Mr Donald Trump's presence as POTUS, his regular, interesting but controversial Tweets and his recent use of the word hombre has jolted my memory to yesteryear when I used to patronise the Capitol Cinema at North Bridge Road to watch what was known as Western movies.
It was a common practice for Singapore movie goers to patronise the cinemas and watch these films on the wide screen during the fifties and sixties. With themes of conflict, gun slingers galore and stereo-types in these Cowboy movies, the genre was popular culture then. And who can forget John Wayne.
Why has my memory gone back to these Westerns? Since trailing the US presidential campaign city to city last year on Cable TV, and listening to President Trump's controversial Mexican Wall speeches, my mind went reverse mode and I started remembering movie titles like: Man From Laramie, The Kentuckian, Oklahoma, Wichita, Sante Fe Passage, The Oregon Trail, The Man From Gavelston and Cimarron.
Then there was: The Treasure of Pancho Villa, Commanche, Gunfight At The OK Corral, Rio Bravo, Cheyenne Autumn, The Treasures of Sierra Madre and Viva Zapata among others.
These movies drew crowds in the 50's and 60's, remembering that those were post-war years, and there was hardly any entertainment then.
As a child, and to my mother's anguish, I learnt many American cowpoke terms that had migrated from Mexico. In order to understand the movie dialogues, I needed to understand these loan words, now established and official.
The vocabulary included: buckaroo, corral, desperado, lariat, lasso, ranch, stampede, rodeo, sierra, bronco, mustang, fiesta, coyote, puma, burrito, sombrero, rumba, tango and of course hombre.
So Mr Trump's term about bad hombres takes me back to the typical cowboy movie scene in a saloon (bar) when the Sheriff tells the gunslinger, "You're bad, hombre. Get on your saddle and vamoose. This is my town!" I would kick the hombre out too if he were a drug dealer or criminal.
Then I remember Westerns where the cowboys were always at war with native Indians (previous bias name: Red Indian or Injuns) from the Apache, Blackfoot, Cherokee, Comanche, Cheyenne, Mohican and other tribes, depending on the fancy of the movie directors, plot or country setting.
The same cowboy scene on screen sometimes shows the native Indian Chief with his flaming head-dress saying to the soldier, "White man talk with forked tongue; white man die." Now it's a standing joke in many cartoons.
Pop Music Nostalgia:
The campaign trail, while watching Anderson Cooper going through US country names on CNN, switched my mind to songs like, Galveston, El Paso, The Streets of Laredo, Blue Moon of Kentucky, The Ballad of the Alamo, North to Alaska.
I could remember, The Yellow Rose of Texas, San Antonio Rose, Yellow Rose of Texas, Battle of New Orleans, Colorado Trail, Wichita Lineman and By The Time I Get To Phoenix.
A song I knew well was Chuck Berry's, Back In The USA where he named cities and towns (You Tube above) in rapid fire. Here goes: Detroit, Chicago, Chattanooga, Baton Rouge, St. Louis, California and Delaware.
Now the reader may understand why our Singaporean boys and girls from the sixties recorded songs of such a nature. The influence from the US was tremendous.
It's only words and words are all I have,
To take your heart away...
Vaya Con Dios. (Go with God).
This article is original.
You Tube Videos: Chuck Berry Back To The USA from: NRRArchives.
Les Paul Mary Ford Vaya con Dios from:catman919.
Lyrics: Words Bee Gees.