October 10, 2011

Sun Yat Sen's Anthem ....100 years later

Part of my early childhood was peppered by my mother's singing and grandmother's stories of China. One remarkable song was Sun Yat Sen's Anthem. In those days I did not know the significance of the famous words embedded in the anthem. However it was clear that in my mother's education the anthem and the respect paid by teachers and students to the Founder of Chinese Republic was admirable. The anthem was quite a popular "song" amongst my mother's peers in those days. When I went to school I learned "God Save the Queen" and I did wonder about our political differences in those days rather vaguely in my childlike perception of the world then.

Furthermore Sun Yat Sen's calligraphy graced many walls all over the world. Patriotic overseas Chinese remember his calligraphy and his thoughts.

In face many Chinese medium schools in South East Asia proclaim their loyalty to China right up to the early 1940's. Following the Japanese War the overseas China had to re-think their loyalties and re-align themselves with the new nations they had adopted as their own. Pragmatically the overseas Chinese had to choose between their adoptive countries and a country to which they could never return because of political changes.

In my own family for example my mmaternal grandmother was holding on to a red Malaysian IC dearly (wrapped in a handkerchief always) until she died and she never saw her birth country again. My own mother born in Sarawak is holding a blue IC but her education had been China-oriented and she and her peers had called Dr. Sun Yat Sen "Father of the Nation" and every school day they sang San Min Zhuyi. I remember my mother singing the anthem to us..partly to educate us. We as children went through "God Save the Queen" "Fairland Sarawak" and then later "Negara Ku" and "Ibu Pertiwi". Time and politics change and we adapted.

And so...to my children...this post to let you know more about your great grandmother's native country and her anthem....and also as a primary school teacher your grandmother sang the anthem every day for the whole week. The Chinese school students and teachers had to bow to the picture of Dr. Sun Yat Sen before school started..this was what the Chinese schools were like before the Second World War.... .

Sun whampoa speech anthem.gif

Official Translation
San Min Chu-i,
Our aim shall be:
To found a free land,
World peace, be our stand.
Lead on, comrades,
Vanguards ye are.
Hold fast your aim,
By sun and star.
Be earnest and brave,
Your country to save,
One heart, one soul,
One mind, one goal...

Three Principles of the People,
The foundation of our party.
Using this, we establish the Republic;
Using this, we advance into a state of total peace.
Oh, you, warriors,
For the people, be the vanguard.
Without resting day or night,
Follow the Principles.
Swear to be diligent; swear to be courageous.
Obliged to be trustworthy; obliged to be loyal.
With one heart and one virtue,
We carry through until the very end.

I wonder how many of the older Chinese still remember the lyrics let alone sing it.

This is for my mother and my children....At least I can show them the anthem and what its music and lyrics are like....yes it is but a history lesson now and a lot of memories....

Thanks to modern innovation and technology now we can bring back the anthem right into our living room!!


Ann said...

My Ah Kung/paternal grand dad was a free thinker. He had a big photo of Sun in the lounge.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Yes..that's right..My maternal grand parents' home had a big photo of SYS...but not my paternal Grand dad..wonder why.

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