My Quest for a Pop Song from China…

I’m honestly not sure how I can properly explain all this, and I honestly don’t know, dear reader, if you’re going to really care, since this quest seems to be a pretty personal thing, but I’m going to give it a shot and see where it takes us.

As some of you know, I’m “collecting” free cloud storage services. I have a Dropbox account, one from SpiderOak, Tresorit, and others. The one I use the most is, since they provide 15G of data for free (Dropbox is only 2G), and if you follow that link back there and sign-up, you get an extra 5G for a total of 20 gigabytes. Add to that the customizable file-sharing system, and it’s my clear favorite – it’s the one I use to allow the Internet OTR Digest to include binary files. But even that won’t stop me from “collecting” others.

Someone pointed me to QQ, a company in China that is supposedly providing stupid-large storage accounts…10T, in fact. Yep, ten terabytes, or 10,240 gigabytes! As a collector, I couldn’t possibly turn this down, so I applied for an account. It wasn’t quite that simple, since there are a bunch of hoops to jump through, but I finally got an account on their system. (Is it really 10T? Dunno, since it would take me forever to upload that much with my aDSL. Haven’t put anything other than a few test files up there so far.)

(And for those of you who think I’d be crazy to post anything to a Chinese cloud-storage service, I have three letters for you: NSA. I mean, c’mon, truly personal data shouldn’t be uploaded to any cloud storage service, since after 180 days it is considered by American law to be “abandoned” and can be retrieved by a simple letter instead of a court order signed by a judge. I’m betting a Chinese cloud storage server is no less intrusive than anything in the United States.)

As most services, this service provides a few example files. QQ/Tencent provides a spreadsheet, a Word file, and an MP3 music file. It’s that last file that caused all the time and trouble…or rather my downloading and playing it, anyway. It’s a bouncy pop song called Be the Best with those words repeated throughout the song in English, while the rest is in Chinese. I really, really like the song, but I can’t sing to it, since I can’t speak or understand Chinese.

The quest was to discover information about the song, and hopefully find English lyrics for it. After a few hours, and with the help of Bing Translate, I have a general idea what’s going on. (Ok, look…the only translation software on the Net is from one of the “big boys” or another, so it was either the evil Google, the evil Microsoft, the evil AOL, or some other evil corporation bent on tracking, monitoring, and monetizing me. I picked Bing. So shoot me.) The album cover and more info after the jump.

This song is from an album of ten songs called Be the Best (link is to the Chinese-language page). According to Bing Translate, the description is, “this album includes Tencent employees are celebrating over 15 years of award-winning works of the creation. Original songs showed Tencent youth, creativity, passion, dreams unlimited, aggressive characteristics, expresses every Tencent full human self, life, new hope.” I think a better description is a bunch of songs written and performed by Tencent employees given the theme, “Be the best!” glorifying the company and the employees.

Ok, sounds a little hokey, but I really liked that d*mned song; finding there was an entire album of songs made me want to listen. And there’s a player right on that page, so no problem, right? Wrong…after playing a few seconds a warning box came up in Chinese and English saying the music wasn’t available in my area due to copyright restrictions. (I should mention I was using a VPN at the time so “my area” wasn’t really “my area,” but nevermind that now.)

So instead of giving up, I simply found an open proxy in Beijing, bounced through that, and listened to the album, even using TotalRecorder to record the audio for my personal enjoyment as I listened. This is yet another proof that these attempted geographical restrictions are silly, stupid, do not work, and should be eliminated. (Oh, I listened to all the songs except track 9, “With You,” which consistently failed after the first 20-seconds or so. Edit: Cleared all cached files, reloaded the page, and heard that one, too.)

It’s a nice album, but the lack of translation kinda limited the fun for me. Until I found a lyric sheet of the Be the Best that started me on this quest. The translation, in part:

Stand in the open runway
Squeeze every minute
Higher than the sky
Even though the road travel
Stumble will never escape
Down obstacles
No matter how much road twists and turns
Dream with me
Youth will give it a try
To Be The Best! To Be The Best!

Ok, Bing is no poet. But still, I know where the song came from, what it’s trying to say, and so my quest is completed. I’m still not sure why I embarked on it, but at my age any completed successfully is cause for celebration. In this case, I succeeded in being…the best.

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