воскресенье, 24 января 2016 г.

The first steps. Chinese social ads. The first part.

Nice to meet you here.
Today I'm going to introduce 5 (five) pieces of Chinese social ad, and then I will describe which words are used in there and why. Hope you will enjoy it!
DISCLAIMER: all English translations here are made by myself, so I'm not sure about precise meaning of the words that I'm using here. All the translations are just a ROUGH DRAFT.

 The first video called "Don't underestimate youth" (年轻不可看轻). All the names of videos used here are made by myself, using the most essential phrase from the piece of ad; I'm not sure about theirs official names, cause there are none of them. But it's not important at all. Please enjoy.


One person - Polish, 25 years old, has bachelor degree, studying Chinese and been to China for a year - whom I asked about this video, said: "the first impression is that this piece of ad isn't similar to average Chinese [commercial] ad. There is no single chengyu in it and no references to Chinese culture and traditions." But, for example, another Polish person, with master's degree, teaching at university, now writing his Ph.D., and spent in China approximately 3 years, said: "(...) the main motive of this ad are martial arts, which is in correspondence with Chinese tradition and culture, because Chinese want to demonstrate their power everywhere". 
The beginning is very simple - a man in his middle-ages, and a phrase: "Who is more deserve to be proud of?" (谁更值得骄傲?).
Then this man (seems like he is a businessman) says: "I've changed the way of doing business".(我曾颠覆一个行业) Yes, for sure he IS businessman. However, my translation here is not precise; he says something like: "I‘ve overturned, toppled one industry".
After it, we can see a group of young people doing motion capture - and one of them tell us with a joy on his face: "I'm 23 [years old]" (我23岁). Here we can already spot one interesting thing, but I will tell you about that later.
The next businessman line is: "My company has spread all over the world".(我的事业遍布全球). I'm sorry for "spreaded" :( Nothing to do here.
Now it's girls time, so one busy girl says about her age. We can see that she is working in model industry, what might be very "cool". Maybe, I'm not sure.
Businessman: "My decisions affects the whole market" (我的决策牵动市场). O.K., let's go to the next person.
Young man working in a huge glasshouse, and he is also "23 years old".
The video is getting faster and faster, tension is growing. The man drops: "My autobiography has been republished dozens of times".(我的自传再版数十次). For sure.
Here we can see young beautiful woman, and she is a painter. She is working on her project in some kind of "modern art", and then she turns her dirty (I mean seriously, there is paint on it) face and says: "I'm 23".
Man lacks patience: "My opinion is a motto for millions of people!" (我的观点是忆万人的座右铭). By the way, the word "忆万" literally means "100.000.000х10.000". A lot of people, indeed.
Young man riding a bike to his office, says: "I'm 23".
Music band is playing in the night, and the singer says: "I'm 23".
The peak of tension, frame after frame, scene after scene, girls, boys and the man.
Then everyone in every place repeat the phrase, and the end is "Don't underestimate youth" (年轻不可看轻). What was that about?

I want to apologize - I don't have any good statistical data, I mean percentage and by the rules. Everything down here is just rough, premature statistics. Please, take it easy.

Everyone, who saw it, has it's own opinion, of course, because quot capita, tot sententiae. Every older than 23 years old person expressed negative attitude to the first video. Some of them say "it's not about age, even 50 years old person can do it", some of them say "I don't understand, what do they want to say?"   People under 23 years old split in two groups - some of them say "it's O.K. and even fair enough", some of them say "I've just wasted my time". What do you think about it? You can write it down in commentaries.

Language "tools".
The first, and maybe most important thing, that is going through the whole video - the beginning of every line. Because of the fact, that Chinese is isolating language, there is very small difference between "me, mine, I, my" and so on. It means, that every phrase here starts from the word "I" (我). "I change..." and then "I 23." So, it's kind of opposition - "I'm a businessman" and "I'm young and perspective".
The second one is the last phrase. Mostly in Chinese words consist of two characters, and every one of them has it's own unique meaning. When joined, they produce some new meaning - for example, "brain" and "electricity" produce "computer". You got it?
So the last phrase words are: youth (年轻) don't (不可) underestimate (看轻). Youth consists of "year" (年) and "light" (轻), so we got "light years" - young, youth. However underestimate consists of "see, watch, look" (看) and "light" (轻). Here we got verb "to look light [on someone or something]", which means "despise, underestimate". In the end, despite the fact that youth is "light", one mustn't look "light" on it.


 I haven't sufficient competence and translation skills to translate the name of this ad in a proper way, but I doubt there is such a person in the whole galaxy - at least they will need to explain some things. Here we can see link with the past, with Laozi and his Daodejing. In the 27th chapter he says (my own translation): 善行无辙迹,善言无瑕谪;(...) We are interested only in first five characters, which are translated as: "Good driver doesn't leave any trace [after his cart]" Seems stupid? Maybe, but it has deeper meaning.
Laozi uses word 善行, which can have two different meanings and depends on context. The first one is 善 as "good, nice" and 行 as "to move, to ride, to go". But the second meaning, which is implicit will be 善 as "good, nice" and 行 as "deed, act, action". On Chinese net I found this: "形容具有高尚行为的人,不愿意人们对他有所觉察", and in English it writes: "the person of a high moral qualities doesn't want someone to spot him [doing good things]". Maybe, because of his modesty. For more detailed analysis I need access to a Chinese library, or at least a bookstore (in China there are a lot of people spending days in bookstores, because you can read there without buying) and a lot of time, but I think we roughly got the meaning.
To summarize it up, name of this ad, as well as the last phrase says: "The person of high moral qualities does good deeds and he don't need or want someone to spot it, because he is doing it just for the sake of the Good, and not for fame". Now you know why people say that two Chinese characters often mean two sentences. Myth busted!
This video is very touching, but... you can describe your own feelings in "commentary" part.


That's it. Watch, enjoy Chinese music, culture and other stuff.
Below I will describe reaction of different groups of people to this ad.
The first group are Chinese people, living in Poland. After watching the video every of them recalled China and family, one girl even was going to cry. She said that when she was in China, she didn't pay a lot attention to festivals and holidays - it was very usual for her. But now she is really missing it, and one of the most desired things now is to go back to China and spend holidays with family. (The 8th of February in 2016 is The Spring Festival or Chinese New Year, which is the first festival in the video. Every Chinese person in the whole world MUST go back home on this day, and spend this day with the family - even if this is the only day with the family in a whole year. That is the reason why a week before Chinese New Year and a week after there is no one working in the whole China). But we are talking about someone living outside of China, and what about people IN China? I think the target of this ad are people, who are working far away from home - for example, in big cities like Shanghai or Hong Kong. After watching it they will certainly miss family and will be back home in time :)
The second group, consisting only of one person - Polish person, with master's degree, teaching at university, now writing his Ph.D., and spent in China approximately 3 years, has Chinese wife (he already has been mentioned), and he voiced quite an interesting idea: "(...) I feel, that I want to gather all my family at the table and to feast with them. It is the way such ads work - in Poland they will be the same (...)". The only non-Chinese person, who was touched by this ad so deeply that he feels need to gather family. What can one state? Maybe, after spending so many time learning someone's culture one can become a part of this culture. Interesting.
The third group consists of Polish people, Ukrainian people, who is studying (or don't) Chinese said, that video is obviously Chinese, and good enough, has a lot of Chinese stuff, and must be targeted to everyone, propagating such things as family union, traditions and culture. Of course, they don't have any "I want to go home" feelings.
And you? Do you have any? Please, write in commentaries.


Year 2025, everything modern and new. But, but... All the plants are small and degraded, and they are growing in "futuristic bulbs", as one person said. Teacher is using new technologies to teach children, and everything seems well. But then we see paintings - they are all grey! Then children go to the window and we see grey city, everything without colours. It is quite important topic in China, lately Beijing officials proclaimed "Odd even rule" to be in effect in China's capital.
The first phrase in the end of the video - "We can't let future lost it's colours" (不要让未来失去色彩). The first word is "don't, can't" (不要), and the last one "colours" (色彩) can be translated as "uniqueness". So, we can't let future lost it's uniqueness. Then we see standard Chinese propaganda phrase - "let's solve the problem of polluted air together" (治理空气污染 大家共同努力), and here is one word - "solve, manage, rule, govern" (治理) that is usual for China - they always "manage" something, for example. The next one is - 大家共同努力, which translates as "[let's] put all the efforts together". One can see it all over China: "[let's] put all the efforts together to be more cultural" or "solve %problemname%", and so on.
And what do you think? Please, leave a feedback.


A piece of art, I think. Everyone will find it's own meaning(s), for example some of asked people said, that "all the people died because of pollution" or "some mystical powers helps people to clean up". Most of them expressed negative feelings and said it's very "lame".
One girl, Ukrainian, 20 years old, studying Chinese, said "(...) people must clean streets by themselves and not let some spirits help us."
The only phrase here is "This is the most beautiful moment" (此刻最美), authors use four-characters catch phrase, which is for some reasons get better acceptation among Chinese people (one can spot the same thing in the second video).
And what do you think? Leave a feedback, please.

Thank you for your attention, I hope you enjoyed it. Welcome to commentaries and please leave feedback! See you again.

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