Han Han: Finding happiness by being different
www.chinaview.cn 2009-09-23 09:49:40
by Xinhua writer Wu Chen
BEIJING, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- When racing driver Han Han flipped the bird at judges after receiving a penalty during the China Touring Car Championship in June, many asked if he had taken his tendency for controversy a step too far.
But he followed up on his blog, lambasting the Federation of Automobile Sports as "unprofessional" in enforcing rules and criticizing it for failing to impose penalties for prohibited pre-rally road surveys.
Asked whether he considered the influence of his obscene gesture on society, Han responded with typical sarcasm: "The only group that might be affected is the children, but I believe that with the protection of 'Green Dam' (filtering software designed to block violence and pornographic content on the Internet), they won't be hurt."
It was the sort of hard-hitting criticism that has made the 27-year-old the most popular blogger in China -- and seen him hailed as the voice of his generation.
Han's blog is known for attacking the establishment, and his opinions often make headlines -- when they pass the censors.
His thoughts on the fire that destroyed a new tower block owned by state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) in February disappeared from Chinese Internet screens soon after they were posted.
But not before the posting was copied and sent thousands of times. In the post, he voiced the frustrations of his generation: "The government needs to think about a serious issue: its mouthpieces have damaged the image of their master, when they operate under the current mechanism. Even a truthful story could appear fake when reported by them. The younger generation has been maturing and they will ridicule what these state-owned media agencies produce more and more.... No wonder they (the media) are being left behind by the times."
He also pointed to the reasons for his own popularity: "This is an era in which you can not convince people unless you have virtue."
In late May 2008, when American actress Sharon Stone triggered outrage in China by saying the Sichuan earthquake was "interesting" and "karma", Han argued that Stone's original meaning was distorted by the media.
He put the full quote and direct translation in his blog, saying Stone was telling the reporter the process of her thoughts, but the media had quoted her out of context.
Three days later, he posted a 3,000-word article "Don't show the fury of the whole nation," advising the public to ease their nationalist ardor.
"A sentence of a passe foreign star who was misquoted by the media made us show our savage side," he wrote, referring to postings calling for her to be "killed" or otherwise harmed.
"If we think about what we've said after natural disasters in other countries, we will find we are far from real humanitarians. If you still don't reflect on the past, you are not as good as Stone. She at least knew to reflect on herself," read the post.
He also said the Chinese should be focusing on more important matters, such as the "dofu-built" schools that collapsed in the quake.
For this he was branded an "idiot," "cold-blooded" and "unpatriotic" on Chinese websites.
In fact, he had gone to Sichuan right after the quake to distribute relief materials donated by himself and his friends, but he cautiously avoided the cameras so as not to be branded a "show off" too.
However, Lu Jinbo, Han's publisher, and Liang Wendao, a commentator with Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV, agree that Han could be the next Lu Xun, arguably the most famous modern Chinese writer, who was acclaimed for his vehemently critical essays.
Han's debut novel, Triple Gate, published in 2000, is about a high school student's campus life. In it, he attacks the education system by comparing the teachers who do home-schooling with prostitutes: "Teachers are not popular, but home-schooling is. From that, we can see that teaching is like dating. One to many is cheap, but one to one is precious -- almost the same price per hour as a prostitute. However, a teacher is much more competent than a prostitute. The prostitute makes money by giving joy to the other, while a teacher achieves it through giving agony."
This provocative criticism has sent at least five of his books into the best-seller lists.
One reader of Triple Gate wrote to say, "Han Han you're great! You've just said what I want to say."
"Then why didn't you say it?" he responded.
Guangzhou-based New Weekly magazine said in late 2008 that Han Han lived up to the duties and responsibilities of a public intellectual. "His rational thinking makes us hopeful for the 1980s generation," it said, refering to the generation of mostly single children, who are famously considered self-centered and lacking social responsibility.
However, Han rejects the position, saying he just enjoys speaking out.
He even kind of enjoys the fact that many don't share his views. "When I just started in car-racing, I thought the slow drivers were foolish, but later I changed my mind -- without them, how could I stand out?"
He has followed his own passions, taking up motor-racing to the confusion of many who believed he had a promising future in writing.
They claimed he just wanted to show off his wealth, or just wanted some excitement like many young men with excessive testosterone.
At first, Han Han spent his own money on training and buying cars. Then he was contracted to a professional team. And then he astonished the public by winning the 2007 China Circuit Championship.
"My success comes from my judgment, which is my gift. Some people will never know what they are really capable of. They just waste their lives in something that they are not good at," he says.
Growing up in a small township in the suburbs of Shanghai, Han had a carefree childhood. His mother and father, unlike many Chinese parents who push their children to succeed, were relaxed about his schoolwork and studies.
He found a passion for reading when he started to learn Chinese characters, hiding under the bedclothes to read at night.
His independent streak was obvious at an early age when he resisted his parents' attempts to control what they saw as bad habits or behavior, even on minor issues like keeping his desk tidy.
"They used to try to change me, but never succeeded. Then they started to know I always try my best to get what I want. Now they support every decision I make," Han says.
He won't own up to any influences in his determination to live his own life.
His academic progress foundered in 1999, when he failed seven subjects, including Chinese, at high school. He spent another year trying to catch up, but he eventually decided to quit.
However, before that, he won the first "New Concept" national essay contest, which encourages students to write innovatively, and he finished the manuscript for Triple Gate during class.
He told his teachers he would live on the royalties, and they all laughed at his "naivety."
But one month later, Triple Gate became a best-seller, and has since sold a million copies, making him a millionaire.
He believes "success is the mother of success," fueling his self-confidence.
Now he also makes money as a professional racing driver, and through advertising on his blogs.
In order to encourage Chinese writers, he is promising to pay an above-average rate of 2,000 yuan per 1,000 Chinese characters in a new magazine for which he will be the editor.
He has been thinking about giving up racing and writing for some time.
"But I still have some goals that haven't been achieved and some 'enemies' I have to beat," he says.
His ideal life would be "staying in the right place with the right person."
"Every morning when we wake up, we have nothing to do, and don't need to do anything," he said.
He admits to several relationships since he was 16, but he is only just considering marriage.
"I don't want to be restricted by anything," Han says, "but I believe that there is a stronger power. When it appears, it will make me be willing to take the responsibility."
A reporter from China Pictorial magazine once characterized his anti-establishment and individualistic nature as "westernized" and asked: "How did you become like this?"
"I don't think things can be called easternized or westernized," he answered. "There is only one standard -- whether it's suitable for human beings."
Ma Yimu, editor of men's fashion magazine, Esquire, says, "Han Han is just a normal young man. He normally likes pretty women and normally says 'no' to the things he thinks wrong. If there were more Han Hans in China, the country would be more normal."
Han Han expresses the view in a song with his own lyrics, in his only album, when he sings, "Happiness is being happy in different ways."
Editor: Li Xianzhi
今年6月份，在收到中国赛车巡回赛的罚单之后，赛车手韩寒在裁判面前竖起了中指。很多人疑问他这个抗议行为是否太过。但他随即更新博客，痛批汽车联合会在 执行规则时违反职业道德，并批评其在处罚违规路段方面的失败。在问及他是否考虑过色情手势对社会的不利影响时，韩寒用他典型的讥讽回应到：“唯一可能受影 响的是儿童，但是我相信在绿坝（互联网暴力及色情内容过滤软件）的保护下，他们不会受到伤害。”
这就是来自27岁中国 最受欢迎博主的那种重量级批评，并受到他们这一代人的欢呼。韩寒的博客以攻击当局而出名。每当他的评论通过审查时，就往往成为头条新闻。他对二月份那场摧 毁CCTV大厦的大火的看法迅速贴遍网络。但那些帖子不久便从国内互联网上消失了。但是在此之前，帖子早已经被复制传播数千遍了。在帖子中，他表达了他们 一代人的失望：“政府需要思考一个严重的问题：在现行的体制下，喉舌已经为主人丢了脸。一个事实在他们报道中会变成假的。新的一代人已经成熟。他们将嘲笑 这些国有媒体越来越多的做法，难怪这些媒体正在被时代所淘汰。” 他同样指出了自己知名度高的原因：“这是一个除非你有美德否则说服不了别人的时代。”
2008年5月下旬，当美国演员莎朗・斯通因谈论四川大地震“有趣”和“报应”而引发愤怒的时候，韩寒争辩说斯通的观点受到了媒体的扭曲。他在博客上引 用并翻译了大量资料，说明斯通只是在讲她思维的过程，但是媒体断章取义了。三天后，他刊登了一篇3000字的文章《不要动不动就举国暴怒》，呼吁公众缓和 民族热情。
韩寒2000年出版的处女作《三重门》是关于高中学生的校园生活。在这部书里，他通过比较家教老师和妓女来抨击教育系统：“教师不受欢迎，但是家庭很流 行。从这里，我们可以看到教育就像约会。一对多很便宜，但一对一就贵了--每小时的价格几乎和妓女的价格一样。然而，一名教师比妓女更有本事。妓女通过给 别人快乐赚钱，老师却通过给别人痛苦赚钱。”这种挑衅式的批评将他至少5本书送进了畅销榜。
他的独立倾向在很小的时候就表现出来了。当父母尝试纠正韩寒的一些“坏习惯”或是“坏行为”的时候，甚至一些很小的问题，例如保持桌子清洁，他总是抵制父 母的教育。 “他们经常试着改变我，但是从来没成功过。然后他们开始明白我一直做最大努力去得到我想要的。现在他们支持我做的每一项决定，”韩寒说。
没别的，我就是有点奇怪新华网这次发了韩寒的专访，为什么不是小四四的呢？还有，我当年憎恨学英语，现在发现英语真好，能听到一个假话说得利索的喉舌在某 一天说点真话。最后就是，还有一点有味的是，这些网站的工作人员的名字，都比较符合其工作性质，比如这个编辑叫做你先知。还有一个更符合国情的名字是国庆 新闻中心副主任，让我们大声喊出来：“祝寿臣”。