Our own Whitney Houston in the making?
Like many others, I waited in front of the TV, to watch Superstar Avenue Oh yes, I wanted to see Li Jia-wei (aka as Jess Lee).
According to many people, this young lady’s singing is amazing. Her melodious voice has charmed Taiwan; no, it has captivated the Chinese world.
And she is from Malaysia!
Because of this, many fans and others in Malaysia were filled with anticipation for the telecast of her performance, and all had hoped that the plucky young lady girl could make us proud.
When Jia-wei sang Return Home, she moved every one of her audience. When it was announced that she got full marks, everyone was happy. And when it was announced that she had won the title, everyone jumped for joy, their hearts were filled with happiness.
Jia-wei may not know that what her shoulders carried were not just the expectations of family and friends, but also the expectations of fellow Malaysians. And although she did not know these people personally, they were there with her, heart, soul and mind..
The expectations and support for Jia-wei have become a common phenomenon, and they also bring out a social and cultural significance.
First, it is a collective sense of honour. People want a hometown girl, an ethnic Chinese girl who grew up in Malaysia, to stand on the stage of the Chinese world, and have her light emerged and her talent revealed.
If a Malaysian Chinese girl could win the competition from among a multitude of talents, it would bring great honour to the country's ethnic Chinese, and show the ability and achievements of the Chinese.
Second, this is also the projection of the feelings of the Chinese population. Many Chinese face setbacks and frustration in this land and feel that they are not adequately recognised and valued. And this loss has to be made up for from other areas.
A healing effect has emerged from the voice of a girl. We have also obtained another form of recognition from activities outside the country.
When Jia-wei made her short speech in Bahasa Malaysia, the Malaysian audience was filled with pride and patriotism.
Third, this is a refusal to admit to being inferior. In the face of powerful Chinese communities in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, Malaysian Chinese tend to have a feeling of cultural inferiority. They realise that their competitiveness in the various fields is far below that of the Chinese in other regions. Therefore, they can only hope to create a winner from the sub-cultural arena or individuals.
The love for the lion dance in the Malaysian Chinese community, their pride for the 24-Season Drums, and their love for Yee Sang and Bak Kut Teh, without fear of the rise in cholesterol, are perhaps a symbolic gesture to refute any thought or claim of cultural inferiority.
A Malaysian Chinese girl has beaten the Chinese from China, Taiwan and contestants from other Chinese regions, so she has become a new performing sensation.
When the audience from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore watched Jia-wei lift the winning trophy, they roared their approval for her singing ability. It was a moment Jia-wei is sure to remember and cherish all her life.
Jia-wei’s achievement has given the Chinese community in Malaysia a sense of accomplishment. Despite the cultural background and baggage of the Malaysian Chinese community, Jia-wei shows we can do it.
That night, Jia-wei made us proud and happy. Thank you, Jia-wei!
The following shows her performing a cover by Beyonce.