ok, well I've fully corrected the transcript, so it should hopefully be more or less error free now.
I have decided to have a crack at translating it as well. Boy, I have even more respect for Jason now. It was tougher than I thought it was going to be but a very interesting exercise all the same which I learnt quite a bit from. I realised that for quite a bit of the time I was really only getting the general gist of things but don't think I've accurately grasped precisely what was being said. Sometimes I was particularly unsure and these areas I've highlighted in red. Interestingly I also found there were times that I felt I did understand it quite well in Chinese but found it hard to translate that faithfully and succinctly in English [this was perhaps for me the greatest revelation]. Sometimes I was trying to drive half way between the literal and the idiomatic which I guess may have led to some somewhat strange English...othertimes I steered closer to one side or the other. Anyway, for what it's worth, here's my shot at it below. I'd love any suggestions on improvements, any insights, or comments in general...all welcome and encouraged.
Hi everyone, welcome to ChinesePod. Today once again we have a Media lesson.
Today we’ll see [come explore a topic about] a phenomenon that astonishes people.
oh, astonishing phenomenon
yeah, called “rent white people”
“rent white people”? ..it’s not rent a car or rent something, it’s rent people?
yeah, renting people you can also do, hehe
actually I knew were talking about this, ah, relatively astonishing phenomenon. I’ve previously read about it in the newspapers and magazines. So the following will help us understand, in the end, what is this “rent white people”? :
I, a foreigner to China who teaches English at University, on 22nd July received an invitation. The subject of the letter was “travel to Shanxi Province for 3 days free” and also promised “ an opportunity to interact[/exchange ideas] with the Governor of Shanxi, government officials, corporate leaders, and businessmen”
This kind of invitation is fairly commonly seen amongst the expats in Beijing. Many foreigners receive such invitations as it can make operations/connections appear more international. The host will usually provide for the invited guests travel expenses/ arrangements, accommodation, food and beverages, etc, as well as sporting/cultural events. Sometimes they will also give remuneration. This kind of activity is called “face travel” or “renting white people”.
After hearing this we know “renting white people” ,ah, it’s actually, ah, not complicated to talk about.
yeah, it’s hiring some foreigners to come and participate in an event. These white folk have no relationship per se to the event they’re hired to come to.
改 革开放嘛，这是越来越的外国人到中国来，啊，然后呢也有一些跨国公司他们确实是工作需要到中国来参加的一些活动，啊，但是可能有一些公司呢，在国内的公 司，他们需要充场面，对吧？。。没这个朝见，所以去请了一些外国人来假装是他们公司的一些合作伙伴也好然后工作人员也好，对吧？
oh, right, because we know that following that reform that opened China to the outside world [Deng Xiaoping’s policies around 1980] , more and more foreigners have come to China and then we also had some multinational corporations. They really need to come to China for work and participate in these events. But maybe some companies, domestic companies, they need to fill the occasion [ get enough of the right people to come and make the occasion a success...satisfy some requirements],right? ...they can’t get important Chinese dignitaries to come so they go and invite these foreigners to come and pretend to be their companies partners [which is also seen as good?] , and then coming to pretend to be their companies staff which is also seen positively, right?
yeah, it’s this way for the sake of “face” [? putting on such face looks good]
right, to satisfy the “face” of the event
en [yeah..grunt of agreement]
ah, so we know actually this phenomenon in China isn’t only for one or two days. We should mention that it’s for a time, right?
right, furthermore I think it’s still pretty common.
also controversial. Afterwards everyone has their own comment. So next let us listen, following with this commentary, what she has to say:
2nd Dialogue plays:
“renting white folk” is absolutely Chinese folk cheating fellow Chinese, putting on a show in front of their countrymen. “We foreigners are merely pawns in this game. We’re put in a ridiculous spot in this “mutual exchange” however are perplexed as to why the Chinese still haven’t discovered [this ruse]. Every last foreigner [down to the last one] knows this game is deceitful and are surprised to find that nothing in the world is stopping it. Ask them how can they not greatly regret it?
How should we respond to foreigners bewilderment over this? Can we really say to them that this kind of matter in China is reasonable and legal, or call for those for foreigners to “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” ? Actually those foreigners playing the role of puppets are already “doing as the Romans do”[doing as the locals do] , but it’s just that they lack China’s original “doctrine of the mean”. To know the Emperor’s not wearing clothes but not to speak out about it [famous tale].
2nd dialogue ends 3m 7s
oh, her words were very incisive in this part. At the start she was saying that it’s a case of Chinese cheating Chinese, isn’t that so?
oh, she said “renting white people is completely a case of Chinese people cheating Chinese people, Chinese putting on a show in front of Chinese people”
this means a show
ah, this is purely a performance
you’re doing it this way for the purpose of the other people who are watching...a performance you’re giving for everyone to watch
oh, so this “putting on a show”, it actually means like involving a bit of deception
right, this word has a negative connotation
ah, it’s a word with a negative connotation...ok, “zuo xiu...do a show”, eh, moreover in this essay I think it’s a foreigner she maybe speaking of/ in this section of the essay it’s probably a foreigner who said “we foreigners are pawns in this game”
a small soldier/pawn in this game
this “zu2” means soldier, serve in the army type soldier
ah, I know, in Chinese chess they have a piece called “zu2...soldier”
yeah, that’s right. that “pawn” means “small soldier”, in other words this character is not too important
4m 03 secs
ah, it’s antonym is surely “general”
hehe, right. ah, if you know , ah, your role is not at all important you can say “ I’m merely a pawn, that’s all”
yeah, “pawn” ,ah but that “pawn” ah , indeed is capable in these games ..can do their thing without interference, right?
oh, “clear and unimpeded”
ah, that is no barrier to your passage
ah, this is unimpeded and without obstruction
yeah, very smoothly into the road without obstruction
can travel very quickly
yeah, I wish the traffic in Shanghai would be free flowing one day
so apart from describing traffic, additionally you can also use it to describe affairs progressing very smoothly
oh, right, actually we also have that “exchange” that was mentioned above that we can also describe in this way
ah, for example we can speak the same oral language, therefore we can exchange/communicate...this is “clear and unimpeded”
oh, you’re not wrong [that’s right]
right, ok, you see even all foreigners speak like this, thus they say, ah, they’ve got no choice but to render those Chinese full of different emotions
“be filled with different emotions”
that “regret” meaning then is acting as your in touch with something external and then afterwards this gives rise to some reflections, thoughts, feelings, etc
oh, here “lament” ,it’s actually reflections on one’s thoughts and feelings, right?
。。a word expressing relative degree. “ten thousand thousand....10million” this is “extremely”
very very much this kind of idea
“ah, this really is too pretty, really is too beautiful”
oh, so here “rent white people” makes you extremely regretful , it’s just too inconceivable
right, too inconceivable
hehe, ah, yeah, oh but also in this section she mentions a word I think which is somewhat descriptive of what it says , those foreigners acting as puppets.
oh, playing the role of puppets
sounds very serious
right, because this word , this is , ah, like has a relatively derogatory sense
oh, yeah, so “puppet”’s meaning is a person controlled by another person
oh, continuing on we normally see that puppet ..it’s a kind of puppet, right?
yeah, he can’t act of his own accord but rather is controlled by a person behind [the fingers of the person behind make him move]
oh, right, one action one movement ah, also even a word, a phrase is all controlled by another person,ah, controller, afterwards controller
so puppets are still commonly used in the political sense. For example in the past it was quite common to have some very very young emperors and generally speaking you could say they were puppet emperors.
oh, right. “puppet”, so in our commentary, this is, some people feel this way, that is those foreigners acting their part are puppets. They’re already following the local customs.
exactly already from an early time they’ve adapted to the culture and local customs
oh, this is when you’ve arrived at a place and then adapt to its ways, ah, social customs and habits, right?
yeah, but they still lack Chinese people’s original doctrine of the mean
hehe, hey , she here mentions the way of “doctrine of the mean”
yeah, talking of doctrine of the mean can make us call to mind Confucian school of thought
yeah, so at that time I think the majority of Chinese had the same way of thinking
hey, right, this is can’t be too much this way or that, this is an extreme. definitely can’t go to [additional] extremes.
yeah, this means if your doing something you should have a balanced impartial approach and not go to extremes
yeah, this is walking down the middle of the road
hey, get a hold of this standard
ah, thus it’s “doctrine of the mean”. Actually this “yong1” character, actually I think is prettty interesting
yeah, it’s saying you must maintain an ordinary mind/keep your mind ordinary
徐洲： 哦，这是做什么事都不要那么地出挑, 不要那么地高调，是吧？
oh, so this is if you do something you mustn’t stick out from the crowd, don’t be high and mighty
doctrine of the mean. hey, so after learning about this our listeners might also be very flabbergasted, however maybe they’ll ask “ hey, why would Chinese people do something like this?”
..so next section of the dialogue brings out a few points in it as to the real root cause.
yeah, ok, let’s listen for a bit:
3rd dialogue plays:
很 显然，“出租白人”是一种不正常的社会现象，但值得反思的是这种本该在戏剧舞台上出现的事情会出现在现实社会中，而且是畅通无阻。那些活动的主办方难道 不知道这是欺骗？那些官员难道不知道这是不正常的？但在政绩的冲动与利益的诱惑面前，我们可以将良心隐藏，把谎言当实话。如果没有那么多的招商任务，又何 必非得找那么多外商前来？如果没有所谓的国际化情结，又何必在中国的土地上建那么多的欧洲小镇、北美别墅？
quite clearly “renting white folk” is an abnormal kind of societal phenomenon, but it’s worth reflecting that the basis of what we see acted out on the stage in these affairs can appear in real society, and furthermore there are no barriers to it. Can it really be that the hosts of these events don’t know it’s deceitful? ...or that the officials don’t recognise it as abnormal? However in the politically ambitious in the face of enticement we can expect them to bury their conscience. Put up lies as the truth. If you can’t recruit so many business people, then why not just try and find that many foreign businessmen? If you don’t have so called internationalisation complex, again why establish so many European small villages and North American villas on Chinese soil ?
3rd dialogue ends 8m 20s
actually, understanding about this affair, or rather this phenomenon ，I now feel it’s an extremely abnormal societal phenomenon. Actually I also know it has a definite cause.
so in this section of the commentary we also can see she thinks the government officials are motivated to achieve a good track record, and are attracted to the benefits that arise from that and thus will suppress their conscience, thus putting up lies as truth.
hey, this is somewhat deliberately setting out to deceive folk
yeah, hey, so here were we talk about “zheng4ji4..political achievements”...what’s that?
oh, this is government officials performance
oh, this is their past political track record, right?
right, it’s what your government official has done and accomplished during this year.
yeah, so actually this “political track record” even more refers to government workers
yeah, not wrong
hey, ah, ok, so after that she also has a phrase, “we can expect the conscience to be hidden”. I really don’t think this is desirable, hehe
hehe, so here “conscience” is mentioned hey. Actually it’s one of man’s fundamental virtues
oh, a fundamental kind of principle, right?
yeah, this is your understanding of right and wrong, good and bad
hey, yeah. we’ll often hear, “hey , how can you talk like that ?, you really don’t have any conscience”
ah, this is too lacking in morality
hehe, hey, yeah. I think when I was a kid my parents would also speak to me this way, “oh boy, we give you food ,we clothe you, and despite this you’re still don’t do as your told! ..you don’t study properly..you really have no conscience!”
didn’t your folks also talk to you like that?
..because I was very obedient
oh, so that explains why you still have a very strong conscience. ok, hey, so, ah, here she actually isn’t talking about burying your conscience but rather she’s actually talking about a complex, right? This is internationalisation complex.
mm, yeah. By “complex” it means to deeply conceal feelings at the bottom of your heart.
hey, so actually what is “Internationalisation complex” then ?
this is when you too dearly hold Internationalisation as special, to be especially fond of all things related to internationalisation.
up to 10m 5s
hey, this seems ,ah,to take the attitude that whatever is foreign is better than domestic
so we also might regularly hear of all kinds of complexes, for example “princess complex” , “homesick complex”, “Oedipus complex”, etc
to be precise, in all these complexes there is the feeling that they want to place their hope in these things/be taken care of by these things
especially like that aspect of those things
strongly yearn for something, love it
ah ,right, sure
hey, so do our ChinesePod listeners have Chinese complex?
ahh, perhaps, hehe
hey, ok. We’ve spoken of so many complexes, eh, but in our commentary the author also mentions that if it’s not this so called Internationalisation complex we’ve just been talking about then why do those things?...it’s a meaningless affair. for example, looking like something, producing so many European villages and North American villas and so on. Here she mentions “he2bi4”
oh, this “he2bi4” then, it’s generally used with a rhetorical tone to express “need not” ..unnecessary to do it this way. ah, actually it translates a little bit like “why”
aah, somewhat rhetorical
for example, “Connie, we know you’re a vegetarian, ah, so why have you ordered so many meat dishes then ?
‘tis a very good example, hehe
hehe, I’m not wrong hey ?
ok, hey, so getting back to our “rent a white person” subject , ah, following we’ve got some more commentary to go listen to:
4th dialogue starts at 11m 20s
“renting white people” makes one call to mind when you see those swindling “medical experts” and “fitness experts” showing off on tv; they’re all the same; “pull/tear the tigers skin, draw a large banner” [to make false claims in order to achieve something]..they all have all sorts of halos on top of their heads [ they all cover themselves in glory by claiming certain titles] or claim some sort of expertise, or claim to be some great master, or supernatural entity/god/demigod. From this I [the author] think perhaps our society indeed needs these swindlers to exist, otherwise why is it that there is still a market for these cheats?
I pretend to be an expert, your pretend to be a master, and he pretends to be confused. Really in the end we the common folk are only cheated [as long as we allow it/ by ourselves?]
4th dialogue ends at 12m 12s
hey, ok, in this section, actually there are a lot of interesting expressions, however generally speaking I think this section is basically satire
she goes from this “rent white people” phenomenon topic to influence [affect our way of looking at?] [or we are being influenced by these swindlers?] to very hot[popular] other ways/aspects of cheating, such as fitness experts, medical experts, etc
oh, also in the first part [of this section..or of one’s life..when you’re born?] it seems like a lot of specialists appear
yeah, she says you should be your own expert in looking after your health, but tells the audience [we the listeners/ readers] some very funny [satire] ways of going about it
hey, so the result then, is to discover that it seems we all should have a cheating purpose, right?
yeah, all are posing as important people
posing as important people
so you falsify a title to make it known you have credentials in order carry out your cheating
yeah, ok, “posing as important people” , and furthermore she not only says she poses as someone important, but also does something called “pulling the tigers skin to pull a large banner”, right?
this sounds very funny
hehe, yeah, yeah
“pull tiger skin, pull big banner [ to make false claims in order to achieve something]”
that expression and “fox exploits the tigers might [to use powerful connections to intimidate people]” have roughly the same meaning
hey, you think this is the same as that “tiger skin ..grabbing it and accomplishing a banner”..”pull the tiger skin, do a big banner”
ah, also this is blowing to the max [bragging big time], but it’s cheating
hey, this is your way of looking at it and it seems you think its extremely radical, extraordinarily taking on false appelations, and many other wild things you could attribute to such behaviour, but basically it’s just plain cheating folk
yeah, she’s totally cheating people. Acting like this is called “pulling the tiger to pull a big banner”
hey, furthermore those various experts of whatever, they for the most part are something,ah, ..you can see the such and such of such and such a hostpital, ..head doctor of such and such a hospital, health experts and so on.
yeah, so she covers herself in all kinds of glory/honorifics
hey, yeah yeah. all kinds of halos on top of her head
she has many titles
hey, the title of such and such a post and so on, or some prize winner [such as a nobel laurette] and so on. So our author still mentions that their are a lot of people feigning to be experts, pretend to be masters, and there’s even a kind who pretend to be confused.
ah, also this is deliberately “muddled”
however in the end, how about cheating the common folk, right?
yeah, so “in the end” means what is the final outcome like..how did things finally turn out
generally this expression is used in relatively negative situations
ah, for example?
for exampe, “you tried really hard for half a day but in the end it was all in vain”
ah, for example “ I chased her for several years but in the end...”
..she ended up becoming someone else’s bride
ah “ in the end” is used when you’ve failed in the end. ok, hey, so after that we’re still left with this expression “level heads hundred surnames....the common folk”. hey, I think this appellation is very cute
ah , sounds like these common people all shave their heads to a crewcut
ah, yeah, hehe, the hair’s very short, isn’t it?
yeah, so “flat head 100 surnames” means this is the ordinary person in the street, the common people
mm, yeah , this is the most most common of the ordinary people
yeah, common people
ok, so we’re saying these “rented white people” don’t speak much, and it’s really ?small, unreasonable and abnormal phenomenon. Actually does she say a lot or what? This really is a microcosm of societies real shortcomings.
ah, a “microcosm”, “reduce..suo1xiao3 de suo1” and “reflection ..ying3zi de ying”
this is...so small a thing that however can represent the same kind of thing
hey, or it could say, represent a certain concept, even an entire plan of a project
it could mirror an entire phenomenon
徐洲： 诶“缩影”，那么，其实我觉得在我们今天这个媒体文章最后的这句话，我觉得是点出了她的中心的意思。这是“出租的是白人的面孔，可丢掉的却是中国人的尊严”。 我觉得说的相当有道理。那Connie你是不是同意这个观点？
hey, “microcosm” , so , actually I think the final sentence in todays media article the central point comes out. This is when you rent white peoples faces, Chinse people really lose their dignity. I think she’s speaking a lot of sense. So Connie, do you agree with this point of view?
I think the author has said all I would have like to have said
hehe, hey, I think studying todays media lesson will really make people reflect on this topic
yeah, although when you see it you think it’s very funny,I think it’s a really serious topic
hey, ok, moreover at the same time I also think by means of this phenomenon we can also explain some Chinese or Chinese companies why they lack self confidence. Or you could say culturally we are lacking in confidence.
yeah, somewhat a feeling of inferiority
徐洲： 诶，是的是的。 好的，那么不知道我们的听众对这个现象有什么感想，或者说你有没有真实的参加过类似的活动呢？
hey, yeah yeah. ok, so I don’t know what our listeners think of this phenomenon or whether any of them have really participated in any similar events
you’re all welcome to come on the boards and tell us. Finally, I’d also like to wish everyone have more self confidence
oh, yeah. So I’d also like to express that I hope we see less and less of such phenomenon. ok, so our lesson for today finishes here
see you all next time
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