王夢麟: 小草 Wang Meng-lin: Small grass

Decided to take it easy today for my usual half-day weekend walkabout. Think I may have been pushing myself too hard with my hill sprints, and gym squats and deadlifts routines: all the niggling injuries, pains and aches my body had accumulated over the years have been complaining and starting to make themselves heard/felt this last two days; my doozy lower back is starting to act up again, and even my knees are giving me some problems. Need to listen to my body and heed the warning signs carefully this time, don’t wanna end up flat out on my back for weeks and months again…

Did only eleven hill/slope runs in total today, mostly at moderate sprint pace, no all out maximum effort sprints. Today, used the slopes at the central parks and reserves, a less hilly area but with much longer and better trails for hours and hours of walking. Perfect for my reduced intensity workout today, with moderate pace but long distance walking to groove and grease the joints and ease the aches somewhat.

As I walked, I found myself humming 劉藍溪 Liu Lan-xi’s cheerful little song, 如果/If:
如果你是朝露 我願是那小草
如果你是那片雲 我願是那小雨
If you are the morning dew, I wish I am that small grass
If you are that patch of cloud, I wish I am that little drizzling rain

Guess I was in a pretty good mood today. As I walked, and as the mostly clear skies of the early afternoon gave way to some noncommittal patches of dark clouds by late afternoon, which hemmed and hawed and eventually opened up with some brief intermittent showers and drizzles, the slight rain and damp didn’t put me off. I just walked on along, enjoying being within all the greenery and grasses, both tall and small; and getting damp and glistened with the rain just like the blades of grass around me.

But the lower back and knee were acting up, and I had to stop a few times to bend and stretch it out. The aches were even getting to my traps and neck, so had to stretch that out too. Found myself stopping a few times in the light rain, bending stretching straightening my back, raising and shaking my head to stretch out my neck, even doing some calf raises and stretches to ease the knees; and all while getting drizzled on.

All of a sudden rather than 劉藍溪 Liu Lan-xi’s 如果/If, another old song popped into my head, and this time, I found myself humming 王夢麟 Wang Meng-lin’s 小草/Small grass, as I was bending and stretching amongst the green grass and in the rain…

王夢麟: 小草 Wang Meng-lin: Small grass

王夢麟 – 小草 Small grass
1979

大風起,把頭搖一搖;
風停了,又挺直腰。

大雨來,彎著背讓雨澆;
雨停了,抬起頭站直腳。

不怕風不怕雨,立志要長高;
小草,實在是並不小。

Big wind rises, shaking its head side to side;
The wind stops, and straighten its back up once again.

Big rain comes, bending its back letting the rain drench it;
The rain stops, raises its head standing up straight on its feet.

Unafraid of the wind unafraid of the rain, determined to grow up tall;
Small grass, truly is not that small.

I remember when I first heard this song as a kid, the simple almost childish lyrics made me think of the song as a children’s song, or as song meant to encourage children during their growing years.

But anyone hearing the song will immediately know there is probably more to the song beyond its simple lines. From the dramatic song intro with its thundering and rumbling drum-roll, to the marching band sounds of big brass trumpets and trombones, and to the booming sonorous vocals with even its own accompanying resonating echoes…the whole setup of the song seems more befitting a military band or army anthem, than a children’s song.

And indeed, that’s what the song 小草 Small grass, really was – a militant and defiant song filled with the political overtones of its time. Written during a particularly trying period for Taiwan in the late 1970’s, the song was a reflection of the estranged and increasingly isolated and marginalized state of affairs the country found itself in, ever since the 1972 Nixon-Mao détente left Taiwan expelled from the UN and most other major international institutions, stripped of allies and friends, and the sense of being betrayed and abandoned by its largest political and security sponsor.
Little Taiwan felt like a pawn being shuffled around on a much larger chessboard by much larger forces; or in the imagery of the song, like a small vulnerable blade of grass being shaken, bent and drenched by the immutable forces of Wind and Rain…

In a way, that was the magic of Taiwanese 校園民歌 or campus folk songs, marrying the pure unadulterated sounds of the local 民歌-folk songs/music of the 50s and 60s, with the growing political and social ethos of the 70s.
.
.
.
And actually for me, there is another Taiwanese song from this same period, which was written and suffused with even greater political sentiment and perhaps, bordering on ethnic chauvinism, and which Mum carefully taught to me the political and historical references charged within its loaded lyrics. This song made a tremendous impact when it was first released, and surprisingly, eventually even became popular as well across the hostile straits on the Mainland…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s