely

music by Tats Lau, lyrics by Wyman Wong

萬歲萬歲上帝萬歲
Long live! Long live! Long live the Lord!
我需要的你都允許
You allow whatever I need
上班放工吃飽再安睡
Going to work, getting off work, eating and then falling asleep

伴侶伴侶沒有伴侶
Partner partner, there's no partner
也不覺得有必要追
And don't feel the need to pursue one
太多快感太方便索取
Too much pleasure too easy to obtain

桃花 命犯不起的桃花
Romance, my fate cannot afford the romance
代用品統統買下
Bought all the substitutes
我這世界也夠填滿吧
That's enough to fill my world
桃花 就像失手的塗鴉
Romance, it's like graffiti done badly
盡量將污點擦下
Rub off the stain as much as possible
抹去了你我更完美吧
Wiping you off I'd be more perfect

*不付出不回覆一樣豐足
No giving, no responding, it's just as fulfilling
難道我這不算因禍得福
Am I not a blessing in disguise?
不用哭不用聽悲情金曲
No crying, no listening to melodramatic songs
但凡自救的便有福
Whoever can save themselves are blessed

萬歲萬歲上帝萬歲
Long live! Long live! Long live the Lord!
我需要的你都允許
You allow whatever I need
抹窗熨衫瘦身再安睡
Cleaning windows, ironing shirts, losing weight and then falling asleep
伴侶伴侶沒有伴侶
Partner partner, there's no partner
也不覺得有必要追
And don't feel the need to pursue one
我的聖水向沙漠挖取
I dig my holy water from the desert

回家 自地板湧出浮沙
Back home, floating sand gushing from the floor
欲墜的天花降下
The falling ceiling collapses
也勝過要到處求愛吧
That's better than looking for love everywhere

Repeat *

萬歲萬歲電腦萬歲
Long live! Long live! Long live the computer!
唱K去gym養狗種花
Singing karaoke, going to gym, keeping a dog, planting flowers
腳底按摩襯衫再安睡
Having a foot massage, matching clothes and then falling asleep
伴侶伴侶沒有伴侶
Partner partner, there's no partner
也不覺得有必要追
And don't feel the need to pursue one
我所愛的已經共我團聚
The ones I love have been reunited with me
誰空虛
Who's lonely?

Other songs

There are many other songs that I liked a lot, and here are the links to some of these:

There are many more classics from the Tat Ming Pair and I have to stop somewhere. I hope you enjoy the music as much as I do, and thanks for reading.

+1
Level 42
Apr 29, 2022
I don’t have a favorite song and you already have 4! Wanna see more :)
+1
Level 66
Apr 29, 2022
Yeah I do like a lot of music, and so far these are Cantopop only. There are many others in Mandarin, Japanese, English, Thai, Spanish, French etc. that I haven't mentioned (not sure if I'd ever get to those), plus classical, jazz etc.

There must be songs that you like. I'd love to learn more on songs in Portuguese. So far I only know this from Eurovision, which was a stunningly beautiful song.

+1
Level 42
Apr 30, 2022
That is such a beautiful song, I love the Portugual accent, but... I don’t know. I really don’t have a favorite song lol

Hope to see more Cantopop!

+1
Level 49
May 12, 2022
Did you miss me?