Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Funny Bits from Beijing Olympics

I was away last week and did not get the time to share with you a few funny notes sent by friends in China. In my 20 years living in the US, one big cultural pity is that I rarely laugh at English jokes. I'm sure those of you "foreigners" who have moved to China have the same problem. A translated joke is often even worse – we'll all be lost in translation. Nonetheless, lets try a few here.

"加油!" – gas up!

A foreigner in Beijing asks a Chinese: "Gas prices are rising like crazy, why do all the Chinese keep shouting 'Gas Up' in the Games? Chinese are too rich."

The Most Welcome Athlete

Chinese sports fans elected US shooter Matt Emmons as the most welcome Olympic athlete.

In Athens, with Matt Emmons far ahead in the 50-meter three-position Olympic rifle final, his last shot went into someone else's target and he gave up the gold medal to China.

In Beijing, in the exact same position, with a huge lead going into the final shot of the same event, Emmons didn’t hit the wrong target; he missed. Again he gave the medal to China.

Heraclitus said, "No one steps in the same river twice." But Chairman Mao said, "A foreigner, coming to China from ten thousand miles away, treats the Chinese's liberation cause as his own, what is the spirit? It is the international spirit, it is the communist spirit, everyone should learn this spirit."

An old friend of the Chinese people, Matt Emmons proved Heraclitus wrong by following Chairman Mao's instructions.

Chongqing Idioms Forbidden during Olympics

Two Chongqing tourists A and B arrived at Beijing. On a bus, A looked at the map and said, "Lets first kill to Tiananmen, then Chairman Mao's Memorial, then Zhongnanhai." B answered, "Good, we'll do what you said, kill all the way along this route." (Chongqing idiom: "kill the way" 杀过去 means "go there.") Alarmed Beijing passengers reported their dialogue to the police and the two Chongqing men were arrested as soon as they got off the bus.

After several hours interrogation and detention in the police station, they were released. Walking to the Tiananmen Square, the two men kept silent. They just looked at each other and sighed. At last, A said to B, "Why don't you shoot?" B replied, "You didn't shoot, why do I dare to shoot?" (Chongqing idiom: "shoot" 开腔 means "talk.") Before they knew their arms were twisted by plain-clothe police.

A week later the two Chongqing men came out of the detention house. They looked at each other. A said, "This is good. My pockets are all empty. Where should we go to get some bullets?" (Chongqing idiom: "bullet" 子弹 means "money.") The armed guards at the gate charged up and pinned them down on the ground.

Eventually, the Public Security Bureau issued a nationwide notice: "Chongqing idioms are strictly forbidden during the Beijing Olympics."

(Note: the story is not real but the idioms are)

English Signs in China

船到桥头自然直:The boat will become straight when it comes to the bridge

注意安全小心路滑:To take notice of safe. The slippery are very crafty

夫妻肺片:Husband and wife’s lung slice dish

童子鸡:Chicken without sexual life


Anonymous said...

Here's a funny remix of the song sung at the opening ceremony:

"Ode to the Stepmotherland"
(Chinese lyrics by Spelunker)




Peter N-H said...

Heraclitus. Not Heracles.

Matthew said...

Thanks for the Chongqing idioms. I'll have to be careful about using them.

Xujun Eberlein said...

peter, thanks for the correction. My error. Will go fix it now.

Anonymous said...

I think this joke is funnier if the Public Security Bureau issued the following notice:

"Chongqing idiots are strictly forbidden during the Beijing Olympics."