Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Amazing Chinese goldfish tricks... and a touch of animal rights anger

You have to wade through a good bit of Chinese chit-chat, but there are a few amazing tricks here.

...and then, thanks to a note from reader Michael Henry, I found out that Chinese animal rights activists are up in arms about the synchronized-swimming trick. Magician Fu Yandong insists, however, that his fish are "living happily."

I leave you to wonder how he knows that.

PS — am I the only one who finds the concept of animal rights advocates in repressive, Communist, forced-abortion China ironic to the point of breaking glass?


Pierre Saikaley said...

An almost equally cool trick is my cat synchronizing her gaze with every move of those yummy looking glodfish, whilst licking her chops.

:-) Animal cruelty is tempting a predator with a virtual meal.

Al said...

How does he know that? Well, if they were not happy they would decide to do something about it and their offspring would be born with skin that repels magnets.

sheesh... its like you have never been schooled in science.

al sends

Terry Rayburn said...

"am I the only one who finds the concept of animal rights advocates in repressive, Communist, forced-abortion China ironic...?"

Makes me think of Rom. 1:

"Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of...animals and...creatures....

...worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator..." -- selections vss. 22-25

DJP said...

Terry, now that I think of it, animal-rights activists in abortion-happy America is only slightly less ironic. I'd say we do have more respect for human dignity due to the lingering fragrance of the Biblical milieu of our founding... but not enough.

Terry Rayburn said...

"animal-rights activists in abortion-happy America is only slightly less ironic"

Sadly true.

BTW, Dr. Bernard Nathanson passed away a day or two ago. He was the famous abortion doctor who was converted to anti-abortion through viewing ultrasound pics.

He narrated the famous "Silent Scream" movie, and in 1996 converted to Catholicism (he was Jewish).

He claimed he was responsible for 75,000 abortions, starting in the 1940's, but mostly in the 60's and 70's.

Fred Butler said...

I see a modern remake of "Willard." In this version, instead of an army of rats, a nerdy guy trains his schools of goldfish to exact revenge upon his tormentors.

It'll play well on direct to DVD.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Swimming goldfish - cool.

Irony, much? Head exploding, in 5-4-3...

But I feel the same irony here, in everGREEN Washington. *sigh*


Rob said...

I bet after the show those fishies got gathered up and stir-fried into Moo Goo Gai Pan with some mushrooms and green onion...

Susan said...

Could be wrong, but it looks like I'm going to be the only commenter today who understands what the ppl. were saying in that clip (unless all you Mandarin-speaking lurkers out there come out from hiding). Here are some quick background/summary/2 cents for the rest of you:

1. The reason "fish" is such a popular theme around Chinese New Year time is because the Chinese word for "fish" is a homonym for the Chinese word that may be loosely translated as "surplus" or "abundance". (Sorry, can't think of a better word that hits it right on the nose.)

2. I find the magician's lines rather amusing. He says the reason he is bowing to those goldfish is because they are family heirlooms passed down from his father's father's father and therefore they are older than he is. That "magical" painting also belonged to his elders as well.

3. It really is amazing how he performed the trick. Magnets, eh?

4. And sadly, yes, it is ironic that people are crying foul over goldfish mistreatment as opposed to fetus abortions. America is like that, too, though, don't you think? Well, at least we don't have the blasted, state-prescribed "one-child" policy that drives people to do the unthinkable. Yet. (Heaven forbid!!)

5. I found the AFP article reprinted on Yahoo! One of the commenters says with pointed (albeit generalized) sarcasm:

"It would be fascinating if these were not real fish. Only the Chinese could pull that off."

My father just informed me with disgust the other day that there are known cases of fake milk in China. I don't remember the exact ingredients, just that they are things one would NEVER expect to find in milk. Why not fake goldfish!?

DJP said...

Susan, you're a gift.


Dave said...

So Susan...what does the magician mean when he says "babada-babada-babada?"

That was our favorite part.

Susan said...

I'm not sure in what way, Dan, but thanks. Our Father does give us all wonderful gifts.

Susan said...

Ha! Doesn't it sound funny, Dave? It was fun to hear even for me. :)

"Baba" is "Father" or "Dad".

"De" (pronounced in this case like "duh") indicates ownership--it is the " 's " (as found in "Dave's bacon cheeseburger" but not in "Dave's eating his bacon cheeseburger").

So, putting all that together, you have "Baba de baba de baba", which means "father's father's father".

Dave said...


Thanks for the explanation. It is interesting that "baba" in this case means "Father" or "Dad." In Russian, "Baba" is sometimes used by little kids to say "Grandma." It is a shortened form of Babushka (Grandmother).

Susan said...

"Grandma" is another subject all together, Dave. Depending on which Chinese dialect one speaks (and I'm only thinking of the more popularly known ones), there are different ways to say "grandma". In Hokkien one generally calls grandma "ah ma". In Cantonese and Mandarin, depending on whether she comes from one's father or mother's side, there are different terms for "grandma" in each dialect. As if that weren't enough, one of my friends called her grandma "laolao" while I was taught to say "popo", even though these are both informal Mandarin terms for one's maternal grandmother. The difference is that my friend's family originated from northern China and mine did not.

That was just a summary. I haven't even gotten to all the different terms for relatives yet! Those can really make a non-Chinese person's head's spin. I'll spare you. :)

Susan said...

Oh, and there is a difference between formal and informal Chinese as well. I'll spare you from that, too. :)