Peixin Jumps.

perceptions & perspectives.

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Whimsies: Censored China.

Now that I am in China, and thus subjected to internet censorship, perhaps it is time to pick up some Chinese internet culture which may aid my expressiveness in Mandarin.

When the authorities banned the phrase cào nǐ mā, or "fuck your mother", from the Chinese internet, in the name of combating vulgarity, the Chinese were quick to coin an internet hero, the  Grass Mud Horse, whose name is a near homophone: Cǎo Ní Mǎ. Maorilyn Maoroe can be seen with him above. He is an opponent of the  River Crab, a pun on "harmonious", the official description of the society censorship is meant to promote.

The Grass Mud Horse is just one of  ten mythical creatures all designed to talk about naughty stuff through puns. Mr Hung includes a painting of another of them, the great French-Croatian Squid, whose Chinese name requires a little English to get the pun. He is Fǎ Kè Yóu, and wears a Mao jacket while blowing an inflationary bubble with chewing gum. (The vowel in ke is a sort of "uh" sound, so this sounds roughly like "fah-kuh you".) Perhaps my favourite character, for the absurdity of his English name, is Intelligent Fragrant Chicken, which is one tone off from dǎ fēi jī, slang for masturbation.

Fǎ Kè Yóu, River Crab (The Economist), a review of an exhibition (in Manhattan till 2nd July):  腦殘遊記 The Travelogue of Dr. Brain Damages


In response to increasingly pervasive and draconian online censorship in China, “The Travelogue of Dr. Brain Damages” examines the role of Kuso culture (惡搞文化/ détournement) and its impact on Chinese internet.

The Chinese title 腦殘遊記 is a homophonic wordplay to 老殘遊記 (The Travels of Lao Can), a late Qing dynasty novel that fiercely attacks the injustices, corruptions and exposed the hypocrisy of government officials at the time. In an era that internet as a tool for both freedom and suppression, the project questions whether internet in China is an effective tool for social changes by adapting and remixing Chinese netizens meme languages with Western icons.



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