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Die Laughing in China!

Popularity 11Viewed 4010 times 2014-3-5 19:31 |System category:News| Laughing, China

Well, in the aftermath of that awful terrorist attack, perhaps I shouldn't use the word 'die' in order to show some sensitivity to the victims. And of course, we all recognise that attack as being an atrocity, and we feel deeply for those families affected.
However, 'Die Laughing!' is not about death. 'Die Laughing!' in English means that you were laughing so much that your laughter was uncontrollable, and could be likened to being 'tickled to death!' if you are really ticklish - I am! So what's 'Die Laughing' got to do with China? Well, I'm an Englishman living in China. I spent my first year in Chansha, and I was amazed at the cultural differences between China and the west - one of the most obvious ones being the way that Chinese people tend to eat with their mouths open, whereas in the west we would consider that impolite to say the least. In fact, one Chinese businessman friend told me that eating with your mouth open and making 'chomping-choshing' sounds, was a sign that you were enjoying the food so much. I just kept my eyes averted, and tried not to think about it, though sometimes in a restaurant, my ears seemed to be assailed by crowds of people all chomping and choshing. 'Choshing' isn't a real word as far as I know, I just made it up to describe the sound of 'wet chomping'! Good, isn't it?
Well, there I was, usually in Starbucks, tapping away on my laptop, writing this oh-so-interesting travelogue about China and the west. Except it wasn't interesting at all. It was really boring. Really wúliáo! Now that's one of the loveliest words in the Chinese language – Wúliáo! I love it. In case any of you weren’t paying attention, wúliáo means boring, and I use it a lot, even when I’m speaking English. As you know already, (don’t you, fellow morons?) English has no problem importing (stealing, really) words from other languages in order to enrich itself even more with the gold coinage of words. Think about ‘kaput’ from the German for ‘broken’ and ‘rendezvous’ from the French for ‘meeting’ and ‘G’day’ from the Australian  meaning ‘Have I really gotta talk to you, you big wuliao?’ So I seriously think that ‘wuliao’ should become part of the English language too, whaddya think?

You aspiring writers have all done this, haven’t you? You write some really ‘meaningful’ words about something, and when you go back to read it again and check it (‘proof-read’ it for those out-of-touch with us literary masters), you find that what you wrote was probably one of the most wuliao pieces of garbage ever written since Socrates! (Did he actually write, or did he only think? Do we care?)

So what do you do with your wuliao garbage script? Eat it? Maybe. Throw it? Definitely. What about changing it? To make it really interesting instead of wuliao…Good idea, right? But how to do that?

Well, I tried this and that, and it was still only a shade above being totally wuliao. See? You’ve learned a new word in Chinese already haven’t you? That wasn’t too difficult, was it? You can understand a bit of Chinese without having to translate it or try to remember the meaning, right? And you only had to adjust the odd brain cell that you may or may not have been aware of having, just a little. Are you still here? Why?

So I tried to rewrite my boring, wuliao travelogue, changing it here and there, and after about 2 million attempts, I discovered a new way to write. And I started to laugh out loud as I was writing it. Very strange! Not wuliao at all! And it became so easy to write now - no trying to think of what I could say next to interest my millions of readers - my fingers literally flew (ok, not literally, but you know what I mean!) over the keyboard, in a blur of thought mixed with muscle. Sometimes I thought my keys would scream out at me in the anguish of this author flagellation. This what? Ok, I'm getting over the top now, but it's interesting, right? Yes it is, stop disagreeing with me. Ok, stop reading now, I dare you - I bet you can't, right, haha?

It was then that I decided to write my book without restrictions, without necessary truth, or accurate observations, and with the sole purpose of making the reader laugh out loud! I’m a genius! Ok, suit yourself, I’m not a genius, but I was beginning to really enjoy myself as I was writing, and even laughing uncontrollably in Starbucks, though that’s not hard to do if you’ve ever watched people trying their blueberry cheesecake and you study their faces as they search for a bit of flavour - fat chance! More to come, watch this space…….

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Comment Comment (10 comments)

Reply Report Dr.Bill.Shen 2014-3-5 20:27
There is nothing more cathartic than that ... A bit unconventional but wuliaoless  ...
Reply Report nnish 2014-3-5 22:38
    cant wait for your next article . I dont need to drink here in china everyday is unique and everyday is funny  
Reply Report snowipine 2014-3-6 05:42
Customs are diversified.
Reply Report ColinSpeakman 2014-3-6 17:17
Yes there is a phrase: Laugh, I nearly died! Then there is the one I find even funnier after say going to see a comedian on stage,  Laugh, I nearly did!  :-)
Reply Report voice_cd 2014-3-6 17:51
Thanks for sharing your story here! We have highlighted your story to the homepage.
Reply Report KIyer 2014-3-6 21:11
the food eating in China is apparently like in India - chewing with mouth open. I do not find it distasteful or offensive at all if normal sized portions are chewed and eaten as people have done normally for a million years. Where a nice long burp at the end of the meal is considered a great way to compliment the host and that you are sated. It is not looked down upon.
Reply Report ColinSpeakman 2014-3-6 21:40
The most important thing is that food be properly chewed so it can be readily digested. If it needs a big open mouth to do that, then so be it:-)
Reply Report teachingchinese 2014-3-7 11:49
Welcome new comer, wish you happy life in Changsha.
Reply Report remitrom 2014-3-10 04:12
wuliao, wuliao, wuliao, not a comment about ur story..    I need to write it a few times to commit it to memory..  Thanks
Reply Report MissBarbara 2014-3-12 05:36
bu wuliao

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