BEIJING (Reuters) -Thought the tender song “You and Me” at the opening of the Beijing Olympics was about peace and friendship? More like rising oil and food prices, some Chinese are saying.
“The Chinese name of the theme tune ‘You and Me’ is ‘You (oil) and Mi (rice)’, an expression of concern about this year’s oil and food problems ...,” runs a Chinese-language joke being circulated online.
Po-faced guards and grim-looking officials give many Beijing Olympic viewers and audiences the idea that the Chinese are a people without a sense of humor.
But despite strict control of the Internet to censor out sensitive topics, irreverent websites, emails and text messages about the Games and the country’s politics abound.
One line pokes fun at China’s less-than-stellar national football team, who failed to make it to the last and next World Cups, by parodying a song being played to distraction around the city and in Olympic venues, called “Beijing Welcomes You”.
“Our goalposts are always open,” it invites you to sing along. “We’ll give you all our points, it doesn’t matter.”
Beijingers’ frustrations at the security measures and other restrictions which have been put in place over the Olympics are the subject of a biting text message joke.
“News flash: IOC President Jacques Rogge announces that because of China’s enthusiasm and thoughtfulness, the next Olympics are going to be in Beijing too. Rumor has it state officials fainted and Beijing police led the wild cheers. Damn you, old man Rogge!”
Other Chinese have had fun messing around with word games, the tonal Chinese language being a gift to jokers, because a single pronunciation can have several wildly different meanings.
Those tired of Games overkill and the heightened security that has made normal life difficult in Beijing are being advised to take an “avoiding Olympics package” (bi yun tao) holiday, a phrase that also sounds like the word for condom.
“Bi yun”, means contraception, or avoiding pregnancy, in Mandarin, but in a play on words the same pronunciation is now used to mean avoiding the Olympics, as “Ao yun” means the Olympic Games.
One blogger has designed an Olympics ring made out of blue, black, red, yellow and green condoms to drive home the point.
“Roll on the end of the Olympics,” a poster wrote on another Chinese website, applauding the new phrase.
Additional reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by Nick Macfie