O Sole mio – or who can stop the sun?

Shenzhen buses have televisions that broadcast flash cartoon versions of popular skits (小品). Two days ago, Yang Qian and I saw Pan Changjiang and Wang Ping’s skit “O Sole Mio (我的太阳-regular performance)”.

The skit quit obviously spoofs blind infatuation with high western culture. Pan Changjiang plays “Pavaroti’s student’s student’s student’s student” whose English name is derived from his teacher’s teacher’s teacher’s teacher’s name” – hence 帕瓦罗蒂’s student’s student’s student’s student’s English name is 帕瓦罗锅 or “Pava Hunchback”.

Hunchback comes dressed in a tux to sing “O Sole Mio” to a Chinese audience. His accompanist, 二锅头 (played by Wang Ping, the “guo” in liquor picks up the “guo” in Hunchback) is dressed in a grey scholar’s robe. The differences between the two includes hairstyle. Hunchback frequently finger-combs his shoulder length, while Wang Ping’s short hair is neatly brushed away from his face in the style of middle management and party leaders.

Hunchback and Liquor quite literally can’t get on the same page. Hunchback keeps trying to sing “My Sun” – “His Sun” – “No, My Sun” – “Your Sun” – yes, shades of “Who’s on First”.  Then, Wang Ping keeps playing a song I don’t recognize but includes the lines “The stars are still those stars…” The reason? When it’s sunny in “your” Italy, it’s starry in “our” China. Hunchback insists that it’s already today, so Liquor packs up to leave. Work is over.

A bribe of water (“It’s actually water!?”) later and Liquor starts playing the trumpet. He begins with O Sole Mio and then goes through a variety of songs. At each change in tempo, Hunchback follows with the appropriate dance or song. Any thinking that Hunchback does is always of the “Wait a minute” variety as he tries to keep up with the curveballs that Liquor keeps throwing.

This skit prompted a discussion about “The top has directives and the bottem has countermeasures (上有政策,下有对策)”. There’s never direct confrontation, but constant unending non-cooperation in the most obsequesiouly annoying manner possible.

Which in turn prompted another joke (loosely translated):

Reporters asked Pukin, what  should be done about Bin Laden? –Blast him away with bombs.

They asked Bush — Deploy Israeli forces to destroy him.

Then, they asked Jiang Zemin who said — Why use such complicated measures? Send the “Three Representatives” to annoy him to death. heh!

As friends constantly remind me – no one has it easy (谁也不简单)!

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 a cane). the comic 赵本山‘s portrayal of a con artist who traded a cane for a bicycle by convincing his mark that he couldn’t walk, let alone ride a bicycle spoofed snake oil salesmen and gullible health nuts alike. the satire also established huyou‘s moral ambiguity; it’s not right to sell snake oil, but if the mark is so willing to buy . . . here note the characterization of 百姓 (the people/comman man).


the biggest training ground for assasins: driving school;  the biggest training ground for unemployment: high school;  the biggest training ground for prostitutes: art school;  the biggest training ground for hooligans: police school;  the biggest training ground for corruption: party school.


when a country huyous another country, it’s called foreign affairs; when a government huyous the people, it’s called policy; when the people huyou the country, it’s called crime; when a leader huyou‘s the common man, it called an appeal; when the common man huyou‘s a leader, it’s called stirring up trouble; when a leader huyou‘s another leader, it’s called exchange; when the common man huyou‘s another common man, it’s called business; when parents huyou a child, it’s called education; when a child huyous her parents, it’s called lying; when a man huyous a woman, its called flirting; when a woman huyous a man, it’s called seduction; when a man and woman huyou each other, it’s called love; when i huyou, it’s called a blessing; the friends who huyou me are happy everyday. friend, be happy.