Have you ever heard Taiwanese people sing?

Without a microphone, that is. It just occurred to me today that I have never, ever, heard someone sing without a mike. I grew up in a very musical family, and in an ethnic culture with a rich musical tradition, and I have sung all my life. Children’s Choirs, Youth Choirs, Junior High and High School Musicals, College Choir, Barbershop Quartets, you name it, I’ve sung it. And today I was singing softly to my daughter while I was helping her “swim” in the pool (she’s not even two, so she basically grabs on to my arm and I pull her around.) Anyway, a Taiwanese man asked me if I was talking to her or singing. (As I said, I was singing softly to her - she was the only one who could really hear me.) I told him that I was singing and he said “How strange! Why do you want to sing to her?” I told him that kids love singing, and that it calms her and makes her feel good. He said that Taiwanese don’t like singing. I said “What about KTV?” He said that’s different - there’s a microphone and people can make some noise. Taiwanese men never sing to their children.

So that got me thinking, and I just realized that I’ve never heard people sing without a mike, which I think is pretty sad. Have you?

Edit: I have heard aboriginal people - the “Zhou” tribe in the Jiayi area sing, and they were pretty into it. But the observation still applies to the non-aboriginal population, I think.

I have a co-worker who can sing without a mike (beautifully, might I add…), but now that you mention it, she is much more comfortable with one. :ponder:

I guess when all of your singing is done with a karaoke machine, that’s what happens…

[quote=“nemesis”]I have a co-worker who can sing without a mike (beautifully, might I add…), but now that you mention it, she is much more comfortable with one. :ponder:

I guess when all of your singing is done with a karaoke machine, that’s what happens…[/quote]

…and all your teachers use those stupid microphone box things to teach children…

…and the running joke is that this island’s main export is noise…

seriously, Beijing is far quieter than Taipei in most sections. It’s almost eerie.

Maoman, I sing to my son all the time. My voice sucks and I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. If people don’t like it, F@$% them.

My son really loves it when I make up silly songs and sing them to him. That’s all that matters to me. I could care less about anyone else’s approval.

I try to respect my son’s other culture too. But I don’t let it stop me from expressing MY culture, and what is important to me as a dad.

Shortly after my son was born, I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. My son was born 3 days before I turned 40. I may have 6 months or 16 years left, I don’t know. So it is important to me that my son has no doubts that he was loved by his father, whether I make it to his graduation or not.
It’s actually starting to rub off on the in-laws, too. My FIL has never said wo ai ni to my wife, but he has said it to his grandson.

So do what you feel is in the best interests of YOU being the dad.

So, what is your favorite song to sing for her?

Sing without a microphone?

I work at university… I’ve rarely even seen a teacher talk without a microphone! I’ll never understand why it’s necessary for a teacher to use a microphone when they have a small classroom and 30 students. I just talk louder, as I’m used to doing from teaching in America.

And my students have learned to shut up and pay attention or they don’t do so well in class. :laughing:

I make up a lot of silly songs for her, too. And they evolve over time, but they are HER songs, and she relaxes when she hears them. Oh, and not to worry. I’m pretty oblivious to suggestions from locals I’m not married to regarding my parenting decisions. :laughing:

:slight_smile: Good for you, Dad!

My elderly next door neighbour is the only Taiwanese person I can think of who I have heard sing and she only does it when her husband is gone. Their home is very quiet as a rule but when I hear the record player go on and the old Chinese music starts, I know that she will shortly be singing her heart out. It actually sounds like feline mating yowls but it’s a pleasure to hear her so happy. Then again, if I were married to her hubby, I’d be happy when he was out, too!

I can recall quietly singing cradle songs to another neighbour’s baby one day as I rocked him and everyone stopped what they were doing, listened and then said that it was very strange. They were amazed that he stopped crying. At the time, I just thought they were surprised that a foreigner could calm a Taiwanese child but looking at this thread it occurs to me that it was most likely that I was singing! :blush: I can’t imagine not singing to my own children when they were young. It was such an important part of our relationship.

Never mind a microphone, have you ever heard a Taiwanese person sing without echo?

I’ve occasionally heard teenagers and young adults sing or hum pop songs. Occasionally I’ve heard them do this while walking down the street. I’ve also heard people sing along with songs that were playing on the P.A. in Internet cafes.

I’ve certainly heard kids sing in cram school. At some cram schools they’re taught all kinds of songs, and some of them occasionally sing them on their own.

Kids also sometimes come up with their own interpretations of the lyrics.

I was on a camping trip in Yosemite with about 30 people earlier this summer. There were three girls from Taiwan with us. One night we were at the campfire playing games and singing songs. The Taiwanese girls sang a couple of songs in Chinese and got a standing ovation from the rest of the group (a mix of Americans and Europeans). I was impressed that they were such good singers. It must be the KTV.

yes i have, and once was the most awesome singing i have ever heard: mighty fine, beautiful round warm alto with perfect pitch, and a whole bag of lilting and melancholy aboriginal songs to share. unaccompanied, or with a touch of guitar from a guy who sang a little backing harmony with her, in the mountains… fabulous.

Oh, and my wife sings all the time too, without a microphone, at home and elsewhere. fortunately she has a stunnng voice and holds a tune really well too.

but many just can’t, even with a microphone. some of the KTV places i have been to or ridden past have nearly made me vomit.

Tons of Taiwanese people sing alla the time. Maoman, you just ran into a particularly ignorant bloke who don’t know shit from shinola. Thing is, its the Karaoke caterwaulers you tend to hear, not the nice unamplified singing. There was a chick down Bitan the other night singing her heart out with a guitar – she was amazing.

I’ve heard a lot of Taiwanese people singing–some the best I’ve heard anywhere. I’ve attended a lot of Christian churches in Kaohsiung and in Taipei. The church I most often went to in Taipei had some amazing talent. Two operatic singers, one guy who had sung on broadway, and many others. I met a woman at another church in Taipei who is a musician, but who fled to America years ago when the rest of her family was massacared on 228. My family and hers would meet at her house and sing songs while she played piano. At another church, the music was lead by an amazing young woman with absolutly perfect pitch!

Outside of church, no I haven’t heard a lot of singing without mikes. Just that caterwalling the old ladies do after they’re done with tai chi in the park. People aslo told me it was strange that I sang to my son. People don’t sing to their kids much in Taiwan. No, to soothe their wee ones, you’ll often see them clapping or blowing forcefully into their faces. :unamused: How that’s supposed to work is beyond me, but I was told once that foreigners are too “nice” to their kids.

Anyway, it does seem that there is a fine cultural distinction between music and noise. I think that in all of us we have a need for music–kind of a spiritual need, even, for some of us. Maybe the noise makers need it too, but they don’t realize what the need is or how to tend it–so they make due with noise instead? I really do think music is a human need though, because it’s purely artistic, yet still attends to needs of expression–it shows love, excitement, hatred, anger, lonliness, happiness, all kinds of emotion. We tend to idolize those amoung us who do it best. It’s communicative and it’s medative and done is some form or other by every culture on earth. No way we only do it just because we can.

My GF sings all the time. If I don’t ring the doorbell when I get home from work I can sometimes catch her really screaming out loud.