Aloysius Pang’s close friends Ian Fang and Shane Pow have written a song dedicated to the late actor.
Despite their tight filming schedules - Ian is working on Hello Miss Driver while Shane is filming longform drama Jalan Jalan - the pair composed and recorded a song, ‘念 28’ (loosely translated as ‘Remembrance 28’) in two days. In less than 24 hours since it was uploaded, the track has been viewed over 300,000 times on Facebook.
Ian and Shane spoke to Toggle in separate phone interview to tell us about working on this personal tribute to their friend.
“From the start, we didn’t want to have a fancy title because this is a song to remember Aloysius. The ‘念’ (nian) simply stands for remembrance,” Ian explains. “On the first day of his wake, I contacted some of my friends in the music industry and told them that I had a beat on hand but didn’t have time to finish the entire song on my own, so I enlisted their help to complete a demo while I was at work.”
The second half of the song title, 28, was Shane’s idea. “We had a difficult time trying to decide on the title,” says Shane. “The song means a lot to us and we wanted to find something memorable and not too cheesy. The reason why I thought of 28 is because this angel of ours stayed on earth for a good 28 years with us.”
Ian, who spent his hour-long lunch break composing the lyrics and coming up with the beat, shares, “Like Aloysius, I enjoy writing and composing. This is one of my strengths and something that I could do to remember him.”
The hour-long session passed in a flash, as the 29-year-old shares that his memories of Aloysius spurred him to focus and complete everything within the little time he had.
While Ian worked on the rap in the song, the chorus was composed and sung by Shane. Ian says, “In particular, the line that says, ‘We agreed that we’d become unstoppable together’ made me tear.”
Shane let on that the chorus was something that he worked on for close to three hours with his girlfriend and 987 DJ Kimberly Wang. “The chorus is an important part of the song and we wanted to have something suitable in the limited number of lines we had,” he muses. “The three of us are so different but we have a chemistry that balances out the friendship. We wanted to have something that expressed that.”
In the chorus, there was also a line that said that they would overcome ‘Zhuge Liang’ a reference to the historical military strategist, which Shane tells us is a metaphor for the many obstacles that they encountered in their respective lives. “Whenever we shared our problems with one another, we’d come away with a fresh perspective because we all think very differently.”
After the demo was completed, the duo headed to Ian’s friend’s home studio, again during a break in between filming sessions, to record the song.
The introduction of the song, which is an excerpt of Wiz Khalifa’s ‘See You Again’, was sung by Desmond Ng. Ian explains, “When we were in the bus on the way to the crematorium, the song came up on my playlist and I felt that it is very suitable to express our friendship. I’m not good at singing so I enlisted the help of my good buddy Desmond.”
While the trio has known one another since they joined the industry, they only grew closer after filming Served H.O.T.. “I got to know Aloysius when I just entered showbiz,” says Shane. “Xu Bin is my secondary school friend so I had met Aloy a few times, but him being him, he was very quiet and we weren’t that close then. It was only after Served H.O.T. when we saw each other every day for three months that we got closer.”
“We’d joke around in Cantonese and the three of us would call each other ‘dai lo’ (big brother). We kept messing around like that and unknowingly, that’s how we address each other up even now” Ian chuckles. “When I look at the WhatsApp messages or the Twitter conversations that we had, I realise how many memories we have together.”
The raw honesty in the lyrics has clearly struck a chord with many listeners, who have expressed their thanks towards the duo for the touching tribute.
Ian says, “When people told me that they were touched by my song, I told them that it’s a matter of being sincere and I’m relieved that those who listened to it can feel it.”
“He’s the sweetest guy I know and he genuinely cares for you as a friend,” Shane adds. “It’s been difficult for us who know him and this song is our way of remembering him as the gem that he is.”
Before we ended our call with Ian, we asked him if he had anything to add. Ian paused for a moment before he replying with a laugh, “I can imagine the trademark smirk that Aloysius would give if he could hear my song from heaven.”