My teachers recently shared these jokes in class.
(1) A terrorist from the Middle East comes to China and wants to blow up a city. First he goes to Beijing, but after seeing all the culture and history he decides it would be a shame to destroy it, so he doesn’t blow up Beijing. Then he goes to Guangzhou, but after seeing all the international investment he decides it would be unwise to make all the Western countries angry, so he doesn’t blow up Guangzhou. Finally he comes to Tianjin, but after looking around he decides he’s arrived too late – it’s already a pile of rubble and chaos!
I thought that was a little harsh on Tianjin, but I didn’t make it up, and apparently making fun of Tianjin is something they do occasionally in Beijing. And I don’t know what kind of terrorists care so much about history and culture and not making Western nations angry, but anyway. The next joke uses some Chinese.
(2) University students make word plays on an advertising slogan for bottled water to express the despair they feel toward their lack of future job prospects. I’ll write them vertical so you can see the changes in the characters and the tones. Original first, despairing students’ version underneath:
Nóng fū shān quán，yǒu diǎn tián!
Nóng fù, shān quán, yǒu diǎn tián!
Nongfu Mountain Spring, a little sweet!
Peasant woman, mountain spring, a little field!
The idea being that since job prospects are so bad for graduates, they may as well give up their dreams, go to the countryside, marry a peasant girl, and farm a little plot of land. That might not sound so bad to some of you, but remember there are reasons millions of rural Chinese migrate out of the countryside and choose backbreaking labour in the cities over what they’re leaving behind.
Here’s two photos from this week. I got stuck in the mother of all rainstorms with two friends on the way to a majiang (麻将) party Sunday evening. The sky in one direction was black like the end of the world and the rain was blowing up our rain ponchos. Of course you can’t get a taxi in that kind of weather, so after standing on the edge of a major intersection in a brown river waving my arms around for fifteen minutes (their idea), we gave up. They went home, and I went on to lose a lot at majiang. The photo’s from when I arrived.
Last night we had dinner in a restaurant with friends before the weekly dancing, and that night every table got a free plate of duck feet! Jessica long ago quit being intimidated by such things, and didn’t hesitate to give them a shot.
Today the spring semester ended. Monday we start the summer semester. My teacher and I devised a special Mandarin Boot Camp daily regimen for the summer that should hopefully help me retain the vocab, grammar, and characters better.