Monday, 30 March 2015

My translation of 小苹果 ‘Little Apple’ by 筷子兄弟 The Chopstick Brothers into English


‘Little Apple’ by the Chopstick Brothers is a crazy Chinese music video which went viral last year. It contains one of the funniest and catchiest Chinese pop songs I have heard in a while. Showcasing one of the most popular dances in recent times, plus interesting parodies / interpretations of Cloud Atlas, Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ and Andersen’s ‘The Little Mermaid’, this video stars the Chopstick Brothers, a comedy-pop-satirical-boy-band-duo from China.



In order to avoid spoiling the video, I’ve explained what the video is about (CONTAINS SPOILERS) after my English translation of the Chopstick Brothers’ lyrics. Enjoy!

Verse 1:
我种下一颗种子 I planted a seed
终于长出了果实 [which] has finally [grown into a tree that's] borne fruit
今天是个伟大的日子 Today is a great day
摘下星星送给你 Plucked a star [from the sky] and gave it to you
拽下月亮送给你 Hauled the moon [from the sky] and gave it to you
让太阳为你每天升起 And got the sun to rise, every day, just for you
变成蜡烛燃烧自己 Turned into a candle and burnt myself [away]
只为照亮你 [the] only reason [is because] [through] [my] shining [I] showed you [at your best]
把我一切都献给你 [I am] giving my all [and everything I have] to you
只要你欢喜 [I] only want you to be happy
你让我每个明天都 You have made all of my days
变得有意义 meaningful
生命虽短爱你永远 Life may be short, but [I will] love you forever
不离不弃 [I will] never leave nor abandon [you]

Chorus 1:
你是我的小呀小苹果儿 You are my little, oh little apple
怎么爱你都不嫌多 [No matter] how [I] love you, it will never be enough
红红的小脸儿温暖 [Your] small red face warms
我的心窝 The cockles of my heart
点亮我生命的火 and ignites my life’s fire (ie my life force)
x8 Fire x 8
你是我的小呀小苹果儿 You are my little, oh little apple
就像天边最美的云朵 [You’re] just like the most beautiful cloud at the edge of the skies

[There's an interruption]

Verse 2:
从不觉得你讨厌 [I’ve] never found you repulsive
你的一切都喜欢 [I] like / love everything about you
有你的每天都新鲜 Every day with you in it is fresh and new
有你阳光更灿烂 With you in my life the sunlight blazes even more brilliantly
有你黑夜不黑暗With you in my life the nights are never dark
你是白云我是蓝天 You're a white cloud, and I'm a blue sky
春天和你漫步在 We stroll together in the springtime
盛开的花丛间 Amidst blossoming flowers
夏天夜晚陪你一起 [I] accompany you every night in the summer
看星星眨眼 to watch the stars twinkling
秋天黄昏与你徜徉在 We walk together in circles during the autumn evenings
金色麦田 In wheat fields the colour of gold
冬天雪花飞舞有你 When flying snowflakes dance in the winter, you are there,
更加温暖 And your presence is a source of warmth

Chorus 2:
你是我的小呀小苹果儿 You are my little, oh little apple
怎么爱你都不嫌多 [No matter] how [I] love you, it will never be enough
红红的小脸儿温暖 [Your] small red face warms
我的心窝 The cockles of my heart
点亮我生命的火 and ignites my life’s fire (ie my life force)
x8 Fire x 8
你是我的小呀小苹果儿 You are my little, oh little apple
就像天边最美的云朵 [You’re] just like the most beautiful cloud at the edge of the skies

[There's an interruption; repeat Verse and Chorus 2 and continue to Chorus 3] 

Chorus 3:
春天又来到了 Spring has arrived again
花开满山坡 Flowers are blooming all over the hills
种下希望会有收获 [When one] plants [something], one hopes for it to bear fruit
种下希望就会收获 [When one] plants hope, one will most certainly have a good harvest

[Repeat Chorus 1, Chorus 2 and Chorus 3 and end].

Meaning of the Video – contains spoilers!

SPOILER ALERT – if you want to bask in the awesomeness of the ‘eh?’ that this video evokes, please read something else!!!

The video contains four stories.

The first, which is set in present-day South Korea, begins with a beautiful young South Korean girl enthusiastically asking her South Korean boyfriend if she’s beautiful, and getting a rather negative ‘So what? Are looks important?’ from him. 

She leaves in a huff and the next time we see her, she’s getting her face looked over by a plastic surgeon who fills her with hope.  She prays to God to make her even more beautiful, and undergoes surgery. Then the bandages come off, revealing that the girl really is... Ugly!

Note at this point that the girl has the face of one half of the Chopstick Brothers, but not the boy. This leads to the second story. 

Meanwhile, in the garden of Eden, Eve wants to pick an apple but Adam stops her, and tells her that the apples shouldn’t be eaten. A snake appears, and eggs them to eat the apples, saying that the apples are yummy. Eve, despite Adam’s protests, eats an apple; the song implies at this point that Adam stopped himself from stopping Eve so that Eve would be happy. Note that both Chopstick Brothers are starring as Adam and Eve.

Adam asks Eve if the apple tastes good, and she says it tastes wonderful! They dance around for a bit before Adam takes a bite from the apple. The song implies that Adam ate the apple because to heck with the consequences, he wants to be with Eve forever, and he is happy at his choice. It’s all very John Milton, baby.

After Adam eats the apple, he is changed and learns to shoot alien spaceships down, but the question of whether looks are important remains. He is reincarnated as an eighteenth-century European bloke on a beach who’s having language issues with a European girl who turns out to be a mermaid, the reincarnation of Eve, and an ugly mermaid to boot.  The bloke rejects the mermaid (it is not clear whether it's because she's ugly or she's a mermaid) and she crawls back into the sea. Note again that the Chopstick Brothers are starring as the bloke and the ugly mermaid.

The question of whether looks are important flashes, and the European bloke starts fishing. We realise he’s looking for the ugly mermaid (awww...) and once he does catch a mermaid, his hopes are raised and he reels her in, but she turns out to be another, prettier mermaid with an apple. 

He starts prancing around with the pretty mermaid, and leaves the ugly one to grieve. 

The prayer ‘God make me even more beautiful!’ echoes again, and leads to the fourth story, which is set in Korea before the 1950s (the clothes and houses are a giveaway).

A little Korean girl gives an apple to a little Korean boy, and tells him to eat the apple when he’s hungry. They play and grow up together; it turns out that they are the reincarnations of the eighteenth-century European bloke and ugly mermaid (the adult versions of the Korean boy and Korean girl are played by the Chopstick Brothers). 

The girl gives the boy an apple, and repeats that he is to eat the apple when he’s hungry.

The men in their town get conscripted, and before the boy leaves, he tells the girl not to go with any other men. She gives him another apple and repeats that he is to eat the apple when he’s hungry (in traditional Chinese culture, you never tell the people you love that you love them. Instead, you would give them something yummy and tell them to eat it when they’re hungry. I think it's the same in traditional Korean culture.) Then he leaves; he keeps promising that he will return to her.
He goes off to war, while she waits for him at home. 

She then receives a box with his belongings, including an uneaten, rotten apple with a bullet hole through it. 

In her anger and sadness, she calls the boy a liar, because he’d lied about coming home to her.

The past lives of the couple come and go, and everyone starts dancing. The dance moves don’t mean anything; they are for groups of people to have fun together and they form the ‘Little Apple Dance’, which is the Chinese ‘Macarena’, ‘Saturday Night’, ‘Gangnam Style’ etc.

This version of the video ends at this point, but I have seen a second version where the present-day first story is continued and concluded, and brings the other three past-life stories to an end.

In the second version of the video, after the present-day South Korean girl undergoes plastic surgery, the present-day South Korean boy also undergoes plastic surgery – it transpires that he is as insecure about his looks as she is. They both end up with the faces of the Chopstick Brothers and are happily reunited in present-day South Korea because they recognise the post-surgery versions of each other (ie who they really are). They both learn that looks are not important; what’s important is keeping the promises that are made, and continuing to live in love and hope.

Both versions of the video were created to advertise an unrelated gangster-comedy film starring the Chopstick Brothers, but that is a whole other blog entry altogether. I am positive that there's a parody about 'Cloud Atlas' in there somewhere, but I'm not sure about this. Enjoy, and toodles!

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