Hidden Harmonies China Blog
As China Re-Awakens, Finding New Harmonies in a Brave New World...
August 29, 2011 by Black Pheonix 15 Comments
August 29, 2011 at 9:11 am
Alright, I declare myself a Chinese “Artist”.
Charles Liu says
August 29, 2011 at 10:23 am
Dude for “artist” creds you need an awsome middle finger in there somewhere. Young’uns nowadays don’t know who Pac-Man is.
August 29, 2011 at 10:33 am
If they don’t know Pac-Man, then I doubt they would understand the references above.
Even for the Sino-phile-phobes, I doubt they understand the 1st set of characters and what they mean.
(Even if they manage to translate the 1st set of characters, they might only guess the superficial meaning, and don’t see the underlying 2ndary word-play meaning. I’m certainly not going to explain it to them here).
Let’s see how long they can scratch their heads and figure it out!
August 31, 2011 at 6:09 am
I’ll give another day or so for the guesses in the meanings of the 1st line.
Sweet & Sour Socialism says
August 31, 2011 at 5:31 pm
You want people to try to guess the meaning here in the comments? I could try.
August 31, 2011 at 6:38 pm
Give your shot.
August 31, 2011 at 6:46 pm
Ｔｈｅ ｍａｉｎ ｉｄｅａ Ｉ ｇｏｔ ｒｅａｄｉｎｇ ｔｈｅ ｆｉｒｓｔ ｌｉｎｅ ｉｓ ｔｈａｔ ｕ ａｒｅ ｐｌａｙｉｎｇ ｗｉｔｈ ｔｈｅ ｗｏｒｄｓ 殖民地 ｏｒ 殖民主义．．．ｉｓ ｉｔ ｔｈａｔ？
August 31, 2011 at 8:14 pm
The first line might mean — Democracy, but not “implanted” democracy. The second line, harmony, not harmony defined by US.
C. Custer can translate better. He lives in China 🙂
August 31, 2011 at 8:20 pm
I think Raventhorn was mostly referring to the first line…And yes, it’s my idea also that he’s playing with the concept of 殖民主义 (colonialism) and 殖民地 （colony)…like saying “democracy” not “colonial/implanted-democracy”…
September 1, 2011 at 5:24 am
Yes, I think it’s been said already. Literally, “Democracy, not colonialism”. A more nuanced translation could be “[Native / People’s] Democracy, not [Colonial-style / alien] Pseudo-Democracy”
You guys got the 1st connotation in the 1st line, but there is 2nd connotation in the 1st line.
September 1, 2011 at 5:53 am
“‘Democracy’ won’t breed democracy”? Meaning Western-style “democracy” can’t be transplanted, as it’s not really democracy in the first place?
September 1, 2011 at 6:13 am
@Sweet & Sour Socialism
No. keep trying.
September 1, 2011 at 6:45 am
OK, the answer for the 2nd connotation in the 1st line:
殖 when used in 殖民主义, is pronounced as “Zhi”, which means, “to transplant”, meaning “colonialism”.
However, 殖 has a 2ndary context and pronounciation (not often used in Chinese), “Shi”, used in 骨殖 (gǔshi), meaning 尸骨 (corpse and skeleton).
Thus, 殖-民主, pronounced “Shi – Min Zhu”, would mean “Skeleton – Democracy”, or corpse-democracy, or dead/decaying democracy.
It plays on the double meaning that 殖-民主 would also mean a transplanted Democracy is not a viable democracy, but a dead democracy.
September 1, 2011 at 6:53 am
As for the 2nd line,
“Harmonious” is not “harmonious (where the “mouth” characters are replaced with US flag Pac-Men)”.
the 1st connotation is Harmonious is not defined by US “Mouths” speaking.
the 2nd connotation is that arbitrarily altering Chinese “characters” with foreign “symbols” naturally make the Chinese characters look ridiculous, thus Chinese people should not be looking for foreign “equivalents” to determine the true meaning of Chinese “Harmony”.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.
Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.