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叶星优酸乳

叶星优酸乳

从阅读中汲取勇气和力量
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Chinese children

In 2007, Chinese folk singer Zhou Yunpeng1 released his second album "Chinese Kids", which consists of nine songs. The title track "Chinese Kids" was written for the children who died in the Karamay fire in 1994. This song, reflecting many social issues, attracted a lot of attention when it was released.

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The Karamay fire occurred on December 8, 1994, in Karamay, Xinjiang, China. The Education Bureau of the city organized a student performance involving 15 schools to welcome the higher education commission. During the performance, the stage curtain caught fire due to overheated stage lights. The fire resulted in 325 deaths, including 288 primary and secondary school students.

It was determined that nearly a hundred children died from trampling, not burns. Many children had adult shoe prints on their bodies, which raised questions from the media. Due to reports that someone shouted "Let the leaders go first" to the students during the fire, it caused a huge controversy and almost became synonymous with the incident.

—From Wikipedia: Karamay fire

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Don't be a child from Karamay, don't be a child from Shalan Town
Don't be a child from Chengdu, don't be a child from Henan
Don't be a child from Shanxi, your father has become a basket of coal, don't expect to see him again

Don't be a child from Karamay, don't be a child from Shalan Town
Don't be a child from Chengdu, don't be a child from Henan

Don't be a child from China
When they are starving, they will eat you up, it's better to be an old goat in the wilderness
Showing a fierce look to protect the little lamb
Don't be a child from China, both your father and mother are cowardly people
To prove their heart of stone, they let the leaders go first when facing death

—Chinese Kids/Zhou Yunpeng

In addition to mentioning the Karamay fire, the lyrics also mention the 2005 Shalan Town flood2, the Chengdu Li Siyi incident3, and more. After more than a decade, this song still sounds so desolate... Perhaps some people criticize Zhou Yunpeng's negative creative concept after listening to this song, but all I hear is a true Chinese person's muffled roar and inner shock.

"When I wrote this song, it was based on my love for this living space and environment, born out of love and hatred. If I didn't love this country, I wouldn't have a reason to write, and I wouldn't be so angry. What I want to say is: from the perspective of adults, you should feel some remorse for those suffering children. If someone listens to the song 'Chinese Kids' and can think a little about what those tragedies are all about, that would be great!"

—Zhou Yunpeng

The lyrics of the entire album are well-written, including the song "Buying a House," which reflects the difficulties of buying a house during that era.

Bought a house, spent over 300,000
The money for buying a house is all from bank loans
From today onwards, can't casually treat others to a meal
Can't drink too much, can't go on vacation
From today onwards, I have to work hard
I have to work hard to repay the loan, I have to pay off this debt

No matter the season, I have to go to work
No matter what happens, I have to go to work
No matter if there's a flood, I have to go to work
No matter if the sea dries up and the rocks crumble, I have to go to work

I have to repay it with all my might, I have to work hard to repay it
I have to keep repaying the money, I have to pay off this debt
I have to repay it with all my might, I have to work hard to repay it
I have to keep repaying the money, I have to pay off this debt
I have to repay it with all my might, I have to work hard to repay it
I have to keep repaying the money, I have to pay off this debt

Until one day, when all the money is paid off
My hair will turn white, I will have no teeth
Until one day, when all the money is paid off
My hair will turn white, I will have no teeth
I will have no teeth, I will have no teeth

—Buying a House/Zhou Yunpeng


You can view the complete lyrics of the album here. The following are excerpts from Wikipedia's descriptions of each song on the album:

  1. "Cooked Ducks Fly Away"
    The entire song consists of only two lines of lyrics, reflecting the hazy and confused state of mind of the "northern drifters" in China.
  2. "Buying a House"
    The song reflects the current difficulty of buying a house in mainland China.
  3. "Golden Porridge"
    The song reflects Zhou Yunpeng's sympathy for migrant workers in the city and expresses the helplessness of the lower class who only receive social benefits from the rich during the Golden Week holiday.
  4. "Chinese Kids"
    The song reflects some of the problems in Chinese society and expresses Zhou Yunpeng's concerns for the next generation of China. After the Karamay fire in 1994, Zhou Yunpeng decided to write a song about it. The song features folk guitar as the main instrument, accompanied by drums and cello, with children's voices sampled in the middle. The melody is simple, catchy, and infectious. Many people got to know the emerging folk singer Zhou Yunpeng through this song and it sparked more attention and reflection on the current state of Chinese society.
  5. "What Would You Do If You Suddenly Went Blind"
    Random street interviews were conducted, assuming blindness, and various answers from people with different accents were recorded.
  6. "A Letter from Allen Ginsberg's Mother"
    Zhou Yunpeng's personal understanding of Allen Ginsberg, an American Beat Generation poet.
  7. "A Child's Communist Dream"
    Zhou Yunpeng's memories and understanding of his childhood dreams, recorded live in a bar.
  8. "Hanging Coffin"
    Zhou Yunpeng's contemplation on death triggered by the discovery of hanging coffins during his travels in the Three Gorges.
  9. "One Hundred Character Mantra: Root Autumn Guru"
    A Buddhist scripture, a selected passage from the Hundred Character Mantra of Vajrasattva.

Footnotes#

  1. Zhou Yunpeng (December 15, 1970 - ), born in Shenyang, Liaoning, is a blind independent folk singer and poet from mainland China.

  2. The Shalan Town flood occurred on June 10, 2005, in Shalan Town, Ning'an City, Heilongjiang Province, China. It was a major mountain flood and mudslide that submerged a primary school in a low-lying area. The official report stated that 117 people died. The phrase "What's a few dead children?" became synonymous with the incident.

  3. The Li Siyi incident occurred in June 2003. Li Siyi, a girl under the age of three, starved to death in her locked home due to the negligence of police officers from the Jintang County Public Security Bureau in Chengdu.

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