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Malaysian rapper Namewee breaks the hearts of mainland Chinese ‘little pinks’

A screenshot from “Fragile” via Namewee's YouTube channel.

Malaysian-Chinese bad boy rapper and music producer Wee Meng Chee, aka Namewee, has broken the hearts of mainland Chinese online patriots, commonly known as little pinks, with “Fragile” (玻璃心 or Glass Heart), his latest music collaboration with Australian singer Kimberly Chen. Both artists were blocked from most mainland Chinese social media and streaming platforms within 24 hours of the song's release.

The music video, released on October 15, 2021, has been viewed more than 5.5 million times so far on Namewee's YouTube channel.

Distinct from Namewee's other rap songs, the cute, pink music video is packaged as a love song, with both artists pouring out their frustration about their unreasonable partners. They say their partners have fragile hearts but also pick fights with others by claiming that everything belongs to them. 

The political satire is rather obvious. The video begins with a warning:

警告:玻璃心患者慎入

Please be cautious if you are a fragile pink. Warning: viewers with a glass heart should be cautious.

The term “glass heart” is often used to describe mainland Chinese online patriots who often accuse others of “hurting their feelings.”

Images of cotton and the slang phrase “nmsl” (meaning “your mom is dead”) evoke memories of national incidents like the Xinjiang cotton campaign and the feud with Thailand netizens in 2020.

The lyrics mock the fragile pinky lover for being fond of eating “dogs, cats, bats and civets” and “climbing over the wall” (which means circumventing censorship) and the country's ruling elites for “harvesting garlic chives or leeks” (slang for rent-seeking). 

As expected, both artists were banned from major mainland Chinese social media platforms, including Weibo, Douyin (Chinese version of Tiktok), Tencent and QQ Music, etc. But they were prepared for the “break-up,” Kimberly Chen parodied the lyrics of “Fragile” on her Instagram account in response to the ban:

對一不起我傷害了你,微博刪了沒關係,我聽著有個聲音是玻璃心碎一地,沒關係我還有IG,也還有FB… 

I am sorry for hurting you. It’s okay to delete Weibo, Oh, I hear a sound, is fragile heart broken into pieces on the ground. It’s Okay I still have IG and I still have FB…

“Don't be afraid to be yourself!” She encourages her fans with the same Instagram message.

This is not the first time Namewee poked fun at mainland Chinese online patriots. In August, after the Chinese government praised the Taliban for becoming more rational, he posted a list of eight recommendations to the Afghanistan Taliban under the title, “Measures that the Taliban have to take to stabilize Afghanistan” on Weibo:

1.封鎖臉書、YouTube、Google這些邪惡的網路媒體,不讓國民跟外界有任何交流。

2.成立自己的官方新聞網站,製作自己的通訊軟體和社交Apps,長期播放官方新聞,告訴人民那些批評他們不好的外國媒體都是邪惡的境外勢力,都是假新聞不要看。

3.打造塔利班領袖的巨型雕像,放在總統府門口。在街上到處貼標語,在學校給學生洗腦教育,告訴人民塔利班領袖有多偉大。

4.鼓吹國民翻牆到外網出征別人,只要有人批評他們的政府哪裡不好,就去留言說別人是「辱阿分子」、「反阿青蛙」、「NMSL」。

5.國慶日的時候,花大錢請一堆外國人到他們的慶典上演唱「我的阿國」和「沒有阿國就沒有新阿富汗」等等愛國歌曲。

6.國民只要對政府有任何不滿,就馬上蓋一棟類似監獄(但不能對外說是監獄)的地方,把那些有自主思想的人,都關進去再教育。然後請境外媒體來拍攝,再逼囚犯們演得很開心的樣子,平時就逼這些囚犯們種西瓜,把西瓜出口到外國掙外匯。

7.開拍一堆「愛國電影」給國民看,比如「戰阿」、「戰阿2」,讓阿富汗人民認為自己很強,外國人都是王八蛋。

8.花錢請網紅拍一些「美國人驚呆了!」、「俄羅斯坐不住了!」和「此生不悔入阿富汗」之類的影片給自己人民看,也順便轉載到外網進行大外宣……。

  1. Block Facebook, YouTube, Google and all evil online media so that the citizens will not be able to communicate with the outside world.
  2. Set up your own official news sites, create your own social media apps, and broadcast only official news. Convince the people that foreign media which criticise them are evil foreign forces, producing fake news. 
  3. Put a huge Taliban leader’s status outside the presidential building. place slogans in streets, brainwash students in school, tell them that Talibans are great leaders.
  4. Incite the people to circumvent internet censorship and fight with those who criticize their government, using leaving comments such as “anti-Afghanistan gongs”, “humiliating Afghanistan sect,” “NMSL.”
  5. During national holiday, invite a bunch of foreigners to sing “My Afghanistan” and “Without Taliban there is no New Afghanistan” in ceremonies.
  6. Build a prison-like construction (but don’t call it a prison) and put those who are discontent with the government, or those who have independent thought into it for re-education. Invite foreign media outlets to take photos and force the prisoners to perform happily. Force them to plant watermelon on regular days and export the watermelon overseas.
  7. Produce patriotic films for the people, like Afghanistan warrior 1 and 2, so that people believe the country is strong while the foreigners are assholes. 
  8. pay famous video bloggers to publish videos like “The Amercians are in shock!”, “The Russians can’t hold on!”, “Never repent for coming to Afghanistan” for the people, republish the videos to tell the world how amazing this country is… 

As all these recommendations are implemented in China, many mainland Chinese netizens interpreted his comments as shaming the country's policies. Namewee's Weibo has been banned ever since.

But outside the Chinese Great Firewall, Namewee and Kimberly Chen have won much applause for their courage to cut ties with the world's biggest market for Chinese artists. For example, on Twitter, @Lindell_Lucy said:

On Namewee's YouTube channel, a majority of comments praise the music video. One said:

我觉得你比中国歌手还要了解自己的国家,他们很多可能也是小粉红,一个这么有深度的歌曲用这么轻松可爱的方式表达,大陆没有一个人可以做到。非常感谢你,这歌一定会在中国历史上有重要的一笔

I think you understand the country more than other mainland Chinese singers, many of whom are also little pinks. There are so many meaning embedded in the song, yet the presentation is so cute. I don't think anyone from mainland China is capable of doing this. Thank you so much. I believe this song will be remembered.

Many from mainland China also expressed their appreciation:

作为大陆西北小城的一员,看到这个视频第一感觉是好听,且真实,黄明志是有骨气的人,值得尊敬。但是又想到,自己作为大陆人,被少数的网络上无知的小粉红们代表,伤悲呐。深深爱脚下这篇土地,看着一帮自以为是的祸国殃民的东西这样把大家拉下水,心里流泪哭泣。在里面,只选择做沉默的大多数,因为条件限制,只能闭嘴

As someone coming from a small town in northwestern China, my first impression is that the music is really great and it reflects the reality. Wee Ming Chee is a courageous person and deserve our respect. However, as a mainland Chinese, I feel sad that I am being represented by a minority of ignorant little pinks. I love this country, and when seeing a brunch of gongs drag us down, we can only sob in our hearts. Inside [China], we can only remain the silent majority, the environment does not allow us to speak…

Namewee has been rather controversial in Malaysia due to his rebellious rap style. He had been arrested several times and charged twice for insulting the national anthem in 2007 and insulting Malaysia utility company TNB in 2009.  Earlier in March, the Malaysian police issued a warrant for his arrest because he released the film Babi (which translates to pig), which allegedly contains elements of racism as “pig” is an insult in Malay. The film depicts ethnic tension within Malaysian schools and was nominated for several international film festivals. Eventually, Wee issued a video apology, and the police did not press the charge.

With the success of “Fragile,” Namewee has established himself outside Malaysia and will likely become a popular icon against authoritarianism in Asia.

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