“中国之最” by 徐子巍 and 姚贝娜

徐子巍 and 姚贝娜 are incredible vocalists. I love their voices. Great looking duo too. Here, they sing “中国之最,” about various geographies making China special. How about that? China is able to cherish such things; why won’t the West reach within and find few things to celebrate? To me, this is a big cultural difference.


(tudou.com version)

15 thoughts on ““中国之最” by 徐子巍 and 姚贝娜

  1. I don’t think that this big cultural difference really exists.

    If you watched national television of a Western country, you would probably find regular shows with local folk-pop music celebrating landscapes, seasons, places etc. in any country. Of course, mostly in the local language.

    Such music only very rarely becomes a ‘big hit’ (let alone an international one). Spontaneously, ‘This land is your land’ is the only one I can remember. But it exists, and it finds quite some audience.

    However (at least here in Europe) the audience of folk-pop music is usually to some degree disjoint from the audience of the WWW. This might contribute to your impression that music cherishing local geographies does not exist in the West.

    I agree btw. that the singers look and sound great, but I could not ‘connect’ to the music. (But then, I can’t ‘connect’ to Western folk-pop music either …)

  2. @nic

    Fair comments.

    Please give me some time to make a post about this “cultural difference.” You are right, this music video alone is not the right place to offer up that kind of opinion. Silly on my part.

  3. Micheal Jackson was not Chinese, but he is known around the world. It is a question of universal appeal. He made music that everyone could understand. Americans cherish the same things Chinese people do. It just happens that through American music these sentiments are expressed universally whereas in China these sentiments are expressed for the Chinese audience only.

    China chose for many years to isolate itself from the world at large, so the world forgot about the culture and the country. The West has always taken a more proactive role on the world stage. You reap what you sew. If you watch a lot of Sci Fi films, they tend to predict that Chinese, or at least Asian culture will dominate the future of mankind. We shall see. I do hope that there will be a balance between cultures, because I don’t want to see Jazz or the Blues disappear in favor of KTV.

    I always like to remind people that I like to form my opinions based on experience rather than hearsay or philosophizing. I worked as a musician for many years. I think that I therefore have some credibility to talk about music rather than that armchair philosophers that abound in threads like this. Do something, tell me what you did and what you think, and I might just take you at your word.

    Read a bunch of philosophers, and spew a bunch of rubbish, whilst sitting at home and I’ll tend to disbelieve your propositions. The so-called philosophers here will dismiss that as specious as they’ve obtained some knowledge about life whilst sitting on their asses and conjecturing. Let them. But, don’t believe them. Don’t listen to self-proclaimed prophets and and intellectuals. The fact of the matter is that the true intellectual thinks for himself, not for another. Think, think, think and then think again. No matter how many words people seem to string together to blind you with what they perceive as wisdom, stop and think.

  4. Gosh…I just watched that video and it i as I suspected. I can’t imagine anyone who is Chinese enjoying that song. It’s nationalistic and quite bland musically, conforming to a rather proscribed formula reserved for such nationalistic songs. I recommend that you all check out some B.B. King, Charlie Parker and John Coltraine and decide for yourselves if that doesn’t have a sort of more universal appeal that reaches out to humanity at large rather than preaching to the converted, as we say in English.

    And if yinyang wants to talk about Dili, or geography, I suggest he checks out ‘Route 66’ by Nat King Cole and ‘I’ve Been Everywhere’ as sung by Johnny Cash, preferably. Lots of singing about places, and with such a beat and feeling that it’ll knock your socks off.

  5. “The West has always taken a more proactive role on the world stage. You reap what you sew.”

    Egotistical paranoia is more like it.

    “Proactively” putting the world in colonialism to ensure Western dominance is hardly merely “proactive”.

    You might as well call Hitler as being “proactive”.

  6. Charlie – what would you say about the American National Anthem, and it being played right before all the major sporting events across America? How would you criticize it as compared to this song.

    America trashed Michael Jackson. A huge number of American media made him out to be a freak. America failed to embrace him because he is Black.

    I am poking fun at how retarded your comments are.

  7. @raventhorn2000
    Yep, raventhorn. We can certainly see the lack of egotistical, paranoiac behavior in those Eastern leaders who erect statues of themselves and require portraits of themselves to be hung in businesses and homes such as Chairman Mao and Kim Jong Il. Pure Eastern humility. Egotistical paranoia? Dictators cornered that market long ago. With that said, those two personality traits are universally distributed. It’s just that they are laid on a bit more heavy in countries where power was taken rather than given. In the West it’s much more subtle.

  8. @YinYang
    Go and ‘poke fun’, raventhorn. I enjoy it. I am not a patriot. The American national anthem fills me with inertia. Why they chose a song that almost nobody can sing, I’ll never know. I don’t like nationalism nor flags, but that’s just me. When I hear that song I feel nothing. I do like a lot of traditional Chinese music with Chinese zither, flute and pipa. I just don’t like the nationalistic crap. It’s too contrived and usually seems to be written with the intention of creating an artificial sense of community rather than trying to reach people at the core of what it is to be human. I live near a police college and every morning they play a sort of military march at about six a.m and it drives me nuts. I can’t see the value of that sort of music.

    Michael Jackson is revered around the world for his contributions to music and dance. America embraced him for that, but criticized him for seeming to despise his own blackness. The Americans I know thought he was a handsome, young black man, but suffered from some insecurities based in part on the alleged brutality of his father, and the pressures of being a child star. This, combined with racism, led him to try to transform himself. He claims that the change in the color of his skin was due to a medical condition, but that does not explain how the shape of his nose, lips and cheekbones changed. Believe it or not there is also racism in China. I’ve experienced it first hand, though you don’t have to believe me. With that said, America is still very good at being racist, by which I mean the U.S. suffers from it daily.

    I’m from America, and by and large, American’s loved Michael Jackson, and forgave him his foibles as he brought so much joy into our lives. It is the British that mocked him in the press with the name, ‘Wacko Jacko’. You probably didn’t know that but that’s why I’m hear to educate you. Most American’s of my generation grew up listening to Michael Jackson and his music is part of the soundtrack of our lives. With that said, I don’t cry when wealthy pop stars die, unless they are my friend or relative.

    Many childhood stars meet tragic ends. This is why many of us believe that we should allow children to be children. The one-child policy in China has led to some similar dilemmas as all the hopes and dreams of a family are placed on one child. That’s a lot of pressure. Some will agree and others will not. That’s why we discuss things in an attempt to arrive at the truth. Many people think the key to success for themselves and or their nations is to obfuscate the truth. I think that seems to be in line with the concept of an elite group ruling the masses. I’m dead set against it. Wikileaks rules.

  9. @Charlie

    I will give you points for honesty about your views.

    BUT, you are not being focused and you are completely disorganized.

    You criticized the above song in this post:

    It’s nationalistic and quite bland musically, conforming to a rather proscribed formula reserved for such nationalistic songs.

    I asked you about the American national anthem, to which you replied:

    I am not a patriot. The American national anthem fills me with inertia. Why they chose a song that almost nobody can sing, I’ll never know. I don’t like nationalism nor flags, but that’s just me.

    You still don’t get your own hipocrisy do you? Given the American national anthem is played every day in sporting events, and given your need to criticize this particular song for “nationalistic”, I thought maybe you’d scream hell at the anthem. Perhaps you’d be the leader of the anti-anthem movement.

    I just don’t like the nationalistic crap.

    Do you understand my point?

    It’s too contrived and usually seems to be written with the intention of creating an artificial sense of community rather than trying to reach people at the core of what it is to be human. I live near a police college and every morning they play a sort of military march at about six a.m and it drives me nuts. I can’t see the value of that sort of music.

    To be human is to respect others views and tastes. You have utterly failed to be “human.”

    Anyways, I thought you were at least a bit more sober today. Wake up from your hipocrisy and you will begin to understand this world better.

  10. @YinYang

    yinyang that is about the biggest non-argument I’ve seen here. I was ‘screaming hell at the anthem’ as you rather clumsily put it. You’ve accused a human of failing to be human. Woof woof. In fact I understand all of your points and utterly disagree with most of them. The fact that you can not handle that is neither here nor there for me. It does say something about your ability to apply reason to a discussion.

    By disagreeing with your taste in a bland song I find nothing that suggests any disorganization of thought on my part. I told you what I feel about the American national anthem as well as all national anthems. I don’t watch sports, so what nationalists do at sporting events is of no interest to me. The points I raised should have suggested to you that I am not the sort of person who believes in singing national anthems anywhere at any time.

    You must think I am very powerful as you blame me for the American anthem being sung at sporting events. Thanks for the compliment, but it’s nothing to do with me. As a schoolchild, I refused to say the American ‘Pledge of Allegiance’ and when my parents dragged me to church, I refused to mimic the priest and repeat what we were supposed to. In fact, you’ll find that I am very much a human, as I don’t ape what others do but choose my own path. I’m more human than you can imagine.

    I’m sure you’re proud when your country wins gold medals while I don’t care if my country does or does not. I am anti-anthem and never sing the anthem of my nation, but you can’t see that because you’re feeling a bit nationalistic. To me that is a major weakness, especially for people professing to be philosophers and intellectuals. Nationalism is like supporting a football team because you happen to live in a certain city.

    You have to take a deep breath, and start again. I do not deal in borders and ideologies. I deal in people, although according to you I can’t count myself as a person. When you were appointed as the commissar for determining what it is to be human I must have been absent. This entire website is based on criticism, which is a healthy activity if people can keep there heads. If you can’t take criticism, you ought to probably not put your opinions on the web.

    I respect all opinions when those with said opinions are respectable. When they advocate dominating the supposed foolish masses for the benefit of an imaginary elite, I express my opinions. I have friends who are far more evil than you, but we get along because they don’t resort to insults. We just disagree and laugh, and hope that we can win each other over to our respective sides. I want you to remind everyone that you meet that you met a human who was not a human because he disagreed with you. See what rational folk think of that opinion, and hope that they don’t call the men in the white suits to take you away.

    As I said to whooper in an email exchange, enjoy your anger. It is not abnormal. Intellectuals and philosophers are not immune to emotions. Enjoy it, and learn to harness it so you can come up with better arguments rather than engage in personal attacks and meaningless diatribes. Have a wonderful, human day.

  11. Charlie,

    Paranoia is Western in your own systems. You don’t even trust your own elected leaders.

    Why? Do you fear that they will be just as bad as your average citizens, and do things that you think about doing all the time?

    I mean, seriously, you don’t trust your own leaders, you don’t trust yourselves, and you don’t even trust your systems.

    Why should you? Afterall, you still have Native people on reservations (or whatever else you call them), in poverty and neglect.

    And you have leaders like Bush with his open challenges of “with us or against us”.

    No doubt you would see Mao and Kim as “paranoid”. I just think they had to deal with the West a little too long.

    Speak of dictators, who did the world have to thank for the biggest maniacs in the 20th century? Hitler and Stalin?

    Europe.

    You want egotistical paranoia? Look forward to the anarchists in Europe, i.e. Greece, Italy, Spain, France, etc. when their economies go down further.

    *Yeah, there will be a few crazy’s coming out of the “East”. But you lot in the West?

    The reason you have “democrazy” is because you are in the majority paranoid.

  12. Charlie,

    Your personal rants are going way beyond the topic here.

    Practice some self-discipline for once. You are running your big mouth like Sarah Palin, that’s quite trollish.

    And stop with your ridiculous self-victimization bit.

    “You must think I am very powerful as you blame me for the American anthem being sung at sporting events.”???

    “You have to take a deep breath, and start again.”???

    Yeah, you are a troll. Because you grunt like a troll.

  13. Charlie,

    “You must think I am very powerful as you blame me for the American anthem being sung at sporting events. Thanks for the compliment, but it’s nothing to do with me.”

    Ridiculous exceptionalism (and very typical American).

    You brought up the issue of national anthems, and now you take exception to the counterargument?

    Yes, you have to answer for the American anthem being sung at sporting events, because it is YOUR national anthem, your political system.

    If not, then let’s just say that you don’t have any political/cultural values to contribute to the current discussion. (Because frankly, you run away with your exceptionalism, every time you don’t want to defend your own arguments).

  14. Raventhorn. I do not think my country is in any way more exceptional than other. I look to all countries and cultures for their particular contributions to mankind and society at large. Black Americans came up with the Blues and Jazz, which we like to call America’s classical music. China came up with Taoism, paper, gunpowder…well there are too many contributions to list here. French wine…brilliant. Spanish guitars…fantastic. Italian shoes…happening, man.

    You are right when you say I don’t have any political nor cultural values. I am what you all rail against. I am an individualist. But if you don’t include the individualist in your discussions, then you admit that you cannot argue against the individualist. I am an anti-patriot, anti-nationalist and anti-political system. I don’t have to answer for something I do not participate in.

    What do you know about me and my participation in the American political system. You know nothing about this and therefore are fumbling about in the dark. You believe because I was born in a particular country I am responsible for what that country does? That argument is beyond anti-intellectual. That is just purely nonsensical. I do appreciate all of your small-mouth non-Sarah Palin type accusations, and non-rants. I find them most instructive if not constructive.

    As far as Raventhorn’s comments about paranoia and my own Western systems, I must remind you that I left that all behind. Of course I don’t trust the leaders of the U.S. I’ll give you a few slogans that came out of the 1960’s that I tend to live by. “Never trust anyone over 30.” That includes me. “Question authority.” Lastly, “Never trust anyone wearing a suit.” As I’ve traveled the world I’ve found that these simple words of advice can be pretty universally applied East, West, North and South. Old men with authority wearing suits send young men to kill each other. It’s a nasty business that is as old as human history.

    I did not vote for George Bush nor McCain and Palin. And yet you blame me for there ascendancy? Again I say you must think I’m very powerful if I am to blame for all of the ills in America. I fought against those people, and yet I am to blame for their success. You cannot reasonably blame an individual for the ills of their nation of birth. There are people in every country that oppose their governments but fail to stop the government from committing crimes against humanity. Nonetheless, we try, and we fight for what we perceive to be the greater good. If we fail in our endeavors, it is nonsensical to say that we contributed to the injustice that has been perpetrated. It’s like in school when your teachers give you an ‘A’ for effort.

    I don’t blame any individual for failing to stop their government from doing horrible things. I blame the government that did the horrible things. You’re on the thin ice that allows judges around the world that the rape victim is guilty as she wore suggestive clothing. If she hadn’t worn that mini-skirt, the man would not have been tempted and therefore she would not have been raped. That’s another nonsensical argument. The perpetrator of the crime is the guilty one. If a country fails to stop it’s leaders from perpetrating crimes, it is a shame. However, how many nations are prepared to sacrifice their contentment and even their lives to stand in the way of the juggernaut of the well-entrenched elite rulers. Think about 1989 in Beijing and the young man standing in front of a tank to halt it’s progress. That is a truly rare scenario, and awe-inspiring, though virtually unfamiliar to the current generation in the PRC. That kid had balls, unlike a lot of folks who hide behind pseudonyms on the web, for example.

  15. @raventhorn2000
    By the way, raventhorn, Hitler killed and Stalin killed my people. I’m a German-Russian, Jewish American. Thanks for your insight into who you imagined I am. Imagination can be a powerful tool when correctly applied. In your case, it’s just a bit of a vulgar insult to my people and the memory of many millions of dead people. Good one.

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