How to cook for forty revolutionaries

I've been hearing this and that about To Serve the People, a novel by Yan Lianke which Chinese authorities have banned for (apparently) a variety of reasons, one of which being that its very title parodies one of MAO Zedong's most well-known slogans.

So, having a knack for missing the point of most things in favour of their shiny, shiny linguistic aspects, I thought I'd go find out what Mao's "serve the people" is in Chinese. And I did. It's 为人民服务, although I guess he wrote it before the language reforms, when it was 為人民服務 (which it still is in Japanese kanji). It breaks down to "for the benefit of (为) the people (人民), serve (服务)", I think.

Here's what it looks like in Mao's handwriting, and note how they use that exact handwritten version as an element in, f'rexample, this poster.

More Mao at good ol' Zhongwen.

Popularity factor: 3


Here's another image with the same handwriting:


...only it's an MMS image I downloaded from sohu.com a while ago that says 为人民*币*服务:

为 = "for"人民币 = "the people's currency"服务 = "serve"

A cynical take on the new Chinese socialism.


Hey, but it's glorious to get rich now!


(sigh) So the translation, then, a la Damon Knight, is "To Serve Folks"?


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