80s nostalgia

More text message fun; this time 80s nostalgia We miss the 80s, when medicine still cured illnesses; doctors took care of the sick and dying; people wore clothing for photographs; borrowed money was returned; you didn’t need a paternity test to know who the child’s father was; schools weren’t money making enterprises; being sick was…

Life lessons

Chinese politics confound me because they seem complicated and redundant. Fortunately, text messages simplify the problem. Of interest is the way that “family” operates as a metaphor to explain and justify power relationships. Actual job descriptions follow translation: 小姑娘看报,问妈妈:什么是党委,妈妈:党委就是你爸,整天不干活还老骂人。小姑娘又问:政府呢?妈妈:政府就是你妈,整天干活还被你爸骂。人大呢?人大就是你爷爷,名义是一家之主,但整天提着个鸟笼子,啥事不管。小姑娘又问:政协呢?妈妈:政协就是你奶奶,整天叨唠,但没人听她的。小姑娘还问:什么是团委?妈妈:团委就是你哥,整天在外瞎折腾,啥忙都帮不了,小姑娘最后问:什么是纪委?妈妈:纪委就是你,名义上是监督父母的,但是吃父母的,穿父母的,受父母领导,关键是还整天问这问那。 Reading the newspaper, a little girl asked her mother, “What’s the Party Committee?” Mom answered, “The…

revenge of the grandparents

Grandparents do the work of raising the next generation. Here’s a joke making the rounds. Go granny go! 「喂!現在我們不在家,請在聽到「嗶」聲後留言……… “Good morning. . . . At present we are not at home but, please leave a message after the beep……… 嗶… beeeeeppp … 如果你是我的兒子之一,先按1,再依照你打電話的目的,擇1到8; If you are one of our children, press 1 and then select…

why text messages?

As the Christmas decorations have been quickly swept away, Shenzhen has entered Chinese New Year mode. Rabbits are popping up everywhere and every type of text message from year in review to greetings are already circulating. On this blog, I have translated text messages because they provide insight into what my Chinese friends feel is…

snide year’s greetings

it’s that time of year when the snide texts fly… this last one, summarizes thirty years of reform and opening not with a bang, but whimper whimper sigh… 新华社发布最新统计数据:三十年来,升值最快地是住房、墓地、乌纱、古玩和公务员;贬值最快地是职称、文凭、道德、诚信和人民币,惟有友情最保值。民族也日趋增多,新增了月光族、打工族、肯老组、蜗居族、蚁族、骗族、隐婚族、闪婚族、傍官族、小三族、还贷族等!奴隶制有复苏苗头,房奴、车奴、卡奴等已出现。 《最新幸福指数》 家里每人病;牢里没亲人;外头没仇人;圈里没小人;看似没情人! Xinhua Press has released the latest statistics: these past thirty years, housing, graves, bureaucratic positions, antiques, and functionaries have seen the fastest rise in…

more global fun

125thst Originally uploaded by maryannodonnell have recently received the following message, both on phone and in email, so clearly it’s making the rounds. enjoy this take on national psychologies / international relations. note that the character “人” following a country (as in America people) signifies both people as individuals and people as a national group.…

low carbon lifestyles…

the current dearth of sexts hasn’t stopped chinese text message snark. the latest mocks poverty and environmentalism: 现在无房无车无妹子的三无宅男,有了一个新称号——低碳哥。 there’s a new nickname for men without a house, a car and a girl — low-carbon bro. of note, the “three withouts” in this message are possessions – a house, a car, and a girl. once upon…

three more text messages

Recent text messages on gaokao blues, the meaning of life, and lived common sense. 高考失意?前途渺茫?[出国通]帮你上加南大名校(免英语),更有机会拿绿卡!6月20日下午两点半招生面试,电话:XXXXX Gaokao got you down? Future prospects uncertain? [Go abroad connections] will help you get into a famous Canadian University (no English necessary), and have a better chance for a green card! Student interviews on July 20 at 2:30, tel: XXXXX…

taxing fun with (yes!) cell phones…

One of the events being promoted by the Shenzhen Bureau of Taxation is citizen participation in the 3rd National Tax Collection Text Message Publicity Contest (第三届全国税收宣传短信大赛). I hadn’t realized that the first and second contests had come and gone, but the current contest is open until June 30, 2009. The particularly ambitious can also compete…

text message education

the following two text messages recently popped up. they play with two core chinese values – education and proper social relationships. the humor in the first is self-explanatory. in the second, the humor hinges on the multiple meanings of 忽悠 (huyou), a northeastern expression that was introduced into national discourse through the skit, 卖拐 (selling…