In Yet more Chinese wordplay, retelling some splendid subversive jokes from the commune era (cf. Hammer and Tickle, and the Chinese jokes tag), I explained the pleasure of creatively misinterpreting phrases that use the innocent postfix xing 性 (“sex”). Among them is the tired Chinese cliché “International Cultural Exchange“—Grist to Flann O’Brien‘s Mill.
So now here’s a party game that I devised as a spinoff from both my Catechism of Chinese cliché and Italian folk musicking—a kind of Snakes and Ladders:
The Silk Road
hours of harmless fun for all the family!
Players can advance along the caravan route by naming cultural features that Italy shares with China (and I couldn’t write the clichés better than this article). Go right back to square one for any mention of:
- an ancient civilisation stretching back thousands of years
- exquisite architecture and masterpieces by great painters
- Suzhou, the Venice of the East
- a wealth of pasta and dumpling varieties
- kangaroos [Wha-a-t?—Ed.]
- Marc O’Polo (descended from Li Bai, aka Patrick O’Leary)
Left: spirit mediums, Guangxi. Right: taranta exorcism, Salento.
But make progress by scoring points for
(leap forward 1,000 leagues🙂
- wedding and funeral laments
- mediums performing exorcisms (here, and here)
- shawm bands (here, and here)
(advance 500 leagues🙂
(advance 200 leagues🙂
- fraternal [sic] relations with Albania, and a Veritable Cornucopia of white spirits
- Red Brigades
- stultifying bureaucracy
- deeply embedded corruption
- mafias and vendettas
- kitsch state media
- geriatric male leaders with dyed hair (see Burlesque-only)
- blithely resilient sexism
- emigration from the south
- Belt and Road
As usual, the winner will be awarded a small pocket aquarium.
For more party games, see the Oxford comma and Fantasy Daoist ritual; and for another enterprise, here. For more Chinese clichés, see here, and here. And for the 2002 Smithsonian Festival of the Silk Road, click here.
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