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Archive for June 15th, 2010

On Chinese websites, the clip below has attracted wide circulation after appearing at tudou.com, a China video sharing site. The clip’s content centres on a policewoman in Leshan 乐山, a mid-size city south of Chengdu in Sichuan, the province wrecked in 2008 by a 7.9 earthquake (somebody’s God had moved a mountain), killing 68,712, injuring 374,643.

Why should the everyday, mundane life of policewoman 叶春梅 Ye Chunmei be worth the bother? And the answer rests, in large part, on the question itself: its pedestrian nature. Outside China, this life is particularly unusual because of the popular myth and perception held in Anglophile Malaysia and by Westerners that China is a dictator country, street-full of spies and its citizenry walk around in chains. On the contrary, there is much personal freedom and a hands-off authority unimagined even in Malaysia – as is evidenced in the clip.

Ms Ye’s day shift alternates between one hour at a Leshan street intersection and one hour at the beat base, she tells the reporter. The worse part of the job comes – surprise! – not with reckless drivers or difficult pedestrians but rather with the summer sun. It wears her out quickly, she complains in the clip (the ending segment).

Next question:

“People say you are just a pretty flower pot on the street. Are you a flower pot?”

Answer:

“No! No! What flower pot? I help people get across the road…. I make sure people’s safety. How is that a flower pot?”

If that life is normality, why had the busybody, insolent reporters picked on her, calling her a flower pot? It’s apparent the clip, plus the question-and-answer, was contemporaneous (note in particular the part she scolded the cameraman for peeping at her in the beat base). When the Sichuan provincial police department found out (a similar report also appeared in one Leshan daily), they looked the other way, after which posted the same news item on their website.

Why of all policewomen Ye Chunmei?

The answer is in the photograph below: she is identical in looks to 张柏芝, or Cecilia Cheung, Hong Kong actress (The Promise). This explains the 3-minute song accompanying the clip, a soundtrack from one of Cheung’s films.

Cheung, above; Ye Chunmei, below, as photographed in a local paper.

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