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“My Skating Shoes” – China’s Unlikely Internet Viral Hit Song

my-skateboard-shoes-chinese-viral-song

“My Skating Shoes” by Pang Mailang is arguably the most unlikely viral song to surface on the internet in China this year. Clearly sung without any professional music training, often times offbeat, and in a heavy Southern Mandarin dialect, the song quickly gained popularity and was retweeted on Weibo by many notable artists with over 500k views in just 3 days.

“My Skating Shoes” is a simple song about the story of a young man searching for his dream pair of skateboard shoes. The song has since evolved into a sort of diaosi (self-depreciating loser) anthem, where the themes of an ordinary man chasing his dreams resonated with many of the young migrant workers entering the big cities. Likewise, Chinese netizens also made numerous parodies and and covers of this song.

Lyrics (Original Chinese, Pinyin Romanization, and English Translation):

有些事我都已忘记
Yǒuxiē shì wǒ dū yǐ wàngjì
Some things I’ve already forgotten,

但我现在还记得
dàn wǒ xiànzài hái jìdé
but even now I still remember

在一个晚上我的母亲问我
zài yīgè wǎnshàng wǒ de mǔqīn wèn wǒ
that night my mother asked me,

今天怎么不开心
jīntiān zěnme bù kāixīn
“Why are you upset today?”

我说在我的想象中有一双滑板鞋
wǒ shuō zài wǒ de xiǎngxiàng zhōng yǒu yīshuāng huá bǎnxié
I told her I fancied a pair of skating shoes

与众不同最时尚跳舞肯定棒
yǔ zhòng bùtóng zuì shíshàng tiàowǔ kěndìng bàng
that are like no other, the most fashionable, and would be awesome for dancing.

整个城市找遍所有的街都没有
zhěnggè chéngshì zhǎo biàn suǒyǒu de jiē dōu méiyǒu
I’ve searched every street in the city and still can’t find it.

她说将来会找到的时间会给我答案
tā shuō jiānglái huì zhǎodào de shíjiān huì gěi wǒ dá’àn
She said one day I will find it, time will tell.

星期天我再次寻找依然没有发现
xīngqítiān wǒ zàicì xúnzhǎo yīrán méiyǒu fāxiàn
On Sunday, I searched again, but still could not find them.

一个月后我去了第二个城市
yīgè yuè hòu wǒ qùle dì èr gè chéngshì
A month later, I went to another city.

这里的人们称它为魅力之都
zhèlǐ de rénmen chēng tā wèi mèilì zhī dū
People here call it the city of lights.

时间过的很快夜幕就要降临
shíjiānguò de hěn kuài yèmù jiù yào jiànglín
Time quickly passed and it was getting dark,

我想我必须要离开
wǒ xiǎng wǒ bìxū yào líkāi
I thought to myself that I must leave.

当我正要走时我看到一家专卖店
dāng wǒ zhèng yào zǒushí wǒ kàn dào yījiā zhuānmài diàn
Just as I was about to leave I saw a specialty store,

那就是我要的滑板鞋
nà jiùshì wǒ yào de huá bǎnxié
there, those are the skateboard shoes I want.

我的滑板鞋时尚时尚最时尚
wǒ de huá bǎnxié shíshàng shíshàng zuì shíshàng
My skateboard shoes, so very fashionable.

回家的路上我情不自禁
huí jiā de lùshàng wǒ qíngbùzìjīn
On the way home, I could not contain myself

摩擦 摩擦
mócā mócā
Rub it, rub it.

在这光滑的地上摩擦
zài zhè guānghuá dì dìshàng mócā
Rub it on this smooth floor.

月光下我看到自己的身影有时很远有时很近
yuèguāng xià wǒ kàn dào zìjǐ de shēnyǐng yǒushí hěn yuǎn yǒushí hěn jìn
Under the moonlight I saw my shadow, sometimes far, sometimes near.

感到一种力量驱使我的脚步
gǎndào yī zhǒng lìliàng qūshǐ wǒ de jiǎobù
I felt a force moving my feet,

有了滑板鞋天黑都不怕
yǒule huá bǎnxié tiān hēi dōu bùpà
With my skateboard shoes I’m not afraid of the night.

一步两步一步两步 一步一步似爪牙
yībù liǎng bù yībù liǎng bù yībù yībù shì zhǎoyá
One step, two step, one step, two step, like a minion.

似魔鬼的步伐
shì móguǐ de bùfá
Like the steps of the devil.

似魔鬼的步伐
shì móguǐ de bùfá
Like the steps of the devil.

似魔鬼的步伐
shì móguǐ de bùfá
Like the steps of the devil.

摩擦 摩擦
mócā mócā
Rub it, rub it.

摩擦 摩擦
mócā mócā
Rub it, rub it.

我给自己打着节拍
wǒ jǐ zìjǐ dǎzhe jiépāi
I’m giving myself a beat.

这是我生命中美好的时刻
zhè shì wǒ shēngmìng zhòng měihǎo de shíkè.
This is the happiest moment of my life.

我要完成我最喜欢的舞蹈 在这美丽的月光下在这美丽的街道上
wǒ yào wánchéng wǒ zuì xǐhuān de wǔdǎo zài zhè měilì de yuèguāng xià zài zhè měilì de jiēdào shàng
I want to finish my favorite dance, under this beautiful moonlight, this beautiful street.

我告诉自己这是真的这不是梦
wǒ gàosù zìjǐ zhè shì zhēn de zhè bù shì mèng
I tell myself this is really not a dream.

一步两步一步两步 一步一步似爪牙
yībù liǎng bù yībù liǎng bù yībù yībùshì zhǎoyá
One step, two step, one step, two step, like a minion.

似魔鬼的步伐
shì móguǐ de bùfá
Like the steps of the devil.

摩擦 摩擦
mócā mócā
Rub it, rub it,

在这光滑的地上摩擦
zài zhè guānghuá dì dìshàng mócā
Rub it on this smooth floor.

摩擦 摩擦
mócā mócā
Rub it, rub it.

似魔鬼的步伐
shì móguǐ de bùfá
Like the steps of the devil.

似魔鬼的步伐
shì móguǐ de bùfá
Like the steps of the devil.

一步两步一步两步 一步一步似爪牙
yībù liǎng bù yībù liǎng bù yībù yībùshì zhǎoyá
One step, two step, one step, two step, like a minion.

似魔鬼的步伐
shì móguǐ de bùfá
Like the steps of the devil.

似魔鬼的步伐
shì móguǐ de bùfá
Like the steps of the devil.

似魔鬼的步伐
shì móguǐ de bùfá
Like the steps of the devil.

摩擦 摩擦
mócā mócā
Rub it, rub it.

在这光滑的地上摩擦
zài zhè guānghuá dì dìshàng mócā
Rub it on this floor.

摩擦 摩擦
mócā mócā
Rub it, rub it.

Parody version of the song: “My Excavator”:

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Dramatic Reading of “My Skateboard Shoes”:

Written by Joe

Joe is a documentary producer and journalist based in Shanghai

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