Musical spoof - national anthem reborn as ring tone

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 June, 2006, 12:00am

A parody of the national anthem calling all men 'losers' and mentioning Godzilla is proving a hit as a mobile-phone ring tone.

The lyrics of the emotive and militant The March of the Volunteers, which describe the wrath of the Chinese people against imperialist aggression and their determination to protect the motherland against foreign invaders, have been rewritten into a nonsensical nursery-rhyme version.

The 28-second ditty, which is sung by a young boy, has been anonymously posted on the Web for free distribution.

An internet search found at least 20 websites or chat rooms that were carrying the song, and records showed it had been downloaded more than 20,000 times.

Ma Fung-kwok, local delegate to the National People's Congress and chairman of the Arts Development Council, said: 'There is a line between respect and being creative. And this revised version has crossed that fine line.

'Apparently, we need to improve civic education. We have to let people know that this kind of thing is not right.'

But the Hong Kong government said that unlike the national flag, it was not illegal to rework the national anthem.

'[The law] provides that The March of the Volunteers should be used as the national anthem, but does not impose any restriction on its use,' said a spokeswoman for the Administration Wing.

'This [revised] song cannot be said to have breached the relevant Basic Law provision.'

A spokeswoman for the Home Affairs Bureau stressed the agency did not encourage the rewriting of the national anthem. But she pointed out: 'With the active promotional work done in recent years, the awareness of the general public about our national anthem has been greatly enhanced.'

The government has been broadcasting the anthem on local television before nightly news programmes.

Denny Ho Kwok-leung, a sociology professor at Polytechnic University, said such a phenomenon is natural when the anthem becomes popular.

'These things happen a lot elsewhere and it is part of our pop culture,' Dr Ho said.

Tik Chi-yuen, a Democrat and member of the Civic Education Committee, said the authorities should not take any action.

'Any drastic action will only prompt more people, especially youngsters, to look for and download the song. This will only make things worse.'

The traditional words ...

Arise, ye who refuse to be slaves;

With our very flesh and blood Let us build our new Great Wall!

The Peoples of China are in the most critical time,

Everybody must roar his defiance.

Arise! Arise! Arise!

Millions of hearts with one mind, Brave the enemy's gunfire,

March on!

Brave the enemy's gunfire,

March on! March on! March on, on!

The ring tone version ...

Arise, I'll take you around the world!

I'm riding on Godzilla. Mum says I'm all screwed up!

African beef is really good to eat,

Because it's red!

Arise! Arise! Arise!

My whole world is lost

Even my old lady has run out on me.

March on!

My old lady has run out on me.

Pay back, pay back, pay back my money!