Culture Corner: 革命尚未成功,同志仍須努力

In Uncategorized by Skritter

author photoOften times the new year comes with lots of self-reflection, the desire to do more, and to be greater. Once the ball drops and we start scratching out 2013 to write 2014 in our checkbooks something magical happens. Almost without skipping a beat, the airwaves are filled with the battle cries of change and success… otherwise commonly referred to as New Year’s resolutions. With any luck, this will be the year to eat healthy, exercise more, and (finally) learn Chinese.

Making a resolution is easy. Keeping a resolution, however, can be tough work. So where do we turn when the going gets tough and we need some inspiration? One place we can look is 1911 China. On the brink of ending 2000 years of imperial rule, Chinese revolutionaries fought for the Republic and the Three Principles of the People. It was during this time, that Sun Yat-sen (孙中山) said these famous words:

Gémìng shàngwèi chénggōng, tóngzhì réng xū nǔlì
The revolution isn’t over yet comrades, keep making great efforts
Keep fighting they did, and in 1912 Sun Yat-sen took his place as president of the Republic of China. A New Year’s resolution isn’t war, but it be revolutionary to you, and these are certainly words we can appreciate and live by. Against all odds and all hardships, we can face and meet our goals and resolutions but not giving up, and by fighting for the things we want in life. 
Sun Yat-sen’s famous words beautifully written in his memorial hall in Taipei, Taiwan. 

This phrase is beautifully balanced and complex enough to make a Chinese teacher smile if one can find the right time to use it. Don’t think that because of the subject matter, you can’t use this for daily events. Don’t be afraid to joke around. I’ve certainly used it in a joking fashion and gotten laughs from my classmates. Got a report coming up? Filling out job applications… you get the idea, right? Have fun with it, and be sure to practice speaking the phrase in a deep, booming voice for best results! In order to better understand what we’re dealing with, let’s take a look a word breakdown below:

  1. 革命:gémìng::revolt; revolution
  2. 尚未:shàngwèi :not yet
  3. 成功:chénggōng :succeed; success
  4. 同志:tóngzhì:comrade 
  5. 仍須:réngxū :still require
  6. 努力:make great effort
Now that you’re armed with the perfect phrase for 2014, we want to know what your resolutions and goals are. Post them in the comments below and stay tuned for more from the Skritter blog. 
A (late) 新年快樂/新年快乐 to all and happy skrittering!

Have questions, comments, feedback, or a topic you want covered on the Skritter blog? Please send them to:

Talk about this post on our forum!