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Origins: The Ballad of Mao Zedong

KurtPing 15 Apr 09 - 02:39 AM
Peace 15 Apr 09 - 02:53 AM
Little Robyn 15 Apr 09 - 02:54 AM
Joybell 15 Apr 09 - 03:18 AM
Jason Xion Wang 15 Apr 09 - 03:23 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 15 Apr 09 - 03:32 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 15 Apr 09 - 03:36 AM
Jason Xion Wang 15 Apr 09 - 03:47 AM
Jason Xion Wang 15 Apr 09 - 03:55 AM
Tim Leaning 15 Apr 09 - 08:15 AM
GUEST,Long Lankin 15 Apr 09 - 08:24 AM
Steve Gardham 15 Apr 09 - 05:53 PM
Peace 15 Apr 09 - 07:15 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Apr 09 - 08:01 PM
Peace 15 Apr 09 - 08:03 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Apr 09 - 08:22 PM
GUEST,mayomick 16 Apr 09 - 10:06 AM
meself 16 Apr 09 - 10:16 AM
Jason Xion Wang 17 Apr 09 - 08:28 AM
Bob the Postman 18 Apr 09 - 09:00 PM
JohnInKansas 19 Apr 09 - 01:17 AM
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Subject: Origins: Do anybody know about this strange song?
From: KurtPing
Date: 15 Apr 09 - 02:39 AM

It's so strange. I cannot believe that it was a 50's song.
LYRICS

The Ballad Of Mao Zedong


I'll sing you a song of Mao Zedong
He's the greatest man I know
If you have anything against this opinion
I think you'd better go

In the '49 China, everything is new
A brand new image just created for you
A dozen different finishes and so much finesse
We've got a lotta new creations, developing so fast

This is the '49 China, a huge slave stood up
So run and see him quick because he has changed a lot
The whole world would tremble after his little hiccup
The '49 China, who built it up?

The '49 China, Mao gives it strength
So the whole country stood up again

    Lyrics added from link cited above.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Do anybody know about this strange song?
From: Peace
Date: 15 Apr 09 - 02:53 AM

It likely isn't a 50's song. Were it, his name would have been spelled 'Mao Tse-tung' or some variation of that. Certainly NOT Zedong.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Do anybody know about this strange song?
From: Little Robyn
Date: 15 Apr 09 - 02:54 AM

It may have been a 50s song in China but I don't think it was ever heard here in NZ and probably not in the US or Europe either.
I may be wrong.....
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Origins: Do anybody know about this strange song?
From: Joybell
Date: 15 Apr 09 - 03:18 AM

Hildebrand says at a guess -- based on the fact that it's on a site that is in French -- it may be a translation of a French song sung by French Maoists -- maybe in the 50s. From France? From South America?
The English version seems to be unsingable. Why it's in English on a French language site is a mystery.
Maybe there is more to find out from the site itself?
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Do anybody know about this strange song?
From: Jason Xion Wang
Date: 15 Apr 09 - 03:23 AM

I don't think so.
As everybody know, I live in China, but I've never heard of this strange song! And, Chairman Mao Ze-Dong can't speak English at all!
The other strange thing is that I found that the lyrics of this song is quite similar to The '68 Nixon by The Mitchell Trio.
Pretty strange thing, I think.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Do anybody know about this strange so
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 15 Apr 09 - 03:32 AM

I've never heard this song either, and agree with the others - and those lyrics, even as a translation, do not sound like western pop material. Some producer or other would have made them more "commercial" if they were trying to aim it at US or European audiences. (I had to read the words twice, because the first time around I interpreted them as being ironic, especially "If you have anything against this opinion I think you'd better go." But if it was sung in 50s China they were probably intended to be taken seriously. Or else. (Anyone who hasn't read Jung Chang's Wild Swans, do.)

Interesting post, KurtPing - I hope someone comes along who can fill in the blanks.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Do anybody know about this strange so
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 15 Apr 09 - 03:36 AM

[Cross-posted with DDPro]

But that Nixon song IS satire, and everyone would have recognised it as such. I'm not sure how much sarcastic cynicism would have been tolerated in Mao's China.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Do anybody know about this strange song?
From: Jason Xion Wang
Date: 15 Apr 09 - 03:47 AM

Jung Chang - I think her opinions may be a little too extreme. Though Mao had a lot of disadvantages and did a lotta wrong things, I don't think he was as "BAD" as Adolf Hitler - he was the creater of PRC, after all.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Do anybody know about this strange song?
From: Jason Xion Wang
Date: 15 Apr 09 - 03:55 AM

In the 60's and 70's China (the Revolution), there was hardly anything against Mao. If anybody said anything against "our great chairman", he (or she) would be criticized, denounced and killed. Thousands of people (maybe more) were killed in that "revolution".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Do anybody know about this strange song?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 15 Apr 09 - 08:15 AM

Wasnt here a vietnamese poet come pop star who made this sort of stuff?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Do anybody know about this strange song?
From: GUEST,Long Lankin
Date: 15 Apr 09 - 08:24 AM

It reads more like a "rap" than a song


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Subject: RE: Origins: Do anybody know about this strange song?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Apr 09 - 05:53 PM

As someone has already said, it looks very much like a translation into English, or possibly written in English by someone whose first language was not English. Anyone English would surely have written Mao Tse Tung or something close. It must then have come from a language that pronounces the name 'ze-dong'.

I may be completely wrong here but as I see it most of the Chinese communities in the English-speaking world come from either Hong Kong or Taiwan and would therefore not be pro-Mao so it likely came from within the People's Republic itself.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Do anybody know about this strange song?
From: Peace
Date: 15 Apr 09 - 07:15 PM

The spelling of the name changed about 30 years ago for reasons unknown to me, Steve. I think it may have been near the time that Mandarin became the 'official' language of the PRC and then an effort was made in English to standardize the way things were written.

I'd like to hear again from the thread starter, but that may be unlikely. It's his first post to Mudcat using that name, so ya pays yer money and ya takes yer chances.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Do anybody know about this strange song?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Apr 09 - 08:01 PM

Right, Peace, About 30 years ago, most references accepted the pinyin spelling, Zedong (see Wiki bio.).
About the same time, atlases like the Nat. Geographic changed the English spellings to the ones used in the country named- Lisbon became Lisboa, Prague became Praha, Moscow became Moskva, etc.
(I think Peace would call these changes a capitalist ploy to get us to trash our old atlases and buy new ones.)

I don't think the spelling of Mao's name helps to date the poem- the publisher could have used the currently accepted spelling, regardless of the spelling used originally.

Is the text at this site a translation? The website is French.

Someone well-versed in Chinese protest might be able to help, but more information is needed.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Do anybody know about this strange song?
From: Peace
Date: 15 Apr 09 - 08:03 PM

"(I think Peace would call these changes a capitalist ploy to get us to trash our old atlases and buy new ones.)"

AB SO LOOT LY


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Subject: RE: Origins: Do anybody know about this strange song?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Apr 09 - 08:22 PM

The composer is Dongfang Hong, written in 1951. (Found at the website with the lyrics).
I could find nothing on this person; the name 'The East is Red' is obviously a pseudonym.


Dongfang Hong (Red East) is the name of the Chinese space satellite program.
Dongfang Hong is the name of a 1965 song and dance film glorifying the achievements of The Peoples Republic....


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Subject: RE: Origins: Do anybody know about this strange song?
From: GUEST,mayomick
Date: 16 Apr 09 - 10:06 AM

It is a very strange song . I seem to remember Phil Ochs having an album sometime in the sixties gloryfying Mao .It had the great helmsan's poetry in translation on the back of the album cover. Even if a tenth of what Jung Chang wrote was right , it would put Mao up there with Hitler imo.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Do anybody know about this strange song?
From: meself
Date: 16 Apr 09 - 10:16 AM

As well as Wild Swans, Jung Chang written a biography of Mao (which no doubt a couple of posters are referring to). I've only had a chance to read the first few chapters (it's about two feet thick), but even those are enlightening.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Do anybody know about this strange song?
From: Jason Xion Wang
Date: 17 Apr 09 - 08:28 AM

Jung Chang wrote the book about Mao's "unknown story", which put Mao up with Adolf Hitler. She thought that Peng Dehuai, Deng Xiaoping & Liu Shaoqi are great men in Chinese history. Peng & Liu were "killed" by Mao.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Do anybody know about this strange song?
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 18 Apr 09 - 09:00 PM

This thread is so odd that it pushes my paranoia button. Here's a link to an article in the Guardian about hackers connected to the Chinese government. Have any of the Mudcat computer experts detected malware subsequent to clicking on the link in the first post?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Do anybody know about this strange song?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 19 Apr 09 - 01:17 AM

BtP - My Norton "site safety" gives the linked site a "green" rating, and it generally flags any site with any links to suspicious content within a couple of jumps.

I don't recognize this song specifically, but there were a few very similar ones, songs and poems, printed in news reports (and Readers Digest et.al.) some years ago as examples of "the social order" in China - at a time when few people here knew much of anything1 about the country, and were willing to believe any "puff reports" that happened along.

Some of us(?) at the time suspected the official "propaganda machinery" at a time when "we" sort of knew that China was a c..o..m..m..u..n..i..s..t country but for some reason (likely economic) there was an attempt to portray their brand of the ailment as "not as bad as Russia," and to tell us that the Chinese people were actually real and had some coherent political beliefs that "we should understand," - - - unlike the Russians who were still (at the time) all deluded lunatic drunken sneaky sub-human ENEMIES.

Some of the items that appeared may have been "authentic" translations of things that actually existed "somewhere there" but the suspicion was that most of them were fabrications, perhaps by Chinese living outside China, by intentional propagandists, or just by western citizens with fanciful(?) notions about what might portray something of China. The cited piece could be any or all of the above.

I can't place a specific date to when such things were most common, but it seems to have been at about the same time that Mao's "Little Red Book(?)" became fairly available in (some) university book shops - but well before the "Barefoot Doctor" was fairly well known.

1 Somewhat like now(?).

John


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