French Cellist Mocks Chinese Official’s Awful Erhu Performance

french-cellist-mocks-chinese-party-secretary-erhu-performance

This is currently the top trending topic on Sina Weibo with over 100k readers.

From Sina Weibo:

@大提琴手朱力安: Do you know shit is? Do you know what shameless is? Fuck. Many people’s farts sound better than this. Sorry for being harsh, but to have the audacity to play alongside a provincial-level symphony, and play like this, it’s just morally wrong. Think of how many people practice so hard without having such an opportunity! Even a random grandpa playing an erhu in a park is a hundred times better than this guy. An assault on my ears. t_org

Copy of the video on YouTube:

Comments on Sina Weibo:

放弃治疗的汉桑:

I think you are being a little too harsh… It’s nothing more demonstrating one’s personal hobby. When Big Xi [Jinping] went abroad to visit, he even showed off some football skills, when he was with a professional international football club, and so many people practice hard but never have such a chance. But I don’t think there was a problem with him doing that.

清溪涧:

Better watch your job [for saying such things], although this erhu performance really is awful. I really want to throw a 1 yuan coin at him.

meilidemeiguo:

Chinese officials are all like this, stupid cunts, all flattered to the point where they don’t even who they are anymore. Thank you, Julien, for daring to speak the truth in China, when Chinese people themselves don’t dare to. 88_org

GD-YGfamily:

Really laughable. He’s a Party Secretary, so what is the point of you as a fucking professional to say he plays poorly? To use this kind of language to criticize an amateur, what you’re saying is no better than nonsense. Talk about losing face for you French people.

央广张雷:

This can be considered a waste of cultural resources, right?

用姜片擦头皮拯救发际线:

I’m at a lost for words after reading the comments, that nationalism has to be dragged into a topic about someone playing an erhu. Silently drops 50 cents and walks away.

雨溪情:

As everyone knows, the erhu is a traditional Chinese music instrument. As a French cellist, to rashly comment on traditional Chinese music is irresponsible, as silly as using a Ming Dynasty sword to behead Qing Dynasty officials [judging something with the wrong standards]. Do you not know that your Western music theories aren’t applicable in China [to Chinese traditional music]? Foreigners should not meddle in China’s own musical matters. I ask sir to apologize for deeply hurting the Chinese people’s feelings.

海畔凝红:

His erhu does sound disgusting, but your language is even more disgusting.

浅水码头:

One could starve to death using this level of skill on the streets performing for money [busking].

许刚1939:

After diligently listening to the end, this cultural performance is probably [not considered] being a slave to the market [doesn’t care about appealing to the market (audience)].

空空小学霸:

I think the highlight of this is actually how good this guy’s Chinese is. All the dirty language he used was native born and bred [colloquial]!

Yi_霖:

Putting aside everything else, first, the erhu is not on the same key/tune as the rest of the orchestra. Did they not rehearse beforehand? Why didn’t they discover the problem before going on stage?

深山采蘑菇:

You should understand China. That Party Secretary wasn’t showing off music, he was showing off his power. Feudal societies are all like this.

李抒阳不是苏阳:

It’s not like our county Party Secretary is a professional, and it’s not like some Spring Festival Gala or something. I don’t understand why you have to be so critical.

董明V:

Those cheering in the audience, they must be cheering that it is finally over, right?

东家家居-郭凯明:

The arts have become a slave to power [authority/privilege].

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  • mr.wiener

    I’ve heard good erhu before…and this ain’t it. The Cellist could have been politer, but top level musos are noted for their skill …and for not mincing words when it comes to other’s lack of skill.

    • Poodle Tooth

      He’s right, it is a pretty disgusting abuse of power. Dude’s there to stroke his own ego, not that erhu.

  • I’m amazed he would have the audacity to sit and play with professionals.
    The people behind him are trying their best not to laugh.

  • I forgot to add…
    before listening to this guy, I really only dreaded listening to the Chinese opera singers who sound like a cat being electrocuted.
    But, this guy on the erhu is definitely on the list now.

  • AbC

    Blame all the businessmen and minor officials who keeps kissing his arse over the years (patting the horse’s rear). He has only been told how majestical his erhu skills are and have been duped into believing everyone enjoys his music. Just an innocent victim here.

  • Surfeit

    People are offended that someone is offended by something offensive.

    • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

      More like Chinese hasn’t caught on that French don’t like anything. A day where a French guy doesn’t criticize is they day he dies.

      • Surfeit

        They like to surrender. *da-dum-T’SH!*

        • Joe

          WOOOOOOWWWW SUCH FUNNIE GET IT BECAUSE FRENCH ARE PUSSIES WHEN IT COMES TO WAR HEHEHEHE

      • Zappa Frank

        lol…that’s so true

  • Balkan

    Logic of some readers is interesting. It goes like this:

    1. The guy cannot play erhu
    2. The cellist comments that his playing of erhu is bad
    3. “Chinese music does not conform to western standards, so you don’t understand it” (some people assume no foreigner knows anything about Chinese culture)
    4. The person who plays erhu bad is Chinese and you as a foreigner pointing it out is rude, so you should apologize to China and Chinese people because of that.

    Conclusion: a foreigner saying that a Chinese person not doing something well is not doing it well is offensive to Chinese people and requires the foreigner to apologize right away because that hurt the feelings of Chinese people. What would they say if a Chinese said exactly the same thing?

    I wonder if the lady selling fruit near my home is aware of this gross injustice and whether I should go and apologize to her in the name of all foreigners (since it seems that for these people there are only two countries in the world – 中国 and 外国).

    • KenjiAd

      When a foreigner criticizes a local person, “us versus them” mentality kicks in among many locals; they then try to defend the person criticized by claiming, like some Chinese netizens did, that “they” don’t know the local culture/value/system/whatever. Case closed.

      This sort of “us vs them” conflict happens not just in China. I know it because I’ve been a “foreigner” for over half of my life (mostly in America).

      Although this Frenchman was correct in his judgment, I think he could have been a little more diplomatic.

      • Mateusz82

        It’s not exactly the same… Chinese ethnic nationalism exists in ways that doesn’t exist in most places. In the US, people don’t “Look American” or “Look foreign” the way they do in China (I’ve never seen American kids pointing and calling out “Look! Foreigner!”). Even the term “foreigner” is seen as too insensitive.

        I’ve been in multiple countries throughout North American and Europe, and the “Us” vs “Them” mentality in China is the strongest I’ve ever seen. There’s a cultural perception that there are two countries, “Zhong guo” and Wai guo”. Everything is either “China” or “not China”.

        • Alex Dương

          In the US, people don’t “Look American” or “Look foreign” the way they do in China

          First, unlike China, the US is a nation of immigrants. Even including those of mixed race, the 2010 Census recorded less than 5.5 million Native Americans from a population of nearly 309 million people. When you have people with ancestries from all over the world in one country, “looking foreign” doesn’t really make much sense.

          Of course, this brings us to the second point: despite “looking foreign” not making much sense, if you don’t look white or black in the US, it is not uncommon at all for others to assume that you aren’t American. So while it may not be exactly as “they do in China” and there is a difference, it is not as extreme as you think it is.

          • Mateusz82

            Well, China is a nation of 56 (official) ethnic groups, not all of them look the same. The main issue, though, is that “foreignness” or “Chineseness” is a matter of genetics in China, in a way that’s not in many other countries. Even in Britain, people claiming that someone “looks British” or that there is only one race that deserves to call itself “British”, with others being “foreign” is left to the extreme-right, like the British National Party.

            As much as it doesn’t make sense, it still happens all the time in China. Those assumptions are made, but they are seen as unacceptable, and against the cultural norms. If an American said that “Only whites or blacks can really be American”, they would be considered racist and castigated by mainstream society. If a Chinese said “Only yellow people can really be Chinese”, they would be mainstream society.

            Chinese students will say the had a “foreign teacher” for English, but when I studied Chinese in the US, no one asked, “Is your Chinese teacher American, or a foreigner?” American universities don’t segregate “foreign teachers”, or identify them by that label.

            I also have never heard Americans say things like, “Do foreign people have trouble with knives and forks?” or “In the US we do X. In foreign counties, do they do Y?”… lumping all non-Americans into one homogenous mass.

            I understand there are reasons behind why there is a strong threat of ethnic nationalism in China (it works out very well for the government, and helps with control), and minorities are kept in line very strongly, so most of the majority Chinese never even hear the voices of the marginalized minorities.

          • Alex Dương

            As much as it doesn’t make sense, it still happens all the time in
            China. Those assumptions are made, but they are seen as unacceptable,
            and against the cultural norms. If an American said that “Only whites or
            blacks can really be American”, they would be considered racist and
            castigated by mainstream society. If a Chinese said “Only yellow people
            can really be Chinese”, they would be mainstream society.

            No, I said it doesn’t make sense in the US but it still happens anyway. It actually does make sense in China because China isn’t a nation of immigrants. Moreover, of the five largest ethnic groups in China – Han, Zhuang, Hui, Manchu, and Uyghur – only Uyghurs will have some who don’t “look Chinese.” Otherwise, most of the recognized ethnic groups are not visibly distinguishable from Hans. This is not the case in the US.

          • Mateusz82

            My apologies. It was ambiguous, and I erred on the side of not being a China apologist and excusing racism.

            Even though the vast majority of population had similar physical appearances, compared with the US, that doesn’t excuse nor legitimize discrimination. Being a visible minority doesn’t make you deserve poorer treatment and marginalization.

            Back when immigration in the US was still mostly from Europe (and the vast majority of US citizens were of European ancestry), people who looked very different from the vast majority were viewed as “foreign”, and treated differently. In retrospect, Americans look back at this as a shameful period, rather than try to justify it as “Well, most people look similarly, so of course the visible minorities deserve their treatment.” I would apply the same standard to China.

            Now, that only applies to legal citizenship. Chinese society also does focus on “Us” and “Them”, largely based on physical differences, far more than other countries, where those who are “Them” are viewed with suspicion, as not “belonging in our group”. The binary itself, “Us” vs. “Them”, is still far stronger, where it is a very strict binary. People are identified not what they are (e.g. German, French, American, etc.), but what they are not (“not one of us”).

          • Alex Dương

            Please, stick to your point. You complain about being “othered” in China and claim that it doesn’t happen in the U.S. What you don’t accept, and aren’t willing to accept either, is that “othering” still happens in the U.S.

            Does it happen to the same extent as it does in China? No. But it does happen. I know from experience. Unlike you, I experienced it growing up. You didn’t start to experience this until you were well into your adult years and until you moved to another country.

          • KamikaziPilot

            I don’t even know why you bother to argue with that poster, all he ever does is complain about discrimination in China without any sort of context. Obviously China and the US are very different in terms of history, racial makeup, values, culture, etc. He is right in “us vs them” mentality being stronger in China but that doesn’t make them more racist. Besides, there are many situations where Americans would be more racist than Chinese. He takes one situation and argues it like Chinese are supposed to have the exact same values as Americans in the exact same context. You waste your time arguing with a person like that. Wouldn’t it be irony if that poster is/was an English teacher in China who got his job based mostly on the color of his skin. Some people just can’t help with the victimization mentality.

          • Alex Dương

            The only point I really want to drive home is that he does not have a monopoly on experiences of being “othered.” Maybe he still disagrees with that.

          • Zhegezhege

            Is it at all possible that the reason you got socially excluded while growing up (which is not particularly uncommon) is not entirely due to your race?

            And maybe it’s a little bit emotionally unhealthy to cling to your perceived teenage victimisation now that you are, presumably, no longer a teenager?

          • Alex Dương

            Is it at all possible that the reason you got socially excluded while growing up (which is not particularly uncommon) is not entirely due to your race?

            I did not say I was “socially excluded.” I said I know what it feels like to be “othered.”

            And maybe it’s a little bit emotionally unhealthy to cling to your perceived teenage victimisation now that you are, presumably, no longer a teenager?

            I am not “clinging” to it. Again, I am pointing out that the experience of being “othered” is hardly unique to white expats living in China.

            Since you’ve brought up these questions, let me ask you a question in turn: when it comes to our experiences, why are you always so eager to dismiss even the possibility that racial prejudice plays a role? It’s a bit of a peeve to repeatedly read comments that have a sentiment of “we are victims of terrible racial discrimination, but what you experienced growing up is nothing. Race probably didn’t have anything to do it. Now get over it.”

          • KamikaziPilot

            “People are identified not what they are (e.g. German, French, American, etc.), but what they are not (“not one of us”)”

            Gee that’s funny, so when there were tensions between Japan and Chinese it was anything foreign being targeted? Was Starbucks pelted with eggs? Or was it just anything Japanese that were abused? That’s a rhetorical question BTW. So yes they definitely differentiate people by what they are.

          • Kai

            Please try to read only what Alex is saying and not what you think he is saying. He’s not trying to “excuse” racism or “legitimize” discrimination. Neither is he arguing that anyone deserves poorer treatment and marginalization for being a visible minority. He’s pointing out the contextual realities that result in differing levels of a phenomenon between different countries, and you’re straw-manning him.

            If you don’t know the causes for a phenomenon, you’ll never be able to change it. He’s trying to explain some very important contributing factors, and instead of acknowledging them, you’re jumping to attacking him and calling him an apologist.

            The fact of the matter is that China is not remotely unique (or even the “worst”) in this us vs. them (foreigners) dynamic. It is heavily correlated with homogenous societies (and countries). The more homogenous a society is, the more it tends to gravitate towards us vs. them dichotomic descriptors and categorizations.

            Both the United States and the UK are exceptional in the world for how much they have embraced immigration and multiculturalism, resulting modern societies that have become laudable for how sensitive (politically correct) they are in how they describe and reference people of varying racial/ethnic heritages in their midst.

            Most of the world is actually more like modern China than they are like the modern US/UK is when it comes to this issue (and many other issues actually).

            As someone from the US, I really dislike the discrimination, casual racism, and even prejudices in mainstream Chinese society (and elsewhere). That’s a function of the values I was socialized with in my upbringing. But I I’m not ignorant of why it is the way it is, nor do I misread maliciousness into it. Both would be stumbling blocks towards influencing gradual change in these attitudes.

            In retrospect, Americans look back at this as a shameful period, rather than try to justify it as “Well, most people look similarly, so of course the visible minorities deserve their treatment.” I would apply the same standard to China.

            Except you aren’t applying the same standard. The key disconnect is where you say “in retrospect”. Americans regard that period as “shameful” because they are NOW a multicultural, largely heterogenous society. Prieviously, when they were more racially/ethnically homogenous, they were much closer to if not just like the Chinese are now. If you want to apply the same standard, you need China to be similarly multicultural and heterogenous, with a similar socio-political history of embracing immigration and multiculturalism.

            What do you think integration and affirmitive action is (in part) about? Forced exposure and coexistence to foster gradual acceptance and understanding. Someone intelligent at one point realized that one contributing factor to racism and discrimination was social homogeniety.

            You need to be wary of interpreting explanations as justifications or excuses. Explanations should be the starting point for problem-solving, because you need to understand WHY something is the way it is before you can ever hope to change it.

          • KenjiAd

            I also have never heard Americans say things like, “Do foreign people
            have trouble with knives and forks?” or “In the US we do X. In foreign
            counties, do they do Y?”… lumping all non-Americans into one
            homogenous mass.

            Chinese people don’t lump all non-Chinese into “one homogeneous mass” though. They usually categorize us along the racial line.

            For example, more often than not, African Americans tend to be lumped together with Africans. Asians don’t receive the same stereotypes as Caucasians, either.

            As to the US, I wasn’t born in America, nor an American citizen, but I lived there for over 25 years. Even if I had obtained the American citizenship, I can assure you that no American would have considered me as “true” American. Heck, even Asian Americans born in the US are often seen foreign.

            When it comes to racial discrimination, I think the major difference between China and US is not really the degree of discrimination. I think the difference is in the public perception of whether such discrimination is right or wrong. The Chinese society as a whole is not yet politically correct in this area, namely, a sizable population in China still believe that there is nothing wrong about racial discrimination.

          • KamikaziPilot

            “The Chinese society as a whole is not yet politically correct in this area, namely, a sizable population in China still believe that there is nothing wrong about racial discrimination.”

            Exactly, and you know who they’re most racist to? Asians (including other Chinese) and darker skinned peoples, not whites. But the poster you’re replying to will insist Chinese are the worst around since they don’t consider him one of their own kind.

          • BillBo

            I have two Korean cousins, adopted as infants from Korea and raised entirely in the US. I’ve never heard or seen an instance of someone thinking they weren’t considered American because of their ethnicity.

          • Kai
          • BillBo

            What kind of a mom would write that stuff out for their daughters, make them hold it and then capture it for eternity on facebook? That seems exceptionally stupid to me. I have a really hard time believing some of those things were said too. It just smacks of the mom wanting some attention to me in a weird psychological Munchhausen way. Maybe they were lucky though, we were raised in the Midwest so perhaps sentiment is different in a another part of the nation?

          • Kai

            audreymagazine.com/cruel-racist-statements-told-to-asian-adoptee-children/

            Rather than allow these comments to anger her and her daughters, Kelly-Wagner decided to turn this into a project. Hoping to teach other people about their hurtful comments while simultaneously providing an outlet for her daughters to express themselves, she came up with a photo project where her daughters hold up the comments that were thrown at their family.

            Both of her daughters agreed to the project and agreed that it could help bring awareness to how hurtful statements can be.

            Hm, like the magazine, I also have some reservations about this explanation, but I don’t think calling her a fraud is going to make you look sympathetic. It’ll come across as you being denier and I don’t think that’s what you intend.

            The wisest choice of action here is to just acknowledge that America is a big place, with a lot of people, and many of them do not automatically assume someone who isn’t white or black can also simply be “American”. Let’s hope America continues to make improvements on this front, and China (and other countries) works at catching up.

          • BillBo

            People generally don’t want to be told the “wisest choice of action” for their opinion ;) BTW, the saying is “wisest course of action”

            I love my cousins and would be the first to stick up for them if I perceived either racism against them personally or against people of their skin color… or for any adopted person being perceived of as some kind of a second class citizen. I can’t tell you the amount of times growing up people assuming or saying or asking if they were adopted from China (never once Korea!) and I always corrected them that they were from Korea even if it was a passing comment. I’ve been doing that for as long as I can remember. I grew up with them so it’s something that I’ve been keenly attuned to all my life.

            I don’t deny racism exists in the US. There is a sad history of it here against all types of people and although it gets better and better with time, it still exists. I haven’t ever encountered any anti-adoption-ism or heard of it from people I know though. Although I am sure some of those comments happen.

            Something just smells fishy with this to me. How did she collect all these stupid/nasty comments anyway? Did she quickly write them down after they were said to her? Who does that? What about the comments that were directed towards her kids, how’d she hear all those? And of course the kids would agree to it, it’s their mom asking. They aren’t old enough to really analyse that stuff and I don’t think it’s a great idea to be implanting this nasty stuff in their head regardless of if it’s real or imagined. Not that they’re doomed to be paying for psychiatry in the future but I don’t think it’s helpful either. Would you make some kid who was overweight hold up signs about them being made fun of then post it all over the internet? It just seems really, really stupid to me and more about the adult in that family getting attention then helping the children somehow.

            These comments exist. Racism exists. I am sure some of those comments were said. But something about that woman’s photo essay doesn’t add up to me. That was all my point was about.

          • Kai

            People generally don’t want to be told the “wisest choice of action” for their opinion ;)

            Heh, I tried to make it as diplomatic as I could while still impressing my point about how your reaction can reflect rather unflatteringly upon you.

            Something just smells fishy with this to me. How did she collect all these stupid/nasty comments anyway? Did she quickly write them down after they were said to her? Who does that?

            I doubt she writes them down after they were said to her or them. It seems like a project they started after having gotten enough unpleasant comments and getting fed up with it. i imagine they wrote down ones they remembered and perhaps add to it as they experience new ones. It isn’t that hard to remember upsetting comments. Just look at how many anecdotes people regularly share on cS.

            And of course the kids would agree to it, it’s their mom asking.

            That’s the obvious reservation I have, about the amount of actual amount of understanding her daughters have for what they’re doing. That said, the younger daughter is 8 and the older daughter is 14 years old now, a high schooler. I was pretty aware of discrimination long before that age.

            They aren’t old enough to really analyse that stuff and I don’t think it’s a great idea to be implanting this nasty stuff in their head regardless of if it’s real or imagined.

            I have reservations about the younger daughter but not the older one. There is a wonder if this isn’t some sort of exploitation or repeat victimization, but that’s confounded by opposing arguments of fostering the self-esteem to stand up for yourself and not take shit lying down, among others. It’s not hard to spin it positive or negative.

            That said, we also have to concede that the mother is simply teaching them something, no different from parents teaching their kids other things, including religion, social etiquette, or other values and perspectives on the world they are living in. So, I don’t think she’s implanting “nasty stuff” in their heads, bu she is explaining the real-world implications of the comments made about them (often to their face), and teaching them that they are ignorant and/or insensitive (if not outright prejudicial). Shouldn’t parents teach their children how to operate in the world? She’s also teaching them a way to react, and if you’re sympathetic, you might say it’s a constructive way to react, one that seeks to spread awareness and prompt greater social dialogue, seeking social support to avoid feeling marginalized. If you’re not, however, you might think it petty and passive-aggressive, where they are out to shame people instead of directly confronting them.

            Then again, the article mentions that her daughters do often directly confront the people making the comments, not with anger, but by saying something that prompts them to reflect on the implications of what they’re saying. That’s pretty good, I think.

            Anyway, a problem here is how we interperet their actions often says something about ourselves as well. That’s the danger, and why I advise sticking to affirming truths here instead of speculating discrediting motives.

          • BillBo

            I can agree that they certainly understand it, are aware of it and know the fundamental idea behind discrimination. I also agree that it’s good for parents to talk to their kids about these kinds of things and to help them navigate it. And obviously it’s a good thing to bring awareness to these topics.

            But bringing up *exact quotes* to them? And some really nasty ones at that? Does it make a great photo essay? A great story to be ‘shared’ and ‘liked’ on the internet?? No doubt. But I cannot be convinced that this is a good way of going about it or that some of these quotes didn’t use some “artistic license” which is particularly horrendous if so.

            I hope it’s obvious that I care about the plight of these little girls and how they react to things like this. I think I just put more importance over that then spreading awareness of it to a larger audience. So questioning her motives still seems entirely acceptable to me and I think that is part of living in the real world too.

            I think any good parent should put their kids before a trivial ‘awareness’ project like this. Not that awareness of this isn’t important, it is, but it’s not more important then your kids. Not to me at least.

            I think we should probably agree to disagree on the topic, although I’m happy to hear any additional thoughts you have.

          • Kai

            But bringing up *exact quotes* to them? And some really nasty ones at that?

            What do you mean? I think these were said either to their faces or in their presence.

            Does it make a great photo essay? A great story to be ‘shared’ and ‘liked’ on the internet?? No doubt. But I cannot be convinced that this is a good way of going about it or that some of these quotes didn’t use some “artistic license” which is particularly horrendous if so.

            Think about this for a moment. The only evidence here that there was artistic license involved is your reluctance to accept bad behavior by “your own”. How might that make you look?

            And it isn’t even necessarily bad behavior. The mother herself makes it a public point that a lot of the comments weren’t necessarily mean-spirited, just ignorant or insensitive. I think this is very fair of her, because there is a meaningful difference between discrimination out of ignorance versus discrimination out of hate.

            Now, turn this around. Imagine some Asian guy attacking the white victim of discriminatory Asian comments (even those made out of ignorance or insensitivity) suggesting that the victim’s experiences and complaints are guilty of “artistic license” or “attention-seeking”. How would that make the Asian guy look?

            I hope it’s obvious that I care about the plight of these little girls and how they react to things like this. I think I just put more importance over that then spreading awareness of it to a larger audience. So questioning her motives still seems entirely acceptable to me and I think that is part of living in the real world too.

            As I said, I have reservations as well. I just think you might be going into dangeorus territory by crossing from having reservations about her idea for handling this into projecting malicious self-serving motives. You’re crossing over from questioning what’s subjectively better for the girls into trying to attack and discredit the mother. These are very different goals with different consequences.

            I think any good parent should put their kids before a trivial ‘awareness’ project like this. Not that awareness of this isn’t important, it is, but it’s not more important then your kids. Not to me at least.

            This is a subjective judgement call and different people have different tolerances. Let’s take something (I think) more serious: rape. Some people hide their victimhood, while others own it, speak out about it, and do so to promote social awareness. There’s this dichotomy in many other types of victimization as well. Some want to forget it, while others try to turn it into something constructive.

            My reservation with this is that I’m not sure how much the girls want to do this on their own or if they’re just doing it because their mother wants them to. Will they resent their mother later on for this because they one day realize they didn’t want to be spokespersons against (sometimes inadvertent) casual racism? That will determine to what extent they’ve bought into this project with their mother. I worry about that.

            But I don’t feel comfortable attacking the mother because that may easily be conflated into trying to argue that people don’t say such things when the fact is people do. If she was going after specific identifiable people, naming and shaming them, then I’d be more concerned about slander. But as far as relaying anecdotes about unidentified people involving discriminatory attitudes that I know for a fact exists? I’m not going to go out on a limb and suggest she’s a liar. If this involved different languages and cultures, I might question if there was a misunderstanding of course, but this is a mother and pair of daughters who are perfectly fluent in English relaying English comments they’ve experienced.

            There’s just no profit in baselessly speculating her to be a liar. I’d rather just say, “yeah, those comments are messed up, people need to think before they open their mouths” because no one will be unfairly wronged by me saying such a thing. I’m just affirming a truth that should be a normative social value anyway. But if I go after her, without evidence, then MY motives are open to speculation.

            I think we should probably agree to disagree on the topic, although I’m happy to hear any additional thoughts you have. Thanks for debating in a civilized manner too, that doesn’t happen most of the time on the internet anymore it seems.

            I think we actually agree on most things here. We both recognize that discrimination exists, including in America, and we both have some reservations about their choice to do this project of theirs. We both care for the children’s emotional well-being, and we both think awareness of discrimination is important. I don’t even think we differ all that much on which is “more important”. Or rather, you think the former is more important than the latter, whereas I think the people involved can make their own choices about which is more important based on their own calculation of their emotional well-being and predispositions.

            Our difference is only that you’re ready to make critical speculations about the mother’s motives, whereas I’ll be critical of the mom when I have actual evidence that she has behaved irresponsibly to her daughters. We don’t have that, so I won’t do it.

            Cheers.

          • BillBo

            You make a lot of good points. And I concede that attacking this woman isn’t going to help anyone. What’s done is done, and what was done raises a good point about an important topic.

            But I do think there’s a difference in doing it on this forum, where she or her kids will never read it, and doing it to their faces or somewhere they could read it on the internet. I wouldn’t do that. You mention the rape scenario, if one of those little girls were molested, would you think it was OK to have them hold up signs about what was said/done against them, take photos and post it on the internet? I realize this is less extreme of a situation but I don’t think the ethics of it change, but just the degree to which they could be effected. If they went to their mom and came up with this idea on their own and wanted to do it, maybe it’s OK. But it doesn’t sound like this was the way that worked (this doesn’t seem like an idea a kid is going to come up with on their own) and really except for one or maybe two pictures, the kids look quite miserable in those pictures.

            One last thing is that this isn’t a court of law, I don’t think I need incontrovertible proof to have an opinion. I think it’s ok to have opinions even on hard topics. But one should be responsible and sensitive as to where they air that opinion and I think I have been.

          • Kai

            But I do think there’s a difference in doing it on this forum, where she or her kids will never read it, and doing it to their faces or somewhere they could read it on the internet.

            I’m not concerned about them seeing your speculation of them having malicious motives and having their feelings hurt. I was just saying that your speculating about their motives invites others to speculate about your motives. From the start, I said I worried about how your reaction might reflect upon you.

            I realize this is less extreme of a situation but I don’t think the ethics of it change, but just the degree to which they could be effected.

            I think differing levels of extremity does affect the ethics. For example, being bullied is also a form of victimization, yet we have kids who come out and speak against bullying all the time (there was a cS post about some American kid recently, right?). Rape or molestation comes with a different level and sort of stigmatization that warrants different considerations. I used the rape example not to make a point about extremity but about the subjective choice of whether to hide one’s victimization or use it to do something one considers constructive.

            If they went to their mom and came up with this idea on their own and wanted to do it, maybe it’s OK. But it doesn’t sound like this was the way that worked (this doesn’t seem like an idea a kid is going to come up with on their own)

            This is also a basis for my reservations. The Audrey article seems to make it clear that it was the mom’s idea and she introduced it to her daughters who apparently agreed to it.

            and really except for one or maybe two pictures, the kids look quite miserable in those pictures.

            I don’t think that’s dispositive. It’s hard to argue just what expression they “should” be wearing for such pictures. Are they supposed to look happy? How would that affect the gravity of the comments they are trying to share as being insensitive if not discriminatory?

            One last thing is that this isn’t a court of law, I don’t think I need incontrovertible proof to have an opinion. I think it’s ok to have opinions even on hard topics. But one should be responsible and sensitive as to where they air that opinion and I think I have been.

            Having a compelling premise (basis, evidence, etc.) for your conclusions (speculations) isn’t something only expected in a court of law. It’s expected if you want to increase your odds of being persuasive to the people you’re talking to. I’m articulating why I disagree with some of the things you are saying, not cross-examining you. Articulating why your opinion (speculations) aren’t compelling to me and may be, in my opinion, a potentially unflattering reflection of you is not me denying you an opinion. Disagreement is not denying you speech. It’s kinda silly to respond to or counter a disagreement by saying the other person is not letting you have an opinion, right?

            I don’t think there’s a problem with where you’re airing your opinion. We’ve had a good and very civil conversation. I merely disagree with some of the things you bring up while agreeing with others. Before we agree to disagree on things, it is fair to both of us to make certain both understand what exactly the disagreement is. If I get it wrong, you should clarify, and vice versa. Agreeing to disagree is arriving at a consensus as well, which is the goal of any civil discussion.

          • BillBo

            I’ve explained myself as well as I am able to, not sure what else to say really.

            “I’m not concerned about them seeing your speculation of them having malicious motives and having their feelings hurt”

            I should be more clear that I don’t question “them” but just the mom.

            One last thing I am curious about, you’ve mentioned numerous times how this might reflect on me and wondering about what my motives are. I’m curious then of what you think my motives are here and how this all reflects on me?

            I’m not trying to be mean to them or troll them obviously. It’s not like I’m racist or anti-adoption (I don’t even know if that’s a thing…) and I’m not supporting the comments written out there. I don’t see what other motives I could have…. I thought it was a fairly innocuous thing to say since, as I said earlier, it’s not like that woman is going to hear about my opinion and I don’t support the comments regardless.

          • Kai

            I’ve explained myself as well as I am able to, not sure what else to say really.

            I hope there isn’t a misunderstanding, because I’m not asking you to say anything. I thought we were just sharing and clarifying our thoughts as we feel they are necessary in response to what the other person said. It’s just a conversation.

            I should be more clear that I don’t question “them” but just the mom.

            My bad, I should’ve been more specific. I didn’t mean to misrepresent you there.

            And I’m not sure I have characterized it as “malicious motives” but more of attention seeking ones,

            You haven’t, but I think of seeking attention like this being self-serving and thus also malicious. Let’s say you suspect the mom has selfish reasons for doing this and negatively exploiting her daughters. Is that accurate? I’m saying I’m not willing to speculate that unless I have more evidence to suspect she’s being selfish, self-serving, attention-seeking.

            One last thing I am curious about, you’ve mentioned numerous times how this might reflect on me and wondering about what my motives are. I’m curious then of what you think my motives are here and how this all reflects on me?

            I thought I made this clear in my second reply to you when I said it threatens to make you look like a denier. An overeagerness to discredit the mother as having attention-seeking motives may be interpreted as you wanting to argue that it is so unlikely that people in America have made such ignorant, insensitive, or discriminatory comments that the only way this can be explained is that the mom is up to mischief.

            In my fourth reply to you, I asked you to consider how it would look if racial roles were reversed, if some Asian guy was expressing skepticism about anecdotes shared by a white guy. I hoped the reveral would help you see your speculations from a different angle and thus understand what I’m cautioning you against.

            I’m not trying to be mean to them or troll them obviously. It’s not like I’m racist or anti-adoption (I don’t even know if that’s a thing…) and I’m not supporting the comments written out there. I don’t see what other motives I could have…

            No, I didn’t suggest any of those things about you. Do think about the reverse scenario I mentioned before and again above and how you might interpret an Asian person who seems overeager to discredit a white person sharing anecdotes of discrimination they have experienced from Asians (while being mindful of nuances like misunderstanding due to language barrier, so think apples-to-apples instead of apples-to-oranges).

            I thought it was a fairly innocuous thing to say since, as I said earlier, it’s not like that woman is going to hear about my opinion and I don’t support the comments regardless.

            It’s innocuous if the only consequences you are thinking about are whether or not your comments hurt her feelings. I’m pointing out that you should also consider the consequences of how your comments might look in the eyes of others and how they might see you. Your speech ultimately reflects upon you just like my speech does me. The question is: does your speculation about her just seeking attention say something about your aversion to accepting that they have suffered such comments? It makes people wonder why you have that aversion. Is it because you can’t imagine people in America saying such things, or that you don’t like it when people point out that people in America can say such things? Why?

            Do you see? I hope you also recognize that I’ve tried to communicate this to you as diplomatically and with as much benefit of the doubt as I can. Because even if it is true, I don’t think that’s what you consciously want to express. I feel you MIGHT be revealing something about yourself inadvertently, and that’s different from being pushing something on others in their face, so I want to bring it up but not unreasonably castigate you for it.

          • KenjiAd

            I don’t dispute what you have observed, but have you directly asked your cousins whether they have felt being “othered” in America and, if so, how frequently?

            If you have not, I think you might want to do that.

          • BillBo

            In different ways I have, I was really close with both of them growing up. The male cousin in particular as we were best friends for a long period of time. One is about 4 months older then me, the other is younger by less then a year. It’s been a little while since we’ve talked about that, but we’re all in our late 20s at this point.

            It wasn’t a 100% A+ report card as I did hear about some comments, but I didn’t ever hear of anything extreme. Most of what they told me about was more of them viewing themselves differently and worrying about that as opposed to others viewing them differently and making them feel weird.

            Maybe they were lucky. They seemed to fit in very well and were among the popular crowds in their schools. They have great parents and are successful people and always had a lot of friends growing up. One is a married truck driver with two small girls and the other is going for a PhD right now. Maybe that is a-typical, I’m just going on what I know though.

    • Kai

      If you’re mainly referring to the comment by 雨溪情, it’s satire. He’s making fun of the formulaic foreign ministry statements accusing foreign governments of interfering with China’s “internal affairs” and “hurting the feelings of the Chinese people”.

      • videmus

        That’s the beauty of satire, it speaks to people who understand it and those who don’t. You get the cynics and the believers voting up the same comment :D

        • ClausRasmussen

          Good point lol

        • Kai

          Excellent insight!

      • Fritz Vanderhoffen

        There’s always the chance Balkan was trying his hand at satire as well.

    • DC

      you forgot to add 5) Foreigners feel the need to comment on everything
      Chinese and get offended when Chinese people don’t think those comments are the Gospel truth.

  • Amused

    Some people are just born with a tin ear. It must be that, cuz there’s no way anyone would shame themselves this hard on purpose.

    • TheInconvenientRuth

      I think this was more a case of nobody having the balls to tell him he was really bad. Must not offend our leader! Keep praising him until he himself is convinced he’s a grandmaster. You see the same with kids on talent shows, they believe they are great because all their friends and family tell them they are, even though they are really bad.

  • Ken Morgan

    It kind of reminds me of this tbh.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEDaCIDvj6I

    Supplicants saying he’s really good, makes him believe he is really good and thus he goes to show off. Objectively I have shitty timing playing the piano and hit the keys too hard. But I sometimes think I’m great (I’m not).

  • James in China

    Is it just me, or do I no where in this article see a link for anything the French cellist said? Maybe I’m missing it, but I have watched bot videos to completion and there is nothing by the cellist lol

    • Kai

      The translated microblog post itself is by the French cellist. He wrote his criticism in Chinese.

      http://www.weibo.com/julienchina

      • James in China

        Ahhhh Thank you kind sir

  • YahooHenry

    I’ve been listening to Chinese music for 50 years and unless there is a new school of playing and interpreting that I have missed, this does somewhat does push new (but possibly ancient) boundaries.

  • Probotector

    “Everyone knows that erhu is a traditional Chinese music instrument. As a French cellist, to make improper comments about traditional Chinese music is irresponsible. It would be as silly as Ming Dynasty swords used to behead Qing Dynasty officials. Do you not know that your Western music theories does not apply to China? China’s own music matter should not be interfered by foreigners. I ask sir to apologize for deeply hurting the Chinese people’s feelings.”

    …and this line of reasoning is applied to all criticism of China.

    • mr.wiener

      I’m not sure if they were being sarcastic or not.

    • Kai
      • David

        I know you say that, but are you SURE, or do you just suspect? I can not read the original so can only go by what is written here. The translations seems pretty long and specific to be satire.
        Do you think all the comments criticizing the Frenchman were satire?

        • Kai

          Yes, I’m sure. The length and specificness actually contribute to solidifying it as satire, because it includes more mockery of specific terminology and phrasing popularly used by the foreign ministry.

          No, not all of the comments are satire. I was responding specifically to the one quoted by Probo, wasn’t I?

        • Guang Xiang

          The part about the Ming swords used to behead Qing officials should have been the confirming sign of satire.

  • Fdom

    I kept expecting him to stand up and say “haha!! You’ve all been punk’d!” to the orchestra. Pity he didn’t.

  • narsfweasels

    Abuse of power. Some people spend years working towards public performance and earn the praise they get. This guy decides he’s important and everyone has to listen to him.

  • must touch brain

    I’ve enjoyed the sound of cats in heat outside my window more than this.

  • Xman2014

    ha ha ha ha… this perfectly describes the dynamics and mentality of China where people don’t think there isn’t anything wrong with this comedy gold.

  • post.human

    Sounded fine to me.

  • Amused

    A tin ear and shame have zero to do with race, religion OR nationality. Insecure much?

  • Escalante

    Which is worse, that he was a foreigner criticizing something Chinese or he was criticizing something Chinese contrasting with a western medium? Imagine a plaza dancing auntie trying to coordinate with a troupe of professional ballet dancers. Better yet, turn the tables around and have an American Idol auditioner just walk onto a stage of some Beijing Opera. Anyone can see that those mediums clash and cannot be harmonized due to the discrepancy between walkon amateurs and professionals who have dedicated their lives to their craft. This clash should not be forgiven even with executive privilege.

  • guest

    Your music has deeply hurt my ears! you must apologise!

  • guest

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOj-9hRDKHQ#t=12

    Not bad for a foreigner learning to play the erhu.

  • SongYii

    ‘It would be as silly as Ming Dynasty swords used to behead Qing Dynasty officials.’ Yeah, thats just silly!

  • ClausRasmussen

    There are lots of it on YouTube, for example this one that demonstrate what you can do with the instrument

    http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=i8Q8aZ1paUw

  • BillBo

    The Chinese seem to be a very insular and nationalistic people, not necessarily bad things, but some seem to take it to an extreme level and are unable to separate the opinions or actions of an individual from his ethnicity or country of origin. And that goes both ways too, there’s always a decent sized minority of Chinese who are horrified that when a Chinese person says/does something stupid or commits some terrible crime to a foreigner or in another country, it’s somehow damaging to them all in some grave way.

    I think you have people prone to that in any country but it seems like communism combined with asian culture produce more of this and at greater extremes.

  • Perseus Wong

    The guy is soooo out of tune its cracking me up. It sounds like a drunk or injured mosquito. (Qualifying my comment as a Chinese)

    As for those getting hot and bothered with nationalist sentiments, the erhu may have been played in China for over a thousand years but it’s not Chinese in origin. It was imported from central Asia during the late Tang dynasty. It sounded just as awful in its native form until the Chinese improved its construction and playing technique. An ancient xiongnu could play the erhu better than this uncle.

    THIS is how the REAL pros plays the erhu.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhic2cE57iM

  • It is.

  • Matt

    No harmony, but very harmonious.

  • mr.wiener

    I think he might have been the only one enjoying it.

  • Jack Zhou

    I actually find it a total waste of breath to evaluate that performance. Anyone with zero musical knowledge would know that that guy sucked. Now can we go back to ignoring the things French people say? Thanks!

  • Kai

    Since the discussion is over 2 months old, I’m a bit lost as to what part of my comment you’re responding to. For example, I don’t think I said anything to suggest people shouldn’t complain in an effort to bring about change.

  • jianfei

    If i paid to watch this performance, I would demand a refund!

  • Night

    Don’t mind a 14 year old saying this but the person insulting is also insulting people that plays the erhu. Im not exactly and expert but i have been playing the erhu since i was 8. If his insulting the official than his also insulting ten thousands of children and teenagers here. Im not siding with the official but the french cellist is just going to far insulting people like than is just humiliating himself too. I feel so hurt because I think think the french cellist is insulting all the erhu players amatuers and proffesionals all around the world. Even me. The french cellist should just shut his trap and destroy his cello. I bet he needs to go to the hospital for his ear damage.

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