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[120th Anniversary] Peng Chun: What is Being Young

APR . 11 2018
Peking University, April 11, 2018: For Peking University's 120th anniversary, we want to share our graduates’ stories with a global audience. The very first story we would like to share with you is Associate Professor Peng Chun’s vision and philosophy, and the connection between him and the song “What is Being Young” which he co-composed with Xu Mingjian, who is also a PKU alumnus.


2016 New Year’s Eve gala performance, Peng Chun sung “What is Being Young.” 

From PKU to Oxford


2008, Peng Chun represented PKU Law School's graduates to give a speech at the graduation ceremony

After being asked, “how do you perceive and deal with the situation of transforming from a student to a teacher?” “I was a student of outstanding merit and a student of the worst kind in accordance to academic standards," Peng said, "Therefore, I do not particularly care about grades. Rather, what I care about is a student’s self-improvement and consciousness of sophistication.” 

 

2009, the day that Peng Chun obtained his Master's in Law at Oxford University

Peng was a student at Peking University with eminent skills in English language and academic achievements. After obtaining his double degree – Bachelor of Law and Economics, he chose to embark on his postgraduate study in the United Kingdom at Oxford. He experienced difficulties in his postgraduate years due to he was unfamiliar with the UK’s law system. Hence, Peng had to adapt from zero to completion. Yet, his perseverance helped him obtained a Master and a Ph.D. in law from Oxford University. Now, he is back to PKU and become a lecturer.

Peng has been to the “highest mountain” top and the bottom of the “deepest gorge”, so he has a unique perspective  on the meaning of life and philosophy.


Peng's Philosophy of Life


2017, Peng Chun was presenting his academic report at Peking University

When Peng was asked, “What do you think about a scholars’ responsibility and role in society?” He responded, “In my mind, a scholar should have 'cold eyes' and 'warm heart'. On the one hand, 'cold eyes' means to take a step back from conflicts in society, to be neutral and objective. Also, to ensure self-interest and emotions will not eat up your conscience and rationality. On the other hand, 'warm heart' refers to keep the attitude of being curious and caring, so we can be close to society and feel its heartbeat. It will become the beacon of hope to light up our heart.”

Peng has had many identities, such as being a good student, a challenging learner, a professor, and a philosophical academic, and he is a talented music composer.

“What is Being Young”

“What is Being Young” (青春大概) has become a well know song at PKU, and serves as a graduation song for PKU’s recent graduates. The song is powerful because of the beautiful tune and its deep and meaningful lyrics.

What is Being Young 
Lyrics Translation

I cried and I laughed, I loved and I hated. All that happened seemed like a dream.

I was confused and I was dismayed, I hesitated and I lived in solitude. Everyone may have to go through these.

A creek has not yet entered the ocean, but I cannot prevent it from infusing with the ocean of sorrow.

“To hold your hand or not”, I would instead sing a song.

I have forgotten many things, but I still have a feeling for you, and I don’t know if I am sober or not.

Being young might be like what you have defined.

Flowers withering so fruits can grow, too many things that I expect, this might be called being young.


I counted and I waited, I forgot and I was afraid, the days of being young might be soon over,

I was distracted and I was naked, I distressed and I escaped. Everyone may have to through these.

A creek has not yet entered the ocean, but I cannot prevent it from infusing with the ocean of sorrow.

My dear friend, let’s sing a song.

I have forgotten many things but I still have a feeling for you, and I don’t know if I am sober or not.

Being young might be like what you have defined.

Flowers withering so fruits can grow, too many things that I expect, this might be called being young.


Maybe there are still regrets, maybe repentant regrets, but I believe, with you, we can be invincible.

Peking University has prospered for 120 years, and it will continue to do so. “What is Being Young” will also keep inspiring our students and students all over the world. 

Written by: Xu Haolun
Edited by: Zhang Jiang
Source: PKUInternational