Cinderella Story

I was walking to work this morning, and Zheng Jun’s song “Huiguniang” (that’s “Cinderella” in English) was going through my head. It’s one of my favorite Chinese songs by one of my favorite Chinese artists. I haven’t quite memorized the lyrics yet, so I was kind of half-humming the tune. At one point I noticed the sound of someone nearby whistling pretty loudly. Oddly enough, the tune was “Huiguniang”! How’s that for an odd coincidence?

The song dates from 1994. Zheng Jun is one of very few prominent Chinese artists who fit in the rock camp, though this particular song is a mellow one. I’ve got a few of his CDs, and the songs are mostly louder, though with acoustic touches and a few ballads here and there. He was recently in the news here for refusing to accept an award at a ceremony.

“I have enough trophies back home,” the 40-year-old was quoted as saying. Zheng Jun’s recent wins include five awards at the Beijing Pop Music Awards in January, where he was also the biggest winner. He also won an MTV Video Music Award in 2002.

“New singers, particularly those from the singing competitions, might want to win these awards to get recognized,” Zheng Jun said, according to the report. “My music might not be the best, but I need no awards recognition.”

And just for completeness, here is my translation of the lyrics (with help from Google and a couple of friends), along with a link to an MP3 that as far as I know is legitimately presented.

(words & music – Zheng Jun,
but don’t blame him for the translation)

How can I have fallen for you?
I ask myself
I could give up anything
Unexpectedly you left today
You aren’t at all beautiful
But you’re extremely adorable
Aiya, Cinderella
My Cinderella

I always hurt your heart
I’m always very cruel
I made you not take it seriously
Because I didn’t dare to believe
You’re so beautiful
Not just extremely adorable
Aiya, Cinderella
My Cinderella

Maybe you never
Thought my heart could ache
If these are dreams
I hope to never wake up

I used to be patient
I waited so
Maybe you’ll come back
Maybe you’ll come back
Aiya is just an interjection, like saying ooh. I’ve rendered ke’ai as adorable, though it is often given as cute. The line “I hope to never wake up” is not translated very closely. The Chinese word for “drunk” is in there, so a more accurate English version would be something like “I hope to never wake from this intoxication” but that just sounded too awkward, so I simplified.


  1. hmm, once hit play, i do remember that the song had some popularity in my university years.

    Its tune is taken from the typical Dai melody. Dai is an ethnic group /groups mostly living in Yun Nan province. They share the same origin with Thai people.

    For a brief period in the 90s, there was nostalgia among the generation who participated in the Down to the Countryside Movement. A song called 'xiao fang' (using a common countryside girl name) thus became extremely popular.

    During that Movement, Yun Nan province has received many young people too, which is where Dai people live. I'm sure the song 'Cinderella Story' must have aroused a similar feeling among those people , deliberately or not.

  2. Zheng Jun's other well known song off the same album was "Huidao Lasa" ("Back to Lhasa"), which incorporates elements of Tibetan music, so he is definitely known for this kind of thing.