Culture · Language

“I don’t think there’s any more room for not considering underestimating the importance of beginning to start the process of mulling over the conceptualization of starting to worry, and the time to do it is very soon”

This was in response to a question from a talk show host on South Park asking whether or not it’s time to worry about Man-Bear-Pig or an allegory for climate change: “Do you believe it’s time for us to deliberate the process of starting to worry?”

“I think we should definitely consider starting to worry. I don’t think we should waste any more time underestimating the importance of beginning to think about starting to worry.”

These writers are amazing XD This is from Season 22 Episode 7 “Nobody Got Cereal” by the way.

En français, “Je ne crois pas qu’on puisse encore se permettre de ne pas envisager de sous estimer l’importance de commencer un début de procéssus de réflexion sur la conceptualisation de commencer à s’inquieter. Et le bon moment pour le faire, serait au plus tôt.”

By the way, when I watched South Park as a kid in the early 2000s, I actually watched it in Cantonese in the form of pirated VCDs we bought at the pasar malam. If you think South Park in English was vulgar, it’s even better in Cantonese because let’s admit it, Cantonese is the best language for cussing.

For example, here are the lyrics to the opening theme in English, very wholesome except the second last line, where Kenny sings unintelligibly:

I’m goin’ down to South Park gonna have myself a time,
Friendly faces everywhere humble folks without temptation,
I’m goin’ down to South Park gonna leave my woes behind,
Ample Parking Day or Night, people spouting, “Howdy, Neighbor”
I’m headin’ down to South Park gonna see if I can’t unwind,
I like girls with big vagina, I like girls with big fat titties
So come on down to South Park, and meet some friends of mine.

Here’s the Cantonese version, with a rough translation (it’s super hard to translate the derogatory words and the translation doesn’t seem to convey the the “feel” of the words but I tried my best):

唔,呢班衰仔格衰口衰兼且樣衰衰
Man: Hey, you bunch of bad kids, your personality is bad, the way you speak is bad, and you even look bad

有我粉腸同茂利,仲有蛋散同碌葛
Kyle and Stan: Our names are fancheong (meaning: stupid idiot, lit. hog intestine), maolei (meaning: stupid idiot), dansan (meaning: a nobody or unimportant person), and luk got (meaning: stupid idiot).

Kyle, Stan, Cartman, and Kenny’s names in the Cantonese South Park are literally just different slang words to describe a stupid idiot!! XD

呢班衰仔發瘟發姣兼且發花癲
Man: This bunch of bad kids are crazy, lustful, and horny

我地靚仔又醒爬,惹事生非當飲茶
Cartman: We are handsome, clever, and we are used to causing trouble

呢班衰仔黐根黐線兼且黐總制
Man: These guys are cigan (meaning: insane, lit. your roots are insane), cisin (meaning: insane, lit. your nerves are touching each other and you are insane), and cizhongzhai (meaning: insane, lit. your main switch is insane)

我哋斯文又好禮,保證問候你全家
Kenny: We are gentlemanly and polite, we always send regards to your family

呢班衰仔冇人夠佢衰
Man: These guys, there isn’t anybody who’s worse than them

French version here (pretty much loyal to the English version and its wholesomeness):

Les Claypool — J’prends la route de South Park histoire de prendre un peu l’air !

Stan et Kyle — Que des visages amicaux ! Des gens gentils bien comme il faut !

Les Claypool — J’prends la route de South Park et j’oublie toutes mes galères !

Cartman — Y’a d’la place pour se garer ! Tout le monde vous dit BONNE JOURNEE!

Les Claypool — J’taille la route pour South Park histoire de m’calmer les nerfs

Kenny — Mmmm mmmm mmmmmm mmmmm mmmm mmmmm mmmmm mmmmm

Les Claypool — Alors suivez moi à South Park et j’vous présenterai des potes

Japanese version (also very loyal to the English version and wholesome):

さぁ、 サウスパークに行こうぜ自分を探しに。

ニコニコ笑顔でみんなが待ってる。

サウスパークに行こうぜ悩み忘れて。

自由に生きればこの世の楽園。

サウスパークに行こうぜ心開いて。

(おマ〇コ大好きおっ〇い大好き。)

サウスパークに行こうぜ友達に会いに。

 

Now I’m curious whether there are other translated versions out there who, like the Hong Kong version, took the creative liberty and went their own way with their localization. Although I think they only ever translated the first season back in the early 2000s and maybe the first movie, much to my disappointment. The Cantonese version is just great, Terrance and Philipp which is a vulgar TV show int the South Park universe is called 大小二便 or literally “Poop and Pee” XD. I couldn’t find anything about a Malay version.

This is why I told E that when we get a kid, we are definitely teaching them Cantonese. Non-negotiable.

Culture · France · Language

#40 Differences in how the public reacts to you when you speak Chinese, compared to other languages

Bonjour everybody! It’s been 10 months since I came to France and I’m glad to report that I’ve never had an unpleasant racist incident happen to me so far. I say “unpleasant” because I actually find the useless “nihaos” tolerable as long as the “gentlemen” saying it are more than 5 meters from me or when I’m with a friend/friends. I’ve heard stories of my Asian friends who started and had a pretty much decent conversation with these NIHAO hurlers in perfect French but I don’t think I’ll ever address them unless I was tipsy and feeling brave or extra chatty or something.

But yesterday at lunch, I was talking to my Chinese friends in Chinese in the break room while waiting to microwave our bentos. I know, it’s important to mix with the locals when you’re in that country to be really immersed in the culture yada yada but with B1.5 French and nobody to speak English with it’s nice to have a relaxed conversation in a language I’m comfortable with just during the break times. There were other French girls whom I’ve never seen on campus before in the break room with us.

I can’t remember what we were talking about but at one point our conversation turned funny and we started laughing (joke in Chinese but laughter in Universal language). And at this moment I turned for a moment to the side and caught one of the girl’s eyes and she raised her eyebrows in a condescending semi-eye rolling manner at me and quickly looked away.

Now, MAYBE she was rolling her eyes at something one of her friends said so I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt here, you red-headed (dyed) slightly chubby Caucasian girl in the break room. Or maybe you just had something in your eye, I don’t know.

But one thing I know, is that there is a general unspoken disapproval of this phenomenon of a bunch of Asian-looking people speaking Chinese in a Western country like France. I know it’s not as bad as the horror stories in the US where people tell you in your face to “SPEAK ENGLISH!!”. But one thing that pisses me off is that people don’t have the same problem when a group of Spanish-speaking people speak and laugh in loud Spanish, or loud Russian, or loud English, etc. but people always frown at the Chinese.

I know this because I’ve gone out with English-speaking friends, Japanese-speaking friends, and Chinese-speaking friends in France and the treatment we get in public places varies subtly. Nobody gives a fuck when you speak English. People generally seem intrigued when you speak Japanese. But with Chinese, it’s either ①the same with English where people don’t seem to give a fuck because there are plenty of Chinese in Grenoble, ②NIHAO! or ③Subtle eye-rolling.

I hope I’m just too self-conscious and thinking too much (most of the time, this is the case), but it is true that Chinese people don’t get a lot of respect when they go out in groups in a country that is not China. When I was in Taiwan on a family trip and speaking rather loudly in Cantonese on the train station platform for a total of 1 short minute, the Taiwanese family next to us gave us dagger stares because they assumed we were mainland Chinese. And of course, even Chinese Malaysians / Singaporeans / HKers / Taiwanese like to avoid from being identified as Chinese.

Why is this? Because once people assume you’re from China and you open your mouth to speak in your mother tongue and in most instances the only language you know, you would be the victims of all kinds of stereotypical and unfavourable generalisations against you no matter how nice a person you are or how impressive your life resume is. You’re just a “Chinese outsider who never tries to assimilate in the local culture and choose to stay with your other loud Chinese friends”. I had a classmate from Syria in my French class who, at our first meeting, downright told me and my Chinese friend in class, “You Chinese people like to stay together and not venture out to do anything else.” Granted, he could’ve been an extreme example because throughout the course of the French class we found out that he was just generally an abrasive and inconsiderate, extremely chatty person.

Another reason why I know people think this way? Because I catch myself thinking like that too. Nowadays much less, but yes, it’s still there. I’m always cautious with Chinese speaking people like the other day, a Chinese-speaking family I think from Malaysia/Singapore tried to cut my line at security at the airport and I told them in stern polite Chinese to queue up (although in the end because they were going to be late for their flight, the staff let them cut our queue of grumpy-looking people who have been waiting patiently for the past 20 minutes).

Anyway, I guess the purpose of this rant post is to encourage everyone including myself to get rid of generalisations against a certain race speaking a certain language and just give them a chance. I think Chinese-speaking Overseas Chinese people like me have a unique position (and responsibility?) to spread this love because we have experienced both sides of the coin: ①We’ve had bad experiences with Chinese speaking people and we put them down with other non-Chinese or non-Chinese speaking friends and ②We’ve been the victim of this stereotypical way of thinking and we hate being grouped as a Chinese especially when we are overseas.

And for people who ARE Chinese / speak Chinese including myself, I guess it’s also important to give the eye-rolling and NIHAO-screaming people a chance. I like to think that sometimes they are just curious, or just not exposed enough to different cultures in the world to have the tact to act otherwise.

 

Culture · France

#31 Provincial France = Real Life Harvest Moon

Harvest Moon is a highly successful farm-simulator game made by a Japanese game company called Natsume Inc and easily tops the list of my all-time favorite games, along  with The Sims. Actually, I played this game so much it was probably the reason my eyesight deteriorated and why I needed glasses when I was 11. Basically, the story is you inherit a farm and you gotta work the land to produce seasonal crops, attend to livestock, make money, court girls (yeah, lol), participate in festivals and life with the community, etc. Being a city girl from a tropical big city, everything about the cute towns and the farm with a barn and chicken coops and a vegetable patch with SEASONAL veges and of course, a forest with wood to chop and flowers and mushrooms to pick was almost like another world to me.

That is, until I came to France.

The chateaus here with their French gardens and the old forts remind me of Disneyland and other RPG games respectively, but I’m mostly going to focus on Harvest Moon for this post. I need to share my happiness about stepping into this real world that up until this year had been virtual to me.

The Town Halls

First up, the itsy bitsy teenie weenie mairies aka Municipality Halls!

snes-mayors-house

 

Here’s the town hall of Gieres, a tiny town next to the university campus with a population of 6,000 people in an area of 6km2. It’s a stone building with a brick roof complete with windows and shutters! Apparently there are community facilities like tennis courts and conference rooms managed by the city and you just come here to get permission if you want to use them, most of the time for free! Such socialism. That explains the high taxes I guess.

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The Grenoble agglomeration consists of 46 of such municipalities, each with their own governing body hence their own municipality hall. My “city” of Meylan has about 17,000 inhabitants over an area of about 12km2.

To understand my glee and why I think the French town halls look like the ones in the game, you gotta know what the city halls that I’m used to look like:

Selayang City Hall (Left) and Nerima Ward Office, Tokyo (Right)
Pfft such boring modern buildings!

The Town Squares

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Public square in the city center of St. Etienne

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Dining at a restaurant by the public square in a tiny town called Allemont

Almost all cities in France that I’ve visited, regardless of size, had squares like this for people to chill, sunbathe, or to people-watch. It’s a shame this doesn’t exist in Malaysia. In KL, most “public spaces” are owned by private developers / malls, anyway.

The Crops

As any fan of Harvest Moon would know, growing vegetables is the most essential part of earning your livelihood in the game. I still remember that you plant turnips, potatoes, and cabbages in spring, tomato & carrots & corn & & pineapples in the summer, and sweet potatoes & pumpkins in the winter. Super important lessons about botany right there, because in Malaysia we don’t HAVE seasons, you know? 😦

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And tada! Here’s a real life example ↓ In fact, I see plenty of them everywhere in the outskirts where people have enough land to own a little vegetable patch like this.

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And here’s a real apple tree in the rain!! With actual apples growing on them. They were laughing at me for taking pictures of such an “ordinary” tree but it’s frigging exotic for me lol. Strange I’d never seen one in Japan before, but I just never had the opportunity to go up north to Aoyama where all the juiciest Japanese apples come from.

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The Flowers

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“Aku sedang apa?” Haha random pic of the indonesian version of Harvest moon I found online.

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Here’s my post on picking wild flowers during my hikes in spring.

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Besides amassing flowers, I also hug them to pose for pictures.

The Farm Animals

Here’s my other post on animals in France.

Horses:

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This is a groovy horse with highlights on his mane.

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Dogs:

One of my favorite things about France is how much they love dogs. ❤ But as a downside, you see dog poop everywhere. :/

animal_dog

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This lil guy barked at us when we walked past his house but didn’t dare come near us.

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I think this lil guy is a shepherd dog trained to check out passers-by like us to make sure we are not a threat to his flock. All we had to do was look and act normal until he decides we’re harmless and runs away back to his flock.

Sheep:

fall_sheep

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This was taken from the top of a mountain with a powerful zoom, but if you look closely, those are sheep resting and frolicking in the grass. Some are sheared and some not.

Chickens:

animal_chickens

 

And that’s all, folks!

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