Tuesday, January 10, 2012

TVB series “When Heaven Burns 天與地” (2011): General Thoughts & Sub-theme Song Translation

TVB series "When Heaven Burns" just finished airing last week. I have no intention of doing a review on the series because to be honest, I didn't really "watch" the series, since I only caught various episodes here and there when my family was watching the series (I did tune into the 2 hour finale though and watched that in its entirety). In case you're wondering....no, I didn't decide to skip this series because of the cannibalism theme or the cast or whatnot -- in fact, from the little I've seen of WHB, I could tell that the series was well thought out in terms of script and the filming method as well as acting from artists were all above standard. Unfortunately though, the biggest problem with this series is that it was agonizingly SLOW and draggy (this is the reason why I chose to skip the series)...it's one thing if only the first few episodes were slow but with this series, almost every single episode dragged out, to the point that it became a bit too tedious to sit through and watch. Yes, the series did start to pick up pace about two-thirds of the way in, but unfortunately, it was too late -- I had already given up on the series less than halfway through because I didn't have that kind of time to waste (plus I don't tolerate slow / draggy series very well).

That being said, I did tune in to watch the 2 hour finale episodes (primarily out of curiosity) and I'll be the first to admit that the finale (unlike the rest of the series) was definitely worth the time to watch. I especially enjoyed the 2 musical segments in the finale: 1) the rock concert segment that featured the reunion of Hak Jai (Moses), Gu Lo (Bowie), and Ronnie (Kenny) singing "Youthful Ignorance" (which just so happens to be the sub-theme song of the series itself) -- I felt that segment was particularly moving and well done; 2) the "What If" video at the end of the series (again featuring the sub-theme song) was also nicely put together (plus I felt it was an appropriate ending to an otherwise intense series).

Talking about the sub-theme song..... 年少無知 (’Youthful Ignorance’) has become very popular in recent weeks (and deservingly so in my opinion, as the melody of the song is quite catchy and the lyrics are meaningful). The feedback I’ve heard regarding the song is that many people who haven't even watched the series are able to relate to the song’s lyrics and apply them to their own lives in some way – now THAT’s what I call an influential song!

A few people have asked about an English translation to the sub-theme song's lyrics -- originally, I was surprised that there wasn't already an English translation of the lyrics circulating out there somewhere, given the popularity of the song, however after studying the lyrics further, I understand why.....the lyrics are a bit tough to translate into English without losing some of its meaning.

Anyway, for those who are interested, I went ahead and translated the lyrics of the song into English -- however, I have to put a disclaimer that this is purely my interpretation of the lyrics and may not necessarily be a 100% correct translation. Also, I tried to keep to the flow of the song as much as possible while still maintaining the essence of the lyrics, however keep in mind that the song itself is not meant to be sung in English – so the translation is basically for reference only.

For those who understand Chinese, I highly recommend listening to the original version of the song (which is why I also included the link to the song's MV below).

Lastly, if anyone has feedback regarding the translation, you’re welcome to comment! :-)


Link to MV (as posted on Youtube): 'Youthful Ignorance'

[Translated by: llwy12]

Youthful Ignorance

TV Series “When Heaven Burns” sub-theme song

Performed by: Bowie Lam, Moses Chan, Kenny Wong

Composed by: Paul Wong

Lyrics by: Lam Yeurk Ning

Musical arrangement: Paul Wong, Lau Chi Yuen

Producer: Paul Wong

(B = Bowie, M = Moses, K = Kenny, T= Together)

林:年少多好 頑劣多好
B: How good is youthfulness, how good is stubbornness

Unwilling to be content with feudalism, superstitious that on the streets truth will be attained

旗幟高舉 群眾聲討
The flag lifted high, condemned by the masses

Unhesitatingly sacrifice everything to appeal, the thought process of those in power is too conventional

只可惜生活是一堆挫折 只可惜生命是必須妥協
Unfortunately, life is a pile of setbacks, unfortunately, life requires compromise

陳:年少多好 貧困多好
M: How good is youthfulness, how good is poverty

A dollar in savings is enough to be happy, a cheaply-priced guitar to vent out my irritabilities

財富得到 年歲不保
Riches are obtained, youthfulness cannot be maintained

Contribution need not be concerned with payback, the secular world inevitably has its differences

只可惜生活是一聲發洩 只可惜生命是一聲抱歉 怕追討
Unfortunately life is the sound of venting, unfortunately life is the sound of apology, afraid to be chased down

T: If, fate could be chosen, each step we’d take at the end of the crossroads would be more natural and unrestrained

If, we could be honest with life, the values we believed in the past would not need to accept the ruin of an era

黃:年少多好 朋友多好
K: How good is youthfulness, how good is friendship

A dispute would not require a defendant, competition in a game would not be remembered

年歲增長 無法修補
Increasing age, unable to mend

青春的詩總會老 時間多恐怖
The song of youth will eventually get old, passage of time so terrifying

T: If, fate could be chosen, each step we take at the end of the crossroads would not need to be perplexing

If, we could be honest with life, we’d discover today that the values we believed in the past have not aged

If, fate could be practiced, we would not have to accept a life of cruelly choosing every step

Standing behind the previous way of thinking, would I be subject to the blind lashing of today’s world?


  1. Thank you for the translation. This song has a very good lyrics and composition, although I'm not much fan of the singing. But the lyrics especially is totally strong combined with a neat composition and I can understand why people can indulge into the song. Are Paul Wong, Lau Chi Yuen, and Lam Yeurk Ning getting their rightful accolades for this good job done?

  2. @zzxyz: Yup, I agree that this song has great lyrics and overall composition. I can also understand why the song became such a hit, since people in general are able to relate to the lyrics (plus it's a perfect fit for the series itself).

    Well, I personally feel that the behind the scenes people (Paul Wong, Lau Chi Yuen, Lam Yeurk Ning) are definitely not getting the accolades they deserve for this song. As is usually the case, those who sing the song are the ones whom the audiences recognize more....

  3. @llwy12 - I was curious when I saw the request in your chatbox so was stalking for it. Now that you posted it, thanks! I'll try to pay more attention when I watch the coming episodes. To be honest, I didn't plan to watch this series but my mom wanted to look for something serious and needed a break from some of the random sitcoms we were watching of recent. I didn't really watch since I was punching games. YET I did try to listen in and watch as much as I could. YET I found it surprising that they approached it that way. I'll elaborate more with my long review later. But perhaps it might be worth it after all? I don't know. Definitely doing the review though.

    AND you're right. The song is meaningful but I think the singers got me kind of discouraged with listening. LOL! SORRY, that was mean. But I wasn't too into hearing all three guys singing.

  4. @DTLCT: I look forward to your review (though I probably won't be able to contribute a whole lot except for the beginning and ending parts, since I skipped alot of the eps in the middle).

    As for the song -- it's an okay song actually and I don't mind the singing, but I definitely wouldn't count the song as one of my favorites....and I definitely don't feel the same emotional attachment to the song as I do to the Bottled Passion themesong for instance...

  5. Thank you very much for the translation!