The Hano Effect

Some people just don’t get it; they are dumbfounded by the process when performers like Shaneeka who can rock the house, and Gareth who can dance and sing, are actually in a competition with Hano Lin.

Are the judges looking for stage performance and props, or are they looking for singing ability?

Those who don’t want to get it find it maddening that some contestants are given advice on how to be better singers, while Hano is praised for his props and stage presence. Finally, weeks into the competition he gets the ‘breathing’ advice from the judges, just like everyone else has gotten before him.

Are the judges seeing and hearing the same things we are?

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It’s clear to me that the judges want to look for talent, but they can’t ignore Hano’s light-hearted comic relief. Everything in Belize has been so serious for so long, that Hano has been able to tap into something long missing in our country: comedy.

The generations before this had Beverly Smith and Seferino; there’s been a major gap since then, filled by Kevin Hart, Dave Chappelle, and others like them.

In Belize we love it when people exceed the racial barriers life lays out, and jump out of the boxes we have designed for each ethnic group. We do. The Asian community has fallen into a few stringent boxes, and deep down we wonder and believe that there has to be more than what meets the eye, and what they’ve allowed us to see.

Very few of us get to intermarry and/or intermingle with them. Hano is breaking down all the barriers, and destroying the boxes, and we love him for it!

So we might not understand the Hano effect singing-wise, but what we are witnessing as KTV the Remix plays out this season, (I believe), is one of the things that makes Belize such a beautiful place: our acceptance of culture, no matter how different.

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Having been up close and personal with beauty pageants, I learned a long time ago that winning does not only depend on what a contestant brings to the competition; it’s also about what the others who have their eyes on the prize are bringing in that same year. Someone might logically be the most likely to win, but they may choose to compete in a year when the one person who can beat them is also competing.

I have long been a fan of both Shaneeka’s and Gareth’s talents, but I’m now wondering if they picked the wrong year to compete in this particular competition. They didn’t know when they signed up that ethnic barriers were about to be torn down, and that Belize would be getting the comic relief we all so badly need.

I do understand the frustration people feel when they think KTV The Remix is a singing competition; but watching the effect Hano has on people all over the country makes me think that we are watching something way more than a karaoke competition. We are watching a people lap up comedic relief because they have needed it. We see ‘one of our own’ take the stage every week and have no idea how he is going to surprise us, and entertain us. We are expectant for what will come out of his mouth because he makes us laugh; and we have badly needed to laugh.

So yes, it might have started out as a singing competition, but the ‘Hano effect’ has hit KTV The Remix in an unexpected way, just as it has hit the country. We don’t know what to do with it, except to enjoy it. Some people want to marry Hano, others want to go to his house for a party on Saturday night. Some think the show isn’t worth watching after he has performed, and countless others want to have their picture taken with him.

A few loyalists want him out of the competition so that their favorite can have an easier win, but the Hano effect cannot be ignored, and has forced some to step up their game in hopes of winning.

It’s beautiful to watch this acceptance happening, and to hear our collective laughter as Hano performs. I’m proud to witness the coming together to stand with him, ignoring those who want us to ignore the effect in favor of the singing. Hano makes us see our similarities more than our differences.

©Debbie Mendoza, July 2017. Debbie Mendoza is the author of Exodus: A Journey Through Divorce and JoyHope. For speaking engagements: (011) 501-610-4375

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