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Lecture on Correct Chinese Characters and Cantonese Pronunciation (part two section 3) by Professor Sin Chow Yiu


Lecture on Correct Chinese Characters and Cantonese Pronunciation (part two section 2) by Professor Sin Chow Yiu


Recitation of Du Fu A Song of War-Chariots by Dr. Chiu Cheung Ki


Du Fu (712-770)
is one of the most celebrated poets of the Tang Dynasty. Along with Li Bai, he is frequently called the greatest of all Chinese poets.

This poem describes people’s hardships due to a prolonged war. It is an anti-war masterpiece.

Du Fu A Song of War-Chariots
Translated by Witter Bynner (1929).

The war-chariots rattle,
The war-horses whinny.
Each man of you has a bow and a quiver at his belt.
Father, mother, son, wife, stare at you going,
Till dust shall have buried the bridge beyond Changan.
They run with you, crying, they tug at your sleeves,
And the sound of their sorrow goes up to the clouds;
And every time a bystander asks you a question,
You can only say to him that you have to go.
…We remember others at fifteen sent north to guard the river
And at forty sent west to cultivate the campfarms.
The mayor wound their turbans for them when they started out.
With their turbaned hair white now, they are still at the border,
At the border where the blood of men spills like the sea —
And still the heart of Emperor Wu is beating for war.
…Do you know that, east of China’s mountains, in two hundred districts
And in thousands of villages, nothing grows but weeds,
And though strong women have bent to the ploughing,
East and west the furrows all are broken down?
…Men of China are able to face the stiffest battle,
But their officers drive them like chickens and dogs.
Whatever is asked of them,
Dare they complain?
For example, this winter
Held west of the gate,
Challenged for taxes,
How could they pay?
…We have learned that to have a son is bad luck-
It is very much better to have a daughter
Who can marry and live in the house of a neighbour,
While under the sod we bury our boys.
…Go to the Blue Sea, look along the shore
At all the old white bones forsaken —
New ghosts are wailing there now with the old,
Loudest in the dark sky of a stormy day.


Lecture on Yuan Zhen The Summer Palace by Professor Chan Low San


Yuan Zhen The Summer Palace
In the faded old imperial palace,
Peonies are red, but no one comes to see them….
The ladies-in-waiting have grown white-haired
Debating the pomps of Emperor Xuanzong.
Translated by Witter Bynner (1929)

Yuan Zhen (779 – 831)
courtesy name Weizhi, was an important Chinese writer and poet. He and his friend Bai Juyi together developed their own poetic style.

Chan Low San, former professor of Chinese literature at several universities in Hong Kong.

Cantonese preserves the pronunciation of the official language of the Tang dynasty. Tang poetry rhymes in Cantonese as was originally intended.


Chanting of Li Bai’s Two Poems by Professor Chao Yuen Ren (Changzhou dialect)


Li Bai (701–762) was one of the greatest poets of the Tang Dynasty. He was both a prolific and a profound poet. He was brilliant, romantic and uninhibited.

Li Bai Drinking Alone with the Moon
Translated by Witter Bynner (1929).

From a pot of wine among the flowers
I drank alone. There was no one with me —
Till, raising my cup, I asked the bright moon
To bring me my shadow and make us three.
Alas, the moon was unable to drink
And my shadow tagged me vacantly;
But still for a while I had these friends
To cheer me through the end of spring….
I sang. The moon encouraged me.
I danced. My shadow tumbled after.
As long as I knew, we were boon companions.
And then I was drunk, and we lost one another.
…Shall goodwill ever be secure?
I watch the long road of the River of Stars.

Li Bai A Farewell to Secretary Shuyun at the Xietiao Villa in Xuanzhou
Translated by Witter Bynner (1929).

Since yesterday had to throw me and bolt,
Today has hurt my heart even more.
The autumn wildgeese have a long wind for escort
As I face them from this villa, drinking my wine.
The bones of great writers are your brushes, in the School of Heaven,
And I am a Lesser Xie growing up by your side.
We both are exalted to distant thought,
Aspiring to the sky and the bright moon.
But since water still flows, though we cut it with our swords,
And sorrows return, though we drown them with wine,
Since the world can in no way answer our craving,
I will loosen my hair tomorrow and take to a fishingboat.

Chao Yuen Ren (1892-1982)
Famous linguist, philosopher, composer, best known for his contributions to the modern study of Chinese phonology and grammar.

Private school tune chanting goes back 3,000 years. It has been passed down through private schools and family tutors from generation to generation. Similar to singing, there is a scale, but the scale is not pre-set.

駱賓王 詠蟬 方鏡熹老師主講


駱賓王 詠蟬