Misdirected by translation. Aussie humor can be described as all -out, with very few sacred cows. In recent times some of it has been seemingly taken too far, as is the case of the Aussie radio DJs who may have been catalyst to a UK nurse taking her own life after a prank call about Princess Kate. It hasn’t had the best of luck being translated overseas of late.
The global village also means getting along with the best, the worst, and managing the cultural disconnects as social distance decreases. Abrasion or cross pollination, it certainly depends on the sometimes prejudicial lens informing interpretation.
User sleepeat said: “This can’t be possible, that a head of state is talking this way.” While another called Sum Shudong wrote, “How many glasses or bottles has Sister Prime Minister drunk?” A few even accused Gillard of being crazy and irresponsible, with user Chen Yue Cyanni writing earnestly, “Why has the Prime Minister of Australia been convinced that all this end of the world business is true when this type of thing has no scientific basis? She’s misleading her country.”
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Chinese ‘tweeters’ misunderstand PM’s apocalypse message
By Monica Tan
Source – Daily Life Australia, published December 12, 2012
Hours after Triple J posted a spoof video in which Prime Minister Julia Gillard “confirmed” the end of the world, the news hit the Chinese Internet, spreading like a red-headed wildfire. Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging tool boasting over 300 million users, saw the words “Australian Prime Minister” mentioned over 23,000 times, sending the words up into their list of top 10 most popular keywords.
The majority of users forwarded a post titled “Australian Prime Minister states end of the world is approaching this month: this is real,” and that fails to identify the video as parody. Even when a version of the video with Chinese subtitles began to circulate, the satire was lost on many of the commenters, who expressed surprise and disbelief a head of state would come out on camera with such statements as: “Whether the final blow comes from flesh eating zombies, demonic hell beasts or from the total triumph of K-pop, if you know one thing about me it is this: I will always fight for you to the very end.”
The video of Prime Minister “Ji La De”, as Gillard is called in Chinese, along with these reactions by Chinese web users says just as much about Chinese politics as it does Australian. The vast majority of Australians might react to such a video with mild amusement, but hardly consider it shocking stuff. In contrast, for Chinese audiences this kind of “larrikin” behaviour coming from the country’s most powerful leader is literally too strange to be believed, with partial credit surely due to Gillard’s deadpan delivery.
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