The fickle, unpredictable nature of the internet means that one can never be 100% certain which piece of content we put out into the world will snag that coveted viral spot. For songwriter and producer Quincy Surasmith, that work was a 10-second song featured in a Mickey Mouse short — which exploded online in Thailand, with under the hashtag #ชิพกับเดล (which translates to #ChipandDale).
Entitled Our Floating Dreams, the short aired on June 22, and features Minnie and Mickey vying for a spot at one of Thailand’s busiest floating markets. The short is entirely in Thai, a move not uncommon for this series which has featured 15 other non-English language shorts, including ones in Turkish, Russian, Chinese, and Hindi. While Minnie and Mickey battle for the coveted spot, Chip and Dale swoop in to claim it at the 1:46 mark, signing the catchy little tune, which translates to:
Chip and Dale are brothers, selling stuff in the khlong. There’s only good nuts in the pile, freshly picked. Come eat them all!
The video currently has 6.4 million views, a little on the higher end of views for similar Mickey Mouse shorts, but not overwhelmingly so. A quick glance at the comments section reveals very grateful and touched Thai viewers.
And then, somewhere along the way, it became a Thai meme.
From political cartoons to live-action recreations on boats, from piano covers to death metal versions and soft R&B, the song blew up.
ชิพกับเดลมีสองพี่น้องขายของในคลอง ในกองนั้นมีแต่ถั่วดีๆพึ่งเด็ดสดๆน่ากินไปหมดPosted by แปลงซะเสีย on Monday, July 1, 2019
True to the tradition of the internet, someone made an hour-long loop.
The song’s virality in Thailand has reached a point where the state mental health department issued a notice on July 2 on how to combat the catchy tune and lyrics. The notice itself was general advice to stop “earworms” and didn’t call out a specific song, but there is a drawing of the chipmunks in the top right corner, and the Facebook post listed the lyrics of the song.
“Earworms may disturb the mind, but they are not a psychological symptom. They will go away on their own if something else interesting takes it place,” the notice reads.
Surasmith, meanwhile, discovered that his song had launched into popularity on July 4, almost two weeks after the short aired, over a week after some of the early versions of the song posted, and two days after the health notice was posted.
“For context: I wrote several real songs in the early 2010s to ZERO ACCLAIM,” he tweeted.
Okay the like 10-second song I co-wrote for the Disney short is becoming viral in Thailand and getting meme-ified HARD, which I only found out by looking through the Thai hashtag #ชิพกับเดล— Quincy (@Quincetessence) July 4, 2019
For context: I wrote several real songs in the early 2010s to ZERO ACCLAIM.
“[Chris Willis] the awesome music composer for the series (and this song) I was fortunate enough to work with is equally perplexed,” he wrote in a later tweet. “I feel like this means we did a good job, since they’re not side-eyeing the song and it’s taking on a life of its own?”
Now that the hashtag and meme has moved from a corner of Thai social media to a Twitter moment, expect more Chip and Dale covers and virality. It’s perhaps unexpected that this particular song launched into internet fame, but looking at the comments, videos, and replies, it seems that this song and short meant a lot to people happy to see their culture represented in a Mickey Mouse cartoon for the first time.