Sunday, 16 March 2008

某些领导


身体越来越胖心胸越来越窄,
头衔越来越多学问越来越浅,
讲话越来越长真话越来越少,
权力越来越大威信越来越低,
年纪越来越老情人越来越小。


This is the only poem I've got into since I've been in China. On reading it for the first time I put down my mobile and stared out the taxi for a while. I think its more about power than a specific country or its officials, but what do I know?.... It was written in Chinese and perhaps the translation may have skipped some nuance? Or even a localised version of iambic pentameter. Either way I'm planet before country when it comes to nationalism. It's a logic thing really; entirely selfish I guess.

Here's the translation

Sketch of Officials

The body grows fat and fatter, the heart narrower and narrower
The titles accumulate more and more, the knowledge shallower and shallower,
The speeches longer and longer, the truths fewer and fewer,
The power greater and greater, the authority lower and lower,
The age older and older, the mistresses younger and younger.

8 comments:

Jimi said...

1) I'm always astounded when someone external finds my shared blog.

2) In the poem, "authority" is better translated to mean "prestige" because there is decreasing "weixin" as opposed to increasing.

3) I had not considered girls with lip-hair... it will be pondered.

Charles Frith said...

Interesting feedback. I thought that the authority line wasn't working and you may have noticed a very small tweak that I did to the poem.

Weixin... that is my new word today.

Thanks for dropping by Jimi

Charles Frith said...

Hej C,

I tried to comment on your post, but it seems I couldn't get through today...so I will do it in an old-fashioned way by email.

I just want to say that I like a lot the poem about the power. It is so simple. It express emphatically the anatomy of power, anatomy of regime. Naked, but stil hurtful. No matter where it is - China, Russia, US...The power turns ugly, the power that strives for achiving goals against others will...

--
Warm Regards

Daria Radota Rasmussen

Hi Daria. Hope you don't mind but I posted your comment for you. I'm of the opinion that people in power should wear loincloths like Gandhi. It might remind them that they are there to serve the people and not themselves.

lauren said...

i love that poem. it's universal, for sure. interesting that you should post about it in light of recent action up north in tibet.

in fact, i had an interesting conversation with two of my chinese classmates today about china and the dalai lama - enemy of the state that he is to them - and the idea that it's always about power. the power grows and grows and the money grows and grows.

Rob Mortimer said...

An old expression but still true:

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

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proxikid said...

Sorry, not the poetic type, mind explaining how's the picture connecting?
LoL

Charles Frith said...

I don't want to corrupt you proxykid ;)