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Wee Meng Chee (Chinese: 黃明志; pinyin: Huáng Míng Zhì); (born 6 May 1983 in Muar, Johor) is a Malaysian Chinese hip hop recording artist, composer, filmmaker and actor. He is widely known by his stage name Namewee, a bilingual pun on his first name, which sounds like the Mandarin term for name (Chinese: 名字; pinyin: míngzi).

Namewee
Namewee.jpg
Namewee
Background information
Chinese name黃明志
PinyinHuang Mingzhi (Mandarin)
BornWee Meng Chee
(1983-05-06) 6 May 1983 (age 35)
Muar, Johor, Malaysia
OriginMalaysia
OccupationRapper, singer-songwriter, composer, filmmaker, actor
Years active2007–present
Genre(s)Hip hop, C-pop
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar
AncestryHainan
Websitehttps://www.youtube.com/user/namewee

Wee gained popularity after releasing a controversial song titled Negarakuku, a remake of the national anthem of Malaysia, Negaraku. The word kuku resembles the male reproductive organ in Chinese Hokkien dialect. In the weeks following the song's release, it drew criticism from Malaysian society. Despite the controversy surrounding Negarakuku, Wee released his first, self-titled EP, Namewee (Chinese: 明志), in Malaysia on 3 September 2007.[1][2] The album was completed in May and does not contain Negarakuku.

In early 2010, he released his first film titled Nasi Lemak 2.0. Subsequently, he released Hantu Gangster and Kara King, which were released in 2012 and 2013 respectively. He also started a talk show series on YouTube, Namewee Tokok, in September 2012. He was nominated for the Best Male Vocal Mandarin award at the Golden Melody Award in 2016 and 2017. In August 2016, he was arrested by police for filming a music video, featuring performers dressed as religious leaders going about a church, a mosque and a Chinese temple, which allegedly insulted the dignity of Islam.[3]

His song You're Not Red (Chinese: 你不红) written in 2015 drew a lot of attention on social media. In subsequent years, several notable songs gain global attention, such as Thai Love Song (Chinese: 泰國情哥), High Pitch (Chinese: 飆高音) Stranger In The North (Chinese: 漂向北方) and Tokyo Bon 2020 (Japanese: 東京盆踊り2020). Currently, he has over 60 songs (including songs removed from his YouTube channel) that have over 1 million views each on YouTube.[4][5]

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Born and raised up in the town of Muar, Johor, Malaysia, Wee was educated in SRJK Chung Hwa 1B and Chung Hwa High School. He was an undergraduate student majoring in Mass communication at Ming Chuan University in Taoyuan, Taiwan.

While in secondary school, he wrote his first 400 songs. Around the same time, Wee and a few good friends formed a band named Aunt Band (Chinese:大娘乐队) and won several competitions. He had also released several songs, along with complementary music videos on YouTube, which include Muar's Mandarin (Chinese: 麻坡的华语) and Kawanku (Malay: My friends), the latter being a critical song directed at Malaysian Chinese, Malays and Singaporeans.

NegarakuEdit

Wee's sudden rise to stardom is a result of his highly controversial piece Negarakuku, his parody of the Malaysia national anthem Negaraku, released on YouTube in July 2007 when he was studying in Taiwan.[6]

The song consists of two major components: rapping, which is exclusively composed and performed by Wee, and Negaraku, which is split into three segments between the rapping and sung out in groups of two or three verses. While the national anthem sung in an R&B style, Wee had no intention of altering the melody and lyrics of the anthem[7] and had tried to retain the anthem's original theme and meaning. The arrangement used by Wee follows original arrangement of the anthem, which the Malaysian government had since altered three times. The rap was in Mandarin, with occasional Hokkien phrases and words, while verses of the national anthem are sung in their original Malay form.[8]

In the beginning of the song, Wee dedicates the song to "all Malaysians, especially the Government". Negarakuku covers elements of daily lives in Malaysia from Wee's perspective,[7] including police's corruption, inefficient public services and biased government policies. In particular, his song refers to Muslims' call for the earliest of their five daily prayers as a "morning call" which would wake him up at 5 a.m. and sound like a love song ululating in an R&B fashion. Moreover, the song points to the alleged laid-back lifestyle of Malays, who are mostly Muslims, referring to them as people who "cover their heads, walk and cross the road slowly".

The music video for the song features several elements including a montage of photographs of Malaysia, Visit Malaysia 2007 and the backdrop of a Malaysian flag. It ends with a Chinese caption thanking unnamed parties for videos and images for the montage, and an English/Malay caption pleading viewers not to sue him as he has no money. The video was removed by Wee amid pressure on 23 July 2007,[9] but copies of the video, including one with English and Malay subtitles translated from Chinese lyrics, are still available on the site. The videos received an average of over 100,000 hits, but a duplicate version of Wee's original video, uploaded in the middle of July 2007, received a total of 1.4 million hits as of early September 2007. The original video was however re-uploaded on 22 December 2015.

ReceptionEdit

Public reaction towards the song is mixed. Immediate reactions in the form of YouTube comments range from being approval, support, critical, attacks and threats towards Wee, to racist remarks directed towards both Chinese and Malay people in general. Official criticism of the song was primarily centred on the song's anti-government undertones, which resulted in comments by members of the Malaysian parliament to take action against him. However, as Wee was in a foreign country, he was out of Malaysia's jurisdiction.[10]

Accusation of disrespect towards Islam and Malay people were brought up by Malay tabloid Harian Metro, claiming that Wee's song had mocked Islam and the mindset of Malay people.[11] Wee disputes this claim by stating that the paper, as well as several Malaysian news channels, fail to objectively report facts, resulting in misunderstandings of his song.[7] His comments were further directed at Metro, claiming that the paper did not understand the implicit meaning of his song's lyrics before concluding its nature.[7] He added the paper had not provided any translations of the song, sung in Mandarin and Hokkien not being widely used among the Malay-speaking community, resulting in their dependence on local media channels for interpretations of the song.[7]

In a telephone interview from Taiwan on 9 August 2007, Wee clarified that the song was merely reflecting satirical social commentary of life for a local Chinese as himself in Malaysia, and its humorous remarks were solely for the pleasure of the Chinese community.[12] Wee posted a blog entry typed in both Malay and Traditional Chinese on 12 August, in an attempt to clarify the nature of his song and its lyrics.[7]

On 14 August 2007 (and later, on 16 August on his blog), Wee issued a public apology to the government and Malaysians who found it offensive.[13][14][15] While the Malaysian Chinese Association accepted Wee's apology[14] with Zainuddin Maidin, Malaysia's Minister of Information, urging Malaysians to do the same,[16] the cabinet rejected Wee's apology; Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz added that "the law will take its course."[17] Other actions voiced by the government include bringing Wee to court, probably under the Sedition Act, as he had insulted the symbol of the nation,[18][19] and further action against YouTube.[18]

On 21 August 2007, the Home Minister issued a gag order on all mainstream media to cease reporting on Wee.[20][21] No major presses or television channels in Malaysia has covered Wee or Negarakuku since then.

Following his return to Malaysia in 2008 to celebrate National Day on 31 August, Wee was summoned by the Royal Malaysian Police to attend a questioning on 23 September.[22] After the interview, Wee claimed that the police wanted to close the file on the matter and that he did not think that there would be any action taken against him. However, the police later stated Wee was being investigated under the Sedition Act and the matter would be referred to the Deputy Public Prosecutor.[23]

Other notable worksEdit

A small controversy erupted when a three-part video Teacher Hew's ABC Time (Chinese: 邱老師 ABC 時間), directed by Wee was released. In the video, a close friend of Wee, known as teacher Hew, introduces the English alphabet from an adult-oriented perspective. It soon became notorious from its heavy use of profanity as well as orgasm sounds, and the board of directors of Chung Hwa High School decided to sue Wee, as the video was filmed in the school compound, but the lawsuit was later dropped.

In July 2009, Namewee composed the theme and ending songs for the latest Singaporean film 'Where Got Ghost?' which was released on 13 August 2009.

He acted as the principal cast in "Potong Saga"[24] and as the supporting cast in "Meter".[25]

Namewee also made a video clip in the late of October 2009, titled Namewee fuck TNB.[26] In the video, Namewee's house and Muar suffer a blackout at night, but the local TNB (Tenaga Nasional Berhad) branch office remains lit, while his brother is sitting for the examinations the following day, so Wee goes to TNB to look for answers, but the ensuing quarrel leads the security guards to escort him out of the facility. After that, Wee scolds TNB and tells them to 'go back to sleep'. The ending song is dedicated to attacking TNB, parodically insulting 'TNB' ('Tenaga Nasional Berhad') as "Tiu Nia Bu", foul language in Hokkien.

In May 2010, Wee made a music video Handicap Goal, featuring himself and his friends, including teacher Hew, to celebrate the 2010 FIFA World Cup by playing football with women.[27]

On 26 August 2010, Wee made a music video titled Nah! 2010 posting on YouTube criticising a school principal in Kulaijaya, who was reported to have made racist remarks during a school assembly on 12 August 2010. The clip contained obscene language condemning the school principal and the Education Ministry[28]. However, Wee was asked to give a statement in Kuala Lumpur police station and also Cyberjaya Investigation Unit for two times later.

In September 2010, he published another video I Am Who I Am (Chinese: 我還是我), depicting his past experiences and determination to pursue his dream with no return despite having obstacles.[29]

In October 2010, Namewee was officially invited to attend the world-famous Busan International Film Festival in South Korea.

Wee released his first film Nasi Lemak 2.0—which he starred in and directed—in September 2011.[30] The movie gained major success in Malaysia, grossing over RM7 million.

In September 2011, a public service announcement video titled Undilah[31], encouraging Malaysian citizens to vote, was released by Pete Teo. Namewee composed part of the music and rap lyrics as well as appearing in the video, featuring various other local celebrities and politicians.

He starred in Petaling Street Warriors, which was released in December 2011.[32]

After the success of Nasi Lemak 2.0 and Petaling Street Warriors, Namewee started off with his another directorial work, Hantu Gangster. The film was filmed in Klang and was released on 9 August 2012.[33][34]

Namewee uploaded a video about Lynas, and talked about Australian and Kangaroo in the video,[35] on 28 February 2012.

On 25 September 2012, he officially launched an online talk show entitled Namewee Tokok,[36] hoping through this program, the Malaysian could have a different perspective on viewing various issues and news in Malaysia as the mass media of the country was consolidated by the government.

In 2014, Namewee established RED People, a group of Internet personnel, and was also involved in composing Joyce Chu's song Malaysia Chabor.

On 22 April 2017, Namewee uploaded a song on YouTube named 18X PAPAPA (Chinese: 18X禁歌啪啪啪)[37], reaching more than 8 million views in 2 months and becoming the 2nd most popular song to the group of 7-12 years old students according to research. Namewee's fans commented that although the song was only for 18+, they enjoyed it and kept replaying the song.

To remember the 10th anniversary on 20 May 2017 since he started uploading his songs on YouTube, Namewee released a music video titled Muar Mandarin 2017 Official MV (Chinese: 麻坡的華語10週年紀念版), featuring various places including the Wetex, 8th avenue, etc., in his birthplace Muar, a city in Johor, Malaysia. It was an instant hit, reaching more than one million views on YouTube in one month.

Collaboration with other artistsEdit

Namewee featured one of Asia’s top superstars Wang Leehom in a song titled Stranger In The North (Chinese: 漂向北方) [38], which was released on YouTube on 4 March 2017. As of 30 September 2018, the video has garnered more than 135 million views, the highest that Wee has ever achieved in producing and composing the song. It describes the life of migrant workers in Beijing, and is also a reflection of his personal journey in making a name for himself in Taiwan when he started out.[39]

On 21 October 2017, he published another music video with the same title Stranger in The North, a KTV version featuring Hong Kong singer-songwriter and actress G.E.M. It has also received widespread popularity and amassed over 25 million views by end of September 2018.[40]

Wee also featured Japanese actress and singer Meu Ninomiya (Japanese: 二宮芽生) in a song titled Tokyo Bon 2020 (Japanese: 東京盆踊り2020)[41], which was released on YouTube on 19 November 2017 and has garnered more than 30 million views in less than a year. Written and composed by Namewee in collaboration with Cool Japan TV, the video combines the elements of traditional Japanese instruments, Okinawa music style and Bon dance with foreign music, describing a clueless Asian tourist wandering on the streets of Tokyo and his amusing interaction with a Japanese high school girl who speaks Japanglish.[42]

In collaboration with the Department of Information and Tourism, Taipei City Government, Wee produced a video titled Fun Taipei Funny Ads on 25 August 2018[43], introducing viewers to Taipei travels and featuring Amoi-Amoi, a girl group composed of ET Wang from Taiwan, and May Ng, Stella Chen and ShaoQi from Malaysia.[44]

Detention and arrestEdit

On 2 August 2016, it was reported that police were planning to arrest him as soon as he returned from a trip abroad over a potential charge stemmed from his controversial music video Oh my God that allegedly insulted Islam.[45] Prior to his detention, Namewee published a video on YouTube on 21 August 2016 titled Surrender, depicting himself stripping naked (with his genitals censored) to show that he has no visible or existing injuries prior to his detention.[46]

As having planned, police detained him upon his arrival at the KLIA Airport on 21 August 2016[47] and remanded him in the following day after the magistrates' court granted a remand order for four days to investigate the case under Section 295 of the Penal Code for injuring or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult the religion.[48] On 25 August 2016, Namewee was freed on bail after the magistrates' court had refused to extend his arrest in view of his suffering from stomach ulcers.[49]

On 22 February 2018, Namewee was retained by police for a day to facilitate investigations on his music video Like a Dog, in which he and other individuals allegedly dance indecently in front of Putra Mosque, the principal mosque of Putrajaya, Malaysia.[50]

FilmographyEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2011 Nasi Lemak 2.0
(辣死你妈 2.0)
Hero Huang
(黄大侠)
2011 Petaling Street Warriors
(大英雄•小男人)
Liu Kun
(刘坤)
2012 Hantu Gangster
(鬼佬大哥大)
Te Sai
(猪屎)
Prodigee Media
2013 Kara King
(冠军歌王)
Bone
(骨头)
Prodigee Media
Mandarin-language film
2014 Banglasia
(猛加拉杀手)
Han-Guoren
(韩国仁)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Namewee (26 August 2007). 9月3號 敬請期待 (in Chinese). YouTube. Retrieved 29 August 2007.
  2. ^ Namewee. "我的名字叫明志: 黃明志個人首張EP ---". 我的名字叫明志. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  3. ^ "Malaysia's culture of tolerance is under threat". The Economist. 24 September 2016. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  4. ^ Namewee (2015-11-01), [Namewee Tokok] 054 百萬金曲 Million View Songs 01-11- 2015, retrieved 2017-06-17
  5. ^ Namewee (2017-06-17), [Namewee Tokok] 072 百萬金曲-第2集 Million View Songs Part2 17-06-2017, retrieved 2017-06-17
  6. ^ Namewee (15 July 2007). "我愛我的國家 Negarakuku (2007大馬觀光年主題曲)" (in Chinese). Blogger. Retrieved 10 August 2007.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Druggy (12 April 2008). 黄明志:粗/色情 (in Chinese and Malay). Blogger. Retrieved 13 August 2007.[permanent dead link][unreliable source?]
  8. ^ Colourful World (16 July 2007). "我愛我的國家 Negarakuku (2007大馬觀光年主題曲)". Blogger. Retrieved 10 August 2007.[unreliable source?]
  9. ^ Namewee (23 July 2007). "remove 掉了!!" (in Chinese). Blogger. Retrieved 10 August 2007.
  10. ^ "Negaraku is outside police jurisdiction". Daily Express. 9 August 2007. Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 10 August 2007.
  11. ^ "Dalam lagu itu, pelajar berkenaan juga menyentuh sensitiviti masyarakat Islam dengan memperlekeh ibadat umat Islam dan sikap orang Melayu" Ahmad Fitri Che Musa (7 August 2007). "Pelajar cerca negara, polis" (in Malay). myMetro/Harian Metro Online. Archived from the original on 28 July 2018. Retrieved 10 August 2007.
  12. ^ Yeow, David (10 August 2007). "Namewee: I did not mean to insult Malays". The New Straits Times Online. Archived from the original on 28 July 2018. Retrieved 10 August 2007.
  13. ^ Wee Meng Chee aka Namewee (16 July 2007). "KENYATAAN MEMINTA MAAF OLEH WONG MENG CHEE ATAU NAMEWEE" (in Malay). Blogger. Retrieved 17 August 2007.
  14. ^ a b Manirajan, R. (14 August 2007). "Negarakuku rapper apologises". Sun2Surf. Archived from the original on 18 March 2009. Retrieved 17 August 2007. See also The Sun, 15 August 2007, page 4.
  15. ^ "Student rapper apologises". The Star. 15 August 2007. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. Retrieved 17 August 2007.
  16. ^ "Malaysians Must Accept Wee's Apology – Zam". Bernama. 14 August 2007. Retrieved 17 August 2007.
  17. ^ "(The) govt will not accept student Wee Meng Chee's apology for his Negaraku rap video clip on YouTube, the law will take its course, says Nazri Aziz." – The Star SMS news. Retrieved from Rocky's Bru: Govt rejects Negaraku-ku student's apology (16 August 2007) on 17 August 2007.[unreliable source?]
  18. ^ a b Manirajan, R. & Dass, Maria J. (16 August 2007). "Who's sorry now? – Cabinet cannot accept apology, rapper who mocked Negaraku must face the music". Sun2Surf. Archived from the original on 18 March 2009. Retrieved 17 August 2007.
  19. ^ 杨凯斌 and 黄凌风 (16 August 2007). 内阁拒绝接受黄明志道歉纳兹里:检察署援煽动法调查 (in Chinese). Malaysiakini. Retrieved 24 August 2007.
  20. ^ Soon Li Tsin & Ng Ling Fong (21 August 2007). "Negarakuku: Enough! ministry tells media". Malaysiakini. Retrieved 5 September 2007.
  21. ^ Ooi, Jeff (21 August 2007). "Negaraku-ku: Damage control mode... GAG ORDER on Press". Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 29 August 2007.
  22. ^ "Cops to quiz Negarakuku rapper noon tomorrow". Malaysiakini. 22 September 2008. Retrieved 22 September 2008.
  23. ^ "Cops grill Negarakuku rapper". Malaysiakini. 23 September 2008. Retrieved 23 September 2008.
  24. ^ "Short Film Clip|Potong Saga". 15Malaysia. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  25. ^ "Short Film Clip|Meter". 15Malaysia. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  26. ^ "Namewee fuck TNB|停電了!黃明志大鬧國家能源局|Video clip". YouTube. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  27. ^ 放半粒 – 黃明志|Official Fifa World Cup 2010 Song (Handicap Goal) by Namewee|video clip.
  28. ^ "Chua calls for action against racism". www.thesundaily.my. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  29. ^ 我還是我 I AM WHO I AM by Namewee 黃明志好好野專輯主打|video clip
  30. ^ "Nasi Lemak 2.0 辣死你媽 電影發佈會 Namewee黃明志在NTV7". YouTube. 26 July 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  31. ^ "UNDILAH – English (Namewee Afdlin Shauki Kuli Pete Teo)". YouTube. 14 September 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  32. ^ "Petaling Street Warriors" Full Trailer Lands". Yahoo! News. 24 October 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  33. ^ "Hantu Gangster". cinema.com.my. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  34. ^ "Rapper-director Namewee goes on a gangster haunt". The Star. 20 December 2011. Archived from the original on 20 December 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  35. ^ "Lynas".
  36. ^ "Namewee Tokok ep 1".
  37. ^ Namewee (2017-04-22), Namewee黃明志18X禁歌【啪啪啪 PAPAPA 】- 蔡阿嘎&雪碧特別演出 @亞洲通吃2018專輯 All Eat Asia, retrieved 2018-09-30
  38. ^ Namewee (2017-03-04), 黃明志Namewee feat. 王力宏 Leehom Wang【漂向北方 Stranger In The North 】@CROSSOVER ASIA 2017亞洲通車專輯, retrieved 2017-10-05
  39. ^ "Wang LeeHom Releases First 2 Tracks From New Album #AI". Hype Malaysia. 2017-09-15. Retrieved 2017-10-05.
  40. ^ Namewee (2017-10-21), 黃明志Namewee feat. 鄧紫棋 G.E.M.【漂向北方 Stranger In The North 】KTV Version 包廂版, retrieved 2018-09-30
  41. ^ Namewee (2017-11-19), Tokyo Bon 東京盆踊り2020 (Makudonarudo) Namewee 黃明志 ft.Cool Japan TV @亞洲通吃2018專輯 All Eat Asia, retrieved 2018-09-30
  42. ^ "Namewee wishes to bring his 'Tokyo Bon 2020' song to Tokyo Olympics | Malay Mail". Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  43. ^ Namewee (2018-08-25), Fun Taipei Funny Ads 旅客請小心台北帥哥! Namewee黃明志台北觀光廣告 ft.AMOi-AMOi, retrieved 2018-09-30
  44. ^ 北市府網站管理員 (2018-08-28). "New Clip Promoting Taipei Tourism by Namewee Goes Live". Taipei City Government. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  45. ^ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/08/02/police-to-arrest-namewee-over-oh-my-god-probe/
  46. ^ "[Namewee Tokok] 062 Surrender 自首 Serah Diri 21-08-2016". YouTube. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  47. ^ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/08/21/namewee-arrested-klia/
  48. ^ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/08/22/namewee-remanded-for-four-days/
  49. ^ "Malaysian rapper freed after being held for insulting Islam". Channel NewsAsia. 2016-08-25. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  50. ^ "Namewee arrested over controversial CNY video".

External linksEdit

Database
Official
Unofficial
Negarakuku
Lyrics