But first, a little back story so we all know what we’re reading here (and I do hope after this my blog stays available on the mainland – gonna use some weird spacing and spelling to avoid bots). The big campaign here right now is an expansion of the “Ha rmoni ous S *ocie\ ty” campaign. It’s on every political poster on the roadsides – there are 20 such signs on my street alone. The point, basically, is to do your job in your place and not make waves, or make life uncomfortable for those around you. Sounds nice, but you can kind of see a little ways down that road, and you can understand why “harmo ny” has become a euphemism for ce n z*or*sh p. For example, whenever something “offensive” is, erm, stricken from the internet, Chinese sarcastically say that it has been “h-a r m onisd”. This concept goes right back to Confucius, whose big idea was that everyone has their duty and their place, and should follow a very strict set of rules governing what people in their position should and should not be able to do.
So the concept of har mony (和谐 – hé xié) has long been an integral part of Chinese culture, but it’s also been a point of criticism. Sadly, this whole “nail that sticks up gets hammered down” mentality is now giving the honchos a headache, because while the Chinese now have the manpower and the money to take the world economy by storm, they can’t get enough people to break away, be creative and innovate.
Amusingly, the solution to this has apparently been to put signs up all over Beijing that say: “Beijing Spirit: Patriotism, Innovation, Inclusiveness, Morality.” So now, the message is “Don’t piss anyone off, but hurry up and do something unique”.
Guess that solves that problem. NEXT!
Anyway, the below is a children’s song that has probably been made up in the last few years, teaching children why harmony is so important. There are a couple of intermediate words in the last sentence, but they’re easy to figure out.