Sometimes inspiration can come from our very forgotten (yet deeply remembered) childhood elements. Here is one of my (or my dad’s?) favourite Chinese nursery songs. The upbeat rhythm cheers me up. Or maybe it is my dad’s extreme smile while singing it that cheers me up.

The song title is actually “The Snail and the Orioles”, but my family knows it only as “Ah Men Ah Qian” which are the first four Chinese characters of the entire song lyrics. I never knew the meaning of this song until I reached adulthood and trying to teach the next generation to sing it.

It is very cute. It splits the first word (two characters) up by adding an Ah in front of it. Ah holds no meaning, but we use it to address people endearingly. Thus, Ah Men Ah Qian actually just means “in front of the door” (Men Qian).




~ a Chinese nursery song

The song tells of a grape vine at the front yard, and it is just the beginning of spring. The protagonist is a snail, who is carrying his heavy house as he embarks on his journey up the grape tree. Two orioles on the tree laughs at him, “it is too early for the grapes to ripen, why are you heading up here now?”

Snail replies, “Orioles, please do not laugh. By the time I reach the top, they would be ripe already.”

This cheery song makes such a good allegory. It is never too early to take the first step, neither is it ever too late. But to capture the best timing, know yourself, plan your time.

We all have our inner rhythms. Find it. Follow it.

Thank you Totskie_69 for the background image https://pixabay.com/photos/bass-music-song-guitar-sound-5158902/

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