Thursday, May 17, 2012

[Music] Zhang Ming-min -- My Chinese Heart

1. What does it mean to be a Chinese?

There are at least 4 answers:
(a) A person of Chinese ancestry.
(b) A native or inhabitant of China.
(c) A Chinese Citizen.
(d) A person identifying with certain aspects of Chinese culture.

My family immigrated to Canada many years ago and I have been a Canadian citizen since the 1970s.

If I am asked whether I am a "Chinese", the answer would be "It depends."

(a) I am of Chinese ancestry;
(b) I am not an inhabitant of China;
(c) I am not a Chinese Citizen; but
(d) I do, however, identify with certain aspects of Chinese culture.

What does that makes me?

Since Canada promotes multi-culturalism, I am quite comfortable with the label "Chinese Canadian".


2. But there is another answer.

Since the 1990s, a group of oversea Chinese scholars have been promoting the idea of a "Cultural China".

The idea is that a person:
(a) need not be of Chinese ancestry;
(b) need not be an inhabitant of China; or
(c) need not be a Chinese Citizen
to be considered "Chinese".

A person's "Chineseness" consists in his or her identifying with and inheriting certain aspects of Chinese culture.

I find the ideas of "Cultural China" and "Cultural Chinese" liberating.

The idea of "Cultural China" has freed me from having to identify with the political powers in either Beijing or Taipei to be "Chinese".

Politically, I identify myself with Canada.

In becoming a Canadian citizen, I have sworn allegiance to the Queen of Canada and her successors.

But within the confine of the ideas of "multi-culturalism" and "Cultural China", I am comfortable with the label of being a "Cultural Chinese".

3. The current Chinese economic reform was initiated by Deng Xiaoping back in 1978.

Because of the economic reform, many mainland Chinese discovered the "outside" world during the 1980s.

With discovery of the outside world came reflection of their own Chinese identity - What does it mean to be a Chinese?

This reflection on their identity by many Chinese has resulted in some songs with a "patriotic" theme in the 1980s.

"My Chinese Heart" ("我的中国心") by Zhang Ming-min is one of those songs.

4. A 1984 version of "My Chinese Heart" by Zhang Ming-min:

5. This version of the song has the flag of the People's Republic of China as the background:

But as a cultural Chinese, I need not identify with the power in Beijing to resonate with this song.

6. I would consider Andrew a fellow cultural Chinese:

7. Another fellow cultural Chinese from Sweden:

8. A very good cover by Zhuang Xue Zhong:

9. Ms. Zhou is a Beijing Opera performer:

Another one by the pretty Ms. Zhou:

Interesting arrangement.

It is not unusual for a Beijing Opera or Cantonese Opera singer to perform both the male and female parts.

10. A cover by a Chinese American in a music competition in China:

11. According to the uploader, the occasion is the 9th Changchun International Film Festival:

The 9th Changchun International Film Festival was held in 2008.

12. According to the uploader, the video is from May 4, 2008 in New York City:

If indeed the occasion was to commemorate the May 4 Movement, then it would be nice to see some Republic of China's flag too.

The May 4 Movement is the common heritage of both the mainland and Taiwan.

13. The song covers by an Oversea Chinese Choir in France:

The recording could be better.

14. Zhang Ming-min in New Year Festival Celebration in 1984:

15. Judging from how Zhang Ming-min looks, this video must be quite recent:

16. Another recent performance by Zhang Ming-min:

17. The Lyrics in Traditional Chinese:


我的中國心 -- 張明敏



* 長江長城

# 無論何時

@ 流在心裡的血

Repeat *, #, @

18. The Lyrics in Simplified Chinese:


我的中国心 -- 张明敏



* 长江长城

# 无论何时

@ 流在心里的血

Repeat *, #, @

19. Names, Words and Phrases:

Zhang Ming-min (Traditional Chinese: 張明敏; Simplified Chinese: 张明敏).

Beijing Opera (Traditional: 京劇; Simplified: 京剧).

Cantonese Opera (Traditional: 粵劇; Simplified: 粤剧).

Changchun International Film Festival (Traditional: 長春國際電影節; Simplified: 长春国际电影节).

Cultural China (Traditional: 文化中國; Simplified: 文化中国).

Deng Xiaoping (Traditional: 鄧小平; Simplified: 邓小平).

May Fourth Movement (Traditional: 五四運動; Simplified: 五四运动).

Zhuang Xue Zhong (Traditional: 莊學忠; Simplified: 庄学忠).


"張明敏", Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia,
(accessed 2012-05-17).

"May Fourth Movement", Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia,
(accessed 2012-05-17).