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Auld Lang Syne – Story and Lyrics

Auld Lang Syne (Modern Lyrics Below) is a song most frequently heard around New Years Eve, in celebrating the passing of the old year and welcoming in the new year.  This song is heard not only in English speaking countries but also in most Asian countries. We just said farewell to 2010, the year marked by many crisis of wars around the world: hurricane, flooding, earthquakes, epidemics, famine and other calamities; and lately the downward turn of the economy resulting in turbulence in many parts of the world.   We should be glad that year has passed and hope the new year will bring peace, happiness and prosperity to all.

Auld Lang Syne means a lot to me.  It always brings back the memories of the struggle we went through during the World War II.  I first heard of this song as a 9 years old boy being sung by a Japanese soldier during their occupation of the Philippines.  The conquering Japanese soldiers were known for their cruelty to the population.  They controlled the country through the reign of terror, bringing untold suffering and misery to all of us, many of us losing lives.  It is hard to imagine how human beings can be so cruel to fellow human beings.  War brings cruelty to people. In some quiet moments, I heard, for the first time, a Japanese soldier sing Auld Lang Syne in Japanese.

Auld Lang Syne seems to have left a deep imprint on my mind.  At that very moment, revealing the humanity of this soldier, he was likely thinking of his love ones back in Japan.  This scene was very touching.  After all, he was still part of our human race.  As situation settled down, we were compelled to attend Japanese school.  One of the songs that were taught to us as children was the Auld Lang Syne in Japanese. After the war, we moved to the city from a very small town.  I enrolled in a Chinese English school and this time, this song was taught to us in Chinese. As I advanced in my schooling, I came to learn this song in English and realized that this was not an original Japanese song. “Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?” “Should auld acquaintance be forgot and days of auld lang syne?” These are questions that we asked ourselves as we pass the old year and welcome the New Year.  Is it appropriate to forget the “old times, old friendships, and old places?”  No! No!  This is the time to remember the past including the old acquaintances, and not just the immediate friends and families. “We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne” is the appropriate answer. Hearing this sentimental song at times bring tears to my eyes and remind me of the lonely Japanese soldier and the hard time we went through during the second world war.

Image of Auld Lang Syne Musical

Auld Lang Syne

Dr. Antonio Tan

Editors Note: Over the years I have had the honour of meeting and interviewing many people from a variety of backgrounds.  They have included scientists, aboriginal story tellers, explorers, pilots and just plain folk.  They all have had one thing in common – they grew as Canadians for the benefit of Canadians.  Their stories have been as diverse as this country and are proof that Canada and Canadians deserve the respect they garner around the world.I have met Dr. Antonio Tan on a number of occasions (The first time was in a small resort in Costa Rica!).  I have grown to respect his contribution to Canada as a Filipino immigrant, a physician and the patriarch of a very successful family.  Tony was a child in the Philippines during the second world war.  In this entry, Auld Lang Syne, he recalls, poignantly, a memory of a silver lining found in a dark cloud.  There will be more about this remarkable man and his family to come.

Modern English Translation Lyrics Auld Lang Syne (Times Gone By)

Should old acquaintances be forgotten,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintances be forgotten,
And days of long ago!

For times gone by, my dear
For times gone by,
We will take a cup of kindness yet
For times gone by.

We two have run about the hillsides
And pulled the daisies fine,
But we have wandered many a weary foot
For times gone by.

We two have paddled (waded) in the stream
From noon until dinner time,
But seas between us broad have roared
Since times gone by.

And there is a hand, my trusty friend,
And give us a hand of yours,
And we will take a goodwill drink (of ale)
For times gone by!

And surely you will pay for your pint,
And surely I will pay for mine!
And we will take a cup of kindness yet
For times gone by!

Auld Lang Syne - Story and Lyrics
Article Name
Auld Lang Syne - Story and Lyrics
Auld Lang Syne (Modern Lyrics Below) is a song frequently heard around New Years Eve, in celebrating the passing of the old year and welcoming the new year.
Publisher Name
Mysteries of Canada

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Author of Mysteries of Canada

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