A young and independent duet, SanSang Busking, released a music video around 1 a.m. on April 27 through its Facebook page and YouTube account. In less than 24 hours, the music video received over 1,500 Likes (and a couple hundreds of “reactions”) on Facebook, it was also shared over 1,700 times on the social media platform – an impressive result for an independent, and frankly unknown, local Hong Kong duet.

Cantopop was in its golden era back in the 70s and 80s, when Hong Kong Cantopop stars were influential in many Asian countries, for example, Anita Mui Yim-fong, Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing and Alan Tam Wing-lun were the leading Cantopop signers with significant fan bases in Japan. It was also a time when people around the world were interested in learning Cantonese. Sadly, Cantopop is no longer as influential in the global music industry as it once was.

Hongkongers had always been politically apathetic. However, in the recent few years, things seem to have changed. The newly released song is, perhaps not surprisingly, related to politics. Entitled “I Have No Identity in This Election” [direct translation], the song is aimed at raising public awareness of the importance of their votes and encouraging those who have not registered as voters to register before the May 2 registration deadline.

SanSang Busking claimed that they are not a “boy band,” but merely two good friends who are passionate about music. The duet’s YouTube Channel featured a number of pop songs the duet have covered over the past two years.

“We did everything ourselves, it is not just ‘low budget’ but a ‘no budget’ production,” Yat Sang (日新), vocalist of SanSang Busking, said in laughter. The idea of the video, however, came from SanSang Busking’s friend, online musician 762@WonderGarl who wrote the music and the lyric for this overnight hit.

Directed, filmed and edited by 762@WonderGarl, the music video is about the lead actor (played by activist and Civic Passion member Alvin Cheng Kam-mun) who is inspired by the lead actress (played by Civic Passion member Bonix Chung Yuen-wun) to take part in an election campaign.

The music video is in “reverse chronological order” and starts with Chung’s character slapping Cheng’s character because he was not a registered voter. It then explained that Cheng’s character was inspired by Chung’s character to start taking part in an election campaign. The video, later on, revealed that Cheng’s character had been keeping the fact that he was not a registered voter as a secret, which was found out by Chung’s character – hence the opening scene.

When recalling the filming of the music video, Bonix Chung Yuen-wun said that the weather was the most memorable part, “the shower just came and went as we needed it, although we had to get changed a few times throughout the filming.” Completed in a very short period of time, the execution of the music video as well as the acting have gained the applause of many netizens. “One funny thing is, I slapped Alvin around a dozen times to get the perfect shot,” Chung grinned.

“762@WonderGarl, with whom we play music together, invited us to join this project, and we said yes because we share his view that it is important to get more Hongkongers to register as voters for the upcoming Legislative Council election. We spent roughly a week to record the song and its arrangement,” said Yat Sang.

“I had the first line about two weeks ago, and finished the whole song in just under three days,” said 762@WonderGarl. “I spent a day checking out filming sites, shot all the scenes in one day, and spent another day to edit the video.”

The professionally filmed and produced music video was praised by many netizens. “Although none of us in the production team (seven in total including SanSang Busking and 762@WonderGarl) got paid, it is worthwhile,” 762@WonderGarl said. “We were quite lucky, as if the weather was very cooperative. When we needed rain, it showered; but when we needed it to stop, it stopped. However, because Bonix and Alvin are both amateurs, there were quite a lot of outtakes.”

“Civic Passion has been actively promoting various pop culture projects, including comic books, since its establishment, because we want to share our anti-communism ideology with the wider public via means that are easier for people to digest. By enriching Hong Kong’s culture and injecting new elements into it, we aim to achieve the goal of nation-building in Hong Kong,” said Alvin Cheng Kam-mun. “This music video is the first one our members ever took part in, a genuinely new and interesting initiative. However, this initiative is not just about politics, but also about promoting creativity and reminding Hongkongers that there are talented people in our homeland and we should be proud of our culture and roots.”

When asked what they hope to achieve from this music video, SanSang Busking, 762@WonderGarl, Bonix Chung and Alvin Cheng gave an identical answer: get more people to register as voters and cast their votes in the upcoming election.

The music video ended with a still frame saying “Grasp the opportunity, register to vote” and Chung asking in front of the camera “are you a registered voter?”

Although the government of Hong Kong SAR often blames the public for “politicalising” issues (even though the nature of these issues is fundamentally political), “politicalising” Cantopop and other creative industries may help revive them.

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: Edward White

The News Lens has been authorized to repost this article. The original post was published on The Real Hong Kong News here.