by the water
lyrics by Wild Children 野孩子 translation by R.W.
Wild Children was formed in Feb. 1995 in Hang Zhou, by Zhang Quan (张佺) & Xiao Suo (小索). In May, they returned to their birth place Lan Zhou and spent a year working among folk musicians in North West China. As they traveled along the Yellow River on foot from Yan An to Inner Mongolia, they wrote a number of songs.
1 Wild Children 野孩子
They told me about your dirty face Told me about your never ending tears They told me about your home in the woods Told me about your songs that no one hears
他们说你的脸上沾满灰 他们说你的泪在天上飞 他们说你的家在山野里 他们说你的歌有谁来听
Don't you ask me who I am, I'm from far away over the mountains Don't you ask me who I believe, I stand right here under the sun Don't you ask me who I hate, when I'm cold and hungry Don't you ask me who I love, once the flowers have bloomed and fallen again
不要问山高路远我是谁 不要管太阳下面我信谁 不要说冷了饿了我恨谁 不要等花开花落我爱谁
2 Don't You Know 你可知道
You like the rhododendrons on the mountain top, Red as flame – Don't you know how long they have grown? You ask the riders on the horsebacks along the road – How many rivers have they crossed?
你说那山上的杜鹃花儿红 你可知道，它长了多少年？ 你问那大路上骑马走过的人 趟过的河，它有多少？
You hear the chirps of the cuckoo birds; Don't you know how far away they live? Won't you think about those exiled ones – How long have they walked, step by step?
你听那飞过的杜鹃鸟儿叫 你可知道，它家在哪里？ 你猜那远方背井离乡的人 走过的路，它有多少？
3 Had They Known 早知道
Had they known the Yellow River would dry, Wouldn't have built the goddamn bridge Had they know those by the river would leave, Wouldn't have sung the goddamn song
早知道黄河的水呀干了 修他妈的那个铁桥了是做啥呢 早知道河沿上的人呀走了 唱他妈的那个歌儿了是做啥呢
Had they known the Yellow River would dry, Wouldn't have blown the suede raft Had I known my girl's heart would change, Wouldn't have told her I loved her so
早知道黄河的水呀干了 吹他妈的那个羊皮了是做啥呢 早知道尕妹妹的心呀变了 谈他妈的那个恋爱了是做啥呢
4 Ballad of The Yellow River
Where I lived flows a great river that runs through my city. I cannot forget about the river, nor about the many people who lived in the city and the many things that happened there. Today I want to sing a song; I want you to come with me, to that river, and to that city.
The Yellow River flows without a break It flows through my hometown, Lan Zhou Beloved ones who are far away, Listen to this Ballad of the Yellow River The Sun travels without a stop It passes Home, passes Lan Zhou The Moon is shining upon the bridge, And I'm singing by the Yellow River
黄河的水不停地流 流过了家流过了兰州 远方的亲人哪 听我唱支黄河谣 日头总是不歇地走 走过了家走过了兰州 月亮照在铁桥上 我就对着黄河唱
Every time I wake up in the morning, Thinking about Lan Zhou, thinking about Home Thinking about the scent of the pagoda trees Thinking about my sweet girl far away The Yellow River flows without a break It flows through my hometown, Lan Zhou The vagabond keeps singing the song, This song about the Yellow River
每一次醒来的时候 想起了家想起了兰州 想起路边槐花儿香 想起我的好姑娘 黄河的水不停地流 流过了家流过了兰州 流浪的人不停地唱 唱着我的黄河谣
5 Four Seasons 四季歌
Those who love Spring have the purest souls Just like the blooming violets, like my dearest friends
爱春天的人们 是心地纯洁的人 像那盛开的紫罗兰 像我的朋友一样
Those who love Summer have the strongest will Just like the roaring waves, like my dearest father
爱夏天的人们 是意志坚强的人 像那冲击岩石的波涛 像我的父亲一样
Those who love Autumn hold the deepest compassion Just like the Moon that lights up the night, like my dearest lover
爱秋天的人们 是一往情深的人 像那照亮黑夜的月亮 像我的爱人一样
Those who love Winter have the warmest hearts Just like the Land that melts the snow, like my dearest mother
爱冬天的人们 是胸怀宽广的人 像那融化冰雪的大地 像我的母亲一样
definitely the best dish I've ever cooked – great looking, tasty, and healthy
Your letter came at a very special time. It is now exactly a year since we both visited UW as prospective students. The new admits for this year will be here the coming week, and I am very honored to take part in organizing and hosting their visit. L will come a bit later at the end of month.
That was how I started drafting this response in March, right after receiving your letter. It wasn't easy to write – I had so much to tell you! So much that I had to give up finishing it in the middle of deadlines and travels. Now it is in late June, and the days are getting shorter, but I finally got myself together and ready to try again.
It's been about 3 quarters of a year for me in Seattle, and I've had my up and downs. My time in grad school has been transformative – I have learned and unlearned an unbelievable amount in such a short time. But one thing has not changed a bit, and that is my reason to devote myself in science. I had almost forgotten about it, until I read the article Mathematics, Art, Civilization by Yuri Manin. I will not attempt to emulate what he says here, and the exact details do not matter. What touched me was how Manin demonstrated the most beautiful facets of mathematics – its simplicity, generality, and reality. The great polymath has captured stunning snippets of our universe (physics) and of ourselves (logic and languages) with just a few sketches on paper. It was exactly this beauty that drew me to maths when I was a little kid, and once again it drew me to computer science in college and into grad school.
Many researchers see science as a means towards technology, something that affects society in a corporeal, physical way. But some forget about the virtue of science itself, that it brings the most intimate joy to those who practice it. I have my doubts about technology and its promise to “make our lives better”. Those doubts are perhaps best expressed by James Suzman, an anthropologist who studies the hunter-gatherer San. The South African Bushmen became the longest-lasting civilization in the history of modern Homo Sapiens with their frugal technology. I respect those who help the afflicted with technology, but personally I believe in the power of science itself, as I have experienced it myself and have shared the experience with my fellow researchers.
I have learned countless lessons about the technicalities of how to do research, but I would not be so pompous as to lecture others about them. Those lessons are the point of grad school anyways, and a student will learn them eventually. The honest reason I'm sharing my thoughts above is really that I had a wonderful evening thinking them, and I bet they might bring you joy as well – just as the origami rose box you had sent me.
Remy, June 20 2018, Seattle
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