Sunday 1 July 2012

How to find Sun Ho in the iTunes store (Tip: Don't search for Sun Ho)

It’s about time.

Starting last week, I can finally use my iTunes to buy actual tunes and not just apps.

I mean, I've already bought every Angry Birds game out there – Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons, Angry Birds Rio and of course, Angry Birds Space – I think I need to take an Angry Birds management class.

And I’m getting weary of buying CDs (as in compact discs, not certificates of deposit) and ripping the songs on my computer. I tried to rip my vinyl records but couldn’t fit the long player into the disc drive.

Nowadays, shopping at any of the few remaining CD shops in Singapore is like visiting a nursing home for a dying format. I’d almost rather visit my mother – that’s how depressing buying music has become.

I’ve even resorted to buying CDs online, which is a bit like using e-mail to order a fax machine (ie using a newer technology to acquire an obsolescent technology that the newer technology made obsolescent).

The problem is that despite my hip and cool image, I’m still old-fashioned enough that I stubbornly refuse to steal music by downloading it illegally from the Internet even though that’s what all the kids seem to be doing these days.

What if I get arrested?

Then I want to be photographed wearing bug-eyed shades and a red hoody like City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee after he was arrested. Hey, look at me, I’m Spider-Man!

As all of Singapore knows, Kong and four others were arrested last week for allegedly misusing millions of church funds to finance his wife Ho Yeow Sun’s music career.

Remember how after Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston died, many people bought their music because of all the publicity? I also wanted to buy Ms Ho’s music because of all the publicity.

I thought, “So lucky the Singapore iTunes store just started selling music so I can download it from there.”

But when I searched “Ho Yeow Sun” in the iTunes store, I got no results.

Then I tried “Sun Ho” and the closest results I got were songs by Sun Yan-Zi, also known as Stefanie Sun.

I couldn’t believe it. How could Ms Ho not be in the iTunes store?

This is the woman who topped the US Billboard Dance/Club Play chart four times with the hits Where Did Love Go, One With You, Without Love and Gone.

According to, the Dance/Club Play chart is made up of the “most popular songs played in dance clubs, compiled from reports from a national sample of club DJs”.

I checked the Dance/Club Play chart last week and you know who was No 1?

Toni Braxton!

Wait. What? Toni Braxton? Is this 2012 or 1996?

But it really is Braxton with a new song called I Heart You. I guess her “heart” has been “unbroken”.

She is in the iTunes store.

So is Wyclef Jean, who collaborated with Ms Ho on her single China Wine.

You know how big a star Wyclef Jean is, right? With his group Black Eyed Peas, he had No 1 hits around the world with songs like Boom Boom Pow and I Gotta Feeling.

Wait. Oops. I’m sorry I just confused Wyclef Jean with They look so alike!

Jean actually used to be in a group called The Fugees, who had a number No 1 with their album The Score in, uh... 1996.

Another apparent fan of Ms Ho is local deejay Chris Ho and it’s not just because they share the same surname.

He recently wrote on his Facebook page: “I like her and I’m proud of her having busted the Billboard dance chart. The other Singapore Sun got touch Billboard, meh?”

I believe the “other Singapore Sun” he was referring to is Stefanie Sun. Her again!

Then something occurred to me. Since I had already searched for “Ho Yeow Sun” and “Sun Ho” in the iTunes store, why didn’t I try just “Sun”?

So I did - and hallelujah!

There was Ms Ho in the search results - alongside a few other obscure artistes named Sun, plus, of course, that Stefanie woman.

What a relief. If “Sun” didn’t work, I would’ve had to try “Ho” next.

Available for download at $1.28 each were 12 remixes of Gone, 15 remixes of Ends Of The Earth and 18 remixes of Without Love, but disappointingly only one version of China Wine by Sun featuring Wyclef Jean, Elephant Man and Tony Matteron.

So I clicked on the Buy button to download China Wine, my soon-to-be very first iTunes music purchase ever.

As if sensing the ambivalence in my mouse click, iTunes asked me: “Are you sure you want to buy and download ‘China Wine’? Your payment card will be charged for this purchase and your purchase will begin to download immediately.”

Uh... I... well...

As my mouse pointer hovered between “Buy” and “Cancel”, I was calculating in my head that for $1.28, I could get four extra packets of curry sauce at McDonald’s.

Deciding to buy Angry Birds was never this hard.

- Published in The New Paper, 1 July 2012