My Seven Years In The World Of Gangsters

If the Internet is said to be effecting a cultural change in China, then it is necessary to learn the popular contents on the Internet in China.  A westerner may find those contents superficial, boring or whatever, but the important thing is that the Chinese are living them here and now.

We can approach quantitatively through audience counts.  As significant as blogs are, even The Most Popular Chinese Blogger gets only tens of thousands of views per blog post.  By comparison, forum posts at the popular websites such as Tianya can get millions of viewings.  

In The Most Popular Forum Post Ever In China, there was a description of a massively popular forum post (220,000 views and 4,000 comments at the time).  There are a number of other forum posts that have those kinds of stratospheric numbers.  So a good way to understand just where the Chinese Internet is heading would be to look at some of these forum posts.  In the aforementioned forum post, the reasons for its popularity are clearly social, economic and political in nature, in a way that was quite understandable under the current reality.

In the following, there is the translation of the beginning of an immensely popular forum post.  This is a story about a man's involvement in the world of gangsters in China.  The author was probably making things up as he progressed.  Periodically, some of the commentators stepped in and made up their own variations.  So the popularity of this forum post is based upon different reasons, of which the interaction may play a significant role.


[in translation]

[June 20, 2005, 14:05:00] [SithTheLord]

The only fortunate thing about my seven years is that I did not kill anyone.  The huge green dragon tattoo on my back may be the evidence that I can never eliminate in the rest of my life ...

I cannot and I do not want to admit to these things.  Last night, the scenes re-appeared in front of my eyes like a movie film: I have left, I have departed from that place, those awful brothers and the gangs that were sometimes heaven and other times hell.

On an afternoon seven years ago, I was just a young hoodlum.  I was strolling around Songbin Road in the Baoshan district.  On that morning, I went to Wusong Number Four Middle School with three of my friends.  We snatched a guy from inside the classroom and dragged him into the restroom.  We gave him a few hard slaps and broke his nose bone.  This was because he extorted thirty RMB from a fellow student, who happened to be the younger brother of my good friend.  On that day, we were intercepted by the school teaching director and two teachers on the first floor.  I and two friends escaped, but the other friend had to jump from the first floor and twisted his leg.  That was how we got out of the school.

In the afternoon, we were loitering on Songbin Road.  We had a grand total of 7 RMB among us, so we decided to go to the game room next to the Wusong Movie House to see if we can get some action.  When we reached the street entrance to the game room, we saw a skinny man about 20 years old, with a swatch of yellow-dyed hair in front, a sleeveless shirt, cloth shoes and a stack of game tickets and several 10 RMB notes in his hands.  At that time, very few people dyed their hair and so this look was quite unusual.  I and Cripple looked at each other and we moved up to surround him.  Cripple tapped him on his shoulder and said: "Buddy, your hair looks exceptional.  How did you do that?  Can we play together?"  Yellow-Hair raised his head to look at Cripple, then lowered it again to count the money.  At that time, I kicked him and hollered: "Fuck you!  Do you know what you were just told to do?"  The guy fell back a few steps and gave me a strange look ...

(Sigh)  Let me take a short rest for now.  It is so tiring to remember these things.  I will continue later.

[June 20, 2005, 14:42:58]  [SithTheLord]

Let me continue.

When I kicked Yellow Hair, I was actually a little scared inside, because the guy looks tough and he is older than we are.  But I had three friends with me and I had never seen the guy before.  That was how I got the courage to act.  I did not think that the guy would say nothing after being kicked.  He got gave a crooked smile and handed the game tickets and money to me.

When Little Lee saw how docile this guy was, he hit him on the head a couple of times while Cripple slapped him once.  But I stopped everything else after that.  I tapped  Yellow Hair on the shoulder and then told the guys: "Forget it!  Forget it!  Since the money was handed over, we should not be doing this."  I took a ten RMB note and placed it in the hand of Yellow Hair.  I said, "You leave quickly.  My brothers are hungry and that is why we asked for a loan from you.  The next time sometimes happens to you here, just say that Zhou Zhou of the Third Barracks is your friend.  Then no one would dare give you trouble."  At that time, Yellow Hair smiled and then he left.

So I and the brothers began to play the games.  After using up all the game tickets, we decided to go out and have a meal for the sake of the scare that Cripple suffered today.  We stepped out of the game room, and immediately saw more than a dozen men with crew cuts standing in front of us, all wearing cloth shoes.  My heart sank as I felt that something was wrong.  I told my three friends that we probably had trouble and that we should split up and leave.  Before we could start running, the men rushed up.  Little Lee started first and he was several steps ahead already.  But when I thought about Cripple, I decided to stay put ...

[June 20, 2005, 14:57:58]  [SithTheLord]

After we were surrounded, a twenty-something-year-old guy came over.  He had a crew cut with three short strands of pig tail.  Yellow Hair was right behind him.  He came over and said, "My name is Huiyi.  You can just call me Huihui."  When he spoke, he sounded very friendly and he was full of smiles.  Cripple said: "My name is Ganggang and I hang around the Third Barracks ..."  Before he finished speaking, Huihui grabbed his head with one hand and my head with his other hand, and slammed us together.  He was very powerful, and the two of us fell to the ground in a daze.  Then the other dozens of cloth shoes moved up and surrounded us ... I held my head and rolled on the ground ... Huihui said, "Don't hit him.  Let them get up ..."

So I helped Cripple to get up.  I looked at Yellow Hair.  My other friend Fengfeng was looking at us with a scared look.  Little Li was now standing with us, because they had caught him and brought him back ... I realized that we could not escape, so I was actually not afraid anymore.  Huihui smiled and said, "Yellow Hair is my brother.  Which one of you touched him earlier?  Fengfeng and Little Xi both said, "Not me!"  I thought that I was the first one to hit him and I was not going to get away with it.  So I said loudly, "I did it.  I was the one who hit him."  Huihui got angry and pointed to Ganggang and Little Li: "Those two little cunts are the dumbest cunts.  Give them a beating!"  Immediately, punches and kicks landed on them ... I told Huihui to stop because I did it and he should deal with me if he had the guts ...

Huihui told me, "Yellow Hair said that you even gave him 10 RMB back.  He said that you were not a bad person.  But you kicked him and this debt must be repaid.  Come on!  Come on!  Come on!   You kick me too, and then we are even."  I was astonished and I was afraid.  Huihui wanted me to kick him too.  What the fuck does that mean ...?

[June 20, 2006, 16:08:22]  [SithTheLord]

Although I was afraid, I could only stand up and tell Huihui: "I won't kick you."  He looked grim and he said, "Are you saying that you won't kick me?"  So I made up my mind and I launched myself to give him a full kick.  I thought, "I am going to waste him if that is the least that I can do today."  But Huihui turned his body and used his left leg to poke at my supporting leg.  I fell down on the ground immediately.  Huihui then told Yellow Hair with a smile and said, "This kid is good."  Then he grabbed my neck and pulled me up.  At the time, I could only feel that this guy was fucking strong.  Then he asked for my name and I said Zhouzhou.

Then Huihui said: "You want to come drinking with us?"  At the time, I had nothing left to think about.  I thought, "You can deal with me any way you want, because there is nothing that I can do."  So I got into an old van with them.  Before getting on, I asked, "What about my brothers?"  Huihui said to let them go.  Cripple came up and said, "Let me go with you."  Huihui waved him away and said, "We are not going to eat him.  We just want to get to know him.  You just get lost!"  So I told Cripple that everything would be alright and that I would contact him tonight ...

[June 20, 2005, 17:20:02]  [RageCaster]

Yellow Hair was driving and he took us to a food stall near Friendship Road.  Huihui was the first person to get off.  Immediately, the food stall owner with a big belly came up, rapped Yellow Hair on the top of his head with the knuckle and said, "You little bum!   You did something yesterday, and the other party showed up here.  Thankfully,  your big brother was here this afternoon and helped me take care of this.  You did not do the job cleanly."  Huihui said, "Old man, stop nagging me.  Fix a few dishes for us.  The brothers want to have a few drinks and then go out on business tonight."  The boss glared at him, and then went inside.  So we grabbed some chairs and sat down at the food stall.

Huihui asked me: "Where do you hang out?"  I said, "At the Third Barracks."  At the time, the people there were known to be famously good fighters and numerous.  Very few outsiders dared to take advantage of people from the Third Barracks.  Huihui said, "Oh, who in your family is in the military?"  I said that my father and elder brother were both in the navy.  Huihui said, "Oh, then are they especially good fighters?"  I said that my elder brother was a decent fighter and that he can get others to help.  I was a little boastful when I said that.  Then Huihui went into a building on the side.  After a while, he came out with his left hand behind his back and a plate of peanuts in his right hand.  At the time, all the other guys were just chatting.  But when he came out like that, they all looked at me strangely.  I had no idea what was going on.  Huihui put the peanuts down and asked me to start first.  I did not try to be polite and I put forth my hand to reach for the peanuts.

As soon as I placed my right hand next to the peanut plate, Huihui grabbed my hand.  Then he showed his left hand which was holding a watermelon knife.  I was scared out of my mind.  He chopped down and cut off the fleshy part of my thumb in front of the fingernail.  At the time, I must have been scared witless because I believed that my whole finger must have been chopped off.  I screamed, "What the fuck do you think you are doing!  I am going to fight you to death."  I grabbed the chair beside me and swung it at him ...

[June 20, 2005, 17;23:47]  [SithTheLord]

The above was not written by me under a pseudonym.

[June 21, 2005, 16:23:37]  [Xu Qiuyu]

"What the fuck do you think you are doing!  I am going to fight you to death."  I fucking picked up a chair and swung it at him ...

The chair hit him on the shoulder.  He bounced back a few steps.  While they were stunned, I turned around and ran.  They followed in close pursuit.  I went into a small lane.  There was a rudimentary public restroom.  I did not give it any thought because I was running for my life.  I just slid right down the ditch into the pool of feces that was about a meter or so deep.  I placed a piece of paper that someone had just used over my head and I held my breath and stayed motionless.  I heard people running into the restroom.  They went around a few times and then they went out.  I stayed put in the feces pool for about 20 minutes.  When I was sure that nobody was out there, I found my way out.  My clothes were covered with feces.  It was a good thing that this was November and the weather was relatively cold.  If this was in the summer, the maggots would have surely crawled up my asshole.

[June 21, 2005, 16:48:08]  [SithTheLord]

But here is what actually happened.  I grabbed the chair and swung it at Huihui.  But the guys grabbed both of my arms and the chair fell to the ground.  Then I was thrown on top of the chair, with my ribs on the chair legs.  Then everybody else came up to kick me and someone even picked up the table to hit me.  Since my hands were placed between the two table legs, I could not even cover my head.  I was kicked in the head a few times.  I thought I was going to die ... Fortunately, the whole thing ended quickly.  For one thing, Huihui called a stop to the action.  Besides, the stall was in a public area with a lot of pedestrian traffic.

So I stumbled to get up and I was taken into the house by the street side.  This was the home of the stall owner.  When I entered, I saw the big-bellied owner cooking food at the stove.  He took a glance at me.  At the time, I had a big gash under my eyeglasses and I had a bloody gash on my head.  He gave me a matter-of-fact glance as if he was looking at a dish of food and then he said, "You little bum.  You go wash your head.  I am cooking.  We'll eat together in a little while."  Then he turned around and yelled out loud: "Yellow Hair, bring some bandage and check to see if the gash on his head is big or not."

So I went to wash myself underneath the tap on the other side of the stove.  As soon as I put water on my wound, the pain was unbearable whereas I did not seem to feel anything while I was being beaten.  So I kept cursing even as I washed myself.  Then I felt a mild kick on my backside.  I turned around and saw Yellow Hair holding some bandage with a grin on his face ... the scene several hours ago when I gave him 10 RMB back and I promised to take care of him came back very clearly to my mind ... I was too tired and I just waved my hand to say: "I'm alright ..."

Now this post goes on a bit longer.  Quite a bit longer, as a matter of fact.  As of March 19, 2006 at 00:45, there have been 1,729,215 page views and 21,584 comments.  The rest of this story is mixed in with the comments.  This translator does not know how long the story goes on because he has not made it past even a small fraction of the comments ...