Cultural Revolution Propaganda

Posted in Society, Translations at 3:49 pm by Benjamin Ross

This past summer, my former fellow Fuzhouite Ron Sims (aka “Black Man in China”), asked me to find some of those old Cultural Revolution style posters and bring them back to the US.  In addition to being a prolific podcaster, Ron is also a talented artist and web designer and had wanted to master the style of Chinese propaganda posters.

After a bit of a search, I was able to pick up a fairly comprehensive pack of 50 poster prints in one of those touristy shops near Qianmen.  Unfortunately for Ron, I have a soft spot for 60’s and 70’s propaganda, and it’s almost January and I still haven’t sent them to him in Cleveland.  I thought it would be interesting to translate some of them so that those of you who don’t 看中文 could read them (and have your thoughts properly molded) as well.  I have about 40 more, so if there’s interest, I’ll throw the rest up too.  Enjoy.

Unite, World Proletariat!  Down with American Imperialism!
Let the Vast Heavens and Earth be Smelted into a Red Heart
Long Live and Victory to Chairman Mao’s Proletariat Revolutionary Road
Long live the Great People’s Republic of China!
Sing L’internationale
You should be concerned about the National Grand Dispute.  Carry out the Proletariat’s Cultural Revolution to the end.-Mao Zedong
Hold high the party’s 9th General Assembly.  The banner of unity and victory comes from victory to victory
Study the Revolutionary Spirit of Lu Xun.  Suppress the Road of Confucianism.
Rise up!  Cold, Hungry, Suffering Slaves
Have a Very Happy New Year



Merry Jewish Christmas!

Posted in Festivals and Celebrations, Food and Drink, Local Customs at 9:15 pm by Benjamin Ross

Once again Christmas is here, and for all you fellow Jews out there, that means Chinese food and a movie.  See, while America’s majority Christian population celebrates the Christmas season, Jews (as well as other non-Christian groups) are left with the most boring day of the year.  No work, no school, no shopping, no access to public facilities.  Even restaurants are closed!  That is, except for the Chinese ones!  This makes for another example of the historical cooperation between two of the most culinarily oriented cultures the world has ever seen…the Jewish-Chinese Christmas.

Chinese cumin beef
Chinese red cooked eggplant
All I want for Christmas is 孜然牛肉 and 红烧茄子

Going back to when I was just a little boychick, I have fond memories of celebrating Christmas with crab rangoon, sesame chicken, and good ol’ General Tso.  Yup, nothing tops American Chinese food on the day when most other Americans are home with their relatives, exchanging gifts, and enjoying the spirit of the season.  After Chinese food, the Jewish tradition is to visit a local movie theater, one of the few establishments other than Chinese restaurants which remain open on the 25th.  At the theater (and at the restaurant) it’s not uncommon to bump into other Jews from the community.  We ask each other where we ate Chinese food, complain about the weather, and wish each other a Merry Christmas.  It’s all in the spirit of the season.

So to those who do celebrate Christmas, may you have a joyous holiday season and a 圣诞节快乐, and to all those who don’t, enjoy your Chinese food and your movie.  You are part of a tradition which is sure to last for years to come.

And in the meantime, why not check out my own personal favorite Christmas-related website.  It’s called How To Order Chinese Food Dot Com.  Enjoy your holiday season…whatever that may be.  I’ll be in Chinatown, celebrating the season with some 孜然牛肉 and 红烧茄子 .



Chinese Old Man Exercises

Posted in Health and Medicine at 11:06 am by Benjamin Ross

Looking to join a gym?  Don’t have the money to pay for a high-tech super-sophisticated 24-hour fitness megaplex?  Why not go to China where public exercise equipment is free and abundant in parks and squares across the nation?  I call it the 老头锻炼公园 or “Old Man Exercise Park.”  When I stayed in Beijing 3 months this past summer, there was one right next to my building.  Sure, it isn’t a bona fide full facility gym, and sure you aren’t going to become the next Arnold Schwarzenegger simply by pumping iron with Chinese retirees, but why not fit in a quick workout on your way back from the grocery store…or before you grab your late night shao kao…or while your shoes are being repaired?  Let’s try it out!

All of the machines work by using one’s own body weight for resistance.  Therefore each machine tailors to an individual’s size, and thus presumably his strength.  The main drawback is that the resistance weight cannot be adjusted.Let’s start off simple by working the shoulders.
That wasn’t so bad now, was it?
Now for pull ups
As you pull down with your arms, the machine pushes your legs upward
nice…and easy…nice…and easy
Not all of the Old Man Exercise Gear is quite so intuitive…
…as Shumin demonstrates here.  Neither of us could figure out the proper use for either of these two.
Now time to work those triceps
Unfortunately, at 28 years old, I am well past my prime as a gymnast. But that doesn’t mean I can’t strut my stuff with other fogies.
…just don’t break a hip.
Here’s another confusing one.
Maybe if I raise the bars over my head…
little help anybody?
There we go…This machine doesn’t seem to have been designed for people in excess of 5′ 7.”
And finally the Hip Gyrator, as we practice that all-important act of rapidly thrusting one’s pelvis in a forward motion.
So there you have it.  The Chinese “Old Man Exercise Park.”  They can be found in almost any public area or residential development in any province, city, or county in the Middle Kingdom.  Nothing beats a quick, easy workout, which doesn’t require a membership, gym clothes, or even much athletic ability on your own part.  Makes me wonder why we don’t have these back home in the Corpulent States of America…oh yeah, because some idiot would probably injure himself and sue the city…nevermind.
china children's playground
Also, thanks to Shumin for modeling (and taking most of the pics).

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