‘Miss Dong’ by Song Dongye (and Zuo Li)

'Miss Dong' by Song Dongye

Modern Sky 7

《董小姐》 ‘Miss Dong’ was included in Chinese indie pop record label Modern Sky’s 15th anniversary album, 《摩登天空7》 Modern Sky 7, released on December 27, 2012.

25-year-old Beijing singer-songwriter 宋冬野 Song Dongye said this song is based on a conversation with a female photographer friend who looks vulnerable but has a strong heart due to life experiences that are very different from those of an average person.

Although this indie pop song has been popular among Chinese “artistic youth” [hipsters] for some time, it didn’t reach the broader public until 左立 Zuo Li, a contestant of 快乐男声 Super Boy covered the song on the June 29th episode.

At time of translation, this song has generated 2,744,924 listens on Xiami.

Music Video:

Composer: Song Dongye
Lyrics: Song Dongye
Singer: Song Dongye

Lyrics (Original Chinese, Pinyin Romanization, and English Translation):

董小姐 你从没忘记你的微笑
dǒng xiǎo jiě nǐ cóng méi wàng jì nǐ de wēi xiào
Miss Dong, you never forget your smile

就算你和我一样 渴望着衰老
jiù suàn nǐ hé wǒ yí yàng kě wàng zhe shuāi lǎo
Even if you are like me, eager to get old

董小姐 你嘴角向下的时候很美
dǒng xiǎo jiě nǐ zuǐ jiǎo xiàng xià de shí hou hěn měi
Miss Dong, when the corners of your mouth curl down, it’s so beautiful

就像安和桥下 清澈的水
jiù xiàng ān hé qiáo xià qīng chè de shuǐ
just like the clear water under Anhe Bridge

董小姐 我也是个复杂的动物
dǒng xiǎo jiě wǒ yě shì gè fù zá de dòng wù
Miss Dong, I too am a complicated animal

嘴上一句带过 心里却一直重复
zuǐ shàng yí jù dài guò xǐn lǐ què yì zhí chóng fù
saying things only once, but repeating them over and over again in my heart

董小姐 鼓楼的夜晚时间匆匆
dǒng xiǎo jiě gǔ lóu de yè wǎn shí jiān cōng cōng
Miss Dong, that evening near Gulou, time fled

陌生的人 请给我一支兰州
mò shēng de rén qǐng gěi wǒ yì zhī lán zhōu
Stranger, please give me a Lanzhou [cigarette brand]


所以那些可能都不是真的 董小姐
suǒ yǐ nà xiē kě néng dōu bú shì zhēn de dǒng xiǎo jiě
So probably all those things are not true, Miss Dong

nǐ cái bú shì yí gè méi yǒu gù shì de nǚ tóng xué
You certainly aren’t a female classmate without stories

爱上一匹野马 可我的家里没有草原
ài shàng yì pǐ yě mǎ kě wǒ de jiā lǐ méi yǒu cǎo yuán
Falling in love with a wild horse, but having no grassland in my home

这让我感到绝望 董小姐
zhè ràng wǒ gǎn dào jué wàng dǒng xiǎo jiě
This makes me feel hopeless, Miss Dong

董小姐 你熄灭了烟 说起从前
dǒng xiǎo jiě nǐ xī miè le yān shuō qǐ cóng qián
Miss Dong, you put out a cigarette, and started talking about the past

你说前半生就这样吧 还有明天
nǐ shuō qián bàn shēng jiù zhè yàng ba hái yǒu míng tiān
You said the first half of your life is what it is, there’s always tomorrow.

董小姐 你可知道我说够了再见
dǒng xiǎo jiě nǐ kě zhī dào wǒ shuō gòu le zài jiàn
Miss Dong, you know I’ve said enough “goodbyes”

在五月的早晨 终于丢失了睡眠
zài wǔ yuè de zǎo chén zhōng yú diū shī le shuì mián
On a morning in May, I finally lost sleep


所以那些可能都会是真的 董小姐
suǒ yǐ nà xiē kě néng dōu huì shì zhēn de dǒng xiǎo jiě
So those things may all be true, Miss Dong

shuí huì bú yàn qí fán de ān wèi nà wú zhī de shāo nián
Who will tirelessly comfort that ignorant youngster?

我想和你一样 不顾那些所以
wǒ xiǎng hé nǐ yí yàng bú gù nà xiē suǒ yǐ
I want to be like you, ignoring all those things. So,

跟我走吧 董小姐 燥起来吧 董小姐
gēn wǒ zǒu ba dǒng xiǎo jiě zào qǐ lái bā dǒng xiǎo jiě
be with me, Miss Dong. Cheer up, Miss Dong

Song Dongye
Song Dongye

Zuo Li’s cover of “Miss Dong”:

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Written by Rensi

A translator of trending Chinese Internet humor and Chinese pop music.

  • mr.wiener

    I thought calling a woman Xiao Jie in China was a gaffe? Or is that just in certain situations?

    • Chinese

      “Xiao jie” is equivalent to “Miss” in English. You can call a young woman “xiaojie” as you would call her “Miss”, which is a very acceptable and polite way of addressing someone.

      What’s more, in this case, Xiao jie (Miss) is a title, there is no way it can be perceived as a gaffe.

      The negative connotation, to my understanding, was from young girls who adopted the title as the result of influence of western culture in the early days of Modern China, and at that time some aspects of the western culture were perceived as promiscuous to Chinese people.

      Some people still call prostitutes “Xiaojie”, but you can tell by the situation.

      • mr.wiener

        Whiskers, Kai and Chinese. Thank you for your answers. i’ve always been told by the Taiwanese: “Don’t say Xiaojie on the mainland”. This has clear matters up somewhat.

    • I use to use it all the time there before I knew the alternate meaning, and then I promptly quit out of fear of insulting someone on accident…but I don’t remember anyone, before that, ever actually taking me as anything other than polite. But I’m still afraid to use it.

    • Kai

      As I understand it, the meaning and usage has changed over time and can differ between different regions and frankly people based upon what they were taught.

      The term has historically been used to refer to simply unmarried young women as well as prostitutes by large swaths of Chinese speakers so it’s a bit pointless to argue one definition or usage is “truer” than the other.

      There are places in mainland China where it’s probably better to avoid using the term but also plenty of places where it is fine (usually urban). People in Taiwan and Hong Kong, for example use it all the time, though with the right intonation and context, you can of course turn it into a slur (same with just about any word though). Likewise in Shanghai where lots of people use it, though almost everyone is familiar with it being a slur for many other people (which is less true in Taiwan or HK, people will usually be like: “huh, why? it just means ‘miss'”).

      Perhaps the most common place where this problem rears its head is in restaurants when addressing female wait staff. If you want to play it safe in mainland China, just use “fu wu yuan”, kinda like using “wai guo ren” instead of “lao wai”. As mentioned above, urban people are more comfortable with “xiao jie” whereas people from more rural parts (who often migrate to cities to work as wait staff in restaurants) may be more sensitive to it and consider it a slur. It’s arguable that the rise of Communism in China influenced a backlash against bourgeois terms like “xiao jie” (associated with daughters of the well-heeled moneyed classes and thus “bad”),

      Lots of fun with this one.

  • Serpico

    I don’t know… His voice doesn’t cope with the guitar at all. The cover makes the song look a lot better, but it’s still not what I want. Really wonder what would it sound like if performed by a woman. Zhāng Xuán for example. (;

  • Claude

    The Great Firewall getting you down? Try piratebrowser. Yes the piratebay has it’s own browser.


    • Beelzebub

      Does that work? the piratebay browser for android cant work for crap!

      • Claude

        It work’s for PC. Is there a browser that isn’t crap for android? Boat browser and Dolphin browser may look great but crash all the time.

        • Beelzebub

          Site seems blocked behind the gfw?

        • Beelzebub

          my mistake, it does work, thanks for the url! Opera browser is good for android, and the off road mode can save you a fortune on data charges if you use 3g internet

  • Sounds like he’s talking rather than singing.He should just keep to lyric composition and leave the singing to another guy. Un-motivational, unenthusiastic, uninteresting

    • biggj

      Yeah it’s bad. It sounds like he’s pissed of because he has to sing the song. Yeah it’s pretty lame….but I only want to slit one of my wrist listening to this song instead of both.

  • Cauffiel

    The dearth of comments on articles about popular songs should reflect the lack of interest among the chinasmack readership.

    It would be interesting to see netizen reactions to global topics more frequently, maybe once every week or two. The human interest stories can be interesting to talk about, but can also be very exhausting.

    How do Chinese netizens react to important events in other countries?

  • mr.wiener

    Cool, thanks.