Music Video: Chuanzi (川子): Zheng Qianhua (郑钱花)

Singer Chuanzi (real name 姜亚川 Jiang Yachuan) was once a troubled teenager and was imprisoned for assault when he was 18 years old. After being released from jail at the age of 25, he tried to reconnect with his old friends, but none of them seemed willing to reunite with him. And his prison record made it very difficult to obtain a regular job. Chuanzi then started a career as a bar singer until he finally saved enough money to open his own bar called “Riff Music Factory.” Chuanzi’s performance on China’s Got Talent (a Chinese reality TV show similar to America’s Got Talent) with his beloved singing dog “Dudu” shot him into the spotlight.

“Zheng Qianhua” is one of his well-known (or arguably the best known) works as a songwriter. The song is told from the perspective of a new father, who named his daughter “Zheng Qianhua,” which literally means, “to earn the money to spend.” Chuanzi once explained the origin of the song: “I have a friend surnamed Zheng who was very happy at the birth of his daughter. He wanted me to help him write a song for her. So I asked him what her name was, he said Zheng Qianhua. I was so surprised I didn’t believe it, but he swore it was true. And he wanted me to write his daughter into a song. My friend has guts, and I promised him I would, so I wrote ‘Zheng Qianhua.'”

Watch Chuanzi sing “Zheng Qianhua” below. Lyrics translated and added to the original video by CDT (with thanks to our translator).

宝贝,来到这世界的时候,
Baby, when you came into this world,

你知道爸爸有多高兴吗?
Do you know how happy your daddy was?

那天我请了我们很多的朋友,
That day we invited a lot of our friends,

还给你取了这个好听的名字,
And we gave you this pretty name.

从此以后你就叫郑钱花,[
From now on you will go by Zheng Qianhua.

钱是挣钱的钱,
Qian means “money” and

花钱的花,
Hua means “to spend it.”

你的爸爸我现在是穷光蛋啦!
Your daddy, well he’s a poor son of a gun!

将来的一切都靠你自己呀。
In the future, you’re going to have to rely on yourself.

宝贝来到这世界的时候,
Baby, when you came into this world,

你知道妈妈有多幸福吗?
Do you know how blessed your mother felt?

那天她织了一件漂亮的毛衣,
That day she knitted you a beautiful sweater.

我想你穿在身上肯定会很美!
I imagine you’ll be so pretty when you wear it!

从此以后你就叫郑钱花,
From now on you’ll go by Zheng Qianhua.

钱是挣钱的钱,
Qian means “money” and

花钱的花,
Hua means “to spend it.”

你的爸爸也想做个男子汉呐,
Your daddy wants to be a man,

给你们母女俩一个温暖的家。
And provide you and your mom a good home.

可是我的宝贝,你知道吗?
But baby, do you know something?

现在的钱有多么难挣啊!
Do you know how hard it is to make a buck these days!

养一个孩子他妈不容易呀!
Do you know how damn hard it is to raise a kid!

计划生育还有必要吗?
So is there honestly any need for the one-child policy?

伟大的祖国她超有钱呐!
Our great motherland, she’s got loads of cash!

四万个亿跟我有蛋关系呢?
Four billion in stimulus, but it ain’t got nothing to do with me.

骄傲的GDP他噌噌的长啊!
Our proud GDP, it grows and grows and grows!

能给我换来几包尿不湿吗?
But can it buy me any diapers in return?

宝贝,你就叫郑钱花,
Baby, your name is Zheng Qianhua,

爸爸我爱你呀却无能为力呢!
Your daddy loves you, but I can’t do nothin’ to help you!

所以以后要靠你自己啦!
So in the future you’re going to have to rely on yourself!

爸爸我只有衷心祝福你啦!
Your daddy can only give you his best wishes!

好好的成长,不要生病啊!
Grow up well, don’t get sick!

努力学习才能省掉赞助费呀!
Study hard, so we don’t have to pay school fees.*

将来你长大了自己挣钱花,
When you grow up you’ll have to earn your own money to spend.

爸爸我衷心地祝福你了,
Your daddy will always give you his best wishes.

可是我的宝贝,你知道吗,
But baby, do you know something,

现在的钱有多么难挣啊!
Do you know how hard it is to make a buck these days!

养一个孩子他妈不容易呀!
Do you know how damn hard it is to raise a kid!

计划生育还有必要吗?
So is there honestly any need for the one-child policy?

伟大的祖国她超有钱呐!
Our great motherland, she’s got loads of cash!

四万个亿跟我有蛋关系呢?
Four billion in stimulus, but it ain’t got nothing to do with me.

骄傲的GDP他噌噌的长啊!
Our proud GDP, it grows and grows and grows!

能给我换来几包尿不湿吗?
But can it buy me any diapers in return?

* School fees (赞助费) are fees assessed by many public schools in China. These fees replace a similar fee system (借读费) that was partially abolished by the government. “School fees” are often assessed solely, or disproportionately, on the children of migrant workers. In addition, if one seeks to enter a higher-ranking school, the payment of extra “school fees” can assure one’s admission even if one’s grades are low. See here (Chinese).

See CDT’s translation of Chuanzi’s song about the Wenzhou high-speed rail crash, People of July.