While I was working on office party planning ahead of Christmas day, I decided to buy a set of speaker so that we music lovers can listen to music as loud as our sing-along noise. A few days later, I set up the new speaker on my desk for a test run. Even for a test run, my music selection process isn’t usually quite simple. I consider several factors like emotion, audience, occasion, and so on. This time I chose from my playlists songs that involve bouncy beats such as dancehall and reggaeton that give African-y vibes.
Then I invited my Malawian colleagues to play songs they like to listen to from the nice speaker. One of them hurriedly searched for his music folder on his laptop and played songs that remind me of good ol’ American days. And of course his finishing touch included popular songs of Justin Bieber. Next, another guy enthusiastically played a video clips of some American punk rock band that reminded me how awful punk rock can be.
I usually listen to house music when I’m alone and only time to time listen to those beats. And I assume they might also listen to something else. If that’s true then apparently we were very much concerned about our audience. At least I was. Even though no one meant it, it somehow ended up looking like, ‘hey look, I listen to your kind of music. How cool am I?’ It makes me grin with pure joy whenever I think about this day.
Photograph: huyen do
I struggle against social validation. Some says that’s how it is, some says my standard is too high. Shouldn’t anyone’s standard be higher than just “fitting in” to the society? Or is it the wisdom we need to nurture to be able to live in symbiosis?
When I was almost walking past him, he looked at me and said ni hao with his hands politely folded. His smile and polite gesture pleased me, and yet I said “Oh I’m not Chinese.” After a moment, I started thinking why I had to say that. I could have greeted him nicely because I kind of felt pleasant with his gesture somehow.