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"Cock wire Mike Sui!" yelled one of the young men in the crowd. "Cock wire Sui is awesome!"
November 16, 2012 12:27 PM   Subscribe

Mike Sui and the new laowai: "...speak­ing Chi­nese is still just rare enough that Sui's instant fame has scratched a blis­ter of resent­ment than never real­ly heals in China's Chi­nese language-learner com­mu­ni­ty, and his suc­cess has high­light­ed how Chi­nese demands on laowai [foreign] enter­tain­ers have dras­ti­cal­ly changed in just a decade."
posted by ocherdraco (14 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Here's the youtube clip. Pretty damn good (well, maybe not the American and Russian).
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:34 PM on November 16, 2012


Article quotes Mefi's own bokane! I dispute the notion that Chinese humour doesn't do self-deprecation (witness the whole diaosi thing that predates this lad) though if their point is that the official media don't, then fair enough.
posted by Abiezer at 12:45 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ah, he's actually half Chinese. I was gonna say, Sui could already be a Chinese last name. Turns out it is!

Anyway... that clip is... well, it's something.
posted by kmz at 1:08 PM on November 16, 2012


And... this guy went to my high school. How did we not know about him here in town?
posted by Madamina at 2:00 PM on November 16, 2012


That's the true nature of the diaosi I think Madamina - not the guy you notice until he's running your world.
posted by Abiezer at 2:05 PM on November 16, 2012


That Beijing accent was ridiculously over the top, yet so accurate.
His Japanese-accented Mandarin, not so much.

Those being the most common accents of Mandarin I hear in my time in Beijing, I'm limiting myself to those evaluations.
posted by linux at 2:32 PM on November 16, 2012


This, by the way, is one of my favorite movies about Beijing. That it was directed by Zhang Yimou and starred Jiang Wen just makes it that much more awesome. I bring it up because the various Beijing accents in the movie provide a very colorful view of that large nation's capital population, plus provides a snapshot of the Beijing I knew, the one right before the construction programs brought about by the Olympics.
posted by linux at 2:38 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I very much enjoyed the two of Ning Ying's trilogy of Beijing films I've seen ( not seen her one about young love) especially Zhao Le, which is sort of a paean to various things that were disappearing during the early reform years and shows a time just before I got here but that you could still see a lot of. There's scenes in the other one I've watched, 民警故事, where the accents certainly test your 京腔 listening skills.
posted by Abiezer at 3:01 PM on November 16, 2012


(from the first article) China remains obsessed with foreigners doing "Chinese things." While it's no longer a major event when a foreigner speaks Mandarin, fluent "laowai" (a common term for "foreigners") are still a regular point of entertainment. One recent video was passed around social media simply because it showed a white guy speaking fluent Sichuanese.

Several years ago, I taught a beginner ESL class made up entirely of Mandarin speakers from China. One day, we had a visitor--a former ESL teacher who had lived and taught in Beijing. After we finished class, our (white, blond, blue-eyed) visitor thanked us and asked my students (in English) if he could ask them a few questions about studying in Canada. When they said yes, he switched immediately and effortlessly into fluent Mandarin. The expressions on their faces! It was priceless. He might as well have suddenly sprouted another head.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:05 PM on November 16, 2012


Bah! Mandarin is nothing - when I worked in Shanghai, there were lots of non Chinese who spoke Mandarin so fluently, it shamed me. BUT, I speak perfect Cantonese, something other Chinese speakers (ie Mandarin, Shanghainese....) cannot do after decades of living in Hong Kong. So it is amazing to me to see these Western Actors who's accents are just about pitch perfect. Especially the Australian, Corrina Chamberlain - who picked up Cantonese in HK, and is good enough at Cantonese to use english words with the right Hong Kong accent that a local user would use in conversation.
posted by helmutdog at 3:32 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mandarin is nothing
One argument I've heard is that it should be one of the easier Chinese languages to learn as the Beijing speech it's based on was influenced by the various incoming non-Chinese-speaking dynasties, hence fewer tones and so on (proper linguists may be along to say this is nonsense). My accent is still appalling after many years though, so I take my hat off to others who've put the work in.
posted by Abiezer at 3:43 PM on November 16, 2012


12 posts and nobody's mentioned Dashan?
posted by thewalrus at 3:57 PM on November 16, 2012


12 posts and nobody's mentioned Dashan?

He already had his thread this year, plus the one six years ago.

He might as well have suddenly sprouted another head.

Back when I was fluent in Mandarin it kinda sucked that I had enough Chinese blood in my melting Filipino pot that I could pass and therefore, it wasn't surprising at all. Instead, they'd turn heads when I switched to English; and even then they thought I was huaqiao. Grrr.
posted by linux at 4:29 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would like to draw your attention to the fact that I am both a white Chinese-speaking foreigner who learned it myself, and a diaosi, and nobody is paying me $8,000 a month for it, or even looking at me funny.

They also don't laugh when I self-deprecate, so I got into the habit of ridiculous grandstanding. See, they don't pay me $8,000 a month because I speak Chinese, or because I'm foreign, it's because I can wiggle the skin on my bald scalp in such a way that it catches the light and reflects it back at wavelengths that hypnotize young Asian women into throwing their wallets at me and then bowing.

It's funnier in Chinese. Really.
posted by saysthis at 10:50 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


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