Fishcakes and 7up

The following is from the Twitter stream of @newsshanghai and it was too interesting to pass up. I’ve added spaces between the characters to keep it from triggering the NetNanny.

The tweets are in regards to some flowers left at the site of the recent fire in Shanghai that cost the lives of many of its residents. It’s been said that the fire was preventable, and many are pointing fingers in a specific direction, which we’ll see below.

newsshanghai RT @ibm619: 宽 带 山 上 看 到 一 张 胶 州 路 献 花 的 图 , 一 束 白 菊 花 下 面 摆 着 三 样 东 西 : 一 袋 鱼 片 , 一 块 素 鸡 , 一 瓶 七 喜 。 大 家 都 懂 得 ! ! !

newsshanghai 百 度 告 诉 你 什 么 是 鱼 素 鸡 七 喜 (link removed)

newsshanghai 有 图 有 真 相 , 献 花 活 动 中 的 鱼 素 鸡 七 喜 (link removed)

The original tweet comes from @ibm619 who states that on the KDS (宽带山) message boards, extremely popular among tech-savvy Shanghainese youth, a photo was seen of flowers, a fish cake, sùjī, and a bottle of 7up. These items are significant for their names.

The second tweet directs you to a Baidu Zhidao page that explains the meaning of the three.

The fish stands for Yu, the family name of the current Party chief in Shanghai. The sùjī is taken as a close approximation of the word for “Secretary,” his title. The 7up? It’s wishing him an early demise. 七 喜 sounds an awful lot like “go die” in Shanghainese.

This is one of the things about the Sinitic languages that I find most interesting, and also most frustrating.

2 responses to “Fishcakes and 7up”

  1. Julen says:

    Good one, if a bit far fetched. I just showed it to a shanghainese native and he had no idea what it was all about.

    It is not really exclusive of sinitic languages, this kind of puns, although for sure it is much easier to do in Chinese than in English. It is the same kind of trick as the caonnima, the river crab and all those political puns.

    I was there in the mourning event today BTW, lots of flowers and food, but I didn’t see any 7up bottles.

  2. Not my language, and the 都懂得 may be an exaggeration, but it clearly hit the mark for some people.

    I know it’s not exclusive to Sinitic languages, of course. I see this as a little different from the river crab bit though, as it’s using objects to form a sentence, and not punning on one object (rivercrab) or making up something to fit a phrase (caonima).

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