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|Pinyin||Huang Mingzhi (Mandarin)|
|Birth name||Wee Meng Chee|
6 May 1983 |
Muar, Johor, Malaysia
|Occupation||Singer, songwriter, rapper, actor, director, screenwriter|
|Years active||2007 – present|
Wee Meng Chee (Chinese: 黄明志; pinyin: Huáng Míng Zhì) '; (born 6 May 1983 in Muar, Johor) is a Malaysian Chinese rapper, filmmaker and movie star of Hainanese descent. He is widely known as Namewee, a bilingual pun on his Mandarin name, which sounds like the Mandarin term for name (Chinese: 名字; pinyin: míngzi).
Wee gained popularity after releasing a controversial song fused with the national anthem of Malaysia, Negaraku, which describes what he thinks of the state of the country and its government. The lyrics of the 'remake' shocked the society. In the following weeks, the song increasingly drew both praise and criticism from various quarters of Malaysian society thus been entitled "Muka Ubi Kentang" by the locals.
Recently, he was also nominated for the 27th Golden Melody Award. In August 2016, he was arrested by police for filming a music video on the grounds of a mosque.
Born and raised up in the town of Muar, Johor, Malaysia, Wee was educated in SRJK Chung Hwa 1B and Chung Hwa High School. He was an undergraduate student majoring in Mass communication at Ming Chuan University in Taoyuan, Taiwan.
While in secondary school, he wrote his first 400 songs. Around the same time, Wee and a few good friends formed a band named "大娘乐队" and won several competitions. While studying abroarious languages. He had also released several songs, along with complementary music videos on YouTube, which include Muar's Mandarin (Chinese: 麻坡的华语) and Kawanku (literally, Malay for My friends), the latter being a critical song directed at Malaysian Chinese, Malays and Singaporeans.
Despite the controversy surrounding Negarakuku, Wee released his first, self-titled album, 明志 Namewee, in Malaysia on 3 September 2007. The album was completed in May and does not contain Negarakuku.
The origin of "Namewee"
When Wee was still studying in a university, there were a lot of western teachers in his university. They asked Wee and his classmates to find themselves a nickname. A lot of students in the class did not have a nickname, so they went back and started to referring to the dictionary and other resources to find an appropriate nickname. Unfortunately, Wee was not able to choose a nickname.
The next day, Wee's teacher asked the class for their nicknames. When his teacher asked him what's his nickname, it's impossible for Wee to tell her "My name is Huang Ming Zhi." Meng Chee means "Name" as the pronunciation of combet and 名字 is almost the same. Wee is Wee's surname as it is in Hainan language, which means "Yellow (黄)". Therefore, "Name" means Meng Chee, "Wee" means Yellow (黄), that's how he discovered "Namewee".
One day, Wee used "Namewee" to register his YouTube account. Since then, people started to call him "Namewee".
Wee's sudden rise to stardom is the result of his highly controversial piece – I Love My Country Negarakuku (Visit Malaysia 2007 Theme Song) (Chinese: '我愛我的國家 Negarakuku (2007大馬觀光年主題曲)'). Wee was studying in Taiwan when he released the song.
The song consists of two major components: rapping, which is exclusively composed and performed by Wee, and Negaraku, which is split into three segments between the rapping and sung out in groups of two or three verses. While the national anthem sung in an R&B style, Wee had no intention of altering the melody and lyrics of the anthem and had tried to retain the anthem's original theme and meaning. The arrangement used by Wee follows original arrangement of the anthem, which the Malaysian government had since altered three times. The rap was in Mandarin, with occasional Hokkien phrases and words, while verses of the national anthem are sung in their original Malay form.
In the beginning of the song, Wee dedicates the song to "all Malaysians, especially the Government". Negarakuku covers elements of daily lives in Malaysia from Wee's perspective, including police corruption, inefficient public services and biased government policies. His song also refers to Muslims' call for the earliest of their five daily prayers as a "morning call" which would wake him up at 5 a.m. ("早上五点, 还有 morning call 会叫我起床") and also as "what sounds like a love song that ululates in an R&B fashion, when many sing together" ("有时几间一起唱, 听起来好像情歌对唱, 声音拗来拗去像唱 R&B 一样" Yǒushí jǐ jiān yì qǐ chàng, tīng qǐlái hǎoxiàng qínggē duìchàng, shēngyīn ǎo lái ǎo qù xiàng chàng R&B yīyàng). Moreover, the song also points to the alleged laid-back lifestyle of Malays (who are mostly Muslims), referring to them as people who "cover their heads and cross the road slowly" ("他们把头包起来, 慢慢走慢慢过马路").
A lower audio and video quality music video for the song was uploaded to YouTube by Wee on 15 July 2007, featuring a montage of photographs of Malaysia, a Visit Malaysia 2007 video and a video of Wee rapping against the backdrop of a Malaysian flag. The video ends depicting both a Chinese caption thanking unnamed parties for videos and images provided for the montage, and an English/Malay caption pleading viewers not to be sue him as he has no money ("please don't sue me, saya takde duit"). The video was removed by Wee amid pressure on 23 July 2007, but copies of the video, including one with English and Malay subtitles of the song's Chinese lyrics, are still available on the site. The videos received an average of over 100,000 hits; a duplicate version of Wee's original video, uploaded in the middle of July 2007, received a total of 1.4 million hits as of early September 2007.
Public reaction towards the song is split. Immediate reactions in the form of YouTube comments range from being critical, in fair agreement, support, attacks and threats towards Wee, to racist remarks directed towards both Chinese people and Malay people in general. Official criticism of the song was primarily centred on the song's anti-government undertones, which resulted in comments by members of the Malaysian parliament to take action on him. However, as Wee was in a foreign country, he was out of Malaysia's jurisdiction.
Accusation of disrespect towards Islam and Malay people were brought up by Malay tabloid Harian Metro, claiming that Wee's song had mocked Islam and the mindset of Malay people. Wee disputes this claim by stating that the paper, as well as several Malaysian news channels, fail to objectively report facts, resulting in misunderstandings of his song. His comments were further directed at Metro, claiming that the paper did not understand the implicit meaning of his song's lyrics before concluding its nature. He added the paper had not provided any translations of the song, Mandarin and Hokkien not being widely used among the Malay-speaking community, resulting in their dependence on local media channels for interpretations of the song.
In a 9 August 2007, telephone interview from Taiwan, Wee clarified that the song was merely reflecting satirical social commentary of life in Malaysia as himself as a local Chinese, and added humorous remarks solely for the pleasure of the Chinese community. Wee posted a blog entry typed in both Malay and Traditional Chinese on 12 August, in an attempt to clarify the nature of his song and its lyrics.
On 14 August 2007, (and later, on 16 August on his blog), Wee issued a public apology to the government and Malaysians who found it offensive. While the Malaysian Chinese Association accepted Wee's apology with Zainuddin Maidin, Malaysia's Minister of Information, urging Malaysians to do the same, the cabinet rejected Wee's apology; Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz added that "the law will take its course." Other actions voiced by the government include bringing Wee to court, probably under the Sedition Act, as he had insulted the symbol of the nation, and further action against YouTube.
On 21 August 2007, the Home Minister issued a gag order on all mainstream media to cease reporting on Wee. No major presses or television channels in Malaysia has covered Wee or Negarakuku since then.
Following his return to Malaysia in 2008 to celebrate National Day on 31 August, Wee was summoned by the Royal Malaysian Police to attend a questioning on 23 September. After the interview, Wee claimed that the police wanted to close the file on the matter and that he did not think that there would be any action taken against him. However, the police later stated Wee was being investigated under the Sedition Act and the matter would be referred to the Deputy Public Prosecutor.
Other notable works
A small controversy erupted when a three-parted video called "邱老師 ABC 時間", directed by Wee was released. In the video, a close friend of Wee, known as "邱老師" introduces the English alphabet from an adult-oriented perspective. It soon became notorious from its heavy use of profanity as well as orgasm sounds, and the board of directors of Chung Hwa High School decided to sue Wee, as the video was filmed in the school compound, but the lawsuit was later dropped.
In July 2009, Namewee composed the theme and ending songs for the latest Singaporean film 'Where Got Ghost?' which was released on 13 August 2009.
Namewee also made a video clip in the late of October 2009, entitled 'Namewee fuck TNB 停電了!黃明志大鬧國家能源局'. In the video, Namewee's house and Muar suffer a blackout at night, but the local TNB (Tenaga Nasional Berhad) branch office remains lit, and his brother would be sitting for the examinations the next day, so Wee went to TNB to look for answers, but the ensuing quarrel led the security guards to escort him out of the facility. After that, Wee scolded TNB and told them to 'go back to sleep'. The ending song is dedicated to attacking TNB, parodically insulting 'TNB' ('Tenaga Nasional Berhad') as "Tiu Nia Bu".
On 26 August 2010, Wee made a new music video posting on YouTube criticising a school principal in Kulaijaya who was reported to have made racist remarks during a school assembly on 12 August 2010. The clip contained obscene language condemning the school principal and the Education Ministry. However, Wee was asked to give statement in Kuala Lumpur police station and also Cyberjaya Investigation Unit for two times later.
In October 2010, Namewee was officially invited to attend the world-famous Busan Film Festival in South Korea .
Another music video 'I AM WHO I AM' (我還是我).
In September 2011, a public service announcement video titled "Undilah" encouraging Malaysian citizens to vote was released by Pete Teo. Namewee composed part of the music and rap lyrics as well as appearing in the video, which featured various other local celebrities and politicians.
After the success of Nasi Lemak 2.0 and Petaling Street Warriors, Namewee started off with his another directorial work, Hantu Gangster. The film was filmed in Klang and was released on 9 August 2012.
On 25 September 2012, he officially launched an online show entitled Namewee Tokok, hoping through this program, the Malaysian could have a different perspective on viewing various issues and news in Malaysia as the mass media of the country was consolidated by the government.
On 2 August 2016, it was reported that police were planning to arrest him after he returned from a trip abroad. The potential charges stem from his controversial new music video 'Oh my God'. Penang Northeast district police chief Asst Comm Mior Faridalathrash Wahid said that investigations into several reports against Namewee were ongoing and the rapper would be arrested “as soon as he returns.”
Detention and arrest
Prior to Namewee's detention, he published a video on YouTube on 21 August 2016 titled Surrender. The video depicted him stripping naked (with his genitals censored) to show that he has no visible or existing injuries prior to his detention.
On 21 August 2016, Namewee was detained at 3.30pm at the KLIA Airport.
On 22 August 2016, Police have obtained a four days remand, until 25 August 2016, for Namewee in relation to his music video which allegedly insulted Islam. Magistrate registrar Ahmad Tajudin Zain granted the remand order and the case would be investigated under Section 295 of the Penal Code for injuring or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class. Namewee arrived at at the magistrate's court, Penang at 10.20am and was surrounded by media personnel.
On 25 August 2016, Namewee was freed on bail and health grounds. The magistrates court had refused to extend his arrest because Namewee had health problems and is suffering from stomach ulcers. However, instead of being released, Namewee was escorted into a police car and driven to the Patani Road police station.
|2011||Nasi Lemak 2.0
|2011||Petaling Street Warriors
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- "(The) govt will not accept student Wee Meng Chee's apology for his Negaraku rap video clip on YouTube, the law will take its course, says Nazri Aziz." – The Star SMS news. Retrieved from Rocky's Bru: Govt rejects Negaraku-ku student's apology (16 August 2007) on 17 August 2007.[unreliable source?]
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- "Short Film Clip|Potong Saga". 15Malaysia. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- "Short Film Clip|Meter". 15Malaysia. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- "Namewee fuck TNB|停電了!黃明志大鬧國家能源局|Video clip". YouTube. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- 放半粒 – 黃明志|Official Fifa World Cup 2010 Song (Handicap Goal) by Namewee|video clip.
- 我還是我 I AM WHO I AM by Namewee 黃明志好好野專輯主打|video clip
- "Nasi Lemak 2.0 辣死你媽 電影發佈會 Namewee黃明志在NTV7". YouTube. 26 July 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- "UNDILAH – English (Namewee Afdlin Shauki Kuli Pete Teo)". YouTube. 14 September 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- "Petaling Street Warriors" Full Trailer Lands". Yahoo! News. 24 October 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
- "Hantu Gangster". cinema.com.my. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- "Rapper-director Namewee goes on a gangster haunt". The Star. 20 December 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
- "Namewee Tokok ep 1".
- 我的名字叫明志, Wee Meng Chee's blog (Chinese)
- on 's channelYouTube
- Namewee website by NameWee Production, Taipei
- Vote for Wee Meng Chee fansite
- Negarakuku on YouTube (Chinese) (with English subtitles, and with Malay subtitles)
- 7 Edition news snippet from ntv7 on YouTube, featuring Syed Hamid Albar, Malaysia's Foreign Minister, commenting Wee's matter will not be taken lightly and an apology will not be accepted.
- 7 Edition news snippet from ntv7 on YouTube, featuring a statement by Fu Ah Kiow, Malaysia's Deputy Internal Security Minister, on "negative elements" in Wee's song.