Rapping Flight Attendant

19 Dec 2004

Through “anonymous sources” I’ve been hearing for a while now about how unhappy the flight attendants at China Eastern are. They have little job security, their lives are not their own, and they get treated terribly by both passengers and management. Don’t worry, though, I’m not going to start pretending I’m a journalist. This is just the context which has produced the following MP3:

《旅客不是上帝》
Passengers aren’t God

(4.34 MB)

The rap is in Shanghainese, and it’s basically a flight attendant venting about passengers and their attitudes. The first verse goes something like this (my apologies in advance for the translation):

Ah, poor me, poor me
Let me sing about it like a bird (yeah)
Why are there so many morons in our society today?
They think just because they’ve got some money
They’re all big and bad
Know what pal? I can’t do everything
Don’t get on my plane and cause a big fuss
You’ll know I mean it
When I smack you upside the head
Damn, what do you want?
Filing complaints at the slightest thing
Who do you think you are?
You’re a moron (yeah), a moron

The young lady who raps in this song has quite a few other tunes as well, which have made the rounds at China Eastern and are now getting around on the Chinese internet in general. My source tells me that at first the singer succeeded in staying anonymous, but then she was caught writing lyrics on the job by co-workers. There are actually several girls involved. My source does not know of any repurcussions that the writers have suffered thus far.

I’m not going to bother translating the whole song into English, but I recommend you give it a listen. It’s really quite professionally done (a little “borrowing” from Eminem aside), and the background vocals are funny. It also has a cute ending.

Below you’ll find a Mandarin version of the lyrics which a friend wrote out for me, followed by the “Shanghainese” lyrics which were posted online. The “Shanghainese” lyrics are pretty annoying because they’re written phonetically — things like 弄 being used for 侬, 进早 for 今朝, etc. Anyway, I didn’t write any of these, so I can’t guarantee their accuracy. If anyone wants to make corrections (Naus?), they’d be welcome.


《旅客不是上帝》lyrics in standard Mandarin:

唉,我真可怜,我真可怜,让我唱歌,当我八哥.yeah
为什么现在这个社会就有那么多笨蛋
以为自己有些钱就可以号称老大
朋友知道吗?钱不是万能
不要在飞机和我瞎胡闹
打你两下头让你知道我的厉害
他妈的,你想怎么样?动不动就想投诉
你当自己是什么东西?一个白痴yeah,知道吗,一个白痴

今天就让我来教教你规矩
没什么事你就闭起眼睛打打呼噜
不要一天到晚呼唤铃瞎找
你这笨蛋怎么就不觉得累
要是你再和我没大没小
我就请你坐在马桶上喝杯咖啡OK?
No problem~yeah~当心我把你从飞机仍出去~

在飞机上我就是老大
请你竖起耳朵来听我唱歌
这里是我的地盘,就是我最大(big big yeah yeah)
如果你不服气就过来对我释放
我就是很嚣张又怎么样?
你有本事就不要坐我的飞机
坐了我的飞机你就要好好听我的话
不要在我的地盘帮我没大没小
不要以为读2本书就可以帮我上一堂课
朋友听过吗?读10年书不如走万里路
不要唧唧呱呱地瞎说八道
请你管好你的嘴巴
SHIT不要瞎说八道 不要瞎说八道

今天我在飞机上碰到一个笨蛋
嘴巴好象几年没刷牙齿像一个马桶
买了一张飞机票就当自己是老大
以为自己是上帝就可以无法无天
朋友请你记住你在谁的地盘
不要乱说乱大便像山瑞哥哥 yeah~
(yeah哥哥爷爷我要吃大便yeah吃大便)

坐在我的飞机上你就帮我老实点
系好你的安全带还要关掉你的手机
不要以为自己样样精通
上帝他也会犯错何况你是歌笨蛋
看到你的无知样子我就想吐
吐吐吐我真他妈的想吐
你这笨蛋还是早点擦擦脸早点去睡
快点快点快点帮我去睡~~~~~~get out. shit.

不要以为穿了一条假的LV就很嗲
我不掀穿你就已经算是给你面子
请你关掉你的嘴巴不要瞎叫
要是你有时间就帮我擦擦厕所
我就当你是为人民服务(good boy)
帮你颁个奖状当当服务明星
朋友你说我对你好不好?
好不好?我对你好不好?baby好吗?

今天就让你知道这里谁是老大,
下躺坐到我的飞机你就帮我老实点
要是你自己吃不饱就自己带好干粮
不要在飞机上帮我狠三狠四
坐在登子上你就好好的
否则我就让你真的去见上帝~阿门~

女士们,先生们,飞机马上就要降落,请你再次确认一下你的安全带已经系好,手机已放置关闭位。感谢你乘坐中国东方航空班机,祝你身体健康,下次旅行再见。谢谢。

Ladies and gentlemen, our aircraft will be landing soon. Please be seated and make sure that your seatbelt is securely fastened and your mobile phone has been switched off. Thank you for flying with China Eastern Airlines today, and we are looking forward to having you onboard again. Thank you and goodbye.

《旅客不是上帝》lyrics in pseudo-Shanghainese:

哎,真是塞古,我真难古,让我唱歌,当我八古.yeah
为撒现在个额社会就有噶西度刚度,
以为自家有眼钞票就可以号称老大.
朋友晓得伐?钞票不是万能
伐要来该飞机镐头帮我神之无之
把弄两只头塌,娘弄晓得我额厉害
册那,弄想那能?动伐动就要投诉
弄当自家撒么事?一只白痴YEAH,晓得伐,一只白痴

进早就娘我来帮弄告告路字
么撒事体弄就闭老眼睛打打呼噜
伐要一天到为呼唤铃瞎请八请
弄则刚度那能就伐国着撒度
假使弄再要帮我老3老4
我就请弄坐了马桶高头切杯咖啡OK?
NO PROBLEM~YEAH~当心我闹弄从飞机高头多册器~~~

来该飞机高头我就是老大
请弄竖起耳朵来听我唱歌
歌德是我额底盘就我最大(big big yeah yeah)
假使弄伐服气就请弄古来对我释放
我就是噶嚣张又那能?
弄有本事就伐要坐我额飞机
坐了我额飞机就要好好听啊拉闲话
伐要来该我额底盘帮我老噶
伐要以为读2本书就可以帮我上一堂课
朋友听古伐?读10年书伐如走万里路
伐要唧唧呱呱特我瞎3无4
请弄管好弄则嘴巴SHIT伐要瞎刚8刚

进早我来飞机高头碰到一则刚度
嘴巴好象几年么刷牙齿象一则马桶
买了一脏飞机票就当自家是老大
以为自家是上帝就可以无法无天
朋友请弄记牢弄来该撒拧额底盘
伐要瞎七搭八烂污乱册象山瑞GOGO yeah~

坐了我飞机镐头弄就帮我老实点
拨好弄个安全带还要关特弄额手机
伐要以为自家撒么事样样精通
上帝他也会犯错何况弄是则刚度~
看到弄个副无知马相我就国着土
土土土我册那真额想吐
弄则刚度还是早点卡卡早点起捆
快点快点快点高我起捆~~~~~~get out shit

伐要以为穿了条大卡额LV就老嗲
我伐揭穿弄已经算是把弄面子
请弄关特弄额嘴巴伐要瞎叫八叫
假使弄有从光就帮啊拉卡卡厕所
我就当弄是为人民服务(good boy)
把弄颁则奖状让弄当当服务明星
朋友弄刚我对弄上路伐对弄好伐?
好伐好伐我对弄好伐BABY好伐?

进早就让弄晓得歌德撒拧是老大,
下躺坐到我额飞机弄就帮我色乡眼
假使弄切伐饱弄就自家带好干粮
伐要来该飞机高头帮我狠3狠4
坐了啊登高头弄就帮我好好叫
否则我就娘弄真额去见上帝~啊门~

女士们,先生们,飞机马上就要降落,请你再次确认一下你的安全带已经几好,手机机放置关闭位,感谢拧乘坐中国东方航空班机,住你身体健康,下次旅行再见。谢谢。


Related links:

Zanhe.com – your online source for Shanghainese.
Sinosplice post on Shanghainese rap on ShanghaiNing.com.
Sinosplice Shanghainese Soundboard

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John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.

Comments

  1. Dude. She’s got mad skills. I wish I could understand Shanghainese.

  2. awesome.

  3. a hoooorrible woman~~I wish I would never be a passenger of this flight,at least never be “her passenger” God bless me!

  4. Wow, I’m impressed! I arrived at this site after surfing through an Asian Blog Award Voting shit.
    What’s it like in Shanghai these days? It’s been many many years… too many things have changed.

  5. the written shanghainese is unreadable. i look at the words and i don’t understand them. then i read them out and they all of a sudden they make sense. yes, this is a bad phonetic transcription when the words actually exist to write them properly.

  6. This just made my day. I only wish I could understand the funny moon-man language she’s rapping in.

  7. Dude, I don’t understand a thing she said or, for that matter, the Chinese lyrics you published. But this girl needs a record deal, cuz she’s got it down.

  8. Like the alternating Japanese/English logo – very cool.

  9. I associate Shanghainese with being rebellious (anti-bureaucracy and anti-Beijing), I guess the singer of this song too. It’s made my day.

  10. 册那 I believe means fu*k rather than damn.

  11. im so jealous. i didnt know you can rap in shanghainese!!?? i thought you had to butcher proper mandarin to be able to rap in chinese.

  12. you can hear more of her rapping in shanghaining.com
    http://shanghaining.com/features/SHrap/

  13. Zach,

    Which one is she? I didn’t see any likely candidates (EZ Fly is not her), and I didn’t see this song.

    I actually wrote about the rap on ShanghaiNing.com a while ago; seems like it’s coming along.

  14. Her Shanghainese is not butchered at all, the tones are all correct, I can completely understand her without looking at the “lyrics” John has. It’s embarrassing but for most Mandarin songs, I have to look at lyrics, otherwise it’s often gibberish, and I’ve spoken Mandarin since 4. I think for this reason, Shanghainese is superior in songs (don’t flame me), because there is a heavy aural connection. The worst is Cantonese music, which is very literary, it’s usually unintelligible for Cantonese speakers before they look at the lyrics.

  15. I think the reason Shanghainese is able to not bastardize itself in order to sing the melody is because its tones are really versatile in the first place. So it can remain perfectly comprehensible while singing the pitches of the melody. This is a very superior characteristics for singing songs I think.

  16. tictac,

    No one is questioning the singer’s Shanghainese, but rather the “butchered” Chinese characters used to write the “Shanghainese” lyrics.

  17. I actually speak Shanghainese. This is hilarious. It is brillant how creative they took Eminem’s “real slim shady”‘s track to feat.

    -tian

  18. hahaha it’s hilarious especially if you can understand it. i can almost picture the singer in my mind.

  19. on the second run of the song, i realized she sounds like my ex-gf (sorry not in airline business though)

  20. bad link again, john, i can’t open the file

    i love the lyrics, it’s interesting when you say it in shanghai dialect. i can understand the flight attendant. she is mad with those arrogant passengers. i have met such passengers before, they should in jail insteadof a jet.

    merry spring festival (to those who live in shanghai) and happy new year!

  21. bingfeng,

    See all those comments above yours? All those people had no problem downloading the file. I downloaded it at work today, too. Please try again.

  22. her handle is “Lilyining” on shanghaining
    she got a handful of songs

  23. john, you should send many of your findings to here:

    http://www.wemadeoutinatreeandthisoldguysatandwatchedus.com/archives.php

  24. Who knows rap music can be this adorable. It is Shanghaiese not mandarin? I am half Shanghaiese but I don’t understand either Mandarin or Shanghaiese, so I can’t tell the difference.

    eswn, you are SO amazing. I could barely finish reading the dream of red chamber for one thing =), and you seem to be an expert on everything else under the sun, from the issue of Tibet to stories in Latin America.

  25. Da Xiangchang Says: December 22, 2004 at 10:29 am

    Not bad, but why are some of the lyrics in English? That’s something I don’t understand about modern Chinese pop music: why they always insert English words in their songs. It’s the most annoying [feces]! Chinese people need to stop being so enamored of something Western just because it’s Western! The day all Chinese pop artists start singing all-Mandarin songs would be the day the Chinese discard their sense of inferiority.

  26. ahh~~
    When shanghainese speaks their dialect quickly, it sounds like a foreign language(in daily life i mean).

  27. i haven’t liked shanghai girls until now. easter air sucks but our singsong shanghai chick rocks! does she need a job?

  28. Well, I was originally from Shanghai. The translation wasn’t good enough. As matter of fact, we still use the Mandarin characters, but speak in a local regional vernacular. So it takes a while for me to make out the lyrics.

    Still, this rap is hilarious, and my sides hurt. 🙂

  29. 不错,新年快乐!

  30. smithinjapan Says: March 22, 2005 at 9:16 pm

    Da Xiangchang: First, it’s not just modern Chinese pop, but lots of pop in Asia that uses English words or lyrics. Man, you should see (or hear, rather) J-pop! Korean pop is also pretty ‘bad’ for it, if you want to say that it’s bad. What’s more, the song is dissing the job for China Eastern Airlines, and I believe the flight attendants would be required to speak both English and at least one other Asian language, so it fits into the rant appropriately. Finally, I think most artists who use English lyrics/words in songs, as well as pop culture in Asia in general, feel throwing in a bit of English here and there is hip. I thought this song was great, though I didn’t understand a word of it. Time to study!

  31. She is not a good rap singer. I’m shanghainese and this shanghainese singer is crap.

  32. Good song!

  33. love that song! those girls totally deserve to vent…i can just imagine all the passengers with their LV bags…arg! i wish there was a Mandarin version so I could understand tho…! maybe your “anonymous source” could make a request, he he.

  34. I know a few flight attendants and everything the song says is true true true! Once this guy wrote some complaint and the whole crew had Y1,000 deducted from their pay. My friend was given the phone number of the customer to follow up and he said he didn’t even remember what he complained about. The flight attendants show amazing patience and intestinal fortitude.

    It’s so frustrating to see passengers popping open the overhead bins 2-seconds after touchdown.

    That song is the shits, yah-go girl, yah-hao bu hao…. it’s going on the iPod.

  35. 浦石克 Says: May 26, 2007 at 6:03 pm

    mad props!!! hahaha

  36. Putting a big link to this great page from my site! Hope that’s ok 🙂

    James

  37. Now that this story is a few years old, how did it turn out for our flight attendants?

  38. Ji Xianzu Says: August 19, 2007 at 6:33 pm

    Thanks John!

  39. Greg Pasden Says: October 25, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    LOL! That was great! I think this would be a good song for all flight attendants who are feeling the pinch from both sides.

    Great Job Girls!

  40. Just found out about this, great song:-)

  41. You guys do realise that Chinese has an indigenous version of rap, known as Kuaiban?

    During the Cultural Revolution, kuaiban was regularly used to convey propaganda. My mother, who worked in propaganda, can still perform kuaiban on cue to amuse guests.

    In my view, each language or each dialect is suited for specific poetic and musical forms. In former times, each form was perfected through years of experimentation. Back then, performing art was intensive and high-quality.

    Today, the music industry has no integrity. It produces excessively, recruiting audience through advertisement rather than talent. Therefore, most songs do not deserve a second hearing.

    Having heard a slew of Mandarin rap at the behest of a trend-conscious cousin, I must say that rap is entirely inappropriate for Mandarin. From the music industry’s viewpoint, rap is simply a cheaper way to produce cheap music.

    Of course, there is no understanding of free-style rap in China. This further lowers my opinion of Mandarin rap.

    Tictac:

    I agree with you that Shanghaiese is a superior music medium. On the other hand, I esteem Cantonese songs very much. I actually like old Cantonese songs specifically for the literary quality, which you dislike.

    I usually have no problem figuring out the lyrics by listening. Perhaps this is because I spent my childhood in Hong Kong.

    Many southern dialects can sound very literary. This is because of the wenbai yidu phenomenon. I find them very pleasing and elegant.

  42. ROFL! This might be the funniest thing I’ve heard all month. I’m Shanghainese but grew up in NYC and this is the first time I’ve heard rapping in Shanghainese. Props to her for being so creative in her venting. I’ll never look at flight attendants the same now.

    What’s with all the haters? I’d like to hear them do better.

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