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)


B*n said...

Wow. It's like McCarthy is alive and capitalist, but working in the underground in the real heart of Communism. Levis and Pepsi will have their day!! McDonalds will win!

Here in the States, we, and just about everybody I know, have been getting recorded phone calls stating that "This is the second warning that your vehicle warranty is about to One to speak to a representative, press Two to be removed from our call list."

After hanging up on them a few dozen times I decided I'd had enough and pressed Two. It hung up on me. A few more calls on which I hung up.

Today I got the call and pressed One to talk to somebody. It hung up on me. What an ingenious marketing scheme, eh? Maybe some technogenius will someday explain what it is that they are gaining, but until then, I prefer to think it's really the Chinese mafia wanting me to trick me into divulging information about my friend J*s*in and his f*i*nd, *, and her stance against the F*nd*ngo Party. I say "O*f T*e M*n", and other revolutionary, counter- revolutionary proclamations!!

Happy New Year (Western), Justin.

Matthew said...

It could also be one of the pre-Spring Festival scams. We keep getting calls saying we owe the phone company money and some other BS. Haven't heard anything about this one though.