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Raising voices of discontent

By Xu Jingxi (China Daily)

09:15, May 30, 2012

The Guangzhou complaint choir performs in the street of the capital of Guangdong province. Photos by Zou Zhongpin / China Daily

A 'complaints choir' in Guangdong's provincial capital Guangzhou has a harmonious solution to social concerns - singing about them - which has far-reaching implications. Xu Jingxi reports in Guangzhou.

Residents of Guangdong's provincial capital Guangzhou are frustrated by high prices, never-ending workdays, overcrowded public transportation and traffic jams, and some of them have an idea of what to do about it - sing.

Young members of the "complaints chorus" performed at six of the city's famous sites on May 20, including Canton Tower, Chen Clan Academy and Shamian Island.

The 15 singers, most of whom are college students, donned white T-shirts and sunglasses and clutched yellow file folders. They caught the attention of passersby.

While their vocals weren't professional, the chorus' appeal comes from its humorous and thought-provoking lyrics about issues nearly all residents can relate to.

Such lines include: "The leather shoe I threw away became a pill capsule in a jiffy." The words express food and medicine safety concerns that arose after a China Central Television expose revealed some producers were illegally making medicine capsules with industrial gelatin extracted from leather waste.

He Zhirong and his family were so intrigued when they chanced upon the group that the 44-year-old man and his wife took a lyrics sheet and sang along.

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