Thu, Aug 05, 2010 - Page 15 News List

Daughter teaches illiterate mother to sing using pictures 歌詞用畫的 孝女教母唱歌

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An illiterate 84-year-old woman from Hualien County can finally sing her heart out with her family at karaoke, thanks to her daughter who has translated the lyrics of popular Taiwanese songs into hand-drawn pictures and symbols that her mother can easily recognize. The elderly songstress, Hsu Lin Ah-mu, can now sing 30 songs using this novel system.

The symbols in these unconventional songbooks look a lot like the doodles made by school children, but Hsu has diligently memorized them and their corresponding sounds and can now express her feelings through singing despite the handicap of being unable to read.

The daughter, Hsu Yu-sheng, says that she and her sister used to take their mother to karaoke, but she just sat to one side and listened as other people sang. One time Hsu happened to ask her mother why she never participated, to which she said: “I would really love to sing, but I can’t read and I can’t pronounce the lyrics.”

About nine years ago, the elder Hsu was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and became withdrawn. Faced with this depressing situation, her daughter came up with the idea of teaching her to sing, as a ruse to cheer her up.

The younger Hsu said: “My mother knows a little Japanese, and although I could spell out a few words with katakana the method was ultimately ineffective.” Having failed with katakana she came up with the idea of drawing symbols to teach her mother to sing.

By day the younger Hsu sells green onion pancakes and uses her free time in the evening to draw the lyrics. It can sometimes take a lot of thinking to come up with an appropriate picture and each song takes three to four days to fully translate into symbols.

The drawings are infused with childhood fun, and outsiders would most likely take them as a child’s doodles. Each sign represents a syllable, and they form a whole sentence when combined together. For instance, pictures of a grapefruit and a palm represent the word “sorrow.” A picture of a cup represents “flying,” an egg represents the number two, while a combination of a needle and a spoon represents the word “temporary.” Such creativity usually puts a smile on the face of those who see it.

(LIBERTY TIMES, TRANSLATED BY TAIJING WU)

花蓮縣一名八十四歲的老婦終於能和家人一起歡唱卡拉OK了,這都得歸功於貼心的女兒將台語歌曲的詞,以圖案跟符號畫下來,讓不識字的她看了之後可以唱出心中的情感。這位徐林阿枚女士現在可以唱出三十首台語歌。

這些歌詞本裡畫得密密麻麻,就像小學生的塗鴉本,徐林阿枚用功地記圖案、背發音,雖然看不懂文字的歌詞,但也能唱出心中的情感。

女兒徐玉升說,以前她和妹妹常帶媽去卡拉OK,但媽媽總是坐在一旁看別人歡唱;有一次,她問媽媽為什麼都不唱,媽媽回她︰「我很想唱,但是我不認識字,看不懂歌詞。」

九年前,徐林阿枚被醫師診斷出罹患胰臟癌,從此變得封閉寡言,徐玉升不忍母親鬱鬱寡歡,為了讓老母能歡樂度日,便興起教她唱歌的念頭。

徐玉升說:「媽媽會一點日文,曾用日本五十音拼湊歌詞,但總是拼得亂七八糟,效果不好。」後來她靈機一動,想到「以圖代詞」的方法教媽媽唱歌。

白天在賣蔥油餅的徐玉升,利用晚上替媽媽「畫」歌詞,她絞盡腦汁,用一個圖案代表一個發音,一首歌要花上三、四天才能畫完。

徐玉升畫的歌詞本,充滿了童趣,不明就理的人,會以為是小孩子的塗鴉;圖案所代表的音節,組合後就成為歌詞,例如台語歌詞中的「憂愁」,就以「柚子」與「手掌」,「飛」就畫「杯子」,「二」以「蛋」代表,「暫時」的圖示分別為「針」與「飯匙」…,這種以圖代詞的創意,讓看過的人不禁莞爾。

(自由時報記者蔡百靈)

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