Exhortations

Shouting at the people.

One of the things you soon notice in China is the number of exhortations on banners, posters and signs. I concluded long ago that no one actually pays much attention to them. This evening when I went out to Zoe’s for tea I saw that the exhortation manufacturers of China were getting their Christmas bonus early this year. The hoardings where they’re working on the Metro just north of the gates to 川大 have been shifted sideways again and this time come with some chunky red posters. There were more posters up outside the computer centre and on the buildings across the other side of the road.

These included 保民生 (bǎo mínshēng) “Protect people’s livelihood”; 保和谐 (bǎo héxié) “Maintain harmony”; 恢复生产促进发展 (huīfù shēng­chǎn cùjìn fāzhǎn) “Resume production; accelerate expansion”; 抓好受灾群众安置 (zhuā hǎo shòuzāi qúnzhòng ānzhì) “Pay special attention to [the] affected people”1; 争分夺秒抢损失 (zhēngfēn-duómiǎo qiāng sǔn­shī) “Make every minute and second count; oppose loss”; 加快发展建家园 (jiākuài fāzhǎn jiàn jiāyuán) “Accelerate development; build the home­land”.

I’ve always regarded these sorts of slogans as unsophisticated and un­subtle. Just don’t see the point. But then again I’m foreign and regard it as peculiar that any government would want to shout at me in this way.

Notes
1. [04.09.14.] This is the Youdao translation which, I suspect, is even worse than my attempt at translating this in 2008. Perhaps “Make special arrangements for people affected by calamity” might be more accurate.

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