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This Song Describes Young People’s Uncomfortable Chinese New Year Experience

A new song is going viral describing the pressure experienced by young people who are bombarded with nagging questions by their families.

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As Chinese New Year is just around the corner, a new song is going viral on Chinese social media. It describes the pressure experienced by young people who are bombarded with nagging questions by their family and relatives when they come home for Spring Festival.

Remember the song So Far, the Sofa is so Far, the 2016 Chinese internet hit that vividly depicted the lives of overworked young people?

This time, composer Jin Chengzhi (金承志) and his choir The Rainbow Chamber Singers (上海彩虹合唱团) have once again won the hearts of Chinese netizens with their new hit What I Do Is For Your Own Good (春节自救指南,literally: The Spring Festival Survival Toolkit).

What I Do Is For Your Own Good describes how young people who visit their family during the Chinese New Year get bombarded with awkward questions, mean remarks and “kind” advice by their parents and relatives.

 

“Surviving the Chinese New Year with a little love, some smart tactics and, of course, a good game of Mahjong.”

 

The song consists of five parts as is shown in its official video clip: it starts with a gloomy d-minor prelude, setting a sad atmosphere, in which a man holds a sign saying: “You never know what difficult questions your parents and relatives might bring up when you go back home.”

The start of the clip: what happens when a young man returns home for Chinese New Year.

The choir then illustrates what actually happens when China’s young people arrive home for Spring Festival; they are immediately bombarded with the “care” from their family and relatives, who say things such as “I will bring you to a blind date tomorrow,” “Hurry to lose some weight!”, or “How much is your salary?, “Do you want to come work in my company?”

A member of the choir plays a relative who asks nagging questions.

The scene is followed by a melodic fragment where all ‘relatives’ sing with much emotion: “What we do is for your own good.”

The song then describes how the grass is always greener on the other side when the successful neighbor Senior Wang walks in the door together with his equally successful son Junior Wang.

While the Wangs boast about their wealth, the family reminds their child that they are “miles behind.”

At this point, the mood becomes gloomier. The key changes to minor as the ‘family’ becomes solemnly persuasive, singing: “Come home to work”, “Why can’t you just get a stable 9 to 5 job?”

These suggestions soon change into harsh criticism: “You are so childish!” “Why don’t you quit that Bohemian lifestyle of yours?”

Finally, the song illustrates how the young people fight back. Accompanied by the bright tune of a solo trumpet, they sing that they could never give up on their dreams to become the kind of person they hate.

In the end, the song suggests that there is a positive solution: do not compare yourself with others, but fight for your own future.

As for surviving the Chinese New Year, the focus should be on the family reunion rather than disagreements – with a little love, some smart tactics and, of course, a good game of Mahjong, one should be able to survive the Spring Festival.

 

“Bringing home a rented boyfriend is one way to stop the endless questions from your family during the Chinese New Year.”

 

By now, the video of What I do is for Your Own Good has received over 1 million likes, forwards and comments under the Rainbow Chamber Singers’ Sina Weibo account (@上海彩虹合唱团) alone. It also ranks second on Sina Weibo’s Asian New Release list.

The popularity of this song suggests that its theme of the uncomfortable Chinese New Year experience resonates with many netizens.

As a major family event, the Chinese New Year is a time of reunion when existing generational gaps become especially explicit.

For the parent generation, the standard of a “good life” is: married with a kid, have a job with a good salary, be well-respected in other people’s eyes, etc. For many parents, it is very important that their children get settled and start leading this “good life” as soon as possible.

But the younger generations have grown up in a different world with more possibilities that their parents had. Marriage, children, and a ‘respectable’ job might not be their top priority anymore.

This sharp gap between the older and younger generation’s vision of life has been a source of inspiration for popular culture over the recent years.

Skin care brand’s SKII’s marketing campaign last year, for example, addressed the issue of China’s “leftover women.” Whereas parents believe girls should “marry well”, many young women today value their own independence and happiness more.

For those who would rather avoid their family’s questions on why they are not settling down, there is a booming business of boyfriend/girlfriend rental services. Bringing home a rented boyfriend is one way to stop the endless questions from your family during the Chinese New Year.

To show their strong identification with this new hit, many netizens suggest that it should be included during the CCTV Spring Festival Gala. One netizen writes: “If this song is not suitable for the gala, then I don’t know what is.”

-By Diandian Guo
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©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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Diandian Guo is a China-born Master student of transdisciplinary and global society, politics & culture at the University of Groningen with a special interest for new media in China. She has a BA in International Relations from Beijing Foreign Language University, and is specialized in China's cultural memory.

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China Arts & Entertainment

‘First Lady of Hong Kong TV’ Lily Leung Passes Away at Age 90

Chinese netizens pay their respects to veteran actress Lily Leung Shun-Yin (1929-2019), who passed away on August 13.

Manya Koetse

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Lily in 1996, image via Sing Tao Daily.

While the Hong Kong protests are dominating the headlines, the death of Hong Kong veteran actress Lily Leung Shun-Yin (梁舜燕) has become a top trending topic on social media site Sina Weibo under the hashtag “Hong Kong Actress Liang Shunyan Dies from Illness” (#香港演员梁舜燕病逝#).

Lily Leung, image via http://www.sohu.com/a/333418087_161795.

The actress was born in Hong Kong in 1929. She starred in dozens of television series, including the first TV drama to be locally broadcasted. She became known as “the first lady of Hong Kong TV.”

Leung acted for TVB and other broadcasters. Some of her more well-known roles were those in Kindred Spirit (真情) and Heart of Greed (溏心风暴).

Leung, also nicknamed ‘Sister Lily’ (Lily姐), passed away on August 13. According to various Chinese media reports, the actress passed peacefully surrounded by family after enduring illness. She was 90 years old.

“I’ve seen so much of her work,” many Weibo netizens say, sharing the favorite roles played by Leung. “I always watched her on TVB while growing up, and will cherish her memory,” one commenter wrote.

Another well-known Hong Kong actress, Teresa Ha Ping (夏萍), also passed away this month. She was 81 years old when she died. Her passing away also attracted a lot of attention on Chinese social media (
#演员夏萍去世#).

Many people express their sadness over the fact that not one but two grand ladies from Hong Kong’s 20th-century entertainment era have passed away this month.

“Those people from our memories pass away one by one, and it represents the passing of an era,” one Weibo user wrote.

“Two familiar faces and old troupers of Hong Kong drama – I hope they rest in peace.”

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. Please note that your comment below will need to be manually approved if you’re a first-time poster here.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

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China Fashion & Beauty

The Mulan Makeup Challenge: Traditional Chinese Makeup Goes Trending

Recreating the Mulan make-up look was the biggest beauty challenge on Chinese social media this July.

Manya Koetse

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Will traditional Chinese make-up make a comeback because of Disney’s Mulan?

Since Disney released the official trailer for its live-action Mulan movie earlier this month, Mulan is recurringly appearing in the top trending lists on Chinese social media.

Among all the different topics relating to the upcoming Mulan movie, the Mulan make-up challenge is one that jumps out this month.

The Disney live-action trailer showed a scene in which Mulan, played by Chinese American actress Crystal Liu Fei (刘亦菲), has a full face of betrothal makeup. The original animated Disney movie also features a full makeup Mulan.

Although there was also online criticism of the ‘exaggerated’ makeup, there are many people who appreciate Mulan’s colorful makeup look.

On Weibo, many showed off their skills in copying Mulan’s makeup look this month.

By now, the hashtags “Mulan Makeup Imitation” (#花木兰仿妆#) and “Mulan Makeup Imitation Contest” (#花木兰仿妆大赛#) have attracted over 300 million views.

Makeup such as lipstick has been used in China as far back as two or three thousand years ago.

Makeup vlogger Emma Zhou explains more about Tang Dynasty (618-907) makeup customs here; the skin would be whitened with rice flower, followed by the application of ‘blush’ (pigment of strong-colored flowers) to the cheeks and eyes in a round shape, to emphasize the roundness of the face.

A floral-like decoration would be placed in between the eyebrows.

The yellow forehead, as can be seen in the live-action Mulan, is also known as “Buddha’s makeup,” and was especially popular among ladies during the Tang Dynasty. A yellow aura on the forehead was believed to be auspicious (Schafer 1956, 419).

Although contemporary Chinese makeup trends are much different than those depicted in Mulan, traditional makeup seems to make somewhat of a come-back because of the Disney movie, with hundreds of Chinese netizens imitating the look.

Beauty bloggers such as Nico (@黎千千Nico, image below) receive much praise from Weibo users for their makeup look. Nico wrote: “I even opened the door for the delivery guy this way!”

It is not just girls imitating the look; there are also some boys showing off their Mulan makeup.

Although many still find the Mulan makeup look exaggerated and even “laughable,” there are also those who think it looks really “cool” – of course, depending on whether or not the application is successful.

Want to try it out for yourself? There are various amateur tutorials available on Youtube (in Chinese), such as here, here, or here.

The Mulan make-up hype will probably continue in 2020; the Mulan movie will come out in late March.

To read more about Mulan, please see our latest feature article on Mulan here.

By Manya Koetse

References

Schafer, Edward H. 1956. “The Early History of Lead Pigments and Cosmetics in China.” T’oung Pao, Second Series, 44, no. 4/5: 413-38. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4527434.

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©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

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