Kickstarting the Fall Semester: Lanzhou Elementary and Secondary Schools Students Captivated by the Educational “Soybean Ballad” Story

Written by Song Zixin / Translated by Annie C.

On September 1, the City of Lanzhou No. 14 Middle School’s Symphony Orchestra performs the Soybean Ballad”. Song Zixin /CNS

Reciting the lyrics of the “Soybean Ballad”, which promotes the nutrients and benefits of the self-titled legume and its resiliency, students of the City of Lanzhou’s elementary and high schools get ready to welcome the Fall 2021 semester on September 1. On that day, over 460,000 students in more than 1,600 primary and secondary educational institutions across the city attended a live webcast of the “Soybean Ballad” song in the hope of being inspired by the message behind the educational Soybean story.

The live webcast featured a beautiful melody that came from the music classroom of Lanzhou’s No. 14 Middle School. It was the school’s symphony orchestra rehearsing the “Soybean Ballad” song in preparation for an upcoming stage show of the same name to be performed in front of the whole student body.

The “Soybean Ballad” tells a true story, one of the rarest in the history of the Chinese Revolution which highlights China’s young. In the June of 1940, Luo Yunpeng, Deputy Secretary of the Gansu Working Committee, was unfortunately arrested and imprisoned in Lanzhou’s Shagou Prison. His wife Fan Guiying and his daughter Luo Lili, who was only eight months old at the time, were also arrested.

The core of the Soybean story tells the resilience of Luo Lili, the ‘living little carrot’, who has spent nearly seven years in prison starting at the young age of eight months old. According to Zhou Fang, the screenwriter of the “Soybean Ballad” show, the famous musician Wang Luobin, who happened to be Lili’s prison mate, wrote the ballad for her. His admiration of her strength and courage when she exclaimed that soybean is the best food in the world to not be taken for granted were translated into the soul of the song.

Students collectively watch the stage performance of the “Soybean Ballad”, on September 1, at Lanzhou No. 14 Middle School. Song Zixin /CNS

At the beginning of the semester, Lanzhou No. 14 Middle School’s Fenghua Drama Club carefully selected students to direct, produce and act out this story. It is hoped that on Teacher’s Day this year, the Soybean stage show will be one of the in-depth artistic educational activities among other exhibitions and performances to be introduced to parents, community residents, retired teachers, school staff, and fellow students.

Liu Shijie, the Vice-Principal of Lanzhou No. 14 Middle School, remarked that to gather community’s and students’ interest, the school uploaded the lyrics, music sheets and the summary of the Soybean story before the summer. It also organized events to engage the student body such as review-writing of the story and handwritten newspaper-designing. Meanwhile, other forms of activities such as solo singing, choir-singing, performing instruments, were also strongly encouraged to thoroughly express and absorb the essence of the “Soybean Ballad”.

“I have learned so much from the ‘living little carrot’, Luo Lili; her resilience, her optimism, and her attitude towards a good quality of life,” says Lu Qianxi, a 3rd-year student at Lanzhou No. 14 Middle School. “The Soybean Ballad teaches the young generation the growth and hardship experienced by Lili and to rethink every meal as she appreciated the rarity of the soybean during her prison life. We must learn to be grateful and cherish the life ahead of us.”

According to Lanzhou’s Education Ministry, the “Soybean Ballad” is a vivid patriotic educational experience and well-deserving to be taught in schools. When our youth is strong, our country will also strengthen. Every child should strive to be a good student in this new era and take the great rejuvenation of the Nation as their responsibility. While maintaining the “Yellow River Youth” student model who is modest, humble, and ambitious, it is hoped that new achievements and milestones be achieved by our students in this brand-new school semester.