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‘Wo Ting Bu Dong’: Rap Video Portrays Foreigners’ Life in China

Rap video “Another day in China” was shared by Xinhua News Agency.

Manya Koetse

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A new rap video posted by Chinese state media titled “Another Day in China” is supposed to depict the typical life of foreigners in China.

Chinese state media outlet Xinhua News Agency has released a new English-language rap video on December 7th about ‘foreigners’ life in China’ through its official New China TV YouTube Channel.

On the American American social news platform Reddit, people wonder if this is ‘the most embarrassing state media music video yet.’

The song is dominated by text and lacks instrumental energy. Although the people in the video dance vigorously to the chorus, it never really takes off – which makes the whole video slightly awkward, but nevertheless, fun to watch:

The video, which was produced by Ychina (@歪果仁研究协会), a Beijing-based blogging channel focused on foreigners in China, was posted on Weibo on December 5. It has since been shared 6500 times and has received nearly 20,000 likes.

The song is written and sung by a singer named Dylan Jaye (@钟逸伦Dylan, 51,000+ fans on Weibo), and describes the ‘everyday life’ of a foreigner in China, from ordering Chinese dumplings (jiaozi) to ordering stuff from Taobao and being ‘super screwed without a phone.’ In the video, Dylan is joined by his other ‘laowai’ friends, such as Amy (@李慧琳Amy), an Australian young woman with over 16,000 fans on Weibo.

On Weibo, Dylan Jaye describes it as his “genuine experience of living in China for so long.”

The song, that is subtitled in both English and Chinese, starts with the following text:

Rolling out of bed, Middle Kingdom
Knocking feeling like a drum
Breakfast at the door, jiaozi
Last night ordered them

Waimai dude speaking fangyan
I’m feeling dumb
But these days
I’ll never get bored of them

Because we’re living here in China
I’m a rhymer
Telling you the story of this setting
Through the eyes of another waiguoren
The ones that came out here they call helmsman

And now I’m flipping through Taobao
and somehow with the know-how and Zhi Fu Bao
You can buy anything you want on this website
And the things you didn’t know you wanted til sight

Dylan then continues, singing:

Call me crazy, call me crazy
But I came here for something new
Don’t say maybe, we don’t say maybe
We say this, well I can do.

And the chorus goes:

You ask why China
Yeah we reply why not China
Take on its confusing hutongs and streets
And make it on your own

You ask why China
Yeah we reply why not China
With waimai, kuaidi, Wechat
I’d be super-screwed without my phone

The singer also adds some world politics to the song when he sings:

I’ve been thinking after Donald Trump and Brexit and the chaos and the mayhem
I’ll sit here and sip oolong and I dancing with old people dancing in the park and I
Barely understand them asking who we are, reply
Ni shuo shenme? [What are you saying?]
Wo ting bu dong [I don’t understand].

As the sentence ‘ting bu dong’ [I don’t understand] is generally one of the first sentences foreigners in China know – and often use -, it has become such a cliche that in some online circles, there are even stories and cartoons about a typical foreigner in China named Tim Budong.

Over the past few years, various rap videos released by Chinese state media have made headlines in English-language media. Last year, a rap song praising Karl Marx became a hot news item. Recently, state media also explained China’s modernization through a rap song. Eearlier this year another remarkable music video was launched to celebrate the Belt and Road initiative (see below).

On Reddit, one commenter says the song by Dylan released by state media is “Pretty cringey, but there have been way cringier music videos released by the party.” Another person responds that they “personally find foreign shills to be so much more embarrassing.”

On Weibo, however, many netizens applaud the video, calling it funny and well-written: “It’s just so good,” some say, with others writing: “I just can’t stop listening to it. It’s contagious.”

– By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

3 Comments

3 Comments

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    vu

    December 24, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    Thank you for the article you shared

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China Local News

On Wuhan’s ‘Reopening Day’, Even Traffic Jams Are Celebrated

As the COVID-19 lockdown has ended in Wuhan, many people are happy to see the city’s traffic finally getting busy again. “I hated traffic jams before, now it makes me happy to see them.”

Manya Koetse

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It was chilly and grey in Wuhan when the coronavirus epicenter city went into a full lockdown on January 23 of this year. On April 8, 76 days later, it is sunny and twenty degrees warmer outside as people leave their homes to resume work or go for a stroll.

The end of the Wuhan lockdown is a special day for many, as the city finally lifted the 11-week-long ban that shut down all travel to and from the city in a radical effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

On Wednesday, city residents returned to work as public transport started again. Roads, bridges, and tunnels were reopened, and the local airport resumed flights.

On Chinese social media, various hashtags relating to the Wuhan lockdown end have become popular topics. Using hashtags such as “Wuhan Lifts the Ban” (#武汉解封#), “Wuhan Open Again after 76 Days” (#武汉暂停76天后重启#), and “Wuhan Reopens” (#武汉重启#), the end of the coronavirus ban is a much-discussed news item, along with the spectacular midnight light show that was organized to celebrate the city’s reopening.

The Wuhan lightshow, image via Xinhua.

“Today has finally arrived! It’s been difficult for the people of Wuhan,” some commenters write.

According to China’s official statistics, that are disputed, over 3330 people have died from the new coronavirus since its outbreak; 80% of these fatal cases were reported in Wuhan. On April 6, authorities claimed that for the first time since the virus outbreak, there were zero new COVID-19 deaths.

Some state media, including People’s Daily, report that the reopening of restaurants and food shops is going smoothly in the city, as people – for the first time since January – are back to buying pan-fried dumplings and noodles from their favorite vendors.

Meanwhile, the fact that the traffic in some Wuhan areas is back to being somewhat congested is something that is widely celebrated on social media.

Some call the mild traffic congestions “great”, viewing it as a sign that the city is coming back to life again after practically turning into a ghost town for all these weeks.

“I hated traffic jams before, now it makes me happy to see them,” one Weibo commenter writes.

“I won’t complain about congested traffic again, because it’s a sign the streets are flourishing,” another Weibo user posted.

While netizens and media outlets are celebrating the end of the lockdown, several Chinese media accounts also remind people on social media that although the ban has been lifted, people still need to be vigilant and refrain from gathering in groups and standing close to each other.

For more COVID-19 related articles, please click here.

By Manya Koetse (@manyapan)
Follow @whatsonweibo

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©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Local News

Online Anger over “Special Treatment” for Quarantined Foreigners in China

Are foreigners in quarantine being treated better than Chinese nationals? This Nanjing Daily article has triggered controversy.

Bobby Fung

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On March 27, an article titled “For the Good Health of 684 Foreigners” (“为了684个“老外”的安康”) sparked controversy online over the alleged special treatment of foreign nationals during their mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

According to the article published by Nanjing Daily, Nanjing’s Xianlin Subdistrict set up a special WeChat group for foreign nationals and their families returning to the city after the Spring Festival holiday, which coincided with the outbreak of the new coronavirus.

In special WeChat groups, subdistrict officers, doctors, translators, and property managers provide assistance and daily services to these China-based foreigners. Examples of such “daily services” include delivering fresh bread or contacting pet boarding facilities.

“One young man loved online shopping on Taobao, and once we delivered twenty packages for him within one day,” one member of the service group told Nanjing Daily.

Although foreign residents in China and foreigners with previously issued visas are currently no longer allowed to enter China, they needed to undergo a two-week quarantine period upon entry until the travel ban of a few days ago.

Jiangsu Province, of which Nanjing is the capital, tightened quarantine rules on March 23, making every traveler from abroad subject to a centralized quarantine (e.g. in a hotel) for fourteen days.

The special services for returning foreigners reported by Nanjing Daily triggered controversy on Chinese social media this week. Many netizens criticized it as a “supra-nationals treatment” (超国民待遇).

Under one Weibo post by media outlet The Cover (@封面新闻), which received over one million views, many people are criticizing local officers’ favorable treatment of foreigners. One commenter writes: “Will they provide the same comprehensive services to their compatriots?”

Another person writes: “Why don’t they also adhere to the slogan of ‘Serve the People’ (..) when dealing with Chinese citizens?”

In discussing the supposed inequality between the treatment of foreigners and Chinese nationals in quarantine, many netizens raise a recent example of a quarantined Chinese student who asked the civil police staff for mineral water. In a video that circulated online in mid-March, the girl quarrels with the police for not being offered mineral water. The student, demanding mineral water over the available boiled tap water, was ridiculed for suggesting that having mineral spring water is a “human right.”

Ironically, the Nanjing Daily article explicitly mentions how the Xianlin Subdistrict deals with foreigners drinking purified water: “[This] Laowai [foreigner] wants to drink bottled purified water, [so] we bought four barrels for him (..) and carried them from the community gate to his apartment.”

The contrast in treatment of quarantined foreigners versus Chinese nationals prompted some Weibo users to reflect on their previous remarks on the female student: “I apologize for previously mocking the Chinese student at the quarantine center in Pudong, Shanghai, for demanding to drink mineral water,” one commenter writes.

In response to the online controversy, the office of the Xianlin Subdistrict clarified that Chinese nationals would receive “corresponding services” during their quarantine period. Some netizens question what these alleged “corresponding services” exactly entail.

In another media report, the official reply was that “the Subdistrict treats Chinese and foreign citizens the same.”

Over recent years, there have been many online controversies on the issue of privilege in China. Earlier this year, there was public outrage over two women driving a Benz SUV into the Palace Museum, where cars are usually not allowed.

The issue of the perceived privileges of foreigners in China has particularly triggered anger among netizens. The “preferential treatment” of overseas students and the “dorm disparities” between Chinese and foreign students in China, for example, previously became major topics of online discussion.

A popular WeChat article that comments on the Nanjing controversy of this week also lists examples of special treatment for foreigners, including cases where foreigners were not fined when breaking rules in China or being “treated better” in other ways. By now, the article has received over 100,000 views.

For more COVID-19 related articles, please click here.

By Bobby Fung (@bobbyfungmr)

Follow @whatsonweibo

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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