Part of this cold-but-not-too-cold evening was spent playing drinking games with a young Chinese gangster
and his three "girlfriends". While waiting for my friend to stop making a
fool of himself on the dance floor. While yet again regretting that I'd been
dragged to a nightclub.
Why can't I accept that I just don't like nightclubs? Because every now and
then, maybe once a year or so, I go to where there is music and dancing and
dance my lily-white laowai1 arse off, and it feels good.
It's just that all the times that are not "that time" suck so hard they
would have little difficulty in sucking the proverbial golf ball through the
metaphorical garden hose.
A word about Chinese drinking games These seem mostly to involve everyone having their own cup of dice and rules that you negotiate mostly before, but also somewhat after the enthusiastic shaking and rolling of the dice. Winning involves laughing at the loser; losing involves finishing your drink and buying another round. In my reasonably extensive personal experience, the winning/losing bit is fairly culturally universal.
INT. SOLUTIONS BAR AND NIGHTCLUB BEIJING NIGHT
GANGSTER is the kind of drunk that substitutes repetition for details. Both GANGSTER and THE LAOWAI are speaking CHINESE, subtitled.
Smallest total smallest total smallest total!
When the other guy has a gun in his jacket...
Ok Ok Ok!
One, Two, Three!
(almost at the
One, Two, Three!
THE DICE show that THE LAOWAI has double four, but nothing higher. THE GANGSTER has a much bigger total.
(her hand goes to
Oh baby never mind, drink up!
Death death! Double Death!
and sudden fear)
Ah, ok, just one more time, yeah?!
"Laowai" is the toneless pinyin for the Mandarin word meaning "foreigner". Literally translated, it means "old outsider". It is not, as the literal translation might suggest, offensive.
- Because the number "four" has the same sound as the word "death"
- the Chinese often associate the two. In fact, because of this, four is by far the "unluckiest number" in Chinese numerology. Eight and Six are lucky numbers for similar "soundalike" reasons. Nine is lucky because of historical associations -- and because it sounds like "a long time" when used in combination with other "good sounding" numbers -- for example "89" sounds like "fortunate forever".
- "si" sounds nothing at all like the English word "see" - it also sounds nothing like the "oo" in book but sharpened and cut off at an angle, but that sound is closer, if you see, or rather hear what I mean!