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stickyb
15th Jun 2001, 10:03
This article appeared in todays South China Morning Post. The whole article is quite funny, but the last few words are really rather funny.

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Beijing officials fear they have an image problem. When fans are unhappy at football matches, they have a habit of chanting an obscenity. A very lewd obscenity. It is a commonly heard insult on the streets of Beijing, but when thousands of people in a stadium yell the phrase in unison, which includes a crude reference to the female anatomy, the effect is rather overbearing.
The Beijing Economic Daily has warned that the curse has damaged "Beijing's reputation as a modern international city with an ancient history and culture. People from top to bottom regard it as a disgrace to the capital."

The Office of Spiritual Civilisation is not sitting idly by. With the decision on whether Beijing will host the 2008 Olympic Games just a month away, the government agency has launched a campaign to clean up the fans' language and restore the city's image. "If they say our fans are barbaric and rude, this isn't good for the Olympics bid," says Zhao Dongming, who heads the office. "If we don't guide the fans in the right direction, they'll become soccer hooligans."

Mr Zhao hopes fans can be persuaded to sing songs, watch cheerleaders and chant more family-friendly slogans instead of yelling the "Beijing curse", as the press has dubbed it.

Soccer fans begrudgingly agree it is impolite to swear en masse, but sometimes they just cannot help it, they say. "If the referees were fair, we wouldn't curse," says Wang Fujun. Another fan, Ren Chenjian, says: "Cursing is also a form of love. If you're not cursed, no one cares about you. That is also a tragedy."

Foul-mouthed fans are not the only worry of the Office of Spiritual Civilisation, which is also tackling litterbugs, spitters and taxi drivers who talk too much.

The central Government's attempts to curb cursing come as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) considers which of five cities will host the 2008 Summer Games. The IOC will vote in Moscow on July 13 between Beijing, Istanbul, Osaka, Paris and Toronto.

Incidents of soccer-related violence are growing throughout China. Although mass cursing is not a precursor of a riot, authorities say there is the potential for events to escalate. Last year in Xian, a mob of 10,000 football fans, angry over a referee's decisions, rioted in the streets, throwing stones and setting police cars on fire.

One of the main reasons authorities decided to hold the home football matches for the qualifying rounds of the World Cup this year in Shenyang, a gritty city in the northeast, instead of in Beijing was to avoid the possibility of further riots.

Security is tight at the Workers' Stadium, the birthplace of the Beijing curse and home of the Beijing team. Plastic water bottles are banned from the stadium, lest they be used as projectiles. Uniformed soldiers and police officers sit in every other row. But fans still find ways to be rowdy. They wave flags and blow plastic horns, throw paper planes or anything else they can get their hands on, and yell, curse and even insult a player's mother.

Mr Zhao knows the cursing phenomenon will be difficult to root out. The Beijing curse was popularised in 1994, when China set up its first professional football league. It has spread to other cities and defied repeated attempts at eradication. It is even audible on television broadcasts of games.

But the phrase really isn't so bad, insists Wang Zhanjun, the manager of a restaurant in Beijing catering to soccer fans. "This word is in the dictionary. We looked it up," said Mr Wang. "Yelling it adds to the atmosphere."

In Beijing, some fans complain they are being singled out because they are in the capital. Other places have their own favourite curse. In Guangdong and Sichuan provinces, fans yell an obscene word for a sexual act. "In other provinces they use a verb," groused Hou Tao, who works at a travel agency. "At least in Beijing ours is just a noun."

Football matches have become a sort of therapy for the Chinese masses. Stadiums are some of the few public places people can truly let loose, yelling obscenities with impunity. "People have a lot of pressure in their lives, at home and at work," says Hou Yubo, a social psychologist at Beijing University. "Some go to a football match not just because they like football, but because they cannot think of any other way to find relief."

Mr Wang, the restaurant manager, says he supports the central Government's efforts to find alternatives to the Beijing curse. "I appeal to composers and lyricists to come up with a good song, something everyone can sing, as long as the notes aren't too high."

Velvet
15th Jun 2001, 14:40
Well fancy that - football fans shouting obscenities, whatever next. ;)

Throwing paper planes is rowdy http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/eek.gif thinks - Gatbasher rowdy - naaahahaha