Wednesday, January 7, 2009
The Party's Over
As I was finishing draining today's Chinglish swamp of sentences such as "The evening was characterized by vibrant atmosphere ventilating godlike excitement as guests enjoy the coming of friends" (describing not an orgy but a charity dinner) when my cell phone rang.
I noted it was C in Shenzhen, said a cheery "hello dear!" and was greeted with her deadpan question: "Do you want to quit the Communist Party?"
"Uh, well, I kinda work for them but I'm actually not a member," I replied before quoting Marx (Groucho, not Karl): "And I wouldn't join any club that would have me." She laughed and then repeated it solemnly. "What's that about?" I asked.
She'd just received a long recorded spam spiel on her phone in Chinese that opened with the question and then went on to describe what she described "all the horrible things the Party has done" before instructing the listener. "If you want to quit the Communist Party, punch 4. If you want to quit the Communist Youth League, punch 3. If you want to quit the Young Pioneers, punch 2."
C's a long-lapsed Party member, but is no fool either and hung up. Me, I was real curious and probably would've punched 2 because I was burning to know why 6- to- 10-year-olds (Young Pioneers) would be also targeted. The call was long distance and probably originated with a Fal*n g*ng group in Hong Kong or Taiwan - the *F*L*G* (sorry about the asterisks folks, a weak attempt to throw off Party Internet spybots, even a whispered mention of said cult is a Huge No-No here)and like all Chinese mobile phone users her name is registered with her number so while listening was no harm, showing interest would be inviting trouble and a possible visit from authorities.
"C'mon," I teased. "Weren't you curious? 'Punch 2 to quit Young Pioneers'! Punch 3 to quit Girl Scouts! 'Punch 4 to quit Hitler Youth!' I love it. C'mon!"
"Maybe a little," she laughed, "but not that stupid curious."
(Image from Stefan Landsberger's Chinese Propaganda Poster Pages. "Paying Tribute to the Uncles of the People's Liberation Army" 1965)
Posted by Justin at 1:23 AM