[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:-
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
你知道你在 你知道你在 你知道你在尋找一種永遠
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.