Archive for February 24, 2012

Astana, the Capital City and Ode to Hard Work

I know from one of my British friends that they have a hard time understanding Americans who refer to their place of origin as simply a “hometown.”  But if we were to tell others the name of our town, especially in the Midwest or anywhere in our vast country, no one would really know where it is. Big cities, yes, small towns, no. Unfortunately, some of the very small towns established by the great railroads in the Midwest have vanished off the map.  We have a de-populating problem in the rural areas because many moved from the small farms to the big cities for better job opportunities.

Without giving away the name of my hometown, I want to share the words of a march song in 2/4 time. The copyright of this ode dedicated to my hometown is 1927, so I believe it is in the public domain.  At least I’m glad I came across it since I plan to write an article about my hometown’s history in our local newspaper.  We have some proud traditions from the past but I’m sad to say that much of the energy has left. We are living in a town that does not have as many young people, the older people who worked hard to build the town’s reputation are either snowbirds (left for Arizona or Florida) or retired and living at a nearby lake home.

I will not share the FIRST verse since it doesn’t really apply to Astana.  But the chorus certainly relates to the hard work that is going into creating the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana.  As I alluded to in my piece yesterday, the new university is all about building and working hard for the cause of “world class university.”  Time will tell if that really happens.

CHORUS: We build, we build, we build,

We always build for the future of our town.

We work, we work, we work,

With a spirit that nothing can down.

So when strangers come in,

And ask how it is done,

We say: “We’re [Astanians],

And we make our work our fun.”

So we work, we work, we work,

And we build, build, build.

Verse 2

Let us all help to keep our town booming

We will never let it grow dead

We’ll carry on the labours

Of all those who have gone ahead

So when our childrens’ children

Shall pass along this way,

They will all be proud of [Astana]

And this is what they’ll say.


I appreciate the effort that so many Kazakhs are putting into their new capital and especially in the new university in Astana. What an unenviable position to be in if you are at the bottom end of the totem pole in the power structure.  Many of the young people who are wooed into going to cold Astana have hope, drive and vision to make their mark during this pivotal part of Kazakhstan’s history. I wish them well.

All I can say is that my hometown had the same determination to be the Queen City of the Northwest back 100 years ago.  U.S. President Taft came to visit my hometown. Do you think the current US president would ever visit a small town of 8,000 people? Not on your life. Currently I see that the passion is gone, the Old Timers are clinging to their memories of the way things used to be.  Certainly better. I wonder how people in old England see their big or small towns that have been around for 100s and 100s of years?

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