Saturday, October 21, 2006

MC Hotdog: "I love Taiwan chicks"

Taiwan's MC Hotdog has stumbled upon a surefire method of meeting sexy Asian women: make a catchy song praising the beauty of local women. In this case, with Zhang Zhen Yue singing the main tune, he praises Taiwanese women in "Wo Ai Tai Mei" (我愛台妹), translated as "I love Taiwanese chicks." It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that national identity is sexy and sells, especially in a catchy song sprinkled with Taiwanese dialect. (Click on the picture above or click here to go to a clip of the song put up by Malubud)

From what I've learned on the Internet, according to Mei Huang's article "The Ubiquity of Tai ke," in Taiwan, "Tai ke" is the equvalent of the U.S. redneck, something like a deragotory term now used as a marker of local Taiwanese pride. The "Tai ke" is supposed to dress all gaudy and loud (gee, fits in with rap style!) and the "Tai mei" is the female equivalent. So MC Hotdog is rapping an ode to the "Tai mei" in this video. And just for your info, MC Hotdog has the character for "dog" 犬 on his jersey.

Now the People's Republic of China views Taiwan as a breakaway province, and has made national reunification a top priority. But this policy clashes with the emergence of a distinct Taiwanese identity. The Japanese took over Taiwan in 1895 and ruled it for half a century, first using brute force to put down any resistance, then developing the infrastructure and creating a policy of assimilating the Taiwanese. In fact, Japanese became the common language of the schools in the colonial period and so many very elderly Taiwanese can speak fluent Japanese. By the time the Japanese were kicked off the island in 1945, Taiwan was the most developed province in China.

Many Taiwanese (descendants of people in Taiwan before the end of Japanese rule), although they suffered discrimination from the Japanese, suffered even more discrimination at the hands of mainlander Chinese who took over the island in 1945. In 1947 Taiwanese rose up in an uprising known as the February 28 incident in which thousands died in the resulting government crackdown. And in 1949, millions of mainlanders fled to the Taiwan following the Communist takeover of China, beginning a process of mainlander domination of Taiwan politics which really only ended with the rise to power in 1988 of President Lee Teng-hui, a native Taiwanese.

Given this history, today many Taiwanese speak their native dialect with pride. Take a rap (which seems to be based on the Spinner's "I'll be around" posted by shockg) , sprinkle it with Taiwanese dialect, and combine it with the fact that Chinese women overshadow Taiwanese women in the worldwide Chinese media. Now you understand why MC Hotdog is so popular among Taiwanese women, as seen in this video of a live club performance (click on the picture below or here to see the video posted by bj23tube). As you can see, all these Taiwanese women are hugging him and energetically singing along with his song!

So my friend, want to meet Asian women? Become a rapper and throw in a healthy dose of nationalism and identity politics and this is what you get! Now you know why he sings, "Wo ai tai mei! Tai mei ai wo!" (I love Taiwan chicks! Taiwan chicks love me!)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Journey to the West

Journey to the West must be one of the most famous novels that we don't know about. It's an epic Chinese novel (written in the 1590s) well known in East Asia, and I've seen pictures of the main character the Monkey King in both China and Japan.

Little known to most Americans is that they know of the main character. The Monkey King's name is "Sun Wukong" and the Japanese pronunciation is "Son Goku". Yes, you anime otaku, the character from Dragon Ball! In fact, Dragon Ball is loosely based on Journey to the West.

Click here for a Chinese remake of Journey to the West posted by chunwui5021. Those of you who read the book can figure out this is from the beginning, when the powerful Monkey King takes on Buddha himself. The bet is whether Sun Wukong can jump out of the palm of Buddha's hand.

Here's the karaoke clip of the theme song posted by kd6cute3.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sadistic Japanese TV toilet humor

Ah, how I long for the good old days of Japanese TV when producers did not give a whit about torturing their victims...I mean contestants. Now Japanese TV is mostly about in-jokes about local celebrities or game shows with celebrities. Here's a scene from a Japanese TV show - literally toilet humor. Please note how what passes for mainstream TV in Japan gets flagged as adults only in America!