Moonlight Melodies Fieldwork Paper

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Moonlight Lullaby Title of the Item: 月光光(Bright Moon) Genre of the Item: This is an oral narrative. Informant Information: The person I interviewed is my mom. Her family (my grandparents) came from Guangzhou but moved to Hong Kong before she was born. I am very close to my mother and I remember every night before I went to bed she would sing me to sleep with this song until I was four, when my brother was born. After he was born, she started singing it to him so he could fall asleep. Text of the Item: 月光光,照地堂, 年卅晚,摘檳榔, 蝦仔你乖乖瞓落床, 聽朝阿媽要趕插秧囉, 阿爺睇牛佢上山崗,啊 蝦仔你快高長大囉, 幫手阿爺去睇牛羊,呀 Context of the Item: The lyrics above are just the parts that my mom sings, the original poem/song is much longer. Bright Moon is a children’s nursery rhyme from Guangzhou and Guangdong, two Cantonese-speaking providences of China. The lyrics mean, “The bright moon shining on the ground, The night before New Year, go pick betel nuts Baby, be good and go to sleep, Tomorrow, mama has to wake up early to farm And papa has to herd the cows Baby, grow up well So you can help papa herd the cows. Bright Moon originated from a Cantonese poem which was later turned into a lullaby by the government in the late 1900s for parents and children to sing. The original poem reflects on a very deep ethnic nationalist sentiment of different time periods. There are many versions of this rhyme, but every version of the poem begins with the moonlight shining on the earth and farming. In the end the lyrics go, [translation] “Let’s buy a boat, a boat with a leaky bottom to drown the two white boys (another version is “Japanese shorties”) in them. One floating on top of water, one sinking down to the bottom.” The last part actually refers to the hatred of the Cantonese people of Europeans and in other versions, Japanese. The Chinese hated the British because they imperialized China since the Opium
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