Taiwan Has Reasons for Banning South Park

Taiwan Has Reasons for Banning South Park

South Park is a pretty popular cartoon internationally; despite this, South Park in Mandarin Chinese is Banned in Taiwan (and for good reason).  It’s known in Taiwan as 南方四賤客, which roughly translates into Four Jackasses from the South Side.

I say this because Mandarin Chinese can be a very complicated language to translate.  To start, “南” means south or southern and “方” means square or way or side; “四” means four.  “South Side Four.”  Easy enough.  The word “賤” is most closely translated as jackass and “客” can mean anything from guests to passengers to people, depending on the context.

So, we’ll just say “four jackasses from the South Side.”  There’s some deeper super-Chinesey pun work at play (e.g. the Chinese title of The Three Musketeers) but that’s really the long and short of it.

Now, knowing that explanation, take a look at how Google tries its best to translate it all out.

 

The changes don’t stop there; I recently discovered that, while the translations of show dialogue was pretty accurate, the South Park opening in Mandarin is extremely different than in English.

For those unfamiliar with the Season 4 South Park opening, it goes like this:

LYRICS:
I’m going down to South Park; going to have myself a time.
Friendly faces everywhere; humble folks without temptation.
I’m going down to South Park; going to leave my woes behind.
Ample parking day or night; people spouting: “Howdy, neighbor!”
I’m heading down to South Park; going to see if I can’t unwind.
(Muffled) Me, I got a 10-inch penis; use your mouth if you want to clean it.
So come on down to South Park and meet some friends of mine.

 

 

 

Then there’s the Four Jackasses from the South Side opening in Mandarin Chinese.  The original Mandarin can be heard and seen in the following video, with translated English lyrics to follow.

 

 

LYRICS:
This is a friendly place; there is no violence.
Street race and become champion; if you are brave, bitch at me if you dare!
Getting good grades and being a good kid is nearly impossible.
Mother’s boobs sprout flowers; bombs explode bam bam boom boom!
Tranquilizers in the left hand, Quaaludes in the right, amphetamines surround me!
(Muffled) Cucumber, banana, and lubricant; stupid cock, silly rod, hole-in-one.
Don’t hesitate; don’t doubt; this is a good place!

 

Again, due to the nature of translation/interpretation, that’s about as close as I can get without completely deconstructing the entire song for you.

Even in the episodes themselves, the Mandarin has strange political subtext related to Taiwan that you don’t find in the original English.  In fact, that aspect of the show is retained even in the English-language version, as if they think no one bilingual will notice the plot is different.

The Mandarin-language version was doomed, if for no other reason than the theme song; while you could get away with some controversial material in some episodes, when the first thirty seconds of every episode advocated a number of illegal/immoral behaviors, it was just a short matter of time until the Republic of China (ROC) banned the Mandarin-language version of Four Jackasses from the South Side from being shown or sold in Taiwan.

Though the Mandarin-language version of Four Jackasses from the South Side was banned from broadcast in Taiwan around a decade ago; Taiwan broadcasts the English-language version of South Park, but only around midnight on Saturday nights.

2 thoughts on “Taiwan Has Reasons for Banning South Park

  1. South Park does not translate well into Chinese. It is not banned – it is just not funny in any Chinese translation. I say this as a) Taiwanese and a) very much a South Park fan.

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