Writeup by Jocelle Koh, Translations by Liao Hsueh-Min
Introducing our new format ‘Liner Notes‘, where we dig deep with artists and creatives about the meaning behind their song lyrics; dredging up the subcultures and backstories that exist straight from the source. Many of the artists featured are more than just creators; they are bridges that have the ability and willingness to share their culture across languages. So lend them a listening ear, and you just might gain more than just a new song recommendation.
Downwind Daylight 等阮返來‘s frontman Liao Hsueh-Min 廖學民 shares that the idea for their self-titled single was unintentional; but instead born from a free and easy jam sesh:
“I can still recall that we were just messing around and chanting 《等阮返來》in the rehearsal room during break time, and I was like, wait a minute, maybe we can actually do something with it. The chanting of 《等阮返來》became the repeating chorus, and then all the instruments kicked in on the right spot that all of us are vibing at the very moment.”
Afterwards when fleshing out the song on his own, Liao carved out a story about the complicated relationship between a Chinese male and living up to familial expectations.
“The song is about an outlander who carries lots of expectations from his folks, while he does not “make it” yet so that going-home seems to be a guilt. I think most of the Chinese males can relate to this song since, as a man with shoulders, we cannot easily show our vulnerable side to others.”
Whilst telling the story of a traditional situation, Liao’s take is unconventional as he shirks stereotypes of males needing to be tough, strong and unemotional; waxing vulnerable over waves of thrashing, unrelenting guitars and backed by the voices of band members in the chorus. Liao also shows how the topic of familial expectations and honour becomes specific to Chinese tradition when he sings: “等到輸的彼一天，共名刻佇木頭板（my name will be carved on the wooden board when my time has done, or when I lose）” Of this line, he explains:
“In Chinese culture, we have this wooden tablet (神主牌) in our house-shrine, which the names of the ancestors are recorded on the back side, and we worship the tablet to deliver our respects to the ancestors. So, leaving my name on the board not only means that I am accepted by my family, but it also means that I will be remembered by my offsprings…I would like to express that the sense of belonging is an universal need, and one can be accepted and embraced by the family whether winning or losing, and I think this is the core belief of the song.”
To be remembered and accepted are things that all of us ponder about; yet it is how these methods of remembrance and acceptance differ which shape our understandings of family, relationships and life. As mentioned in the lyrics, we like the members of Downwind Daylight are still lost children; but it is how we navigate our experiences and share them that prove to be endlessly interesting and meaningful.
Lyrics/Melody: Liao Hsueh-Min
我的爸爸媽媽，他們常常對我說，愛做好囝，My parents always remind me to behave myself.
薰著毋通呷，共人講話莫洪聲，毋通傷荏爛 To get rid of cigarettes, and to be humble to others instead of rowdy.
但是我這馬1才了解，期待會變怨嘆，無底透的心晟，只好藏佇暝床下 However, I only realize until now that such expectations are turning into condemnations, and I can only shove such feelings under my bed.
面對現實社會，掠準頭過身著過2，免想傷多I thought it would be easy for me to face with the real word, and I don’t have to worry about nothing.
了後才發現，有很多人攏佇跋杯3，驚惶在心底 But afterwards I realize that there are lots of people praying to the gods, as the fears are growing in their minds.
但是我這馬才知道，咱攏佇列共運命輸贏4，等到輸的彼一天，共名刻佇木頭板 Now I know that we are all striving against our own fates, and my name will be carved on the wooden board when my time has done.
等阮返來，等阮返來，我是迷路的小孩 Wait for me, wait for me, though I am still a lost child.
等阮返來，等阮返來，想厝不敢哭出聲 Wait for me, wait for me, though I dare not cry over my homesick.
1 這馬（tsit-má）：Right now
2 頭過身著過（thâu-kuè-sin-thio-kuè）：This slang describes that things will be easy if we strive hard in the beginning.
3 跋杯（pua̍h-pue）：A traditional way of divinations. Chinese people toss a pair of wooden blocks to communicate with gods.
4 輸贏（su-iânn）：Lose and Win, it means compete with others