Return to site

CantoMusic: Kay Tse, "December 20th"

謝安琪 Kay Tse -《十二月二十》“December 20th”

· CantoCulture

With relatable lyrics that call out social issues and the struggle for democracy in Hong Kong, Kay Tse @kaytse remained one of the most popular Cantopop artists in the past decade—debuted in 2005, she has since been voted as the Ultimate My Favorite Female Singer for four times in the prestigious yearly Ultimate Song Chart Awards Presentation.

In her 2011 album 你們的幸福 (lit. “Your Happiness”), Kay led with the song 十二月二十 (lit. “December 20th”) and ended with 十二月二十二 (lit. “December 22nd”), contrasting the chaos and the peacefulness before and after the Mayan calendar doomsday (末日 or mut6 jat6) on December 21st, 2012. 十二月二十 invokes the image of biblical ark (方舟 or fong1 zau1) and reflects on Hong Kong’s social and economic disparity, satirically comparing the social “elites” (including Bill Gates) fleeing through the Pacific Ocean and the lower social classes stuck in poverty and stagnation on the island. For the poor, doomsday is every day. The song ends with a fierce brawl between the ark’s passengers, revealing the questionable nature of their cultural attainments and a lack of common purpose.

大浪避過後撞著壞氣候 daai6 long6 bei6 gwo3 hau6 zong6 zoek3 waai6 hei3 hau6

They thought that big waves are left behind, but the severe weather hits them hard

一班精英嚇到變石像 jat1 baan1 zing1 jing1 haak3 dou3 bin3 sek6 zoeng6

The elites are petrified!

草根的小百姓卻如常 cou2 gan1 dik1 siu2 baak3 sing3 koek3 jyu4 soeng4

The grassroots (草根 cou2 gan1) stay as usual

瑟縮於家裡吃凍香腸 sat1 suk1 jyu1 gaa1 leoi5 hek3 dung3 hoeng1 coeng4

Cowering at home (瑟縮 sat1 suk1), eating a cold sausage

互罵用粗口,大大力出手 wu6 maa6 jung6 cou1 hau2, daai6 daai6 lik6 ceot1 sau2

They call each other names, a bitter brawl has begun.

這班精英個個四不像 ze5 baan1 zing1 jing1 go3 go3 sei3 bat1 zoeng6

The cream of the cream, beyond recognition!

四不像 (sei3 bat1 zoeng6), lit. "four dissimilar," the expression originally referred to a mythical beast, but has since evolved to describe things or people that are unrecognisable, an odd mix.

Check out also:

十二月二十二 — 謝安琪 Kay Tse

C餐 — 謝安琪 Kay Tse

Mean — 鄧小巧 Tang Siu Hau @tangsiuhau

細街盃 — RubberBand / Fine Street Cup — RubberBand @rubberband

ToNick @tonick_official is a four-man band based in Hong Kong well-known for their frequent performances in local universities and down-to-earth lyrics. Started off in pop-punk, the band has been gradually exploring other genres and styles, with their efforts finally paying off after their song 長相廝守 swept local music charts, won the Ultimate My Favorite Song in Ultimate Song Chart Awards Presentation 2017, and was nominated for the Best Original Film Song in the 37th Hong Kong Film Awards.

Released during the height of the COVID-19, Tricky Button marked ToNick’s official return to the pop-punk genre. The titular characters “掣度 zai3 dou6” (on the button) has the same pronunciation as “制度 zai3 dou6” (system). Thus, although the lyrics were about the fear of pressing buttons amid the pandemic, the band was also ridiculing the inefficient system and policies set by the Hong Kong government.