And now, an amazing Chinese rendition of 'Cell Block Tango' (with translated lyrics) - SupChina

And now, an amazing Chinese rendition of ‘Cell Block Tango’ (with translated lyrics)

Check out Tu Youqin's "Scumbag Men of the Celestial Empire" (天朝渣男图鉴 tiāncháo zhā nán tújiàn), depicting six Chinese men who "had it coming."

This is the best thing we’ve seen on Chinese social media in a while: A song by Tú Yǒuqín 徒有琴, a student at the Central Conservatory of Music, in which she plays six women from six different parts of China — Beijing, Shanghai, Sichuan, Hunan, Guangdong, Shandong — who sing, in their particular dialects, about their horrible experiences with the men in their lives, from a guy who records his sexual conquests in a notebook to another who kills his own child to one who threatens to commit rape in the back of his Didi cab.

It’s all set — fittingly and so very well — to the tune of “Cell Block Tango” from the musical Chicago, which of course also features six women singing in dialect about the men in their lives…the ones they killed, who “had it coming.”

Tu’s rendition, called “Scumbag Men of the Celestial Empire” (a rather literal translation of 天朝渣男图鉴 [tiāncháo zhā nán tújiàn]; put more simply, “The douchebags of China”), was originally posted to Sina Weibo on October 31 before it was taken down — per the request of, strangely, Didi, since the song used “Didi” as a lyric. Tu re-uploaded the video the next morning with “Didi” (滴滴 dīdī) replaced with “beep beep” (哔哔 bìbì), but the video was again taken down a few hours later.

Tu, who’s made a name for herself as a composer of ancient music and claims to be a big fan of musicals, wrote on social media that the stories in her song are entirely fictitious and not directed at any particular person, but we can’t help but see some similarities with real-life stories. Initium helpfully points out a few parallels, too, like an incident in 2015 when a woman named Li Yan was given a suspended death sentence for killing her husband, as the court acknowledged that she was a victim of domestic violence.

We’ve translated the lyrics of “Scumbag Men of the Celestial Empire” below — compare it to the original Cell Block Tango here. Did the men in Tu’s song also have it coming?

Scumbag Men of the Celestial Empire 天朝渣男图鉴 (based off “Cell Block Tango”)

Original lyrics by Tu Youqin
Translation by Jamie Lui

【京】胡同
Beijing: Alley
【沪】萨克斯
Shanghai: Saxophone
【川】龟儿子
Sichuan: Bastard / son of a bitch [literally, “turtle son”]
【湘】滴滴
Hunan: Didi [taxi]
【粤】十四楼
Guangdong: [in Cantonese:] 14th floor
【鲁】妹儿睡着
Shandong: Baby girl sleeping

现在,有请六位天朝渣男领域的资深体验人员发言——
And now, six women of China share their experiences of dating male douchebags —

【合】
他罪有应得!他罪无可赦!
都怪他自己抢着做鬼!
你如果在场!在当时当刻!
【京】只怕会比我更加干脆!
   All:
He had it coming! He can’t be pardoned!
He only has his own devilry to blame!
If you’d had been there, if you’d had seen it,
Beijing: I bet you would have done it more decisive than me!

【京】
我老公呢很风趣幽默的,当初嫁给他就是冲他能逗我开心。
有一天我翻着他一记事本,是啊都什么年代了还用笔记本,他这老派作风我也喜欢的,然后我就看到了他把睡过的女人都给分类编号了,可细了,你猜他用什么编的?用地名,胡同,帽儿胡同就是爱玩上面的,菊儿胡同就是爱玩下面的。搞笑不?我?我当然也是了,我在最后一页,黑笔打叉的,写了,死胡同。
死胡同,当然是跟死人才般配。
   Beijing:
My husband? Oh, he’s just hilarious. I married him because he could always make me laugh.

One day I was flipping through his notebook — right, a notebook, what decade are we living in anyway, but I actually quite liked his old-school style — and I see that he’s classified all the women he’s slept with. How detailed. You wanna guess what he used to classify these women? He used “alleyways” to classify them. Hat Alley [帽儿胡同 Màoer Hútòng] meant that she liked playing up top [referring to oral sex], and Chrysanthemum Alley* [菊儿胡同 Júer Hútòng] meant that she liked playing the bottom. Isn’t that hilarious? And me? Of course I was listed, right on the last page, crossed out in black marker. Next to my name read “dead-end alley.”

Well, it’s only suitable that a dead-end alley is paired with a dead person!

* Chrysanthemum is Chinese slang for “anus.”

【合】
他罪有应得!他罪无可赦!
都怪他什么都敢招惹!
你如果在场!在当时当刻!
【沪】要骂何不早有这胆色!
   All:
He had it coming! He can’t be pardoned!
He has his constant goading to blame!
If you’d had been there, if you’d had seen it,
Shanghai: I should’ve had the guts to do it sooner!

【沪】
我们一开始是在咖啡馆认得的,伊的萨克斯吹得老灵光额,我一下就被迷倒了。
人家都帮我讲伊脾气好,结婚以后我也感觉到了,脾气是好的呀,打老婆也要有腔调的,拿萨克斯打呀。硬,打来尤其顺手,血也擦起来方便。
个么哪能办啦?老公嘎有腔调我也不好坍台面的呀,我也只好让伊感觉一下头上被敲萨克斯哪能样子额咯,就头颈上头一块,梆,老好听了,比吹出来还好听。
   Shanghai:
We first met at a coffee shop, and he played the saxophone very well. I fell for him immediately.

Everyone told me he had a good temper. And I can agree, you must be cool when you hit your wife, so hit her with your saxophone. Yes, strike smoothly and the blood will be easy to clean up.

And what else was I supposed to do? My husband is so cool that I didn’t want to appear lame, so I also couldn’t help but strike him on the head with the saxophone, too. Bang. It was a beautiful sound, even better than if you played it.

【合】
他罪有应得!他罪无可赦!
都怪他自食恶果的舌!
你如果在场!在当时当刻!
【川】正义的惩罚不该苛责!
   All:
He had it coming! He can’t be pardoned!
Blame him for eating the bitter fruit of his own tongue!
If you’d had been there, if you’d have seen it,
Sichuan: You can’t blame the punishment of justice!

【川】
结婚五年一直没孩子,去医院查了以后是我老公的原因,他不想离婚,这么多年我也有感情的嘛,我想领养一个,他同意,娃娃白白净净的,我可高兴了,总算是当妈了。我老公从不叫娃娃的名儿,就叫龟儿子,我讲娃娃是龟儿子那哪个是龟哟?你猜他咋回的?他回我反正不是老子的儿子。后来一天我下班回家,就看到娃娃脸朝下趴在浴盆里,我冲上去抢回来,娃已经不会动了。
他还笑,说龟儿子就应该潜水底嘛。
那龟儿子的爸爸也应该潜水底嘛,嘉陵江够他扑腾耍子了。
   Sichuan:
Five years of marriage and still unable to conceive, the doctor said it was my husband’s fault. He didn’t want to get a divorce, and after all these years I’ve still been able to show him love and affection. I wanted to adopt, and he agreed. The little baby was bright and lively, and I was over the moon — I’m finally a mother! My husband, on the other hand, never calls our baby by its name, just calls it the bastard. I tell him, If our baby is a bastard, who’s the bitch [“turtle” (龟 guī), which can also mean “bitch”]? Can you guess what he said? He said, “Well, it’s not my child.” One day I come home from work and see the baby lying face down in the bathtub. I run to snatch him up but she’s still.

My husband laughs and says, “The bastard should dive to the bottom.”

Well, it’s only fair that the father of the bastard should also dive to the bottom. The Jialing River is just big enough for him to flop around.

【合】
你如果在场!在当时当刻!
【粤】每声呼喊都大声附和!
   All:
If you’d had been there, if you’d had seen it,
Guangdong: For every voice that calls out, echo back louder!

【粤】
他在学校就爱看古惑仔,后来自己就成了古惑仔。我说分手,他就总求我说一定改,找正经工作,养家,我决定再给他一次机会,就买了间小屋同居,在十四楼。有一天他急匆匆回来,往衣柜里塞了个包,又拆了张新的sim卡躲在卫生间打电话,隐约听见“对、十四楼、嗯、十四楼”。他又急匆匆出门了,再后来?再后来我就再没见过他。他走没过五分钟警察就上门了,说接到匿名电话举报,有人藏毒。在十四楼。
   Guangdong:
When he was in school he admired gangsters, and then he turned into one himself. I told him I wanted to break up, so he pleaded with me and promised to change, to find a real job, to support the family, so I decided to give him another chance. We bought a small apartment together on the 14th floor. One day, he rushed home and ran straight to put a stuffed bag in the closet. He pulls out a new SIM card and ducks into the bathroom to make a call. I hear a faint, “Yeah, 14th floor, uh huh, 14th floor,” and then he immediately rushes out the door. And then? I never see him again. Not five minutes after he leaves, the cops show up at the door, say they picked up an anonymous tip that someone was selling drugs. On the 14th floor.

【湘】
分手以后再见面居然是因为打车,他是司机我是乘客。
从那以后,他每天都会开着他那辆破车,等在我家楼下,拉下车窗对我笑,说,滴滴一下,马上出嫁。每一天,每一天,每一天……他还不知道从哪里弄了我的手机号,天天荤话恐吓轮番来,换号也没用。报警?报了啊,教育三天放出来了。在他说要把我这个贱人干死在他车上的第三个月,我朝他车上浇了汽油,也对被绑在驾驶座上的他笑着说:滴滴一下,找死自杀。
   Hunan:
After we broke up, I bumped into him unexpectedly in a [Didi] cab. He was the driver and I was the passenger.

From then on, every day he would wait downstairs from my apartment, roll down the window and laugh, Call a Didi, hurry up and get married. Every day, every day, every day…he somehow got my phone number and harassed me with dirty and threatening texts every single day. There’s no use switching numbers, either. And filing a report? I did, they released him after three days. By the third month of him saying he wanted to fuck me the bitch to death right in his car, I splashed gasoline over his car and laughed at the driver trapped inside: Call a Didi, go kill yourself.*

*The last line here, spoken by the woman — 滴滴一下,找死自杀 (Dīdī yīxià, zhǎosǐ zìshā) — is supposed to echo (and rhyme with) the driver’s earlier taunt: 滴滴一下,马上出嫁 (Dīdī yīxià, mǎshàng chūjià)

【合】
他罪有应得!他罪无可赦!
都怪他活着就是连累!
我无可奈何!我非杀不可!
【湘】休想强加我半分惭愧!
   All:
He had it coming! He can’t be pardoned!
If he were alive he’d only drag others down!
I had no choice! I had to kill him!
Sichuan: Don’t even think about making me feel ashamed!

【合】
他罪有应得!他罪无可赦!
都怪他找死还无所谓!
我无可奈何!我非杀不可!
【鲁】谁又敢批判我的错对!

   All:
He had it coming! He can’t be pardoned!
Blame him for being so casual with death!
I had no choice! I had to kill him!
Shandong: Who would dare tell me that I was wrong?

【鲁】
俺们家第三个娃娃还是个女娃娃,冬天生的,炕上挨着孩他爹那头睡。这个娃睡觉不老实,半夜老哭着要奶喝,我都得起来喂。那天娃没动静,我就问他爹,问了三次,他爹都跟我说妹儿睡着,妹儿睡着,妹儿睡着。
天蒙亮的时候他爹爬起来,抱着娃就往外走,我觉着不对劲,拉住了一摸,娃身上冰冰凉的,早没气了。他爹说隔壁村花两万块钱买个女娃结阴亲,值。
妹儿睡着?妹儿是被他亲手捂死了!
好么,妹儿大婚,亲爹咋能不在呢,我送他去了,替当娘的我多喝杯喜酒,多受个叩头。
   Shandong:
Our third daughter was born in the winter. The little girl sleeps near the brick fireplace by her daddy’s head. The little girl doesn’t sleep soundly. She cries in the middle of the night for milk so I often get up to feed her. One day, she doesn’t stir, so I ask her dad, I ask three times and each time he replies, She’s asleep, she’s asleep, she’s asleep.

At dawn, he gets up and takes the baby outside. Something doesn’t seem right, and I reach over and touch the little girl. Her entire body is totally cold. She must have not been breathing for a while already. Her dad says that it’s worth it — the neighbors offered $2000 to buy a wife for their dead baby son in the afterlife*.

The baby girl was asleep? Baby girl was suffocated by her father’s own hands.

Oh well, our baby girl got married. And how could her father not be with her? I sent him over, and I’m sure he drank extra wedding wine and received more ceremonial bows on my behalf.

*结阴亲 (jié yīn qīn) is a spouse for the afterlife. 

【合】
人渣该杀杀杀杀杀
人渣该杀杀杀杀杀

他罪有应得!他罪无可赦!
都怪他活着就是连累!
我无可奈何!我非杀不可!
休想强加我半分惭愧!

   All:
Scum should be killed, killed, killed, killed, killed
Scum should be killed, killed, killed, killed, killed

He had it coming! He can’t be pardoned!
If he were alive he’d only drag others down!
I had no choice! I had to kill him!
Don’t even think about making me feel ashamed!

【合】
他罪有应得!他罪无可赦!
都怪他找死还无所谓!
我无可奈何!我非杀不可!
谁又敢批判我的错对!

   All:
He had it coming! He can’t be pardoned!
Blame him for being so casual with death!
I had no choice! I had to kill him!
Who would dare tell me that I was wrong?


With additional reporting by Jiayun Feng.

Anthony Tao

Anthony is the Asia managing editor of SupChina. Follow him @anthonytao

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