Chinese Speech [中國話]
In Taiwan, the female music trio S.H.E.
recorded a song known as 中國話
(translation: Chinese speech) (see YouTube
or I'm Vlog
for the music video).
(BBC) While these three young women had a good time singing the song, some people were not amused. They thought that this song was praising China and fawning over the mainland Chinese market. In an age of de-sinofication in Taiwan, S.H.E. is praising "Chinese speech." Therefore, there were quite a number of Internet critiques, of which <Liberty Times> re-published some. These critics said that S.H.E. was currying favor with China and the song will have bad influence for the next generation in Taiwan. They were concerned that the fans of S.H.E. will grow up thinking that they speak "Chinese speech."
To give a sample, here is one of those critiques at Liberty Times:
S.H.E. has been in business for some years. But why did they choose to sing about 'Chinese speech' not sooner, not later but at this exact moment? If they say that it was unintentional and they were not trying to curry favor with the mainland Chinese market, who is going to believe them?
It is not wrong to want to make some money. Jay Chou's <The catalog of herbs> is a Chinese-themed song, but it does so from a cultural angle and avoids sensitive issues. Such an approach requires good literary techniques because it can become risible if done incorrectly. In the song 'Chinese speech', there is the sentence: "everybody is speaking Chinese and so the world is seriously listening to what we say." I agree that the netizens were right in their attacks.
First, even if many people speak Chinese, it has not gone to the point of 'the whole world' doing so. This sort of lack of humility is not a virtue for persons of Chinese descent.
Secondly, there are so many Chinese dialects. The language used by officials in the Beijing area is known as putonghua. If this is treated as the "Chinese speech," then the Cantonese, Fujianese, Hakka ... people will disagree. It is not very smart to please the Beijing people while offending the others.
Thirdly, since even the speech of the Chinese people cannot be called 'Chinese speech,' then what the people of Taiwan speak right now is obviously not 'Chinese speech.' So how can it be asserted: Chinese speech is 'our speech'?
Fourthly, if the people of Taiwan use Chinese speech, I must ask which 'China' does this refer to? China? Or Taiwan?
For your entertainment, there is also Johnny Neihu's NewsWatch: S.H.E looks like The Man to me at Taipei Times.
By the way, there is a spoof version of 'Chinese speech' in which the phrase 'Chinese speech 中國話 ' was replaced by 'Taiwan speech 台灣話' (see YouTube). S.H.E. does not have a problem with this spoof because they said that they encourage creativity.
The preceding is somewhat old news, but the item that has not received as much coverage is the response from Shi Jen-cheng (施人誠) who wrote the song's lyrics (copied from his blog):
Today, the newspaper that calls itself "liberty" seems to have lost its mind and is howling emotionally
they reported the ways in which our new song is inappropriate
they even use the title: "corrupting the next generation of Taiwan"
I was reading the online news of that newspaper this morning even as I laughed
then I got to the story about our double standards:
when we shot the music video on the mainland, the reporter was allowed to show bare feet
when we got back to Taiwan, we wouldn't allow that anymore
... when I saw this report, I nearly threw up my breakfast from too much laughter
can they find nothing more to say?
even this unconvincing dogshit is invoked as an excuse to attack us
they used two full pages to chase after this affair
could it be that they did not have enough space in the politics section
that they had to use the entertainment section as well?
my overall feeling is that Taiwan has entered the era of Cultural Revolution
the lyrics on a song can be scrutinized in an unlimited manner
are these people cultural police and cultural prison guards?
who are you to judge that my lyrics have bad ideology?
or corrupt the next generation?
who are you to judge that my lyrics are fragrant flowers? or poisonous weeds?
according to your ideology?
your ideology does not matter fart to me!!
in what way are you qualified to use your own standards to question me?
yesterday you posted big character posters by way of your special power as media
will a criticism session be coming up next?
you do this only because you are using the media for private purposes
you use this public media tool to help your own side and attack others
you have the nerve to claim to be for liberty
we don't know the whole truth about why this is happening
we will wait for further developments
I feel that the most laughable thing is
if the beliefs and the ideology that you promote
can be so easily dissolved and shaken by one popular song
is this your problem or mine?
if you dare, you can criticize the hundreds of thousands who wait for the Goddess of the Sea to pass through
in order to kneel down in front of the statue of the woman named Lin Mo-Niang from Meizhou
they are kneeling in front of a mainland Chinese person
if you dare, you can destroy all the cultural artifacts inside the National Palace Museum
because they all came from mainland China
if you dare, you can ban Chinese medicine and doctors
if you dare, you don't eat Peking duck, Mongolian barbeque meat, Wenzhou wonton, Fuzhou fishballs
Oh, such sorrow!
Taiwan has been torn apart over the past few years
politics is overflowing everywhere
there is only politics
there is nothing about people's livelihoods
there is nothing about the economy
there is nothing about vision
there is nothing about vista
there is nothing about goals
the beautiful island has become an island without hope