Talk:Soong May-ling

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New old material[edit]

In Field Marshall Lord Alanbrooke's War Diaries he mentions the madame several times in less-than-flattering sentences. I'll try and look them up.--Nwinther (talk) 15:43, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Status[edit]

Is she really still alive? or did her death just escape anyone's notice.

I'm pretty sure she still lives (in the USA). I made a search a month ago and she was apparently well. --Menchi 22:34 27 Jun 2003 (UTC)
Sorry, she died recently. A friend of ours were asking the same question a few hours before the news came out about her death. She might have sensed the disturbance in the force.  :-)

Surname[edit]

It is not Chinese custom to drop the maiden name. So in Chinese her formal name should be "Chiang Soong May-ling." Is the name "Chiang Mei-ling" her identity outside of China?

No, I think its almost always "Madame Chiang Kai-shek" or "Soong May-ling." Madame Chiang Kai-shek is most common. --Jiang
Never "Chiang May-ling". I believe nowadays, "Soong May-ling" is the commonest. I've heard her referred to in a b/w American film, Roman Holiday I believe, as "Madame Chiang Kai-shek". --Menchi 06:59, Aug 4, 2003 (UTC)

Ah, the above explains my confusion about her name. -- Cimon Avaro on a pogostick 06:40, Oct 24, 2003 (UTC)


Age[edit]

A whole bunch of sites are saying she was 105. A couple say 106. Please verify her birdate. [1] --Jiang

I've been aware of the Madame being alive for about the past 3 years and have never seen a source mention her year of birth as March of 1898 until her death. I think it's safe to make the assumption of her birth year as 1897. At least for now. --Katagelphobia 24 Oct 2003

I've just concluded a Yahoo search on the Madame and have found 97 sites that state her birth as either March 5, 1897 or just 1897. As Katagelophobia already stated, its safe to say she was 106 when she died. Longevitymonger

The NYT obit though says Mei-ling Soong was born in Shanghai on March 5, 1898, although some references give 1897 as the year because Chinese usually consider everyone to be one year old at birth.
PMelvilleAustin 10:55, Oct 25, 2003 (UTC)
"The Taiwan Government says she was born on February 12, 1898. But records at Wellesley show she was born on June 5, 1897." [2] --Wik 12:47, Oct 25, 2003 (UTC)
Keep in mind that some older Chinese people base their birthday on Chinese lunar calendar. e.g. my mom doesn't know her western birhday, so she just put down August for the 8th lunar month in all her official document. So her real birthday may be a month or two off depending on the calendar conversion, or double conversion.
I used a lunar-to-solar calendar convertor on the Internet to compute the date. In 1898, the 12th day of 2nd lunar month was on March 5th. In 1987, March 5th fell on the 2nd day of 2nd lunar month. So my speculations are:
a. Feburary 12 should be read as 12th of 2nd lunar month.
b. March 5 is based on western calendar
c. her year of birth is 1898, not 1897.
d. 105 was her precise age. 106 was the chinese traditional way of determining the age.

Incidentally, the BBC also says she was 105 when she died. I'm going to discuss the controversy in the article itself. --Xiaopo 07:37, Oct. 27 2003 (UTC)

Answers.com gives her birth information as follows:
Born: 5 March 1897
Birthplace: Shanghai, China (?)
Died: 23 October 2003
Best Known As: Wife of Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek
Name at birth: Soong Mei-ling

Birthplace[edit]

where was she born - Hainan or Shanghai? --Jiang 22:36, 24 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Shanghai, according to 2 pages. --Menchi 22:49, 24 Oct 2003 (UTC)

What pages? --Jiang

Oddly, most Googles on "宋美齡" + "出生" don't give the birthplace. The below 2 webpages are the only ones mentioning that in the first 100 hits.
  • [3]: This one got the birth year one year late. Don't know if it's reliable
  • [4]: This page looks kind of ridiculous.
--Menchi 23:25, 24 Oct 2003 (UTC)

The news articles on her death say "Hainan". Britannica says "Wen-ch'ang, Kwangtung province" (possibly in Hainan?) [5] --Jiang 23:35, 24 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Wenchang is in Hainan, but Hainan was in Guangdong. So I think Wenchang, Guangdong (now in Hainan) is correct. --Menchi 23:52, 24 Oct 2003 (UTC)
However most Chinese sources say that she was born in Shanghai.[6](Chinese) It seems that most mainland Chinese historians agreed that she was born in Pudong, Shanghai. The report also says that there was a discussion in 1996 in mainland, and the finally reached consensus that Soong May-ling was born in Shanghai.--Formulax 01:54, 25 Oct 2003 (UTC)
The Chinese page you gave concerns Song Qingling, who is Song Meiling's sister who married Sun Yat-sen. The headline says "The riddle of where in Shanghai Song Qingling was born is solved, she was born in Chuansha not Hongkou". (Chuansha and Hongkou are both in Shanghai)
-- Xiaopo 08:24 Oct. 27, 2003 (UTC)

Chinese people are very particular in specifying Ji Goon (spelling?) or their ancestral origin. e.g. Taiwanese are very specific if one is a mainlander or Taiwanese despite everyone in the newer generation was born in Taiwan. Many westerners may have mistaken Ji Goon as birthplace. I don't know the answer, but I guess this is the source of the confusion. Kowloonese 01:02, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)

  • Let's clarify it here. She was born in Shanghai, but her ancestors were always living in Hainan. There's one thing I am very curious about, though - does she know Cantonese? Mdwav 0:52, 8 Feb 2006 (UTC+8)

Given name spelling[edit]

Her Chinese given name

Her given name is, Mei Ling or May Ling, but the character given for Ling is incorrect- it should be 玲

Her given name, therefore, is 美玲

The name means the beautiful sound of jade

Sorry! I was named after her, and I was a little disturbed to see it written as another character Mei ling feng 03:35, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Our spelling of "May-ling" also seems less common: [7] Move?

--Jiang 23:35, 24 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Their college's page alternates between Mei and May. But I don't object to a move. --Menchi 23:52, 24 Oct 2003 (UTC)

What was her legal name? --Jiang

The official Who's who in the ROC gives her name as Soong Mayling. But that hyphenless name only gives 43 Google hits! --Menchi 02:25, 25 Oct 2003 (UTC)
"Mayling Soong" gives more hits: 264. --Menchi 08:13, 6 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I just watched a Mandarin documentary about her that showed several original writings of her name from that time. On her 5-year-old photo, somebody wrote Mayling Soong (no hyphen). On a painting she did in Georgia, she signed M.L.S.. Her graduation yearbook printed Mayling O. Soong (again, no hyphen). I have no idea what the O stands for. Wesleyan gives the Christian names of her sisters, but not her. --Menchi 08:11, 6 Nov 2003 (UTC)

You should follow Wikipedia policy in naming the article. Mei-ling is the pinyin spelling, but her name was known to the rest of the world ages before pinyin became popular. I vote for keeping her name as May-ling which is the wikipedia convention.

Pinyin doesn't use a hyphen, so it's not really pinyin. --Jiang

Many people use hyphens to show where the word break is. I put hyphen in my name arbiturarily depending on my mood, I bet she did the same too. To me, Soong May Ling, Soong MayLing, Soong May-Ling, SoongMayLing are just different representation of her Chinese name. Who is to decide what her official English name is when her name is not English in origin? If she was a US citizen, her US passport should be used as the yardstick. Kowloonese 01:12, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Soong Mei-ling is the spelling I've always seen used, and it is presumably Wade-Giles romanization (as is Chiang Kai-shek). Chinese personalities whose fame dates before 1949 or who live on Taiwan take the Wade-Giles spelling. An example is Chairman Mao, whose romanized name changed from Mao Tse-tung to Mao Zedong when Pinyin was introduced and he remained a central figure in China. For example, see Martha Byrd, 'Chennault: Giving Wings to the Tiger', p. 67: 'By birth Madame was Mei-ling Soong, a daughter of Charlie Soong...' I note however that Barbara Tuchman spells it Mayling!

The Biographical Dictionary of World War II renders her given name as Mei-Ling, p.517
I get 15,000 Google hits for Song Mayling, and 90,000 for Soong Mei-ling. I think it ought to be changed, with a redirect for Soong Mayling and Madame Chiang Kai-shek.

Actually, her name is Mayerling. She was named after the villa where Archduke Rudolph committed suicide. Her mother was a Hapburg groupie. People have come to spell her name without the "er", because of difficulties in pronounciation in Mardarin dialects.

move article[edit]

Shouldn't we move this article to Madame Chiang Kai-shek, which has more than ten times as many Google hits?

I'll wait a day or two, then if no one objects I'll move it. --Uncle Ed 18:58, 4 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I don't think it's a good idea. "Madame Chiang Kai-shek" was not her real name, just a title by association, meaning the same as Mrs. Chiang. --Jiang 21:13, 4 Nov 2003 (UTC)
No. It's not like she has no name of her own and has to use her husband's. Besides, our friend EB uses her birth name too: [8]. --Menchi 02:55, 5 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I guess I shouldn't move the article, then. --Uncle Ed 19:49, 5 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Her Chinese given name

Her given name is, Mei Ling or May Ling, but the character given for Ling is incorrect- it should be 玲

Her given name, therefore, is 美玲

The name means the beautiful sound of jade

Sorry! I was named after her, and I was a little disturbed to see it written as another character

Inconsistencies[edit]

Date of birth:

  • Lead para: c. 1897
  • Text: 5 March 1898
  • Info box: c. 1897

Age:

  • Death: about 105
  • Infobox: 106.

So, we’re mixing up categorical statements with vague statements, but in an inconsistent and confusing way. If the source for 5 March 1898 is a reputable one, let’s stick with that throughout the article and let the age issue be governed by that. -- JackofOz (talk) 13:33, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Btw, is it just a coincidence that 5 March 1898 also happens to be the day when Zhou Enlai was born? -- JackofOz (talk) 13:37, 10 July 2008 (UTC)


Dragon Lady?[edit]

I removed the reference to "Dragon Lady," which I hope someone can find a reference for. I could not find it in my search of Time Magazine Archives. ch (talk) 17:05, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

The character of the "Dragon Lady" in Terry and the Pirates was based on her and a number of her critics picked up the term as a pejorative. --Michael K SmithTalk 19:07, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
But the first appearance was in 1934, well before Mme. Chiang became well known. And according to the source in the article Dragon Lady (Terry and the Pirates), Caniff based the character on someone else. So it would be great if you have a Reliable source showing otherwise! ch (talk) 05:40, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

Edit-warring by wikilaurent[edit]

I undid a single edit not supported by image or caption text, and wikilaurent (no caps, no respect) called me a vandal. Watch who you call a vandal, dick. I gave a clear reason for my revert, what's yours? Then I was accused of editing from spite. I've seen this user's long history of contentious editwarring, this user is the last to accuse others of spite, you're the one being spiteful. So let's bring it to the talkpage-the photo does not carry any of the information you claim. Shall we get an admin on this one? --Chris (クリス • フィッチュ) (talk) 12:02, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Maybe if you put some thoughts in your reverts or were actually doing some constructive edits, you'd have more credibility. I don't know how many times I had to edit war with you over good faith edits and that shouldn't be happening. You don't like my edit? Fine - improve it, change it, discuss it but don't dumbly revert it. The edit explains why Soong is in a hospital and why she was photographed there - it explains the context of the picture in a better way than the previous one. The previous one was basically Nationalist propaganda. Laurent (talk) 12:28, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
User WikiLurent, I think you are wrong with your "broken rib in hospital" explanation.
  1. Yes, Soong was injured during a car crash caused by Jap's air raid.
  2. No, Soong was not like those Chinese Communist who invented fake stories and PS photos. Soong did quite often visited hospitals and help to nurse those injured soldiers. Come on, WikiLaurent, Soong was 100 times better the Communist Jiang Qing. Arilang talk 13:44, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Please resolve this diplomatically. Remember, as a content dispute, these reversions are not dealing with vandalism and as such both parties are restricted by WP:3RR and its penalties. Edit summaries accusing people of vandalism or nationalist propaganda are not helpful, please calm down and stay civil. Remember, Wikipedia is not a battle ground and users who treat it as such are compromising their own position. Work together to verify the information, please. SGGH ping! 13:50, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

国难当头,宋美龄被推上了中国妇女界“领袖”的地位,她以“妇女指导委员会”为阵地,组织 劳军、捐款、生产建设和慰问。宋美龄领导妇女界开展了多方面的工作,其中最具特色的是战地服务、儿童保育、妇女干部的训练及“献金”运动。她的努力在很大 程度上激发了广大妇女为抗日作贡献的热情。成千上万的妇女被吸引到了抗日救亡运动当中,而且成千上万的青年士兵在广大妇女的激励下坚定了抗日的决心。因 此,各国驻华外交官送她一个“女委员长”的雅号。

http://www.people.com.cn/GB/guoji/14553/2152504.html

User WikiLurent, even communist China's own website did not have any nasty things on Soong. Arilang talk 14:14, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Arilang, what I meant by nationalist propaganda is that the previous caption came from a Chinese newspaper and was probably exaggerated. Soong did a lot of welfare work (and more), but I doubt she was spending so much time in hospitals taking care of wounded soldiers as the previous caption claimed. Perhaps a compromise would be to reduce the caption simply to "Soong taking care of a wounded soldier (circa 1932)", and put the rest (including the previous caption) in the article itself? Laurent (talk) 14:35, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

In 1932, Soong May-ling got a broken rib when her car hit a shell crater and was sent to the hospital. She was subsequently photographed wearing a nurse uniform, giving a bandage to an injured Chinese soldier.

WikiLaurent, "She was subsequently photographed wearing a nurse uniform" this statement can be considered a vicious attack on Soong, it implies that first she was a patient with broken ribs, then just for the sake of "being photographed", she went to put on a nurse uniform. This is an outright lie. It should be deleted immediately.

Soong was, and is very much loved by Chinese all over the world. Even during Jiang Qing's time, the communist did not dare to sling too much mud onto her. Even the communist today also admit that Soong did a lot of 劳军,慰问,战地服务. Wikilaurent, telling lies on her is not to be accepted. Arilang talk 23:21, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Arilang, I am fine with removing this part from the caption and reducing it to something neutral such as "Soong taking care of a wounded soldier (circa 1932)" - what do you think about it? Laurent (talk) 21:24, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

OK, I agree with you. Arilang talk 21:29, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Wesleyan College photo[edit]

Photo File:1917 Graduation photo at Wesleyan College.jpg description claims it is 1917; caption on article claims 1943. Photo is only sourced to a now gone Flickr page. Reference/more info please? -- Infrogmation (talk) 01:54, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

As no information has been offered, I have removed the caption. Any actual information on who what when and where is shown in this photo is very welcome. (Is it of use to the article without such?) Infrogmation (talk) 18:07, 10 June 2011 (UTC)
notice the fur coat, certainly not her graduation. A very similar photo from the same event is published in Madame Chiang Kai-shek: China's eternal first lady by Laura Tyson Li in the second group of plates with the caption "Wellesley's most celebrated alumna created a fashion furor when she took a much-publicized stroll across the college's snow-covered campus wearing slacks during her 1943 American tour. She appears here with Wellesley president Mildred McAfee, who is wearing a Navy WAVES uniform." Metal.lunchbox (talk) 05:43, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
I've replaced the photo we're talking about with one that fits the topic of the section- her as a student at Wesleyan about 1910. Since the photo we're discussing is actually from 1943 and the United States it is certainly not PD-old (life of the author +70 yrs) and i'm assuming that its not free to use. Maybe someone with a little more knowledge about copyright issues, or the uploader could deal with the image, find out if its okay to use on Wikipedia. Metal.lunchbox (talk) 17:32, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Committe of Yuans, any idea what that is?[edit]

This article mentions that Soong was appointed to the Committee of Yuans in 1928, but I was unable to find information about this on wikipedia or elsewhere, TIME magazine which used this word says only that it can be likened to a Cabinet of provincial Governors. Is it the same as the Executive Yuan? I couldn't find any mention of such an event in 1928 anywhere but here and TIME and I don't know much about ROC government, any ideas? Metal.lunchbox (talk) 19:41, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Notable ommisions[edit]

I have noticed a few very important events/facts which are not included in this article. I will attempt to add them as time and sources allow, but feel free to join in.

  • No mention of her famous "Warphons", so often brought up by her and others, especially in the US. She didn't have any children and invested great money and efforts in establishing orphanages for children who lost their families because of the war.
  • No mention of her extensive health problems, most notably her chronic and acute urticaria (hives). That sounds like just a rash but it had a big impact on her public life, as it frequently limited her public apperances, especially on her American tours.
  • Her involvement in the China Lobby and her relationship to HH Kung
  • Her involvment in the the Xi'an incident

Metal.lunchbox (talk) 06:54, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

File:Eleanor Roosevelt with Soong Mei-ling.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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Citation for "First Lady of the Republic of China"?[edit]

Could we have a citation that there was such an official position similar to US? Or was she just referred to as such? Many thanks. Mootros (talk) 06:20, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

As an "official position", no. Nor is there an "official position", for the United States. Was this terminology used ? Yes. There are several books with corresponding titles, including "Madame Chiang Kai-chek: China's eternal first lady", by Laura Tyson Li, and "The first lady of china: the historic wartime visit of Mme Chiang Kai-check to the United States in 1943", published by IBM Corp in 1943, (so contemporary to her era of prominence).
In addition, there are multiple ( hundreds) contemporary references to " Mme Chiang Kai-chek, the first lady of China ", in various Australian newspapers of the 1930's and 1940's, including a speech by the Consul-General of China in Australia in which he himself used that terminology, so it wasn't just a spurious analogy used by western reporters. You can read these newspaper for yourself at www.nla.gov.au . He is one example http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/42016185 there are thousands of others. Eregli bob (talk) 13:04, 25 January 2013 (UTC)