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July 31, 2008 10:45 AM   Subscribe

SexyBeiJin (性感北京) Weddings Gone Wild Beijing Vs. Hong Kong Lost in Translation The Lost in Translation piece (above) introduces Beijing folks and the English names they have chosen for themselves. One "auntie" goes by the name "Smacker" (it sounds nice), and so SexyBeijing develops an entirely new segment called Ask Smacker. Hosted by Anna Sophie Loewenberg, the show has a frequently updated blog and downloadable video and audio podcasts.

[YouTube Channel] Sexy Beijing is a show about dating, love and youth culture in the People's Republic of China. Follow the adventures of Sufei as she looks for love on the dusty streets of the big BJ and meets a lot of cool characters along the way.

SexyBeijingTV also features other interesting programs about contemporary life in China.
posted by KokuRyu (23 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Excellent! I was expecting it to be, you know, a little too twee, or a little too mocking, but it was really charming. Thanks for posting!
posted by the dief at 11:26 AM on July 31, 2008

I've run across SexyBeijing before on YouTube, and it seems one thing this post is missing is the overall context of these shows. It's really easy to come off with a very bad reaction to Loewenberg's style, but I bet most complaints ignore that the show is meant to be light entertainment with some Chinese flavor.

I think realizing this made rewatching the videos a little more enjoyable for me.

(However, watching them again, I do kind of feel like Henry Higgins, but that's probably 'cause I'm just a Metafilter elitist. :)
posted by Sangermaine at 11:27 AM on July 31, 2008

I was watching the Lost In Translation one... and it made me think of this physical therapist I used to have. He was an old Chinese man, apparently he had been a doctor in China before coming to America. He was balding, a little roly poly, very sweet. He looked like a 60 year old, shorter version of Chow Yung Fat after eating too much during retirement. And he went by "Jason."

It just always killed me because nobody on this earth has ever looked LESS like a Jason. I'm sure in China his name must've been Zheng Chi or Xiang Ho or something. He looked more like a Zheng Chi by far... felt wrong calling him a stoner surfer name.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:46 AM on July 31, 2008

Been a fan from the beginning.

Next to the fascinating 2-part "Freudian" episodes* (where Sufei gets into her family history), the best episode I've found is "A Jew Brew". Who knew there was a thriving Jewish community in Beijing?

* "Freudian P1" and "Freudian P2"
posted by RavinDave at 12:25 PM on July 31, 2008

Oh, and not to derail, but while we're on the subject of Chinese YouTube fare, take a quick peak at DaShan's channel. What? never heard of him? Sit tight. You will in the coming weeks.
posted by RavinDave at 12:28 PM on July 31, 2008

Great, great find.

I'd have to imagine, though, that if a Chinese person moved to America calling herself Tampax, she'd probably change that name pretty quickly.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:28 PM on July 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

love on the dusty streets of the big BJ

If the BJ's dusty, she's doing it wrong.
posted by owtytrof at 12:29 PM on July 31, 2008

My wife taught English in Beijing to a kid who called himself AVENGER.
posted by Perplexity at 12:41 PM on July 31, 2008

I ran across a highway engineer who gave himself the English name (first and last) Astro Man.
posted by jimmythefish at 12:47 PM on July 31, 2008

One of my wife's family's friends chose the English name Wendy. I think something I said made him change it.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:50 PM on July 31, 2008

Thanks for pointing out DaShan, RavinDave. I had heard of him before, but wasn't really clued in to how big he is. And, as a Canadian, it's pretty exciting to learn he'll be joining the Canadian team at the opening ceremonies.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:51 PM on July 31, 2008

Funny finding this here. I work with her mom.
posted by mykescipark at 1:12 PM on July 31, 2008

I suppose this is the reverse of Westerners inadvertently choosing Chinese characters for tattoos that read things like "Total Bung Face" and "This White Guy Is Ugly."
posted by illiad at 1:12 PM on July 31, 2008

I'm not sure what "illiad" means.

It's simply a very well-made glimpse into typical Beijing life. It steers clear of hot-button politics. It can get surprisingly poignant at times, but is generally breezy and light. The putative backdrop is Sufei trying to find love in China, and endlessly questioning anyone she can find to facilitate her quest. Along the way, she (and we) meet a wide variety of everyday people and are struck that they are not all that dissimilar that the ones who populate our own lives. No deep message. No grand theme. But very fascinating stuff.
posted by RavinDave at 1:53 PM on July 31, 2008

I'm not sure what "illiad" means.

He's referring to the phenomenon of Chinese people choosing English names that sound odd to English-speakers. Like "Smacker".
posted by mr_roboto at 1:55 PM on July 31, 2008

I'm not sure what "illiad" means.

I believe it's a companion to "oddyssy".
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:09 PM on July 31, 2008

Kirth Gerson ... you are truly anthropos polytropos. ;)
posted by RavinDave at 2:22 PM on July 31, 2008

I love the "Lost in Translation" video. Maybe I'll name my first born Samanfar.

RavinDave, thanks for the DaShan link! His Chinese is amazingly good.
posted by extramundane at 5:08 PM on July 31, 2008

I may have mentioned it before, but if you haven't seen it, this list of Hong Kong English names is pretty extensive and ever-growing.
posted by bwg at 5:15 PM on July 31, 2008

Thanks, RavinDave.

I think
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:38 PM on July 31, 2008

I love this show, and I have been watching for a while. Funny, I just kind of assumed it had been posted here before, 'cause it really is a "best of the web" hidden gem.

Funny and poignant, and a really good look into life in Beijing.
posted by gemmy at 6:27 PM on July 31, 2008

One of my wife's family's friends chose the English name Wendy. I think something I said made him change it.
Back in 1989 I visited Czechoslovakia and stayed with a pen-pal. His friend, Wenceslas, picked us up at the train station and also drove us around Prague later for a mini-tour. Wenceslas went by the nickname "Wendy," and just as an offhand remark I commented "Oh, in the US Wendy is a girl's name." I can't quite describe the look on his face, but later that day my pen-pal said to me, "I don't know what's wrong with Wendy, but when I talked to him before he said to never call him 'Wendy' again."
posted by Oriole Adams at 6:48 PM on July 31, 2008

(Interesting history, the name Wendy. It was a guy's name first -- before JM Barrie grabbed it for "Peter Pan".)
posted by RavinDave at 6:55 PM on July 31, 2008

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