Patriotic Chinese Kindergarten Kungfu — lyrics & video for 精忠报国 by 屠洪纲

kindergartenkungfu01crop.PNG Patriotic Chinese Kindergarten Kungfu    lyrics & video for 精忠报国 by 屠洪纲

Our 4-year-old goes to an all-Chinese preschool, where I also teach. We’re the only foreigners. The 5 and 6-year-olds do this as a regular exercise routine:

It’s a song about complete devotion and loyalty to China, which in English could be “Dedication and Loyalty to the Country” or “Serve the Country with Utmost Loyalty”. The title is a reference to famous historical-mythical General Yue Fei’s tattoo. He was traitorously executed and posthumously has come to epitomize loyalty to China. The Wikipedia article is worth a read, as this song has all kinds of historical/cultural associations.

Here’s the mp3 and Chinese lyrics (mouseover for pronunciation!) with English translation (mostly someone else’s). Music videos here (youtube) and here (youku).

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报国 by 洪纲

狼烟江山
The fire beacon rises, look toward the rivers and mountains of the north

Dragons’ puffs and horses’ neighs are like blows of a frosted sword
黄河茫茫
Hearts as boundless as the water of the Yellow River
二十纵横
Who defies the length and breadth of the past twenty years?

Wild hatred where my sword points
多少手足
Countless brothers, loyal souls, bones buried in unfamiliar lands

What regret is it to die a hundred times protecting family and country?
叹惜无语血泪
Enduring sighs of regret, speechless, tears of blood fill the eyes
马蹄
Horses’ hooves go south, the people look toward the north
青黄飞扬
Toward the north the grass yellows, dust flying up
守土开疆
I’m willing to guard this territory and re-claim the land
堂堂中国四方
Grand China will make all sides bring tribute

Some interesting notes on this song here:

Many people in the west believe that Chinese are in general motivated by an irrational nationalism cultivated by the communist party to secure its political hold on the country. This is why some of the protests by Chinese nationals overseas have been labeled as “rebirth of the red guards”. Personally, I think this misunderstanding reflects a lack of knowledge about Chinese history, which in the thousand years past have been filled with foreign invasions and civil wars. We Chinese are peace lovers, but our own history has taught us that unification as a country, especially in the face of foreign threats has always been the prerequisite for a peaceful life.

This music video is by the singer Tu HongGang, who was trained as a Beijing opera singer, but turned into a pop singer in the late 80′s and early 90′s. The song is entitled 精忠报国, which translates to ‘dedication and loyalty to the country,’ or ‘serve the country with the utmost loyalty.’ The phrase by itself originates from the story of Yue Fei, “a famous Chinese patriot and military general who fought for the Southern Song Dynasty against the Jurchen armies of the Jin Dynasty. Since his political execution by the traitor Qin Hui, Yue Fei has evolved into the standard model of loyalty in Chinese culture.” According to legends, his mother tattooed these four characters across his back before he left home to join the army in 1122. More on his story can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yue_Fei

Note the first picture on the right, which shows the statue of Yue Fei, from the Yue Fei Mausoleum in Hangzhou. The four characters on his banner say, Huan Wo He Shan , or “Give back my rivers and mountains”.

I love the song (and the singer!) very much, I feel it echoes much of the patriotism which Chinese holds as part of our cultural identity.

kindergartenkungfu02crop Patriotic Chinese Kindergarten Kungfu    lyrics & video for 精忠报国 by 屠洪纲

More Chinese music (many with lyrics & guitar chords!):

Chinese New Year:

Christmas:

KTV!

So I’m in this Chinese girl band…

I’m not just a Chinese preschool rockstar; I now have a band. A girl band. A Chinese girl band. A Chinese girl band composed entirely of preschool teachers. And we are not above using the electric piano’s preprogrammed auto-chording rhythm feature thingy.

chinesegirlband1 So Im in this Chinese girl band...

Working for a Chinese company gives opportunities to perform — and I mean like song-and-dance perform — that you typically don’t get at the average North American job. For example, at the year-end banquet it’s common for every department in a company to put on some sort of performance. Lots of singing along to pop tracks at the very least. It’s actually more of an obligation than an opportunity; it means bad vibes if you cry off participating.

Chinese love karaoke (KTV). They practice beforehand, and when they go they’ll easily stay for four, five or six hours singing the cheesiest pop lyrics and melodies you can imagine. And the practice shows. Have whatever stereotype of mild-mannered, bespectacled bookworm Chinese you want, but you haven’t seen China until you’ve seen said bespectacled office drones rocking out in a KTV lounge like they are the Chinese incarnation of Whitney Houston. It’s not what you’d expect from the impressions and stereotypes that float around, but in my experience the average Chinese tends to be less inhibited than the average cripplingly self-conscious and cool-anxious, irony-plagued North American when it comes to public performance.

Our school has a New Year’s Show, a Children’s Day Show, and a Teacher Show — those are the one’s I’ve discovered so far anyway. And it’s normal for teachers and parents to be involved in a couple performances even for the kids’ shows.

So here’s the song and lyrics some of my coworkers picked to cover for the Teacher Show (performed for the parents and grandparents of our 200+ students) — our first and most likely final performance. :)

相信 by


(Better quality version here.)

想飞上天和太阳肩并肩 / xiǎng fēishàng tiān hé tàiyáng jiānbìngjiān
Want to fly up to heaven and be shoulder to shoulder with the sun

世界等着我去改变/ shìjiè děngzhe wǒ qù gaibiàn
The world is waiting for me to go change (it)

想做的梦从不怕别人看见 / xiǎng zuòde mèng cóngbù pà biérén kànjiàn
Want to have a dream and not fear that other people will see

在这里我都能实现 / zài zhèlǐ wǒ dōu néng shíxiàn
Here I can achieve all of this

大声欢笑让你我肩并肩 / dàshēng huānxiào ràng nǐ wǒ jiānbìngjiān
Laughing loudly let us be should to shoulder

何处不能欢乐无限 / héchù bùnéng huānlè wúxiàn
Wherever there’s not infinite joy

抛开烦恼 勇敢的大步向前 / pāokāi fánnǎo yǒnggǎnde dàbù xiàngqián
Throw out worries, go forward with brave strides

我就站在舞台中间 / wǒ jiù zhàn zài wǔtái zhōngjiān
I just stand in the middle of the stage

[Chorus]

我相信我就是我,我相信明天 / wǒ xiāngxìn wǒ jiùshì wǒ, wǒ xiāngxìn míngtiān
I believe I’m me, I believe in tomorrow

我相信青春没有地平线 / wǒ xiāngxìn qīngchūn méiyǒu dìpíngxiàn
I believe youth has no horizon

在日落的海边,在热闹的大街 / zài rìluòde hǎibiān, zài rènǎode dàjiē
At the sun-setting seaside, on the bustling street

都是我心中最美的乐园 / dōu shì wǒ xīnzhōng zuìměide lèyuán
Both are the happiest paradise of my heart

我相信自由自在,我相信希望 / wǒ xiāngxìn zìyóuzìzài, wǒ xiāngxìn xīwàng
I believe in carefree freedom, I believe in hope

我相信伸手就能碰到天 / wǒ xiāngxìn shēnshǒu jiù néng pèngdào tiān
I believe you can stretch out your hand and reach heaven

有你在我身边 让生活更新鲜 / yǒu nǐ zài wǒ shēnbiān ràng shēnghuó gèng xīnxiān
Having you at my side makes life fresher

每一刻都精采万分,I do believe / měi yíkè dōu jīngcǎi wànfēn
Every moment is extremely splendid

Karaoke adventures:

Chinese songs to learn:

chinesegirlband2 So Im in this Chinese girl band...

《恭喜恭喜恭喜你》 – a translated song for Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year! Here’s another translated Spring Festival song! Our three-year-old loves to sing and dance to this one, too.

恭喜恭喜恭喜你


(Also here and here.)

咚咚咚锵 咚咚咚锵 / dōng dōng dōng qiāng dōng dōng dōng qiāng
[drumming sounds]
恭喜恭喜恭喜你 / gōngxǐ gōngxǐ gōngxǐ nǐ
Congratulations congratulations congratulations to you
咚咚咚锵 咚咚咚锵 / dōng dōng dōng qiāng dōng dōng dōng qiāng
[drumming sounds]
恭喜恭喜新年快乐 万事如意 / gōngxǐ gōngxǐ xīnnián kuàilè, wànshì rúyì
Congratulations, congratulations, Happy New Year!
May everything go according to your wishes.

一元复始呀春风得意 / yī yuán fù shǐ ya, chūn fēng déyì
A year begins again, the spring wind is happy
万象更新呀大吉大利 / wànxiàng gèng xīn ya, dà jí dà lì
All of nature is renewed, very auspicious and prosperous

[Chorus 2x]

招财进宝呀金银满堂 / zhāo cái jìn bǎo ya, jīn yǐn mǎn táng
Inviting weath and riches, gold and silver fill the hall
风调雨顺呀年年有余 / fēng tiáo yǔ shùn ya, niánnián yǒu yú
The weather is favourable, year and year has abundance

[Chorus 2x]

More Chinese New Year/Spring Festival stuff:

More Chinese songs to learn:

《恭喜恭喜》 Get in the Spring Festival mood with another Chinese New Year song!

This is another one of the Chinese New Year songs we hear these days, whenever we’re out anywhere that plays music (like shopping centers). I guess it’s the Chinese equivalent of the kind of Christmas music you hear in malls in December. Many of my students and coworkers recognize songs like this, but not well enough to sing the words.


(Other versions here and here.)

每条大街小巷 / měi tiáo dàjiē xiǎoxiàng
In every street and alley
每个人的嘴里 / měi ge rén de zuǐlǐ
From every person’s mouth
见面第一句话 / jiànmiàn dìyī jùhuà
The first sentence when meeting
就是恭喜恭喜 / jiùshì gōngxǐ gōngxǐ
Is “Congratulations!”

恭喜恭喜恭喜你呀 / gōngxǐ gōngxǐ gōngxǐ nǐ ya
Congratulations congratulations congratulations to you
恭喜恭喜恭喜你 / gōngxǐ gōngxǐ gōngxǐ nǐ
Congratulations congratulations congratulations to you

冬天已到尽头 / dōngtiān yǐ dào jìntóu
Winter has come to its end
真是好的消息 / zhēn shì hǎode xiāoxi
It’s really good news
温暖的春风 / wēnnuǎnde chūn fēng
Warm spring breezes
就要吹醒大地 / jiù yào chuī xǐng dàdì
will blow the earth awake

[Chorus]

浩浩冰雪融解 / hàohào bīng xué róngjiě
Expanse of ice and snow melts
眼看梅花吐蕊 / yǎnkàn méihuā tǔ ruǐ
Soon the plum blossoms will begin to bloom
慢慢长夜过去 / mànmàn cháng yè guòqù
Slowly the long night passes
听到一声鸡啼 / tīngdào yī shēng jī tí
Hear a rooster’s crow</p>

[Chorus]

经过多少困难 / jīngguò duōshǎo kùnnan
Went through so much difficulty
历经多少磨练 / lìjīng duōshǎo móliàn
Experienced so much discipline
多少心儿盼望 / duōshǎo xīnr pànwàng
So many hearts are longing for
春天的消息 / chūntiān dexiāoxi
The news of spring

[Chorus]

冬天已到尽头 / dōngtiān yǐ dào jìntóu
Winter has come to its end
真是好的消息 / zhēn shì hǎode xiāoxi
Its really good news
温暖的春风 / wēnnuǎnde chūn fēng
Warm spring breezes
就要吹醒大地 / jiù yào chuī xǐng dàdì
will blow the earth awake

[Chorus]

More Chinese New Year/Spring Festival stuff:

More Chinese songs to learn:

《恭喜发财》 by 刘德华 – a translated Chinese New Year song to get you in the Spring Festival mood!

There are a handful of songs we hear around as Chinese New Year approaches. This Andy Lau (刘德华) song is the one we notice the most. And it’s fun. Especially if you jump around and sing along with your three-year-old. Overly literal translation below (also fun).

The main Chinese New Year’s greeting is literally, “Congratulations! Get rich!” (恭喜发财), meaning: “May you have a prosperous New Year!” The ‘congratulations’ apparently comes from the ancient New Year’s story, where a monster comes on New Year’s Eve to devour people, so everyone who survives to the next year congratulates one another on their survival. For more about that see:

Homeboy’s from Hong Kong, so even though he’s singing in Mandarin his pronunciation is noticeably different on some words.

恭喜发财 / gōngxǐ fācái / Prosperous New Year!


(If you can’t access YouTube, hear it on Youku.)

耶咿耶咿耶咿耶哦哦 / ye yi ye yi ye yi ye o o
耶咿耶咿耶咿耶哦哦 / ye yi ye yi ye yi ye o o

我恭喜你发财 我恭喜你精彩 / wǒ gōngxǐ nǐ fācái, wo gōngxǐ nǐ jīngcǎi
I congratulate you, get rich! I congratulate you, wonderfulness!
最好的请过来 不好的请走开 / zuìhǎode qǐng guòlái, bùhàode qǐng zǒukāi
(I) invite the best to come over, and the bad to go away
礼多人不怪 / lǐ duō rén bù guài
(When there’s) Much propriety, people aren’t quarrelsome

我祝满天下的女孩 / wǒ zhù mǎn tiānxiàde nǚhái
I wish every girl under heaven
嫁一个好男孩 / jià yīgè hǎo nánhái
will marry a good boy
两小口永远在一块 / liǎng xiǎo kǒu yǒngyuǎn zài yīqǐ
The two will forever be together
我祝满天下的小孩 / wǒ zhù mǎn tiānxiàde xiǎohái
I wish all the children under heaven
聪明胜过秀才 / cōngming shèngguò xiùcai
intelligence to pass the exam to become a scholar
智商充满你脑袋 / zhìshāng chōngmǎn nǐ nǎodài
Your heads filled with IQ

我祝尊敬的姑奶奶 / wǒ zhù zūnjìng de gūnǎinai
I wish revered Great Aunt
三十六圈的比赛 / sānshíliù quān de bǐsài
in a 36-lap race
气不喘面容不改 / qì bù chuǎn miànróng bù gǎi
won’t be out of breath and face won’t flush
我祝三叔公的买卖 / wǒ zhù sān shūgōngde mǎimài
I wish 3rd Great Uncle’s business
生意扬名四海 / shēngyì yángmíngsìhǎi
will become world-famous
财运亨通住豪宅 / cáiyùn hēngtōng zhù háozhái
Your money-making luck will go smoothly and you’ll live in a mansion

大摇大摆 老天替你消灾 / dà yáo dà bǎi, lǎotiān tì nǐ xiāozāi
Swagger about, heaven will help you avoid calamities
恭喜 发财 要喊得够豪迈 / gōngxī fācái, yào hǎnde gòu háomài
Congratulations! Get Rich! (We) will shout it boldly!

恭喜发财! / gōngxǐ fācái
Congratulations! Get rich!
我恭喜你发财 我恭喜你精彩 / wǒ gōngxǐ nǐ fācái, wo gōngxǐ nǐ jīngcǎi
I congratulate you, get rich! I congratulate you, wonderfulness!
最好的请过来 不好的请走开 / zuìhǎode qǐng guòlái, bùhàode qǐng zǒukāi
(I) invite the best to come over, and the bad to go away
礼多人不怪 / lǐ duō rén bù guài
(When there’s) Much propriety, people aren’t quarrelsome

耶咿耶咿耶咿耶哦哦 / ye yi ye yi ye yi ye o o
耶咿耶咿耶咿耶哦哦 / ye yi ye yi ye yi ye o o

我祝大家笑口常开 / wǒ zhù dàjiā xiào kǒu cháng kāi
I wish everyone always has a smiling mouth
用心把爱去灌溉 / yòng xīn bǎ ài qù guàngài
use our hearts to irrigate with love
明天拿我们更厉害 / míngtiān ná wǒmen gèng lìhai
Tomorrow will take us even greater
我祝全世界的无奈 / wǒ zhù quán shìjiède wúnài
I wish all the hopeless matters in the world
跑得比那黑人更快 / pǎode bǐ nà hēi rén gèng kuài
(will) run away faster than a black man
岁岁年年出人才 / suìsuìniánnián chū réncái
Each and every year will produce talented people

大摇大摆 老天替你消灾 / dà yáo dà bǎi, lǎotiān tì nǐ
Swagger about, heaven will help you avoid calamities
恭喜 发财 要喊得够豪迈 / gōngxī fācái, yào hǎnde gòu háomài
Congratulations! Get rich! (We) will shout it boldly!
我恭喜你发财 我恭喜你精彩 / wǒ gōngxǐ nǐ fācái, wo gōngxǐ nǐ jīngcǎi
I congratulate you, get rich! I congratulate you, wonderfulness!
最好的请过来 不好的请走开 / zuìhǎode qǐng guòlái, bùhàode qǐng zǒukāi
(I) invite the best to come over, and the bad to go away
礼多人不怪 / lǐ duō rén bù guài
(When there’s) Much propriety, people aren’t quarrelsome

啊再来 / ā zài lái
Again!
我恭喜你发财 我恭喜你精彩 / wǒ gōngxǐ nǐ fācái, wo gōngxǐ nǐ jīngcǎi
I congratulate you, get rich! I congratulate you, wonderfulness!
最好的请过来 不好的请走开 / zuìhǎode qǐng guòlái, bùhàode qǐng zǒukāi
(I) invite the best to come over, and the bad to go away
礼多人不怪 / lǐ duō rén bù guài
(When there’s) Much propriety, people aren’t quarrelsome
恭喜发财 / gōngxǐ fācái
Congratulations! Get rich!

More Chinese New Year/Spring Festival stuff:

More Chinese songs to learn:

Traditional Chinese Christmas Songs: 《欢乐佳音歌》 & 《圣诞感恩歌》

A couple Christmases ago we shared mp3s of traditional Christmas songs that had been Chinese-ified. This year you get some genuine Chinese Christmas songs, as in songs written by Chinese in Chinese and in a Chinese style, rather than sounding like corrupted English songs. The first song is especially good for language students; it’s so repetitive that you only have to learn four lines.

I tried to find well-produced recordings of arrangements that would sound good to Western ears, but each link below fails on one or both accounts (this is not surprising for a lot of traditional Chinese music). But the point is that it’s a Chinese song anyway, so you get what you get, which in this case is 10000x tamer than the inebriated felines of Beijing opera.

Mouseover the Chinese below to see the pronunciation. My translation is veeery rough.

《欢乐佳音歌》 Joyous Tidings

#83 in the TSPM hymnal (赞美)
Listen: here and here.

欢乐圣诞佳音大家歌唱 耶路撒冷欢呼弥赛亚
Joyous Christmas tidings, everyone come sing, Jerusalem hails the Messiah as King
锡安报道救主降临 耶稣基督甘愿卑贱众人
Zion the whole earth announces the saviour has come,
Jesus Christ willingly humbly rescues everyone

欢乐圣诞佳音大家歌唱 耶路撒冷欢呼弥赛亚
Joyous Christmas tidings, everyone come sing, Jerusalem hails the Messiah as King

欢乐圣诞佳音大家歌唱 耶路撒冷欢呼弥赛亚
Joyous Christmas tidings, everyone come sing, Jerusalem hails the Messiah as King
普世万民传扬降生 赐下救恩信徒蒙恩
All the people in all the world, come spread the news that the Lord is born,
bestowing salvation, multitudes of believers receive profound grace

欢乐圣诞佳音大家歌唱 耶路撒冷欢呼弥赛亚
Joyous Christmas tidings, everyone come sing, Jerusalem hails the Messiah as King

欢乐圣诞佳音大家歌唱 耶路撒冷欢呼弥赛亚
Joyous Christmas tidings, everyone come sing, Jerusalem hails the Messiah as King
信徒大家恭敬献上感谢 哈利路亚天庭
All believers respectfully offer God thankful hearts,
sing hallelujah together with Heaven’s hosts filling Heaven

欢乐圣诞佳音大家歌唱 耶路撒冷欢呼弥赛亚
Joyous Christmas tidings, everyone come sing, Jerusalem hails the Messiah as King

《圣诞感恩歌》 Christmas Thanksgiving

#84 in the TSPM hymnal (赞美)
Listen: here and here.

耶稣人间 世人 / Jesus comes to earth, God loves the people of the world
人类 肉身 / The Lord saves humanity, ‘The Word becomes Flesh’
天使 凡尘 / Angels sing praise, an ode to God who came to earth
浩大 还要 / God’s grace is truly great, even deeper than the ocean

当年降生 牧人闻讯 / When the Lord was born, shepherds heard the news
前往伯利恒 朝拜 / Went ahead to Bethlehem to worship the holy infant
归来无限 报告降生 / Come back with unbounded happiness, reporting the Lord’s birth
全城传开 基督来临 / The whole city spreads the news, Christ has come

救主世界 和平 / The Saviour comes to the world, bestowing on people peace
马槽安身 四周宁静 / In a manger taking shelter, all around is tranquil
我们感谢 佳音 / We give thanks to the Lord, hearing these good tidings
效法三博士 献上 / Imitate the Three Wisemen, offering up hearts of thanks

赞美降生 欢腾 / Praise for the Lord’s birth, universal celebration
我们得着 名分 / We now can have the status of God’s children
生活盼望 从此永生 / Life has hope, from now on enjoying eternal life
美满幸福 鸿 / Blissful and blessed, completely depending on God’s great grace

The coworker who introduced me to these says that both are homegrown Chinese Christmas songs, though I think I hear some traditional Western hymn-i-ness in the second one especially.

Anyway, if you’ve got Chinese Christmas music, please share!

More Christmas music:

For your karaoke repertoire:

Brush up on your Chinese communist propaganda music

Here’s A Red Song Primer, complete with videos and lyrics, of the classic Chinese communist songs that everyone is supposed to be singing for the 90th anniversary celebrations of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party.

And if it all those thousands upon thousands of people singing those crazy red lyrics is a little too Cultural Revolution for you, you can read this about why it’s not as scary as it appears: Red Songs, Red Banners, Red Olympics…But where is the heart?