October 31, 2009

When Policeman Meets Chinese Post 90s Fei Zhu Liu

This is an episode from a popular Chengdu (成都) reality-TV program, Tan's Traffic Talk Show (谭谈交通). In the series, a traffic police by the name of Tan, Qiao (谭乔) patrols various streets in Chengdu, Sichuan and lectures people on traffic safety. Some of the encounters are hilarious, including this one.

I translated most of the dialogue into English. In case some culture references are too oblique, they have been marked with asterisks, and explanations are given below the embedded video.

I apologize for the low picture quality. This is the best I can do.

Those who can't access Youtube because of the GFW, here is the vid on Tudou: http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/Ud8AqhU4T_E/

1. Post 90s (90后)
People born within the 1990-1999 time frame.

2. fei zhu liu (非主流)
Alternative, non-mainstream, counter culture.

In China, the term has come to be signify a specific group of people and style (the red-head in the video is an example). They wish to stand out and so adopt a very particular set of dress codes, hair styles, and facial expressions.

3. The part where Tan confused "serpentine" with "pornography":
The young man's mandarin was imperfect. He pronounced "she" like "se"--didn't roll his tongue, and the intonation was off.

4. Chinese Tamale (粽子, or zongzi)
This is a special type of food customarily eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival. Chinese tamale is prepared by stuffing glutinous rice with different fillings and then wrapping everything in bamboo leaves. The shape is also very distinctive, as shown below in the picture (from Wiki). Professionals make their zongzi to be the same size and shape.

4. Dongbang Shinki (东方神起, 동방신기)
This is a quintet vocal group from South Korea. Personally I don't think the group is all that great at singing. Their fame is due more to their handsome looks, hormones of their young fans (all mostly female), and of course successful marketing strategies. *Dodge bullets*.

Earlier this year, the group and its Chinese fans were involved in a huge scandal. What happened was that during a concert tour, one guy from the group had to go to the johns. Two of his Chinese fans, who were following him around, also took this opportunity to likewise relieve themselves. Because the man's bathroom broke, he decided to use the female one instead. That's when he saw the two fans, one of whom was pregnant and had a camera. He thought he would be photographed in an indecent pose, so he forcefully wrenched the camera from her. The misunderstanding escalated into a fight, and the woman was pushed unto the ground.

The next day, this irate fan followed Dongbang Shinki to the airport, hit the guy with her bag, and called him "crazy". The commotion was unfortunately recorded and the video uploaded to the internet.

Fans in China who saw this video became furious after watching the pregnant woman mowing down their poor Dongbang Shinki member (sorry I don't remember his name). Besides cursing the woman and the woman's unborn fetus, one fan was so apologetic that she went to a major Korean forum to apologize for bad behavior...on behalf of all Chinese.

Needless to say, this caused huge outcry among Chinese internet users, most of whom felt misrepresented. They were also angry at the fans, who expressed their love for the Korean pop group and their huge disappointment of being Chinese by bad-mouthing Premiere Zhou, one of China's most revered founding fathers. Incidentally, Dongbang Shinki downplayed the bathroom/airport mishap to the point where it seemed to never have happened.

And I wrote all this just to prove one point: in China, Dongbang Shinki's fans have become synonymous with severe mental retardation.

I wonder if Policeman Tan knew about this.

5. Dongfa Bubai (东方不败)

Straight from wiki

Dongfang Bubai (pinyin: Dōng Fāng Bù Baì; Jyutping: Dung1 Fong1 Bat1 Baai6) is a character from Louis Cha's Kungfu novel The Smiling, Proud Wanderer (笑傲江湖). His name literally means "Invincible East". He is the leader of the Sun Moon Holy Sect (日月神教). He castrated himself in order to learn the skills within the Sunflower Manual (葵花宝典) and becomes a powerful, if not, invincible martial artist in the novel with few being able to match him. His castration and prowess in martial arts makes him one of the most memorable and classic characters in Louis Cha's Wuxia novels and his name has become synonymous with homosexuality and sexual perversion.

6. Hua Mulan and the Ballad of Mulan
Remember the Disney animation Mulan and Mulan II? They are based on the Ballad of Mulan and tell the story of a young lady who out of filial piety decided to disguise as a man and joined an all-male army, so that her father who was drafted didn't have to go. The story has it that none of the fighters around her realized she was female.

1 comment:

Veggie Discourse - Blogged