‘Mother, China’ Music Video Captures Overseas Chinese

overseas-chinese-01As China’s booming economy becomes the locomotive to bring the polluted world out of regression, more and more folks are coming to China chasing their Chinese Dreams. Among them there’s a group of people who were born in China or their ancestors emigrated from China generations ago. These ethnic Chinese returnees are called 海归 (haigui), or 海龟 as a nickname (sea turtle, has same pronunciation as haigui). In fact, haigui is not a new phenomenon. There were five generations of haigui since the late nineteenth century, if Xuanzang doesn’t count. Relying on their advantage of having both good connections inside the country and specialization/experiences gained from abroad, many of them made epic contributions to the nation and achieved huge individual success at the same time. On the list we have big names like Zhan Tianyou (a distinguished rail-road engineer), Mao Yisheng (famous architect), Sun Yat-Sen (first president of the ROC), Qian Xuesen (Chinese father of rocket science and space program, who quizzed American father of rocket science in a POW camp), Zhou Enlai (first and the mostly beloved Prime Minister of PRC by the Chinese people), Deng Xiaoping (reformer who led China to  insufficient regulated capitalism open market economy), Jiang Zemin (former President who … hmmm… did a lot to China), Justin Yifu Lin (great political refugee from Taiwan Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of the World Bank), Kai-Fu Lee (founding president of Google China), Li Hongyan (founder of Baidu, Google’s cheap knock-off worst nightmare) and the list goes on and on.

However not every haigui has made immortal achievements after they returned to China. Some were less successful in competing with “local turtles” and became 海带, some had difficulties in  adjusting themselves in a rapidly transforming society, and some tragically jumped from a building to free themselves from unbearable occupational stress.

A recent internet viral video composed and performed by two Chinese guys Timothy and 我爱微风 (the video portion made by Reno Studios), who are now living in North America, received a lot attentions from oversea Chinese communities. The music video is based on the writers’ real story of  returning to China, with a complexity of excitement and frustration, optimism and disappointment, hope and hopeless. The post in the video creator’s blog has been viewed for 240k times and received almost 2700 comments and the video has been recommended to many Chinese forums. A lot of commenters agree that the video resonated in their hearts with the truth in it. Indeed, the pictures in the video are like a microscopic panorama of Chinese society and readers who want to understand China better can use them to test their knowledge. BTW, you should have already known a lot of them from reading posts here in chinaSMACK.

On Youku:

A revised version on YouTube (revised version):

Netizens in China who are blocked from YouTube by the Great Firewall can use a VPN service.

Following is a loose (and rather poor) translation of the lyrics. The 妈呀 (Mother) in the title serves as a pun and can be  translated to exclamation of surprise, excitement or frustration.

Mother, China

I was born in the new China, I grew up under the red flag

I’ve worn the red scarf, I love my country as I love my family

Through ten years of hard studies, I managed to get into Tsinghua

My grades are not bad, but I can’t get a Beijing hukou

In a strange circumstance, I left the country like a man who left home to become a monk

To support my family, I had to quickly get a green card

It was not easy to get a passport to leave the country, and now I need a visa to return to China

Though I have obtained foreign citizenship, in my dreams are in Chinese

My great China, my great Huaxia [another name for China]

Though I am wandering abroad, I always keep you in my heart

My great China, my great Huaxia

Even through all hardships, I only call you my mother

I once loved going out into the world, but now I very much miss home

Dad had passed away, and now only my mom is left at home

I really want to become a haigui, but am afraid you [China] would think me too old [to fit back in]

But look at that person, he’s 82 and was able to marry a 28-year-old [meaning even old people can adapt]

The longer I live abroad, the harder it is for me to put my heart at ease

好不容易请了假,我兴冲冲地飞回家 北京欢迎你
Managing to get a vacation from work, I excitedly flew home, to “Beijing welcomes you!” [to attend the Olympics]

I was stupefied by the overpasses, I was lost in the skyscrapers [while back]

江河流着黑水,天空下着黄沙 妈呀,这也算是晴天啊
In the rivers flow black water, and yellow dust under the sky, “gosh, this is considered a clear day?”

老同学一见面,感觉亲如一家 哥们,喝酒!
Upon seeing my old schoolmates, it felt like a family reunion, “Brothers, let’s drink!”

可陌生人对我,有时冷眼有时骂 嘿!你长不长眼啊
But with strangers, sometimes it is cold stars and sometimes it is scolding, “Hey! Are you blind?”

车比纽约还多,路比伦敦要大 那当然
There are more cars than New York City, and the roads wider than London, “but of course”

到处奔驰宝马,坐进去那真叫害怕 找死啊你!
Everywhere there are BMWs, but sitting inside is what is true fear, “Do you want to die!”

But no matter what, it was you who raised me

Even if I have traveled around the entire world, I could not forget this home

And I can only hope for you to become better, and that you’ll forgive me when I speak ill of you

Because when children grumble a little, a mother does not even need to worry

My great China, my great Huaxia

Though I am wandering abroad, I always keep you in my heart

My great China, my great Huaxia

Even through all hardships, I only call you my mother

Even through all hardships, I only call you my mother

Even through all hardships, I only call you my — mother



Written by Python

Python is an enthusiastic supporter and contributor of chinaSMACK. He used to like writing articles for this blog but currently his interest is more on the software side of this website, i.e., fine-tuning server and database, solving scalability problem and maintaining the server's swift and smooth response.

His goal is to have the server running for continuous 12 months, with over 99.9% uptime and 1000 concurrent connections.

In summary, he is the one who smacks chinaSMACK.


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