Year of the Ox: Door Dressing Guting

Walking around Guting, even though most buildings are apartment blocks, most were displaying couplets by their door. I’ve featured some of the more interesting ones below.

This doorway was funny because I imagined dueling households displaying couplets from President Tsai Ing-wen and Lai Ching-te vs. Ma Ying-jeou and his wife Chow Mei-ching respectively. President Tsai has gone with the classic idiom 「扭轉乾坤」(niǔzhuǎnqiánkūn) “to turn luck around” (literally, to upend heaven and earth). As 「扭」(niǔ to turn) and 「牛」(niú ox/cow) are near homonyms, the 「牛」 for the year of the ox stands in for it.

Former president Ma Ying-jeou and his wife, meanwhile, have called for equanimity and optimism in what was largely been interpreted as a dig at President Tsai‘s popularity with the words of the Hongwu Emperor 「心天之心平常心、樂天之樂金牛樂」. Ma’s explanation is that the son of heaven (read president) must respect the wishes of the people to rule properly, and that people need to be optimistic despite the pandemic and the ractopamine pork imports (video here).

I was (perhaps naively) surprised to see a Baptist church joining in on the fun:

「合體字」 compound characters featured heavily in a lot of the door dressings. The one on the right below is the same as the Presidential one above: 「牛轉乾坤」 with a stylized 「牛」.

There were even some compound characters from phrases in Taiwanese, like the one below: 「好孔來阮家」 hó-khang lâi góan ka (good things come to our family). Right beside it is 「黃金萬兩」 (10,000 taels of gold).

The banner below shows five different compound characters:
Looks like 「大利大吉」 (profit and fortune)
「日進斗金」 (a dou of gold enters every day)
「日日見財」 (every day meet with fortune)
「黃金萬兩」(10,000 taels of gold) (repeat of above)
「招財進寶」 (attract fortune and enter treasures)

The door below doesn’t seem to have been updated despite the fresh-looking colours, but the compound version of 「吉祥如意」 was cute enough:

There are a whole load more below!

The one above features 「犇」 bēn, made up of three 「牛」s.

Ko P’s naughty language in the Taipei Dome PowerPoint Presentation 柯P簡報中的「呼死啦」和「ㄍㄢˋ!」

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Former doctor and current Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je has been in the news again, this time for using bad language in a PowerPoint presentation that he gave at a meeting of the city council. To be honest I think that the bad language “ㄍㄢˋ” (pretty much every second word a high school student says) he used was the least cringy thing about the whole affair. The more worrying problem is Ko Wen-je’s continuing attempts to paint himself as some sort of folk superhero with his comically named White Power movement.

The offending picture, shown to the right of the slide above, shows Chao Teng-hsiung, chairman of the Farglory Group, the company contracted for the project, former Taipei mayor Hau Lung-pin and Ma Ying-jeou bursting out of an egg labelled the Taipei Dome on the head of a dragon (I guess they’re the true kings of Westeros). The reason there is an egg is because in Chinese the dome’s name is “大巨蛋” which means big arena or dome, but contains the character for egg. Most people seem to be reading the cartoon from left to right:

Ko Wen-je (cutting open the egg with a scalpel in his doctor’s white coat): There’s a problem with this egg. (這顆蛋有問題)

Ma Ying-jeou: Fuck! He’s actually using a scalpel to cut it open. (ㄍㄢˋ!他還真的用手術刀來切呢)

Hau Lung-pin:  (random symbols indicating swearing)

Chao Teng-hsiung: Let it die! (呼死啦!)

TVBS’s Situation Room, which I blogged about previously, did this report on the affair:

Ko Wen-je previously halted the construction of the Taipei Dome, accusing the previous mayor of colluding with the chairman of the Farglory Group in corrupt dealings and complaining about the standards of the building. He’s now ordered the chairman to start work on the project again – not a likely scenario – or he’ll dissolve the contract. There’s background on the story in this Taipei Times article.

Here’s Ko Wen-je being arrogant and indifferent about the whole thing in a council meeting:

Politics be as it may, we can still take the chance to learn a little Taiwanese. The words Chao Teng-hsiung says:

「呼死啦」or “ho   la” – the presenter in The Situation Room also says it at the timecode below:

The 「呼」 is a passive marker similar to 「給」 – so the phrase means “Kill him”, in the sense of “give him death”.

Update: Commenter Chenfra suggests that the omitted subject here is “it” not “him”, so the translation is likely to be “let it die” or “let it go” rather than the “kill him” or “give him death” I originally posted. He also suggests other more likely candidates for the passive particle “ho” including “互” and “予”.

I welcome any corrections if I’ve misunderstood anything!

Ma Ying-jeou does Mean Tweets… well Facebook comments

Ma Ying-jeou made a “mean Facebook comment” video to mark the end of his term in office:

I did a rough translation with some explanatory notes of the jokes below:

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Update (July 6, 2017): I have since learned that 「寶寶」 doesn’t have anything to do with Sponge Bob Square Pants, it just comes from the phrase 「嚇死寶寶」 as uttered by someone on Mainland Chinese telly and which then subsequently caught the public imagination. The 「寶寶」 in 「嚇死寶寶」 is a cutesy self-referent similar to when people say 「嚇死人家」 to mean 「嚇死我」. It’s pretty much equivalent in the annoying stakes to the use of “bae”.

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Update (July 6, 2017): At the time I was in such a hurry to get this done that I failed to notice that the zhuyin listed beside “interesting” here, spells out 「傷人」 (hurtful).

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And then he gets serious and gets nice messages – so I stopped translating – haha. Enjoy!

Battlefield Report: One of the More Amusing Campaign Leaflets

10807986_10101716801634539_746013710_nOne of the more amusing campaign leaflets from this guy Kang Mingdao who obviously has expert Photoshop skills.

It says “Battlefield report” on the left.

On the right, under the heading: “Taiwan’s number one gang, the party of dragons, tigers and leopards” is a picture of Jiang Yi-huah, Ma Ying-jeou and King Put-sung (I originally thought it was Hau Lung-pin, thanks for the correction Les) in their Sunday best. The stamp on the right in red is the title of a Hong Kong film Born to be King (《勝者焉王》)although the title is more akin to “History makes the victor a King, and the loser a scoundrel”), the successor to the Young and Dangerous movies (《古惑仔》), based on the Teddyboy manga series by Cantonese manga artist Ngau Lo (牛佬) – which are said to have formed the main stereotypes about the triads. To the right in the vertical text it says, “The three bandits challenge the 23 million Taiwanese people.”

Below it says:

-[They] allowed dodgy edible oil manufacturer Ting Hsin to pose a risk to precious Taiwanese lives by poisoning them.

-In six years, they undermined the stability of Taiwan’s political scene.

-They ask young people to marry and have kids, despite the paltry NT$22,000 a month salary.

-Let’s not let them leave Taiwan when their term in office is over.

This is not an endorsement.