[quote][quote=“Huang Guang Chen”]Just went back to that link and played around …and then…
Nah stuff it, it can’t be true!
This whole webpage is an incredibly accurate, if slightly exaggerated, description of life in China; reading it I couldn’t stop laughing. Thank goodness I don’t live in a place where I have to sign in and have curfew and so forth, but lots of people do.
A Taiwanese friend once told me that “Gubo” was the pinyin version of Cooper. I should check out Gary Cooper DVDs and see whether it is. Also the pictures of Gubo’s parents in PCR I indicate American cowboys. I have never found anyone who could guess the origin of Palanka.
In the official PCR books, all the way through volume four, nothing very exciting happens to any of the characters: Gubo and Palanka visit Xinjiang province and come back with photographs, they get lost in Beijing, they visit Ding Yun’s family, etc. Books III and IV are structured around Palanka’s parents visiting China, but they are mostly just the passive listeners to a lot of people telling them how great and good China is. By the way, Palanka’s last name, Bu Lang, is pinyin for “Brown”, so she would seem to have Anglo-Saxon roots as well. Cooper and Brown…it is a good guess that the writers of these textbooks neither knew nor cared very much about what foreign country their characters belonged to. They simply chose a few foreign sounding names. This is, after all, a country in which men adopt “Polly” as their English name and the most popular English names for women are “Rain” and “Apple”.
Needless to say, nobody gets anybody pregnant in any of the official books. But a friend of mine who studied Chinese at Oxford had a Shanghainese professor who hated the PCRs so much that, after using volume I in the first year, he wrote his own version of volume II, for use only in his own classes. In this version, Ding Yun and Palanka have a lesbian affair and the book ends with Gubo being killed in a horrific traffic accident.
The Revised edition of PCR, which contains a child of Gubo and Ding Yun, was apparently published in 2002. Yet I have never seen it either in the U.S. or in China. Bookstores here will usually have, in obscure corners, a few remaining editions of the 1982 PCRs which feature Gubo and company, and a few remaining editions of a 1995 revision which has no characters, to speak of, at all. But the books which are mostly used in China today are totally new and different, have very poor presentation of grammar compared to PCR, and are quite dull. I think the website Huang Guang Chen just gave us is better than any of them in terms of accurately depicting the language and the culture.