September 29, 2009

Incredible Ballpoint Pen Drawings

By some unnamed, but talented, Chinese artist. Too bad his/her handwriting is not as good-looking.


September 28, 2009

Golden Crow -- Ye Who Irritated the Most Chinese Netizens

I have been informed by friends that the annual Golden Crow (Chinese: 金乌鸦, jinwuya) has already begun. Right now it's still in the campaigning phase...the most entertaining phase in my mind. Voting will begin, what, next month?

Tianya forum, which hosts and sponsors this event, likes to compare the award to the Golden Raspberry, but I rather think that the Golden Crow is funnier, more democratic, and shows off more talent (Chinese: 油菜花). Why? Because the whole process, from nomination to voting to the final "award ceremony," is entirely grassroot and spontaneous. Netizens have to campaign long and hard for their "favorite" celebrity to get this dubious honor and, along the way, generate countless satirical proses, poems, and pictures.

For me, the Golden Crow best exemplifies the kuso spirit (definition of kuso here), which has become an inseparable part of Chinese internet culture, mercilessly poking fun at the absurd, the outrageous, and the disgusting.

Here are some of this year's pictures, some funny, some mean, and some astonishingly well drawn. Proses will come later...or not at all....

1. Vivibear

Caption (not accurate):
The heavy-duty military aircraft among all plagiarists.

Campaigning Pitch:
1. Plagiarized >500 authors. Refuses to apologize. Continue to plagiarize even now.

2. Said her friend Li Xin (another romance fiction author) writes only trash, then turned around and plagiarized Li Xin. When news of plagiarism came out, she immediately blacklisted Li Xin.  
3. Copied tons of yaoi stories, but tells everybody that yaoi is disgusting.

4. Copied at least 12 elegiac pieces into her novels.

5. Spying on people who are organizing anti-plagiarism activities by pretending to be one of them. Called her fans retards and inmoral

6. Called her fans cheap bitches.
...and the list goes on...

2. Yu Haoming

(The most innocent of all the nominees.)

Campaigning Pitch:
He was just unfortunate enough to accept a role as the most handsome character in the newest TV series.

3. Ceng Yike

Campaigning Pitch:
The girl who sang like a sheep and played guitar equally badly but still got into Top 10 in the Super Girl singing competition, Chinese version of American Idol.

One of her most popular compositions was later exposed for plagiarism. And of course, she said in response: "That lady's song is really like mine. She must be my twin."

Video of her singing:

4. Chen Luyu

Campaigning Pitch:
This lady hosts an Oprah-like show and is being nominated for the "Pretending to be 13" (Chinese: 装13, or 装B) Category.

For a not exact meaning of "Pretending to be 13", refer to Hyacinth Bucket in the British sitcom Keeping Up Appearances (i.e. pretending to be that which she is not; 装13 has the implication that the said person is fake, artificial, affected).

One of the things that might have contributed to people's dislike of her was that during one of the shows, she laughingly asked a driver who hit a pedestrian: "How high did he fly? Did he rotate a few times in the air?"

5. Obasan Xi Men

Campaigning Pitch:
Thinks of herself as a great beauty and insists on taking a lead role in every single Kung Fu movie that ever contained a handsome male main character.

A really elaborate kuso piece.

References & Voting:

Related post(s)
And This Year's Golden Crow Winners Are...

September 27, 2009

Hilarious Taiwanese Liquor Commercial (葡萄冰火)


Woman: I need to tell you something. The Marilyn Monroe mole you love so much? It's fake (flicks the mole off)

Also, you said you are into big boobs? (removes her breasts one by one) Do you still like me?

Man: (not to be outdone, he peels off his wig) Will you still want to go out on dates with me?

Both, either out of disappointment or relief that heavy stones have been lifted off their chests, take another large gulp from the liquor bottles and then fiercely hug each other...


What does this tell us? That alcohol makes the following statement doubly true: "Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder."

Or it makes honest people of us all. Hahaha.

September 26, 2009

Comparison Between Chinese and Western Blogs

Blogspot User Report 9/26/09

I have only been using the Blogger for a few days, but already the experience blows me away, especially when compared to my previous blogging experiences.

My other blogs are all hosted by Chinese internet companies, except for a couple located in MSN Space. Most of them are now abandoned since the updating requires too much work. One is still alive, probably because it is semi-popular and because I have simplified the publishing process to the point where it has become more of a routine than burden.

No matter which Chinese blog service provider is being used, I continue to notice the same issues. So here are some of my itches.

First, none of the Chinese big providers support IFRAME or Javascript. In not doing so, they pretty much castrated the whole creativity process, because customers are limited to the standard templates and layouts. All the customization must be done within the framework the companies offer, which means there is not much customization one can do. By contrast, the Blogger makes the source code of the blog template available--as long as the users have some familiarity with coding, they are free to do whatever. The only limit is set by their own technical expertise.

I don't know whether or not this flexibility is characteristic of all Western companies that offer blog service. If so, then this is more likely a matter of culture differences again. Or differences in company practices.

Second, there seem to be very few, if any, comment filters in Blogspot. On Sina, for example, if I so much as refer to "Sina" in my comment, it will be deleted. If I talk about love for the homeland, it will also be deleted. If my comment unfortunately juxtaposes the character "sun" (Chinese: 日) and "basic" (Chinese: 本), it will be deleted faster than the blink of an eye...apparently, talk about Japan (Chinese: 日本) is not allowed.

What's even more ridiculous is that as of yet, I have not met a company that does not filter out URLs in the comments. Sina does this in its blogs; Baidu follows suit in its forums. Suppose I respond to an article with some relevant link (, within minutes the comments will be sucked into a black hole, never to appear again!

The official reason for this is that the companies do not want rampant advertisements from Chinese who want to promote their side business one way or another. But I suspect there is another reason: they want to hog all the internet traffic and users to themselves. What evidence do I have for this? The obstacles one encounters when one tries to integrate Blog into, for example, an RSS reader that is not by the same company. A smaller Chinese website I sometimes go to carries this to an extreme. On their site, one cannot so much as mention the names of their competitors, because the names (yes there are several competitors, and they are all filtered )will show up as meaningless black squares instead of normal characters.

Third, sensitive topics are not to be discussed or they are severely censored. When the 2008 Olympics was going on, I had a hard time writing my blog in English. It didn't matter what the subject was, even if I were talking about peeling onions, the article would undergo hours of scrutiny before it was published on my blog.

Blogspot is blocked in China, probably because Google does not impose these word and subject filters.

I remember that one of the almost-complaints against Chinasmack is that it never ever discusses politics. Well, one usually acquires the habit of not doing so because of the censorship that is present. I won't talk about politics either--part of the reason is that I am not enthusiastic about the subject; another part is that despite of all the problems, I believe China will become better; what it currently experiences are just growing pains. So what's the use of constant complaints? It becomes old quickly and is not very effective.

Fourth (this is directed towards no one in particular), there are almost no Chinese users on Blogspot now....

September 25, 2009

Standard Self-Aid Procedure for Those Who Help Others

This is a follow-up to the entry from yesterday.

Author: Lin Yi Mu
Translator: PH

(Skit format)

  Everybody, please review with me the steps we should take when helping an old lady stand up:

  1. Contact the relatives and friends of the old lady

  I crouch down: "Hello. Do you still remember your home phone number or your children or friends' cell phone number? I can give them a call and tell them that you are here."

  Old lady trying hard to remember: "Gosh, I feel faint from falling over. I don't recall any numbers."

  ▲▲▲Word of Advice: Contacting family members is the best way to help! If this doesn't work out, proceed to the next step.▲▲▲

  2. Ask for the old lady's name, and for details about her children:

  Me: "Old lady, what is your name?"

  Old Lady: "My last name is Xu. Ouch."

  I take a backward step out of shock:"What? Are you the famous legendary Mrs. Xu!?”

  ▲▲▲Word of advice: If the old lady happens to be Mrs. Xu. Stop here!! Call the police instead▲▲▲

  Old Lady: "No, not Xu2, but Xu3, the character that is used in word "permission'. Groan (the number indicates a different intonation)

  I wipe away cold sweat from my brow: "Oops, sorry, I heard wrong. Old lady, do you have any children? What do they do for a living?"

  Old Lady: "I have a son. He works at the electricity company."

  ▲▲▲Word of advice: If her kids work in police station, court houses, or any government agencies, stop here! Call the police▲▲▲

  Once we have obtained answers to the questions above, and made sure that they are non-threatening, proceed.

  3. I pull out a piece of paper from my backpack, it states

  Consent Form to Accept Help

  My name is XXX,gender(M/F),XX year old,home address XXX. Because I am old, weak in body, and have trouble walking, I accidentally fell down on my own by XXX building on Year XX, Month XX, Day XX, Hour XX Second XX. I could not get back up by myself.

  I would like to accept help from XXX, whatever illness or injury I sustain has nothing to do with XXX. My family and I will take full responsibility for the entire medical bill.

  I hereby certify that the information disclosed herein is true and correct.



  I read the consent form out loud and ask

  "Old lady, after you agree to the terms of this consent form and sign below, I will help you stand up in no time."

  Old Lady: "No problem. Groan. I am willing to sign the form."

  ▲ ▲▲Word of advice: If the old lady refuses to sign, stop here! Call the police instead.▲▲▲

  I give my pen to the old lady, but her right hand shakes too much to hold the pen, let alone sign.

  She cannot sign, does this we should leave her be? No, the selfless person that I am, I have already prepared for all possible scenarios.

  4. I take out a sound recorder from my backpack--

  Me: "Since you cannot sign, would you be willing to recite this declaration and let me record you?"

  Old Lay: "Yes, yes. Groan!"

  I put the legal document in front of the old lady. She begins to read:

  "My name is Mrs. Xu. Female. 65 years of age. I live in XXX residential part of Nanjing city. Because I am old, weak in body, groan, and have trouble walking, groan, I..."

  It is requiring the old lady a lot of effort to read. A middle-aged man on the sidelines said to me: "Young man, I am a lawyer specializing in civil lawsuit. Here is my work ID if you don't believe me. "

  I ask him: "Yes?"

  Lawyer: "The old woman here keeps on groaning out of pain, which means the digital recording will not be valid evidence in court, because the judge might think she is being recorded under duress!"

  I hadn't even thought of this: "Eh..."

  Lawyer: "Young man, we have all witnessed your willingness to help others. But as you see, your plan is not going so well. I suggest that you leave this to the police!"

  Being a nice person, I can't stop here...

  6. I pull out another document amidst gasps of surprise

  Witness Signature Form

  XXX,male,XX years of age,citizen of XX city. On year XXXX, month X, day XX, while walking past XXX Street, XXX saw old man/woman fall down on the ground due to no fault of XXX, and could not stand up.

  XXX have always been glad to lend a helping hand, and would like to extend support to Mr/Mrs. XXX. Because he/she is lying on the ground, he/she is physically unable to sign the consent form to accept aid, or provide her permission via digital recordings.

  In order to reduce Mr/Mrs XXX's pain, and ensure that he/she receives timely help, XXX is willing to take action after obtaining his/her verbal consent, and take Mr./Mrs. XXX to the hospital for medical treatment.

  10 warm-hearted bystanders are willing to serve as witnesses to this whole incident. They hereby confirm that Mr/Mrs. XXX fell down due to no other reason than his/her own, whatever injury or disease he/she sustains has nothing to do with XXX. His/her family will take full responsibility for the entire medical bill.

  The witness signatures are listed below

  Witness 1: Address, workplace, personal ID number, phone number

  Witness 2: Address, workplace, personal ID number, phone number

  Witness 3: Address, workplace, personal ID number, phone number

  Witness 4: Address, workplace, personal ID number, phone number

  Witness 5: Address, workplace, personal ID number, phone number

  Witness 6: Address, workplace, personal ID number, phone number

  Witness 7: Address, workplace, personal ID number, phone number

  Witness 8: Address, workplace, personal ID number, phone number

  Witness 9: Address, workplace, personal ID number, phone number

  Witness 10: Address, workplace, personal ID number, phone number


  ▲▲▲Word of Advice: The witness form must be signed by 10 local residents. Otherwise, call the police!▲▲▲

  I wave this paper towards the bystanders: "I never give up easily. Good citizens of Nanjing, would you be willing to sign this document? In case I do encounter litigation, would you testify for my innocence?"

  The crowd have a little discussion amongst themselves. The middle-aged lawyer is the first one to sign. Following his lead, 9 other witnesses also step forward.

  I am deeply moved, and hot tears well up in my eyes. I thank each one of them, "Thank you! Thank you!" So many great people in Nanjing, to give me help when I most need it.

  The old lady also begins to cry.

  I ask gently: "Old lady, will you now grant me permission to help you?"

  Old lady: "Yes, yes!"

  ▲ ▲▲Word of Advice: We must obtain the old people's permission first before stepping in. Otherwise, stop!▲▲▲

September 24, 2009

80 Year-Old Fell Down, No One Dared to Help

(An old man is lying on the ground. Looker-ons unsure whether they should help)

A post titled "80 Year-Old Man Fell Down on Pavement. If you were at the scene, would you help?" have become popular on several Chinese forums. At first I thought it was similar to the classic case study one learns about in psychology: the woman who was knifed outside of her New York apartment in full view of all her neighbors and bled to death, because no one stepped out to help or call ambulance. However, once I began reading the post, I realized that this is an even more tragic story.

Several newspapers reported on this incident, and since the article is well-written, I am simply translating it (with minimal rearrangements):

Netizens Give Tips on How to Help Others While Protecting Themselves

An old man tripped and fell, should you help him up? Recently, a post titled "Old Man Fell, and No One Dared to Help" appeared on several mainstream websites, and lead to heated discussions among netizens. The number of replies exceeded 20,000 in merely four days.

The Post
A man in Chong Qing city wrote on the popular Kai Di Forum ( that at 8:43AM on September 19, he saw an 80 year-old man lying on the ground, hand and foot twitching if as suffering from epilepsy. Around him stood many people, but nobody stepped up to help; in fact, some even warned other who wanted to help: "Don't. Or you will suffer dire consequences." The photo at the beginning of this blog entry shows the man's prone form.

Don't want to be framed by the relatives as the person who caused the accident
Respecting the elders and caring for the young is one of the traditional moral pillars of the Chinese culture. Then why when this old man fell down, people only looked on? Several netizens referred to the Nanjing Old Lady Xu Lawsuit for reason. One ID "Beng Zhi Han Hao" (Chinese: 嫑只喊呺) sighed, "We would like to help, but we cannot afford the fees that families charge." A different ID "zzlaohu" said something similar: "The court judge in Nanjing city taught me one thing, I need to have at least 45K in my bank account before I consider helping." Yet another ID "ouou723" replied sarcastically:"If Lei Feng were alive today, he probably would be fined until he was bankrupt!" (Note: Lei Feng, a soldier in the People's Liberation army, was lauded by the Chinese government and propaganda for his selflessness and willingess to help out others)

"Handbook for Safety"
In response to the original post Netizen "Lin Yi Mu " wrote a 2000 word article named "Standard Self-Aid Procedure for Those Who Help Others."(Click Here) In this darkly humorous article, he outlines what's called the "Five Standard Steps When Helping an Fallen Old Lady Stand Up," which as experts point out, shows the internal conflict that many people go through--the desire to extend aid versus trying to avoid being framed and extorted by relatives of those whom they help.

In addition to the sarcasm, quite a few replies also expressed the wish to go back to the old days, when people were more innocent and interpersonal relationships more genuine. "Xiao Xiao Mei" said, "As human beings we all should have conscience. I would have definitely lent a hand. But before that I will find a few witnesses or ask others to do it with me. Despite of what a lot of people here say, the majority would not want to stand by idly, because we all have our parents and our grandparents (and want others to do the same for them)."

Lawyer Wang Tian from Guangdong Province believes this post reflects the low level to which the societal morality has sunken. He suggested that before helping, one should call the police and use cell phone camera to either take photos or record conversations of the fallen person to proof his/her innocence, as needed.

Nanjing Old Lady Incident
According to Nanjing citizen Mrs. Xu Shou Lan, in the morning of November 20, 2006, she was waiting at a city bus stop. While she was there, Mr. Peng Yu pushed her over in the process of getting off the bus. Mr. Peng Yu, however, has a different story. He claims that when he saw Mrs. Xu on the ground, he stopped to help her up, and tried to wait for the Xu relatives to arrive. He went even as far as sending her to the hospital and paid a deposit of 200 Yuan for her medical bills.

January 4 of next year, Mrs. Xu sued Mr. Peng Yu and took him to court. The court found Mr. Peng guilty and demanded that Mr. Peng pay a sum of 45875.36 Yuan as indemnity. The particular line of reasoning this judged used was as follows: "If Peng Yu was not the culprit, then why would he stop to help? Why would he take her to the hospital?" (Note: Mr. Peng supposedly had witnesses but he still lost)

September 13, 2009

Chinese Culture Specific Terminology


  • Concerned Department (department in charge) (Chinese:有关部门 Pinyin: yǒu​ guān​ bù ​mén​​)
Current Meaning: This is one of the most mysterious departments to ever exist in Chinese politics. To avoid pointing fingers, many Chinese news reports will replace the specific ministry/bureaus name with "yǒu​ guān​ bù ​mén​​." So when citizens do have complaints, they never know which government agency to contact.

  • gunmen (Chinese: 枪手; Pinyin: qiāng shǒu​)
Current Meaning: The term has many meanings.
1. Someone who is hired secretly to write under the name of a more famous author.

2. Netizens who praise or denigrate another out of some ulterior move--such as money--while pretending they don't have any special interest at all
  • JP (pinyin abbreviation for ji pin Chinese: 极品)
"Ji pin" literally means "highest grade or quality." However, nowadays it is mostly used to describe people or deeds that are base/low/sordid/bad to an extreme.
  • lei (Chinese: 雷)
Literally means being struck by thunder or accidentally stepping on a mine. People use it to express their shock and [typically] disapproval.
  • MM (abbr for 1美眉 and sometimes 2妹妹; Pinyin: 1 měi méi, 2 mèi mèi )
Current Meaning: 1. Beautiful young girl; 2. sister (as in girlfriend)

  • SB or 傻逼 or 傻屄 (Pinyin: shǎ bī)
Current Meaning: It means stupid person but the manner of expression is dirtier and more crude, i.e. it literally means "stupid cunt"

  • tofu-dreg project (Chinese: 豆腐渣; Pinyin: Dòu Fu Zhā)
Origin: Dreg leftover after making tofu. High in fiber content.
Current Meaning: Used in mainland to refer to poorly constructed buildings, especially cases in which the contractors skimp on construction materials in order to pocket the saved money.

  • 小三 or 小3 (Pinyin: xiǎo sān)
Current Meaning: It literally means "little 3" and is derived from the word "third party," i.e. someone who intrudes on and often breaks up a marriage. The term has come to signify in China an ever expanding group of women, typically young, who latch onto older married men that already have money and status in the society.

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