shunkouliu


shunkouliu
(doggerel verse)
Shunkouliu are anonymous doggerel verses. They are also called minyao or folk rhymes. They are especially of the topical and political types, and reflect ordinary people’s opinions. To a certain extent, they are similar to political cartoons in the West. Numerous shounkouliu have been created to satirize corruption in an entertaining way. E.g.
1
Lian yu Bu Lian
Bu lian gongzuo lian wuchi,
Bu lian xianqi lian xiaomi.
Bu lian maowu lian bieshu,
Bu lian jiejian lian shechi.
Love and Don’t Love
They don’t love work but a dance floor.
They don’t love their good wives but their young mistresses.
They don’t love their thatched huts but villas.
They don’t love thrift but luxury.
2
Da majiang santian-wutian bu shui,
He Maotai sanping-wuping bu zui,
Gan zhengshi sannian-wunian bu hui.
He can play mahjong for three to five days without sleep,
And drink three to five bottles of Maotai liquor without a hangover,
But he can’t do anything properly in three to five years.
3
Gaoji ganbu youlong-xifeng,
Zhongji ganbu zuofeng bu zheng,
Putong ganbu liumang cheng xing.
High-ranking cadres amuse themselves with men and women,
Intermediate-ranking cadres are dishonest and immoral in their ways,
Ordinary cadres have become by second nature hooligans.
4
Dang guan bu pa hejiu nan,
Yuanyang huoguo teng xilang, Wanzhan-qianbei zhi dengxian;
Haixian shaokao zou yuwan;
Sangna anmo zhoushen nuan,
Majiang zhuo qian wugeng han;
Geng xi xiaojie bai ru xue,
Sanpei guo hou jin kai yan.
An official doesn’t fear the hardship of drinking;
And thinks nothing of endless cups and glasses.
The steaming ‘lover’s hot pot’ simmers;
There’re also seafood and barbecued fish balls.
Sauna and massage make him warm all over,
And he plays mahjong till it gets cold just before dawn.
What makes him happier is that the girl has snow-white skin;
He’s all smiles after Ms Three Accompanies has done whatever he wanted.
Shunkouliu (1) depicts the xiaomi (mistress) phenomenon; (2) and (3) mock the Party style and high-level mistress scandals and corruption cases, such as Cheng Kejie; (4) is especially popular as it is an imitation of Mao’s poem, ‘Long March’, praising the Red Army which had endured extreme hardship. Now many cadres have abused their power to have a good time, including using ‘Ms Three Accompanies’ (sanpei nülang, see baoernai). The government is ambivalent towards shunkouliu, but has no recourse. Many in fact have been legally published and are a hit, as those quoted here. A few of them have been included in xiangsheng (cross-talk) and comedies. There are many variations of the published ones. With the wide use of cellular phones, new shunkouliu and variations of the well-known ones spread more quickly.
Link, P. and Zhou, K. (2002). ‘Shunkouliu: Popular Satirical Sayings and Popular Thought’. In P.Link, R.Madsen and P.Pickowicz (eds), Popular China: Unofficial Culture in a Globalizing Society. Lanham, MD and Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield, 89–109.
HELEN XIAOYAN WU

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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