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World Cup Inc

This is my own little angle on serious business of running a World Cup and it’s mostly about the battle of songs.

First, there’s the official World Cup song, Waka Waka (This time for Africa) by Shakira.

Pretty catchy tune, fair homage to famous football stars and their WC memorable moments and some sexy moves by an extremely attractive woman.

Yet from the moment it has been selected it was subjected to criticism that it should be performed by an African artist. I don’t really buy this – it’s a good argument but it’s still a WORLD Cup, Shakira is a truly international star, Colombian herself, she performed at a wide variety of international shows for good causes and I see it as a big plus that she decided to incorporate an African song into her number, and she is accompanied by an African group.

It’s like Italians protesting about the way Thais eat their spaghetti – too late, it’s gone “inter”, that’s what always happens, African music no exception.

This video of the same song has some different moves and Shakira here is absolutely mouth watering.

What I personally have a bit of a problem here is the content – “Good soldier, if you get down get up and fight, today is your day” and so on and it’s mixed with some African lines – “Tsaminamina, waka waka…” On the Internet these lines are usually translated as something like “Come and do you job, you come here on your own choice” which fits with the English theme.

The idea is that it’s a tribute to African WWII soldiers.

The lines, however, came from this old African song here by a band from Cameroon called “Golden Sounds” who were clearly taking a big piss at the army.

Dressed as generals, they wear fake bellies and fake butts to symbolize good eating and traveling by trains which, I guess, was pretty comfortable by African standards in those days and certainly beats walking.

Waka Waka, some say, is a pidgin for “walk and work”.

The real soldiers in the background don’t do any fighting either, just march up and down, showing off moves.

The song is very long and the actual “waka waka” tune is at about five min mark. If you are too lazy to wait, some kind soul split the video in two and so you can jump straight to it here:

A warning – the tune can be quite catchy, I myself have been shuffling around the house for nearly a week now:

Zaminamina, eh eh
Waka waka eh eh
Zaminamina Zangalewa

Shakira and her co-authors, of which there were many, including some Indians, decided to turn this goofing around into some sort of inspiration. Good on them.

Then there’s the official sponsor official World Cup song. I mean Coke. They needed a song to go with all their advertising and they wanted it to convey messages of hope, freedom and celebration and have something African in it, too. So they picked up “Wavin’ Flag” by K’naan, a black Canadian singer of Somalian extraction. The original was earlier used as a charity song for the victims of Haiti earthquake but nevermind, Coke had him redo some lyrics – gone were people “struggling, fighting to eat” and “violent prone, poor people zone” and a lot more of flag waving was introduced for the proper mood.

There are plenty of videos with the real football but I like this version, with kids, better.

Originally after “I will get older, I will be stronger, They’ll call me freedom” there was “and then it goes back, and then it goes back” repetition that sounds more like desperation to me.

Not a big deal, again, K’naan himself is happy, and Coca Cola is even happier. They went totally global with it, in what, I suppose, could be called glocalization – they’ve created at least a dozen versions with local – Spanish, French, even Egyptian singers pitching in.

Here is the Arab answer to Shakira:

And here is the Spanish version:

Here is French:

There’s also a Thai version which is refreshingly different – it’s faster and funkier and Thai guys, Tatoo Colour, are pretty cool without that in your face Spanish or French machismo. What’s so macho about a singer called “Fefe”, though?

I’m watching WC on True’s high definition channel, it is awesome and I don’t get talking heads at the half time, just the advertising and the original feed from the stadium – replays and statistics and that’s when I often hear Waka waka eh eh. Thais watching the game on free TV probably think that Coca Cola’s “Ohohohoh” is the official song instead as it appears in Coke advert.

Speaking of French – they look like they screwed up their campaign again, like they did in 2002, and when I heard their “Now we’ll play for honor” promise I was very apprehensive. A whole line of post Iraq war French jokes was coming in. Maybe they’ll surrender to the dudes from Waka Waka video.

Anyway, my point was that World Cup Inc world domination is still a white man’s agenda cleverly disguised as inspirational and international and appealing to the third world. While we see the bright side on TV, millions of South Africans still live in poverty and even the game stewards are having a strike right now, over their wages. Fifa is making billions in turn and Coke is getting everybody to sing and dance.

I wonder what would be said here if there was such a glaring discrepancy between the image and the reality, if Thailand ever managed to stage such a world class event. Reds burned the city for a lot less.

On the domestic front nothing much happens. Kanit is still assembling his panel, he says it will be “fact finding” only, ie he won’t blame anybody for whatever happened. There’s a point in this – indictments and prosecution must be dished out by relevant agencies, not by ad hoc panels. Reds are not taking it however.

Abhisit set up two other panels. Both pointless, imo.

First is Anand/Prawase reform panel – they already gave us 97 constitution that appealed to the middle classes but had no effect on either the poor Isanese or power hungry politicians. I don’t expect anything new from them, or anything that would satisfy the reds.

Last panel is on constitution reform, it’s staffed with many PAD sympathizers or people who worked in junta appointed NLA and they started with talk about six proposed changes. Non-starter – everybody already knows there’s nothing to benefit the people in those, and if there is even a whiff of New Politics in their work they’d be slaughtered by reds who are already up in arms over the composition of this panel.

Arghh, better go back to football.


One Response

  1. It’s half time and Frenchies “honor” is going for 0-2 down.

    Interestingly, it’s still not enough for Baffana Baffana boys to advance to the second round. Mexico is trailing by one goal only and still have rather comfortable two goal difference cushion.

    If “El Tris” concede one more and Baffanas score one more, South Africa will emerge triumphant.

    Have no idea what would happen if Mexicans lose 1-3 and SA wins 3-0 as both teams will have exactly the same goal count and they drew with each other.

    Maybe South Africa would go, as a host, maybe Mexico as being “M” rather than “S”.

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