Chinee Parang

I was putting up the Christmas tree last night, and of course looked on YouTube for a good Trini parang mix to make the evening nice and festive. For those of you who don’t know what parang is, it is a Christmas music that came out of Trinidad, traditionally sung in Spanish, but nowadays sung in damn near anything.

The first song that came on was a tune I am very familiar with – ‘Chinee Parang’, a song by Los Paraminios. But the lyrics made me stop in my tracks, because for the first time I really listened to how shocking the lyrics are.

Here’s the first verse and the chorus. Or better yet, just click on the song and listen while you read. Catchy, isn’t it?


Christmas last year I spend in China
I had some fun in Chinatown
In front my door, out on the street
I heard music, it was sounding sweet
I looked outside to see who was playing
It was some Chinese playing music for me.

Wang-sing poong-pong chang-sing woong-wong
Poong wang chong
That’s how they sound
Chiniling-ping chiniling pang
Poong-sing poong-ling wang-loong wing
That’s how they sing
Chinee parang, Chinee parang, Chinee parang
Wang, wang, wang
Chinee parang, Chinee parang, Chinee parang
Gimme Char Siu Kai Fan

Now as you know, I have been living in Hong Kong since 2007 and probably haven’t heard Chinee Parang in just as many years, so it made me laugh out loud and shake my head. Because only in Trinidad is this kind of song actually played on the radio, and nobody cares — not even the Chinese Trinidadians!

And you know what was the next parang song I found? It was ‘Mamacita’, sung by a young Sharlene Boodram, who is Indian, and the song is about cooking paratha for Santa. A Hindu girl singing a Spanish-style Christmas song about cooking Indian food for Santa Claus. Well, if that isn’t colourblindess, I don’t know what is.

p.s. I found out from a little Internet digging that Chinee Parang actually won an award! Ha! 

p.p.s The funniest part? The image of Bruce Lee transposed in front of the Trini flag with Chinese lettering above his head? Yeah, that’s not Chinese, it’s Korean

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Suzanne dickson says:

    Greatest country in the world.
    The trade union people just dragged a mannequin of Kamla our prime minister through the streets. Not a word about how denigrating itmis to women. We just do not care a damn about anything.
    One can not be serious in this country. Just go with the flow.

  2. vicki says:

    That is why Trinidad and Tobago have some of the most beautiful people in the world. It’s because we are all mixed up. Even though hubby and I are individually diverse already, our children are even better, a glorious blend of French, Chinese, African, Indian, Portuguese, Scottish and Irish flavoured with a dash of Nepalese.

    Trini to the Bone
    Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas with many blessings

    1. the_travelling_trini says:

      Agreed Vicki! My own child has Japanese, Canadian, Scottish, Portuguese and Indian blood all coursing through her tiny veins — not that she knows that yet — but I hope that as she grows up she appreciates that glorious blend as you described it! Not many countries in the world can boast this. It is something we can be proud of. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas too!

  3. Eileen says:

    I have to add ours have Irish, French, German, English, Jamaican, and others Flathead Indian, and Alaskan Aleut, Russian with Irish, French, German and English. OH, I have to add Scottish. We love you all. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season.

  4. Bamboo Boi says:

    “The line between Humour and Insult is fine and constantly shifting.” Please Understand that We’ve been placed on the Insult side, Sadly, and we don’t really see the humour.

    “Picong or Piquant is light comical banter, usually at someone else’s expense. It is the way in which West Indians (particularly those in the Eastern Caribbean) tease, heckle and mock each other in a friendly manner. However, the line between humour and insult is fine and constantly shifting, and at times the convivial spirit may degenerate into more heated debate and perhaps, physical altercations. The ability to engage in picong without crossing over into insult is highly valued in the culture of calypso music.”

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