Young Chinese at home and abroad may be outspokenly nationalistic, but that nationalism is more nuanced than often credited. Territorial disputes can provoke protest and xenophobia, but also sardonic online poetry.
While the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands dispute simmers, some Japanese expats in China are trying to keep tempers from boiling over, according to a Weibo post now making the rounds:
Shitouma911 (@石头妈911): My colleague just told me the funniest thing. He has a friend who lives in Gubei. A lot of little Japanese live there. He was shopping in the market one day when he heard a little Japanese nearby buying meat. He didn’t ask the price, but started instead with this: “The Diaoyu Islands are China’s, I’d like to buy some meat.”
The original post is no longer on Shitouma911’s profile, but screenshots and the quoted text continue to circulate on Weibo. It’s as if the Japanese expat (derided as “little”) had to state the politically correct territorial claim in order to feed himself. The post has inspired netizens to invent their own rhyming couplets that reimagine political slogans as prerequisites to ordering at a restaurant, running errands, or getting out of a cab. Without the comment thread attached to the vanished post by Shitouma911, it would be difficult to find the first couplet—but whoever did started a real trend. The post had 5,342 comments when this screenshot was taken:
SinueL (@肆虐L): I swear my life to Daddy Xi, no pepper in those spuds for me.
Shìsǐ xiàozhōng Xí Dàdà, hóngshāo tǔdòu bié fàng là.
Guiye-Ghost (@鬼爷-Ghost): I love Beijing Tiananmen, a plate of braised shrimp’s what I’ll have.
Wǒ ài Běijīng Tiān’ānmén, yóumèn dàxiā lái yī pén.
Shèhuìzhǔyì jiùshì hǎo, Wèilóng là tiáo shǎobuliǎo.
Jizhideyangmao (@机智的羊猫): I love my country, I love the Party, I love the people, and driver, I’d love to get out over there.
Àiguó ài dǎng ài rénmín, shīfu qiánmian tíng yī tíng.
Mengxiangdepintu (@梦想的拼图): Strike the tigers and the flies, a dozen egg tarts, please.
Cāngying lǎohǔ yīqǐ dǎ, Púshì dàntǎ lái yī dǎ.
Xiajianghuacs (@夏江华cs): I have a truly Chinese heart, a pack of TP for my cart!
Wǒ yǒu yī kē Zhōngguó xīn, lǎobǎn lái bāo wèishēngjīn!
Read more couplets at CDT Chinese.