2016-01-10 07:53
汉语世界(The World of Chinese) 2016年1期


Chinas increasing divorce rates have made a special topic of the classic “seven-year itch”. Recently, Lu Guoping, a columnist with more than 339,000 followers on Weibo, proposed a controversial solution. He suggested that a new marriage license should be issued that expires in seven years if the couple dont want to renew it. “If we do this, people will have at least five opportunities to get married and dont need to worry about marrying the wrong person,” says Lu. He even argues that the policy would spur economic growth and provide opportunities for the 200 million single men and women to find a partner. Lu, for unknown reasons, then deleted the post, but it had already caused a firestorm. Many respondents, fuddy-duddies, opposed this proposal and regarded it as irresponsible. But Lu replied respectfully that if marriage had a clear term of validity it would be cherished more. After all, who doesnt work harder when their contract is about to expire?


December romances always seem like the most heart-warming. Perhaps its because time is the greatest test of any relationship. An online post recently drew wide attention when it detailed the story of an 80-year-old woman surnamed Luo, who was trying to find her long-lost first boyfriend. She reminisced over the innocence and sweetness of the relationship, but they broke up over a trivial misunderstanding many years ago, never to meet again. Sixty years rushed by and her first love, named Jin Pinnan, would have been 83 years old. Nevertheless, Luo said she never even so much as held his hand but that if she could find him, she would love to give it a go. Luo, it turns out, is married and has been for over half a century, but her kind husband supports her wish because he doesnt want his wife to have any regrets. “I hope that our two families can become friends,” Luos husband said. For now, Luo is still searching.


Being a great thief takes many skills, but being able to speak to chickens isnt usually one of them. Police of the city of Huaian, Jiangsu Province, arrested a thief surnamed Jiang who has been stealing chickens for 20 years. Apparently, Jiang has a deep and enduring love for chickens, which isnt all that odd. After all, inspired genius Nikola Tesla claimed to have fallen in love with a pigeon. It was the ninth time Jiang had been picked up for nicking chickens. He also confessed, however, that he understood the language of chickens and that he could tell them how to not make any noise. The victim of the chicken theft, a villager surnamed Cui who had 21 chickens stolen by Jiang in a single night, confirmed Jiangs statement, saying that he didnt hear anything during the night. Although the chickens were cooperative, Jiang still got caught. One wonders why someone with such a talent for poultry linguistics would turn to a life of crime. Too chicken to try another career, perhaps.


In Chinas smog-laden dystopia, its hard not to have a dirty car, but, come on, its really not that difficult to keep your vehicle presentable. Recently, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, launched a campaign to improve its citys image with a regulation that states that the drivers of dirty cars could face fines for their messy vehicles of up to 2,000 RMB. Traffic police can ticket owners of vehicles with chipped paint, scuffed finishes, or any blemishes found to “affect the cityscape”, according to a draft regulation released in late 2015. Many locals have argued that the regulation has the best of intentions but that the standards were too broad, perhaps giving traffic police carte blanche to ticket whomever they pleased. Unsurprisingly, non-residents of the city took to the Chinese internet to make fun of the policy. “They should fine people who look ugly, because they also affect the citys image,” said one Weibo poster.


With the exception of the red alerts and the occasional dip beyond AQI index levels, China takes smog in stride. If nothing else, it stimulates a market for air purifiers. But, in Anhui, one woman surnamed Hu found all this smog a little much to deal with. This past December, Hu was on her way to visit a relative when she decided to take a shortcut through the local forest on a particularly smoggy day—a day so smoggy that visibility had dropped below 200 meters, which is bad even by Beijing standards. Hu, unfamiliar with the landscape, became lost and disoriented in the dense, choking smog. Without service on her phone, she was forced to wander in the forest. Her husband reported her missing in the evening when she didnt arrive for the visit, and after a two-hour search, the police found the fatigued Hu stranded in the woods. Almost makes the recent headlines of cans of fresh Canadian air being sold to smog-addled Chinese seem like a reasonable proposition.


Picture it: Youre sitting down, ready to enjoy a cool beverage, when you hear a man requesting four bendy straws for his one cup of milk tea. You might just figure that hes a bit of an eccentric pack rat, or perhaps just wants to share his milk tea with three other people. That would be logical, but clearly, youre no Sherlock Holmes. In December, a police officer in Foshan heard just such an exchange when a man surnamed Li came to ask him where to buy milk tea. On hearing the mans request for bendy straws, the police officer became suspicious and followed the man to his hotel room. The bendy straws, as your keen detective wit will have already figured out, were for recreational use of illegal substances, and the police officer discovered just this when he went into their hotel room. As per Chinas weird habit of not naming the drugs outright, the type of nose candy is not specified in the media reports. Li was arrested for selling drugs and the three others were detained for taking them. Perhaps the lesson is, if you have the money to buy illicit substances, maybe spring for three extra milk teas.