On the road with Tat Ming Pair
(a schoolwork at F.6)
Tat Ming Pair, a legendary local band in the 80s, released their first EP in 1985 and had enjoyed massive success since then. However, the group was split up after releasing their last album in 1991. But the legend didn’t stop there. Their music still had great influence on local music scene. Their avant-garde music arrangement was inspiring, but what made them become classic only after a few albums was the lyrics of their songs. These lyrics reflected the times of Hong Kong in the 80s. From the emigration trend to the handover in 1997, from war and peace to the Tiananmen Square Massacre , from youth and family problems to gender stereotype and homosexuality …… Or even old Chinese classic story! (Their first single, Dream of the red chamber, was actually the name of a well-known Chinese novel.)
It may be strange that as a 19-year old student, I am so addicted to a duo which was popular in the 80s. I didn’t remember when I started loving the music of Tat Ming Pair or Anthony Wong exactly. It was too far away. But I remember watching the video of “The 10 Firemen” . I was 6 or 7 at that time. The song was so catchy that even a little child could sing alone to it. That was when I started noticing the band and their music. After I grew up, I was shocked and amazed that such a poppy song was actually talking about the Tiananmen Square Massacre 1989. The song, in a hilarious but ironic way, discussed human selfishness in the incident. Their last album, released 2 years after the Massacre, was a concept-album expressing their feelings, as well as many of Hong Kong citizens’ feelings in the post- 64 period. I was only 6 in 1989, but the whole movement was so unforgettable, even to a little child! The music of Tat Ming Pair was like a diary of Hong Kong in the 80s, reflecting different faces of the city at that time. I never knew pop music can address social and political issues in such a great depth. And what more important is that, how music can touch one’s heart.
“Wish you were here” was written during the emigration trend in 1988. The warm and Christmas-feeling melody reminded me of my relatives and friends. Many of them emigrated to the US or Canada in the early 90s. “Forbidden Colour”, released in 1989, encourages tolerance to homosexuality, which was a taboo in traditional Chinese society. They even wrote a song about AIDS in the late 80s where the disease was still unknown to the majority of the city.
I have never had a serious thought about these issues before listening to the band. It is not exaggerating to say that the band had widened my horizon and opened the gate to the world of art for me. Indeed, they aroused my social awareness. In fact, the music of Tat Ming Pair showed me how music can change one’s mind and heart. The power of the mass media can be so influential. People can have better understanding of the world through them. And to me, I think the most important thing is not only to show people the reality, but also to teach them how much one can do to change the world, even a little bit.
Sometimes when I listen to the music of Tat Ming Pair, I regret that I was born too late and missed all the great changes that Hong Kong went through in the 80s. But experiencing the fluctuations in Hong Kong these days reminded me that I should not always look back. I should look forward and head for what I can do for others and record what I have witnessed in time.
當然這個感動不是「無啦啦」的啦 , 對於「黑房」, 還有一段回憶。回憶 , 自然是來自歌曲的發源地 － 「M園」 這音樂劇。記得我是和一位很要好但很少機會見面的朋友去看Ｍ園的，還坐在劇院中的第一行，很近距離地觀賞整個劇。完場後更尾隨有「公務」在身的朋友混入後 台，居然碰巧明哥剛要離開劇院。我們十級慌張兼手忙腳亂地請明哥與我們拍照，現在想起除了覺得好笑以外，就是難為情。( 不過我想講呢，張寶麗來乾了之後我才發現原來張菲林是壞的。整張相片都是黑色一片 …… 唉。) 還有坐渡輪回家時，邊吃著蝦片邊討論音樂劇及閒話家常的情景 …… 腦海中也不時響起ｍ園中的歌曲。