未央歌 Unended Song

[This post should really come after my other drafted posts on 民歌/校園民歌 Taiwanese folk songs/campus folk songs of the 60s and 70s; but since I just got reminded of late 80s/early 90s Mandarin songs of a certain ‘scholarly’ type, I thought of and went to enjoy one of my favourite songs of this type from that time.

By the end of the 1980’s, the era of Taiwanese 校園民歌 campus folk songs was decidedly over. But that doesn’t mean that it’s spirit didn’t live on and continued to influence songwriters and musicians through to the 90s. In fact, the late 80s and early 90s saw a number of singers who expressed themselves in a style most reminiscent of the 校園民歌 campus folk songs period, that of the 书生/书香 scholarly cultured style.

And one of the singer/songwriter who cultivated this scholarly style, at least early on in his career (before he turned so 油-overly smooth and slick), was 黃舒駿 Huang Shu-jun. Whatever he turned into later, at least I really like his early songs, especially his 未央歌/Unended Song, which he wrote after being inspired by the famous 1945 chinese novel of the same name 《未央歌》, written by the chinese scholar and Fullbright Fellow 鹿桥 Lu Qiao.


The story of the novel 《未央歌》 is essentially a coming of age tale revolving around the lives of 4 young college students and their hopes, fears and loves, set in the picturesque landscapes of Kunming in southwest China and within the backdrop of the war and resistance against the Japanese invaders marching relentlessly south and westwards toward the remaining bastions of the retreating Nationalist government and military.

And the four main characters in the novel:-

蔺燕梅: 就读外语系,出生富有家庭却能平等待人,个性天真、单纯,擅长舞蹈、歌唱。缺点是不太谦虚。曾在全校面前扮演修女,歌唱《玫瑰三愿》,在校园极具超人气。
童孝贤: 就读生物系,诚恳活泼,很喜欢动物,总是能带给大家欢乐。
伍宝笙: 就读生物系,温文尔雅,冷静、有脑筋,以姊姊的姿态守护蔺燕梅。
余孟勤: 就读哲学系,正直刚毅,表现天行健的精神。是众人中公认最适合蔺燕梅的人选。

Lin Yan-mei: Student of foreign languages, born in a wealthy family yet is able to treat others as equals, naive personality, pure; excel at dancing and singing. Weak point is not very humble. Once acted as a nun in a school play, sang ‘The Three Wishes of Roses’, immensely popular on campus, the proverbial 校花/rose of the school/school belle.

Tong Hsiao-hsien: Student of biology, earnest and lively, loves animals, always able to bring joy to everyone.

Wu Bao-sheng: Student of biology, quiet and elegant, calm, sharp of mind, always protecting Lin Yan-mei in the role of an older sister.

Yu Meng-qin: Student of philosophy, upright and strong-willed, displaying a princely magnanimous all-encompassing spirit and determination. Viewed by most to be the most suitable match for Lin Yan-mei.

[A note and exclamation here on the very fine and elegant names the author had chosen and put together for the above characters, especially the exotic surname of the female lead, 蔺 Lin. Not that common Lin/林 of many chinese.
Almost feel like I am within the multitudinous and ethereal-named cast of 紅樓夢/A Dream of Red Chambers or worse, 巴金/Ba Jin’s 家/The Family !

未央歌 Unended Song:


作詞:黃舒駿 作曲:黃舒駿 演唱:黃舒駿

當大余吻上寶笙的唇邊 我總算了了一樁心願
只是不知道小童的那個秘密 是否就是藺燕梅
在未央歌的催眠聲中 多少人為它魂縈夢牽
在寂寞苦悶的十七歲 經營一點小小的甜美

我的朋友我的同學 在不同時候流下同樣的眼淚
心中想著朋友和書中人物間 究竟是誰比較像誰
那朵校園中的玫瑰 是否可能種在我眼前
在平凡無奇的人世間 給我一點溫柔和喜悅

你知道你在尋找你的藺燕梅 你知道你在尋找你的童孝賢
你知道你在 你知道你在 你知道你在尋找一種永遠

經過這幾年的歲月 我幾乎忘了曾有這樣的甜美
突然聽說小童在台灣的消息 我想起從前的一切
為何現在同樣的詩篇 已無法觸動我的心弦
也許那位永恆的女子 永遠不會出現在我面前

我的弟弟我的妹妹 你們又再度流下同樣的眼淚
喔!多麼美好的感覺 告訴我你心愛的人是誰
多麼盼望你們有一天 真的見到你的藺燕梅 伍寶笙和童孝賢

When Big Yu kissed Bao-sheng on the lips, I finally at least had a little wish answered
Its just I wonder if that secret of Little Tong’s, is really Lin Yan-mei
Within the hypnotic chords of the Unended Song, how many have had their souls entranced and dreams led
At that lonely and miserable age of seventeen, treasuring this little bit of sweetness

My friends and my classmates, had at different times cried similar tears
In my heart I wonder between my friends and characters in the book, just who resembles who more
That rose on the school grounds (school belle), could it be planted right before my eyes
In this ordinary and unexciting world, give me a little tenderness and joy

You know you are looking for your Lin Yan-mei
You know you are looking for your Tong Hsiao-hsien
You know you are, you know you are
You know you are looking for a kind of everlasting

After all these years and time, I have almost forgotten there once was such sweet tenderness
Suddenly hearing news of Little Tong’s return to Taiwan, I remembered everything about the past
Why is it that those same verses, can’t seem to pluck at my heartstrings now
Perhaps that everlasting lady, shall never appear before me

My younger brothers and sisters, once again you are crying the same tears
Oh! Such wonderful feelings, tell me who is the love of your heart
I wish so much that one day, you may really see your Lin Yan-mei Wu Bao-sheng and Tong Hsiao-hsien
And finish singing this unended heart’s desire for me

Sigh, lovely song. Brings back many tender and wistful memories of friends and our furtive school-time crushes…

And yes, that is 林隆璇 Lin Long-hsuan doing a cameo and playing the piano at the start of the video, one of the singers/musician I really like at that time, with his very clean vocals and truly 书生 scholarly look.


5 thoughts on “未央歌 Unended Song

  1. I can’t resist. A look at 黃舒駿 Huang Shu-jun’s early years. Heh heh…

    她以為她很美麗 She thinks she is so beautiful:

    今年過年我就參拾柒 擁有事業和學歷 為什麼,就是沒有愛的訊息

    This year after the Chinese New Year I will be thirty and seven, with a career and qualifications
    But why, I just don’t have any sign of love

    Ha, I kill me…

  2. But really, 黃舒駿 Huang Shu-jun is truly talented and really very smart and studied…

    馬不停蹄的憂傷 Sojourning Sorrow:

    The song title actually translates directly as: An unending trotting and treading sorrow.

    I really loved the lyrics of this song back then. Powerful exotic imagery. Very 三毛 Sanmao.

  3. 我的她 美麗而善良 聰明而簡單 深情而倔強
    我心似海 她卻只是像個小孩 悠遊嬉戲於淺灘 不知深海的可怕
    我想他 永遠不懂我的複雜
    所以在她的面前 我也跟著簡單了起來
    她離開家 說要跟我一起流浪
    我要她別為我癡狂 她哭著罵我小壞蛋
    她的真 沸騰我心深處的冷
    讓我愛她那麼深 也讓我為她不忍
    因為她 永遠不知道我有多壞
    所以在她的身旁 我也跟著就乖了起來
    她像是一條清澈蜿蜒的河 任性地流過我的一生
    輕輕的洗去我的深沉 靜靜地陪我度過多少黃昏
    我常想 究竟我何德何能 老天會賜給我這樣的好女人
    何德何能 我何德何能 何德何能

  4. “Whatever he turned into later”…
    Didn’t realise it featured 林隆璇. I don’t like the book, but it’s a really nice song, and just about the only 黄舒骏 song I know. ) 未央 is a very evocative term, and tricky to translate. Somehow, I think of 憂傷 as a quiet sort of internalised sorrow which I can’t connect to the externalised 馬不停蹄 and 奔.

  5. Yes, 未央 is variegated and difficult to translate. I settled on Unended perhaps because of associations and memories stirred up with the song.

    As for the 馬不停蹄的憂傷 song, I guess its really a guy thing. The lyrics probably appeal to the macho, silent and all-enduring male archetype most guys like to think they are. To gather up our hurts and sorrow in silence and just take off and gallop away into the desert on our pale high horses, wandering around like a gypsy nomad and find the next town and watering hole and post to hitch our horses to. Whereupon we shall promptly hurt and get hurt again of course. And move on.

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