May 9th, 2010
A special Mother’s Day edition of Old Cake Cantopop today as the blog joins in on the celebration of mothers and motherhood. Try to remember the sentiments of the day if you ever find yourself in a tiff with your mother. Try thinking: “This woman gave me life so … ultimately, she has no one to blame but herself for this predicament!”
Performed originally by Josephine Siao Fong-Fong in the 1960 release NOBODY’S CHILD (苦兒流浪記; trans. TALES OF THE WANDERING ORPHAN), the song 《媽媽好》 (Mom Is Great) has become a lullaby/nursery rhyme in Chinese culture. It’s been covered by the likes of Teresa Teng and versions of the song have even been done in Japanese and Vietnamese. Since 1960, various incarnations of the song have appeared numerous times in many films and television projects. If you saw the 2004 film PAPA LOVES YOU, you may recall the song being played in the background when rambunctious schoolgirl Ellen (Charlene Choi) thinks about the sacrifices her father (Tony Leung Ka-Fai) has made for her.
What follows are my rudimentary translation of the lyrics for the song, a link to the Hong Kong Film Archive page for NOBODY’S CHILD, a YouTube clip of Josephine Siao performing the song in the film and other related links.
Happy Mother’s Day everybody!
… and, yes, I realize the song isn’t sung in Cantonese so it isn’t exactly “Cantopop”. Just get in the spirit of the holiday - OK?
- Clips of Josephine Siao in NOBODY’S CHILD (Siao starts singing the song at the 1:58 mark)
- Full version of the song as sung by Josephine Siao
- Hong Kong Film Archive page for NOBODY’S CHILD
- Teresa Teng covers the song
- Japanese version of the song by Rimi Natsukawa