Chen-ou Liu's Translation Project: First English-Chinese Haiku and Tanka Blog

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Loving the Collective, Loving to work: A Haibun

Strolling past Jianguo Road, Beijing, I see row upon row of workers in red uniforms doing their company cheer:

Give me a W! Give me an A! Give me an L! Give me a squiggly!
Give me an M! Give me an A! Give me an R! Give me a T!...

When working in state-run department stores, Chinese workers used to look like stern-faced mandarins, keeping a watchful eye on goods. They now sing company songs together, persuade all the passers-by to go into the store, and most importantly, answer picky customers’ questions with big smiles.

Red Guards, Red Guards

anything new
under the rising sun

published in Sketchbook, 6:6, November/December 2011

(Note: The title and the opening line of the haiku come from the lyrics of We Are Chairman Mao's Red Guards)