Listening to His Master’s Voice

Written by Julen Madariaga on January 13th, 2009

Wow! The People’s Daily (AKA the Mouthpiece Newspaper) is getting state-of-the-art technology for its online English edition: you can now listen to the articles at the same time as you read them. I’m just back from their website where I have heard these words of Grandpa Wen pronounced by HAL 9000:

“We must have faith and determination”

Now this is reassuring. I am going to play it to the old professor of my last post and I’m sure he will quit his compulsive hoarding and get back to enjoying life again. Other than that, I am not sure the device is of much practical use for the readers, as it reads English slower than I read Chinese.

Then again, come to think of it, the English edition of the People’s Daily has mainly 2 groups of readers:

  1. Chinese Communist Party members studying English, and
  2. Western political analysts studying the Party members.

Which probably accounts for the rather schizophrenic readership that expresses itself on the comments section. Mind you, this doesn’t stop  them from commenting openly on many issues and it is sometimes a lively forum. The Mouthpiece, who doesn’t “endorse or oppose”, is relatively tolerant and does not censor all the comments against the party.

Anyone familiar with this blog knows that I’m a keen commentator and I’m always ready to go and share my ideas with others. So I thought that The Mouthpiece was one of the few websites were I hadn’t left my trademark, and I prepared a comment for their topic “”Nonviolence” in the mouth of “Dalai Lama”"  (note the dense population of inverted commas).

This was my comment:

Dear Comrades, Dear Lamas!!! You must all show fraternal feelings and respect for each other and abandon your fruitless arguments. You must work united and be prepared to overcome difficulties with great enthusiasm, courage, care and stamina. Your Chairman, Mao

I was just about to press the publish button - for I am intrepid and I know not fear - when I realized that a slight detail had escaped my notice: comments have the author’s IP  published for all to see. This has discouraged me somewhat and I have kept my little message to post on my own, more intimate blog. Oh, well, just a little passtime for those condemned to browse the Mouthpiece on a daily basis.

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Comments so far ↓

  1. Jan
    Charles Liu

    uln, “faith and determination” is a common vernacular in American politics as well. Here’s a quick search in the .gov domain:

    [Reply to this comment]

  2. Jan

    Hi Charles. Yes, I was not making fun of that, actually I like the sound of the phrase, that’s why I wrote it :)

    Hey, you only gave me one star: that’s mean!

    [Reply to this comment]

  3. Jan
    Charles Liu

    uln, I gave you a one star for “Grandpa Wen pronounced”, “this IS reassuring”, “Your Chairman, Mao”. I find such sarcasm and loathing distastful.

    PD is no more a mouthpiece than our own CNN and Fox during the lead up to Iraq invasion.

    [Reply to this comment]

  4. Jan

    I am sorry it came across like that. I actually quite like Grandpa Wen and I think he is one of the only sound ones up there in ZNH, there was no loathing for him in my writing.

    The “Grandpa Wen” term is used by the Chinese themselves very often, and the verb “pronounced” is meant to go with HAL9000, a famous computer of A.C.Clarke’s Sci-fi novels. It is not Wen who pronounces, it is HAL, check out the link.

    There is admittedly a good deal of sarcasm in the writing, but it is not directed against Wen, it is against the PD. I am sorry but it is very difficult for me to respect a newspaper who is happy to consider itself the “Mouthpiece of the party”. It just goes against all the principles for which I stand.

    [Reply to this comment]

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