An Exercise in Anticommunism

Struggling with my on-off perennial battle to shed some flab, I was in the changing rooms of Songshan Sports Center (松山運動中心) the other morning, about to shower after a feeble effort on the track, when I heard an old man crooning away.

Old men and crooning are pretty standard fare at such establishments in the early hours – shit, happy-go-lucky fellow that I am, I’m not averse to spraying a lazy verse or two of Smooth Da Hustler myself while going about my much needed ablutions. This was a little different though.


Mao Zedong                            Máo Zédōng                毛澤東           

You’re not human …             shì rén                 你不是人


The old fellow warbled, before switching to another ditty with a different tune:


Communist Party        Gòngchǎndǎng                          共產黨           

You’re dreaming!        Nǐ zài mèngxiǎng!                   你在夢想!

Taiwan will be             Táiwān zhēn shì                      台灣真是

The death of you!        Nǐ mùzàng                                 你墓葬!


“What do you think, Private Lin? Is Mao Zedong actually human?”

OK, I’ve taken liberties with that last couplet, which translates literally “Taiwan really is your grave,” but you get the picture.

“You understand that?” asked the old wag, before commencing a hearty reprisal, as he put on his shirt.

“Most of it. What’s that last word?”

“Ger-lay-vee” offered a grinning cohort.


“Grave” a bespectacled gentleman corrected, not grinning.

“Ah, as in graveyard (墓地) grave? ” I asked.

“Yes,” said the serious man, plonking himself down on the wooden changing room bench to  pull on his socks.

He cast a slightly disapproving glance at the vocalist who was solo waltzing as he engaged in a further encore.

Does anyone know these songs in full? Funnily enough, I happen to be reading Thomas A. Marks’ Counterrevolution in China: Wang Sheng and the Kuomintang at the moment, and these seem like just the kind of songs the old nationalist vanguard would have favoured.

What surprised me, however, and was also immediately picked up on by the first person to whom I related this incident, was the fact they used the word Taiwan in the song, rather than the ROC.

As I can’t imagine many native Taiwanese hollering these propaganda slogans when old Mao was the least of their worries, let alone coming up with them, I’m almost certain they must have been penned by Nationalist vets. Were they then cunningly tweaked to get the locals on board?

Answers on a postcard or right here, should anyone read this and have a clue. (I suspect those two conditions narrow that down to a field of one.)




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