SINGAPORE – The National Heritage Board (NHB) has apologised for an error made in a recent Facebook post about xinyao – the home-grown Mandarin music movement which was popular in the 1980s and 1990s.
The post introduced xinyao singers such as Billy Koh and Eric Moo and directed readers to heritage portal roots.sg to learn more about the movement.
But it was accompanied by pictures of 1960s records from before the xinyao movement and also featured inaccurate lyrics from xinyao pioneer and local musician Liang Wern Fook’s beloved creation Xi Shui Chang Liu (Friendship Forever) – which literally means “Small Stream That Flows Forever”.
The board was criticised by netizens for the blunder and the post has since been deleted.
In response to queries from The Straits Times, an NHB spokesman said: “The National Heritage Board apologises to Dr Liang Wern Fook and fans of xinyao for errors made earlier on our Facebook post featuring xinyao as an important part of Singapore’s intangible cultural heritage. We should have been more careful about this and have amended the post to correct the errors.”
NHB has amended its original post and included an apology. It is accompanied by a short video of Xi Shui Chang Liu with the right lyrics.
In an interview with Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao, Liang, a Cultural Medallion winner who wrote the music and lyrics of Xi Shui Chang Liu, said: “In the age of the Internet, even if the post has been removed, it can still circulate, even abroad. This can cause the younger generation and foreigners to form wrong impressions.
“This incident reflects a larger problem, such as how society has become less sensitive to language, less well-versed in our cultural history and are less motivated in the learning of mother tongues. It could also show that some representatives in charge do not have a good grasp of the Chinese language.”
The 54-year-old added: “Instead of just criticising, it’s better to ask everyone to tackle the problem head-on, correct mistakes made and hope for improvement in the future.”