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In Search of the Olive Tree

As I have become exposed to different cultures during my life, I have gained understanding of how my culture influences me.  More importantly, I have gained insight into how some people confuse culture with truth and attempt to be dogmatic about things that can legitimately have variation.  And yet, I have also seen that there are certain aspects of the human condition that transcend culture.  The desire for love and peace, the joy of sharing smiles, and the longing for purpose are some main themes.

This poem put to song, that my Chinese tutor found for my studies, is a wistful example of the yearning and search for peace.  The olive tree is historically recognized as symbolizing peace, and the singer is willing to go far and wide to find it.  The melody is melancholy; the journey is not yet fulfilled for this person.

橄欖樹 – Chyi Yu (The Olive Tree)

橄欖樹  The Olive Tree
不要問我從那裡來
bu2 yao4 wen4 wo3 cong2 na4 li4 lai2
Don’t ask me where I come from

我的故鄉在遠方
wo3 de. gu4 xiang1 zai4 yuan3 fang1
My homeland is a far off place

為甚麼流浪   流浪遠方     流浪
wei4 shen2 me. liu2 lang4    liu2 lang4 yuan3 fang1    liu2 lang4
Why do I wander, wander in a distant land, wander

為了天空飛翔的小鳥
wei4 le. tian1 kong1 fei1 xiang2 de. xiao3 niao3
Because of the little bird gliding through the sky

為了山間輕流的小溪
wei4 le. shan1 jian1 qing1 liu2 de. xiao3 xi1
Because of the brook bubbling through the mountains

為了寬闊的草原     流浪遠方    流浪
wei4 le. kuan1 kuo4 de. cao3 yuan2     liu2 lang4 yuan3 fang1    liu2 lang4
Because of the wide open grasslands, wander in a distant land, wander

還有        還有
hai2 you3     hai2 you3
There is still more, still more

為了夢中的橄欖樹        橄欖樹
wei4 le. meng3 zhong1 de. gan3 lan3 shu4         gan3 lan3 shu4
Because of the dream of the olive tree, the olive tree

不要問我從那裡來                                  Don’t ask me where I come from
我的故鄉在遠方                                      My homeland is a far off place
為甚麼流浪    為甚麼流浪遠方             Why do I wander, why wander in a distant land
為了我夢中的橄欖樹                              Because of the dream of the olive tree
不要問我從那裡來                                  Don’t ask me where I come from
我的故鄉在遠方                                      My homeland is a far off place
為甚麼流浪    流浪遠方   流浪              Why do I wander, wander in a distant land, wander

  • I read a book recently that I really enjoyed called “Dreaming in Chinese”

    http://www.amazon.com/Dreaming-Chinese-Mandarin-Lessons-Language/dp/0802779131

    I caught it while it was free on Kindle. I wasn’t sure about it – those free books can be hit or miss to say the least. But on the other hand, there’s no risk! And what a treat it turned out to be. I stumbled through some just due to my total lack of familiarity with the language. You might get more out of it!

    • Thanks for the recommendation. I did actually find that book about a year ago when looking for reading material to study. Having struggled with learning the Chinese language, I did find a lot to laugh at!

  • Vesta

    妳真的很棒!我高興妳很有欣賞中文歌的能力.