Thursday, June 28, 2012

Who Has the Right?


I came across this French song “Qui a Le Droit” quite some time ago, and, apart from being moved by the angelic Soprano voice of the young Jean-Baptiste Maunier, I thought the lyrics were hauntingly inspirational. As a way to brush up my French, I’ve given the lyrics my English rendition.

Here’s the link to the multi-artist performance on Youtube (the other singers being Bruel, Zazie, Boulay, Corneille and Garou):-


Qui a Le Droit (French Lyrics)

On m'avait dit :
‘Ne pose pas trop de question,
Tu sais, petit, c'est la vie qui t'répond.
A quoi ca sert de vouloir tout savoir?
Regardes en l'air et vois ce que tu veux voir’

On m'avait dit:
‘Faut écouter son père’
Le mien a rien dit quand il s'est fait la paire
Maman m'a dit: ‘Tu es trop petit pour comprendre’
Et j'ai grandi avec une place à prendre

Qui a le droit
Qui a le droit
Qui a le droit de faire ca
A un enfant qui croit vraiment
C'que disent les grands
On passe sa vie à dire merci
Merci à qui? à quoi?
A faire la pluie et le beau temps
Pour des enfants à qui l'on ment

On m'avait dit:
‘Les hommes sont tous pareils’
Y'a plusieurs dieus mais y'a qu'un seul soleil"
Oui mais le soleil il brille ou bien il brule
Tu meurs de soif ou bien tu bois des bulles

A toi aussi j'suis sur qu'on t'en a dit
De belles histoires. Tu parle, que des conneries
Alors maintenant on se trouve sur la route
Avec nos peurs nos angoisses et nos doutes

Qui a le droit
Qui a le droit
Qui a le droit d'faire ca
A des enfants qui croient vraiment ce que disent les grands
On passe sa vie a dire merci
Merci à qui? à quoi?
A faire la pluie et le beau temps
Pour des enfants à qui l'on ment

My English Rendition of the Lyrics of “Who Has the Right?” :

Someone had told me
“Do not ask too many questions,
You know, little one, it’s life that answers you.
What’s the point in wanting to know everything?
Look into the air and see what you want to see.”

Someone had told me
“One should listen to one’s father.”
Mine said nothing to me when he philandered.
My mother said, “You are too young to understand,”
And I’ve grown up, with an empty place at my side.

Who has the right
Who has the right
Who has the right to do that
To a child who really believes
Anything that the grown-ups say.
He goes through life saying thankyou
Thankyou to whom, for what?
For creating the rain and fine weather for the children?
To whom one tells lies?

Someone had told me
“Men are all the same,
There may be several gods, but there’s only one sun.”
Yes, but the sun, it either glares or else it burns,
Either you die of thirst, or you drink the bubbles.

To you too, I’m sure, one has told
Beautiful stories. You say: what a farce!
Well now we are on the road again,
With all our fears, our anguish and our doubts.

Who has the right
Who has the right
Who has the right to do that
To a child who really believes
Anything that the grown-ups say.
He goes through life saying thankyou
Thankyou to whom, for what?
For creating the rain and fine weather for the children?
To whom one tells lies?




Monday, June 18, 2012

A Lovely French Song


Thanks to Mister Bijou, I've been alerted to a lovely French song sung by Zaz, a popular French singer. This song not only has a pleasing melody, but also has beautifully poetic lyrics. I've tried to give an English rendition of the lyrics. Hopefully the poetic element is not all lost in translation!


La Pluie  (By Zaz) French Lyrics :-
 
Le ciel est gris la pluie s'invite comme par surprise
Elle est chez nous et comme un rite qui nous enlise
Les parapluies s'ouvrent en cadence
Comme une danse,
Les gouttes tombent en abondance
Sur douce France.

Tombe tombe tombe la pluie
En ce jour de dimanche de décembre
à l'ombre des parapluies
Les passants se pressent se pressent sans attendre

On l'aime parfois elle hausse la voix elle nous bouscule
Elle ne donne plus de ses nouvelles en canicule
Puis elle revient comme un besoin par affection
Et elle nous chante sa grande chanson
L'inondation

Tombe tombe tombe la pluie
En ce jour de dimanche de décembre,
à l'ombre des parapluies
Les passants se pressent se pressent sans attendre

Tombe tombe tombe la pluie
En ce jour de dimanche de décembre
à l'ombre des parapluies
Les passants se pressent se pressent sans attendre
Et tombe et tombe et tombe, tombe
Et tombe et tombe et tombe...
 
My English Rendition of the Lyrics :-
 
The sky is grey, the rain invites herself as if by chance
She’s in our home, and consumes us like in a rite
Umbrellas open up in rhythm as in a dance
Raindrops fall in abundance
Over gentle France

Fall, fall, fall the rain
On this day a Sunday in December
In the shade of umbrellas
Passers-by hurry, hurry, without delay

One loves her when she shouts, pushing us around
She gives nothing more than news of a heat wave
Then she comes back as if in need of affection
And she sings us her great song
Of inundation

Fall, fall, fall the rain
On this day a Sunday in December
In the shade of umbrellas
Passers-by hurry, hurry, without delay

Fall, fall, fall the rain
On this day a Sunday in December
In the shade of umbrellas
Passers-by hurry, hurry, without delay

And fall, and fall, and fall, fall…
And fall, and fall, and fall




Friday, June 1, 2012

Imaginary June 4th Apology


In June 2006 Canada found it in its heart to say sorry for a racist head tax imposed over a century ago on foreign nationals - Chinese immigrants. On the 23rd anniversary of the June 4th event, an apology from the Chinese government is still being awaited for a much more heinous crime it committed in 1989 - mass murder of its very own nationals.

Some passages in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s address delivered in June 2006 appear interestingly suitable for paraphrasing into part of an imaginary apology statement by Chinese leaders:-

Original:-

“We acknowledge the high cost of the head tax meant many families were left behind in China, never to be reunited, or that families lived apart and, in some cases, in poverty, for many years.”

Imaginary:-

“We acknowledge the atrocious killing of students and citizens meant their loved ones and families were left with raw emotional wounds, never to be healed, or that many families suffered further agony when their pleas for redress were ignored, and were, in some cases, penalized, for many years.”

Original:-

“We also recognize that our failure to acknowledge these historical injustices has prevented many in the community from seeing themselves as fully Canadian.”

Imaginary:-

“We also recognize that our failure to acknowledge such historical brutality has prevented many in the Chinese community, especially the Hong Kong and overseas community, from seeing themselves as fully Chinese.”

Original:-

“Therefore, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all Canadians and the Government of Canada, we offer a full apology to Chinese Canadians for the head tax and express our deepest sorrow for the subsequent exclusion of Chinese immigrants.”

Imaginary:-

“Therefore, Mr. Chairman, on behalf the Government of the PRC and the Politburo, we offer a full apology to Chinese nationals for the unwarranted June 4th killings and express our deepest sorrow for the subsequent gross mistreatment of the victims’ families.”

Original:-

“This apology is not about liability today: it is about reconciliation with those who endured such hardship, and the broader Chinese-Canadian community.”  

Imaginary:-

“This apology is not about face-saving today: it is about reconciliation with those who endured such pain and agony, and the broader Chinese community.”