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Exploring the feelings behind the worldview theme--another project WORLDVIEW  theme song... 

song for theme #22B: Imperialism

“The Man Who Would Be King” by Stephen P. Cook

to be sung to the tune of “Pinball Wizard” by Pete Townshend / The Who


Born in British India1

Got English schooling

Grew up loving the empire

“God save the king!” he’d sing


Joseph Conrad2 wrote of him

So did Mister Kipling3

Adventurer Jim Brooke4

The man who would be king!


Bought a massive warship

And sailed it to Kuching5

Helped the Malay ruler

Put down rebel uprising


The sultan kept his promise

Giving daughter for a fling

And making him rajah

The man who would be king!


He’s an ethnocentrist6

There trying to do good

With an ethnocentrist’s

Plan for their livelihood!



Does he really help them?

I can’t say!

Does he do them good?


He puts a stop to pirates

And ends head-hunting

Stops intertribal warfare

Causes bad guys to take wing


He writes laws and brings justice

Slavery ends with freedom’s ring

He’s moderate, accepted

The man who would be king!


You’d think England would be his big fan

But some there made his life tougher—poor man!


Self serving foreign ruler?

That charge you can’t bring!

He spent his own fortune

To help Malays do their thing


His nephew followed him

Decades more of ruling

Good Rajah of Sarawak

The man who would be king!



1—Throughout the 19th century until 1947, India was the crown jewel in the huge British Empire.

2—Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) novelist who wrote Lord Jim, inspired by the real life story of Jim Brooke.

3—Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) British writer was put down for his cheerleader support of imperialism.

4— Jim Brooke (1803-1868) is the man whose exploits in the Malay Archipelago this song celebrates.

5—a city in Malaysia (once referred to as Sarawak) on the island of Borneo

6— Ethnocentrists believe their society’s values and way of living are superior and use them for evaluating the social practices,

      customs, beliefs, etc. of other cultures, often failing to appreciate that culture. 

Comment: Those who value this theme may possess an attitude associated with ethnocentrism: a condescending, “we know best” feeling of superiority of their cultures over the ones in the less developed world.   

                        back to theme #22B

the above song is part of The Worldview Theme Song Book: Exploring the Feelings Behind Worldviews--click here for more information

Musicians--We'd love it if you perform this song!  Please contact us!