…Brother is Only Legend

Perhaps you’ve already seen this. Still, we’re going to add to the madness because it’s fun, and because sometimes even very serious China watchers like us enjoy watching videos about crazy men with knives wearing underwear and threatening their bosses.

First, the video (h/t to Ryan of Lost Laowai, click the link if the embed doesn’t work for you). It is quite entertaining, and tells the story pretty simply. Our translation of the video and the lyrics in the background music are below:

Main Title: Double Swordsman in Crowded Shopping Area Seeks Money, Police Use Special Techniques to Subdue Him.

Scrolling subtitles (loosely translated): On the 26th, a Guangzhou man took his pants off and attacked the door of his company with “pig-killing knives” after being denied workers compensation for an injury he suffered. He said: “I have no clothes, no food to eat, I can only steal [to survive]. It’s not that I don’t want to be a good person, it’s that my family environment and the reality of society today haven’t given me an opportunity. Rich people have everything, I don’t even have cigarettes to smoke. Rather than resigning myself to living like this, it’s better to use this method [i.e., taking to the road in one’s underpants and a butcher’s knife] to change my destiny.” The police used special methods to subdue him, and no one was injured. According to the man’s former boss and work friends, he was willfully causing trouble and [trying to] blackmail [them].

Song in the Background:Don’t Be Infatuated With Brother” (click to download MP3 version)

This song is one of many, many jokes to come of the popular 2009 internet meme, see this for more details. Here are the lyrics, translated:

Chorus: Please don’t be infatuated with brother anymore, brother is only a legend,
Although I hate to leave [you], I still must say it,
Please don’t be infatuated with me, I am only a legend,
I’m never lonely because you were once with me

Rap Verse (in English): Rap:When everybody says someone is a hero
No one really knows the truth about an idol
Whose inside is pretty lonely n vulnerable
Wishing therell be someone who do know
One time, he set himself a high goal
He wants to be there as a role model
Ever since then life becomes a live show
Real time show without any rehearsal

Verse: Every legend fades with time,
Every strong person has setbacks and hardships,
The reason they live free is because they understand what to accept and reject,
The reason they are aloof is that they can see through everything
Please don’t be infatuated with brother anymore, brother is only a legend,
Although I hate to leave [you], I still must say it,
You must remember me, I will always be drifting aimlessly,
Brother will not be lonely because brother has loneliness accompanying him,
Don’t be infatuated with me, I am only a legend,
Although I feign cold detachment, it’s because I don’t want to be sad again,
Please don’t be infatuated with brother anymore, brother is only a legend,
I’m never lonely because you were once with me.

(Verse and chorus repeat)

Coda: The reason love also must be given up is because it’s led to nothing,
If I say it you won’t understand, so let’s sing this song together,
Please don’t be infatuated with brother anymore, brother is only a legend,
Although I hate to leave [you], I still must say it,
Please don’t be infatuated with me, I am only a legend,
I’m never lonely because you were once with me

Fun times! But seriously, is it just me, or does this kind of thing seem to happen a lot? There’s the Chunxi Road Swordsman (pictured), crazy brick-throwing man, and I could swear I remember a story of another pantsless man taking to the streets with weaponry on ChinaSMACK, but I can’t find it anymore.

Anyway, what’s actually interesting about all this is the comments netizens have been making about it, with many expressing some sympathy for the man. One commenter wrote (translation by Fauna of ChinaSMACK):

With so many bitter/long-suffering people in society, he is just a relatively extreme one, and I sympathize.

Those people laughing, imagine for a moment if that person was your guys’ father. Would you still be able to laugh?

Clearly, netizens are quite conscious of the tension and frustration that can exist on the lower rungs of Chinese society. It is a tension that, if the number of armed, pants-less men on the street is any indication, seems to be building. It’s probably something we should take seriously. Or maybe not:

So what do you think? Serious social problem, hilarious photoshop material, or both?

0 thoughts on “…Brother is Only Legend”

  1. IMO just photoshop material. More sad than hilarious, although I admit the street fighter one did make me laugh…

    But seriously, you get the same crazy people back in the West. Just multiply the American crazies you see on TV by 5 (because China’s population is 5x approx) and you get an amazing number of them, and actually much worse.

    Why? because a guy like that who has lost control, in America he would easily have access to fire arms, and instead of making a clown of himself on TV, he would have taken down his ex-boss plus a few of the onlookers …

    Sorry, I did’t want to add so much drama in a post meant to be fun, but since you ask our opinion, there is mine.


  2. @ Uln: Nothing wrong with drama! Re: the US, we certainly have more than our fair share of crazies. I feel as though the reasons they cite for going crazy are different from what we hear from Chinese people. Obviously, what I’m saying is highly anecdotal and in no way supported by any statistical analysis or anything, but I feel as though in the cases I’ve seen, “crazy” Americans tend to cite things like feeling like a social outsider, Chinese crazies tend to cite more desperate circumstances economically.

    But, again, this is just based on my own very unreliable memory of the sorts of cases like this I happen to have read about. I may very well be quite wrong.


  3. I see what you mean. Americans do that because they are lonely, Chinese do it because they suffer more tangible injustice. Not sure which one is worse though, it seems to me that having something real to fight agaisnt must be easier to manage psychologically. I mean, the brother hates his boss for a reason, and he can find confort in the hope -however remote- that justice will be done. On the other hand, the Western serial shooter just hates life, and he has no hope.

    What is really disturbing of all this is to think that, regardless of how rich or how developed is a country, humans always find new ways to be miserable. And I sometimes feel that Western societies are ideal for achieving just that. I guess that is why I live in China.

    Ok, back to joking mode…


  4. Just really like the song!!, Know where i can find more of this. Btw they sing more than just Chinese and english right? what is the other language?


  5. Actually I do get your point: you mean that American/western societies tend to blame the crazies for their own behaviors: themselves are responsible for their actions ( which means they are often social outside, socially handicapt and socially isolated) Which are resulted from the “individual-thinking” society.

    On the other hand, east-Asian societies are more “group-thinking” and tend to look more to the circumstances that force people to do crazy things or to become crazy. They blame more the environmental conditions that the perpetrator himself for his actions.

    But, on the other hand, you should expect that people with (mentally/ physical) handicap should be accept more easily in a “group-thinking” society than in a “individual-thinking” society. But that is often not the case. A “group-thinking” society often associates itself with face and honor which make people with a (mentally/ physical) handicap very hard to face themself to the rest of society: they put shame to society (family) because of their handicaps. On the other hand “individual-thinking” society accepts people with a handicap more: as normal person with limited capacity.

    Or is this caused by the higher living standards (economically) –> people often are then far more generous towards each other –> resulting in higher morals in a “individual-thinking” society.


  6. Yang’s remarks remind me of a recent Jon Stewart interview with a guy specializing in mental illness and how the world is increasingly “Americanized” in diagnosing and treating psychiatric patients, and of a Times article a while back talking about similar things (I’m not sure the interviewee and the author are not the same person; I’m not good with names). Both the interview and the article are very illuminating. Sorry I can’t provide the links.


  7. I’ve seen this video @ youku…since it’s so damn popular.
    I suggest you all look at the detail of this guy’s story, because it’s just another eye-catching drama..for those of you who doesn’t have the time to look at the story of his life, here’s a little round-up.

    He did this whole thing because his boss refuse to give him CNY30,000 to open a salon ((the one with the pink curtain I presume) after he he lost all his money in gambling.

    This guy is a lazy gambler who believe in fate. He even linked his believe to his name(恩旺), saying “only when someone help me (施恩于我), then will I be successful in life (我才会旺)”


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