Thursday, May 14, 2009

China's 'angry youth'

Translation: (The words on the flags:) 'Justice' and 'Conscience'.

Chinese angry youth: 'Want to know what 'angry youth' really means? Just look at the words on my flags!'

'Angry youth' isn't 'angry youth' literally. Please, I hope some people can stop messing around with the phrase.'
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When I was criticizing western media's so-called 'balanced report' about China at a dinner with a friend the other day. He said, 'You're still an angry youth (fenqing in pinyin, or 愤青)'. Of course, he was not saying in a derogatory way. It was slightly complimentary. I assume he meant I was still challenging things that I thought was unfair.

However, the phrase 'angry youth' is always associated with nationalism in western media. Actually, Chinese angry youth are very diverse in their opinions. Two Chinese angry youth may have different, even opposit opinions about something. Calling those Chinese who stand up against western media 'nationalists' does not tell what 'angry youth' really means in China. In my opinion, 'angry youth' refers to a person who is somewhat rebellious, outspoken and would challenge the perceived unfairness, unjustice and unequality. Also, 'angry youth' is an universal phenomenon. Che Guevara is regarded as the most famous 'angry youth' by many Chinese.

Adrian Geiges from Germany, was also an 'angry youth'. He published a book entitled How The World Revolution Once Accidentally Started In The Black Forest. The Chinese version of the book is entitled 《我的愤青岁月》(literally translated as My Days As An Angry Youth). 'Angry youth' does not necessarily refer to the young, but also the middle-aged and the old. Are 'Chinese angry youth' nationlists? Some are, some are NOT. Therefore, 'nationalist' should NOT be an acronym for 'China's angry youth'.

10 comments:

Ramesh said...

Well said Hang. The "Angry youth" is not necessarily angry and not necessarily a youth ! He or she just happens to have a point of view different from others, thats all.

Hang said...

Yes, that's how we use the phrase in China.

Apple said...

Hang, Thanks for visiting my blog.
Your fluent writing impresses me. After living in Singapore all these years with English as working language, I still find it hard to express myself efficiently in English. You are a genius. Your blog is great!

Hang said...

Apple, thanks very much for the nice comment. I think your writting is pretty good. I hope to learn more about Singapore through your experience. Keep blogging!

Thomas said...

Can you recommend the book? (The one written by Adrian Geiges, I mean?)

Hang said...

Thomas - Actually, I haven't read the book written by Adrian Geiges. I mentioned his book in this post because the title of the book in Chinese is 'My Days As An Angry Youth'.

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