Glory to Hong Kong
|English: Glory to Hong Kong|
|Yuhn wìhng gwōng gwāi Hēung góng (Yale)|
Unofficial and Protest anthem of Hong Kong
|Also known as||我願榮光歸香港|
Glory be to thee, Hong Kong
|Lyrics||Thomas dgx yhl, LIHKG netizens|
|Music||Thomas dgx yhl|
|Glory to Hong Kong|
|Literal meaning||May Glory Be to Hong Kong|
"Glory to Hong Kong" (Chinese: 願榮光歸香港) is a Cantonese march composed and authored by a musician under the pseudonym "Thomas dgx yhl", with the contribution of a group of Hong Kong netizens during the 2019 Hong Kong protests. It has been widely adopted as the anthem of the movement.
The composer first posted an instrumental version and lyrics on 26 August 2019 to LIHKG, a local online forum, and subsequently adjusted the lyrics based on suggestions from the forum, including the incorporation of the phrase "Reclaim Hong Kong, revolution of our time," a commonly chanted motto at the protests. The song's music video, comprising scenes from demonstrations, was uploaded to YouTube on 31 August 2019. The song went viral within a few days across social media, with several English versions produced soon afterwards. An orchestral music video with a chorus was uploaded to YouTube on 11 September 2019. Hong Kong protesters had previously been using "Do You Hear the People Sing?" and "Sing Hallelujah to the Lord" as protest anthems before adopting "Glory to Hong Kong" in addition.
In an interview with Time magazine, the author-composer said: "Music is a tool for unity, I really felt like we needed a song to unite us and boost our morale. The message to listeners is that despite the unhappiness and uncertainty of our time, Hong Kong people will not surrender." In an interview with Stand News, the composer explained his motivation to compose a new protest song for Hong Kong in place of songs commonly sung during protests such as "Boundless Oceans, Vast Skies" and "Glory Days", two songs by Hong Kong band Beyond, describing the songs as "not unpleasant to listen to", but that their rhythm was somewhat out of place with the atmosphere during protests. The composer said he was predominantly a pop rock artist, noting that a classical-style production like "Glory to Hong Kong" was a personal first. Inspired by "God Save the Queen", "The Star-Spangled Banner", the national anthem of Russia, the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "Gloria in excelsis Deo" by Antonio Vivaldi, he spent two months composing the song's melody.
By comparison with previously used songs, "Glory To Hong Kong" has had "a more indigenous, electric, unifying effect". The march's traditional Cantonese lyrics in particular affirms a sense of a collective cultural identity deemed threatened by the dominance of the Mandarin-speaking ruling class.
Some protesters stated they felt that "Glory to Hong Kong" should replace the Chinese national anthem "March of the Volunteers" as the national anthem of Hong Kong and has been described as the unofficial anthem of Hong Kong; to which, the composer insisted that the song can only be a protest song: "There is no nation. How can there be a national anthem?" On the other hand, an opinion piece by a Chinese University of Hong Kong senior lecturer for the The Globe and Mail argues that despite only a "few" minority of the protesters are demanding for a separate state, the march is utilised as a thematic anthem representing the collective demands of the Hong Kong people – which are also considered "a nation [...]. A state may be home to multiple nations..." – therefore the march can still be regarded as "national" in nature.
Origin of the title
The word "glory" (榮光) in the song title consists of the Chinese characters for honour (榮; wing4) and brilliance (光; gwong1). The term has been used in poems by Li Bai and in a prose by Lu Xun, in addition to being a common term used by Christians. The composer noted that he was irreligious, and described the last sentence "Glory be to Hong Kong" (Chinese: 我願榮光歸香港) as his twofold wish: that Hong Kong can regain its glory in the future, and that Hongkongers are willing to dedicate their personal glory to Hong Kong.
While this is largely an antiquated term in modern Chinese and Cantonese, it is still in common usage in modern Vietnamese (Vietnamese: Vinh quang/ 榮光), Japanese (eikō (栄光)) and Korean (영광; 榮光; yeonggwang).
"Glory to Hong Kong" is composed of four stanzas. The author stated that he prioritised the meaning of the lyrics over rhymes, and explained the meaning of each stanza as follows: The first describes the suppression and deprival of fundamental human rights, such as democracy, liberty and justice. The second describes the anti-extradition bill movement, where the people stand up to injustice even though blood is shed. The third, with a very different tone of music set to it, describes perseverance despite the darkness. The fourth and last, with the most recognisable motto "Liberate Hong Kong; revolution of our time" incorporated in the lyrics, envisages that the city will regain its glory and honour.
Use in the public
The song has been sung on numerous occasions by citizens in the public all over the city.
On 10 September 2019, Hong Kong football supporters sang the song at a match for the first time during a FIFA World Cup qualification match against Iran, booing the Chinese anthem. On the same night, the song was again publicly sung by large groups at more than a dozen shopping malls across Hong Kong.
- "《願榮光歸香港》再響遍多區商場 千人迫爆新城市廣場". Stand News. 11 September 2019.
- Leung, Hillary (10 September 2019). "Listen to the Song That Hong Kong's Youthful Protesters Are Calling Their 'National Anthem'". Time.
- Victor, Daniel (12 September 2019). "Hong Kong Protesters, Without an Anthem to Sing, Create One Online". The New York Times.
- 《願榮光歸香港》原版 《Glory to Hong Kong》First version (with ENG subs) (in Chinese). Retrieved 16 September 2019 – via YouTube.
- Liu, Yujing; Kang-chung, Ng; Leng, Sidney (11 September 2019). "Protesters' latest theme song, 'Glory to Hong Kong', rings out in malls". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
- 《願榮光歸香港》管弦樂團及合唱團版 MV (in Chinese). Retrieved 14 September 2019 – via YouTube.
- 亞裹 (11 September 2019). "【專訪】「香港之歌」誕生？ 《願榮光歸香港》創作人：音樂是凝聚人心最強武器". Stand News (in Chinese). Retrieved 16 September 2019.
- Dixon, Robyn; Yam, Marcus (13 September 2019). "'Glory to Hong Kong': A new protest anthem moves singers to tears". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
- Thompson, Brian C. "Opinion: What's in a song? For the people of Hong Kong, the idea of nationhood". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
- Glory to Hong Kong: Singing a new protest anthem, BBC News, 14 September 2019, retrieved 14 September 2019
- Vivienne Chow (12 September 2019). "Singing showdowns in Hong Kong pit the city's unofficial new anthem against China's". Quartz.
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- Law, Violet. "Hong Kong: Demonstrators boo Chinese anthem at football qualifier". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
- "【願榮光歸香港】大埔、沙田、油塘多區居民晚上接力大合唱" (in Chinese). HK01. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
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