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Honglaowai singing “止战之殇” (English: “Wounds of War”) by Jay Chou
Honglaowai (Simplified Chinese: 红老外; Pinyin: Hóng Lǎowài; English: Red Foreigner) is the username of an internet celebrity in China, although he lives in New York. He is also sometimes referred to as the Red Laowai. Because he is Caucasian and sang traditional Chinese Communist songs (while being half-naked), he became an internet sensation. However, since his debut, he has extended his repertoire to cover non-traditional and modern Chinese songs as well.
On November 6, 2007, Honglaowai posted his first video to Youtube and on November 7th, to popular Chinese video-sharing sites (including Tudou, Youku, 56).
The video was a result of him teaching himself how to speak Chinese and subsequently falling in love with Chinese culture. He made the video as a celebration of the 90th anniversary of the October Revolution which featured him singing, Without the Communist Party, There Would Be No New China, topless, and against a wall with a Mao Zedong poster.
Honglaowai became a Chinese internet celebrity even though he had never been to China before. According to Shanghaiist, Honglaowai’s blog received more than 83,000 hits in less than a month.
A list of some comments on his blog (and their translations):
Comrade, I really admire you! You can sing such a hard song so impressively. I have no reason not to support you!! Come on! Welcome to China!
Author: Xiao Chen
You foreigner don’t know China~~If you meant to make spoof on China’s Internet, it’s useless to take clothes off and sing some really out-of-date songs of the revolutionary era….Go to your WALMAKET to buy a made-in-China shirt and put it on….it must be more effective than being half-naked….
You are American…likes China….but that can’t be regarded as patriotic…Come to China to apply for the green card…(to get green card in China is much easier than in your country) When you become a Chinese citizen..then you can say your love of China is patriotism….
Keep that in your mind… we need harmony…harmony…When all the foreigners are harmonized…the society will be harmonious….and…it’s OK…to open a blog…but never give out any words that vilify China or Chinese people…NEWYORK is not China…it’s easy to buy guns there…so it’s easy to do away with you.
But we still prefer people in clothes. Please don’t forget to get dressed next time.
Actually we are very conservative and one or two revolutions are really enough for us we don’t like that very much.
支持你！喜欢东方文化毕竟是好事， 虽然表达的方式有点过激， 热情了点， 可是可以接受。（你可能不太了解，现在的中国人喜欢资本主义的东西， 不喜欢你把中国和苏联说到一起去， 你还是应该找个讲中文的人教你中文和中国国情）
I support you! After all, it’s good to like the Eastern culture. Although the way you expressed yourself is a little immoderate and exciting, we can still accept it. (Maybe you don’t know too much about China. Now Chinese people like capitalism things and don’t want you to put China and USSR together. You’d better find a speaker of Chinese to teach you and tell you something about China)
- News outlets reported the controversial nature of his videos (see the “‘Naked Singing’ Controversy” section).
- Discussions about the Red Foreigner on Baidu
- His videos have received close to 5 million views on 56, have more than 7 million views on Youku, and close to 3 million on Tudou.
- One page of his blog received over 15 million hits.
- Fan Page (404’d)
“Naked Singing” Controversy
As was previously stated, Honglaowai was topless in his first three videos. People were split about whether he was singing half-naked for no particular reason, for the sake of art, or to insult the Chinese government. Some defended him simply on his cuteness, handsomeness, creativity, and passion.
- People’s Daily asked for Honglaowai’s videos to be censored.
- Online polls asked if Honglaowai was offensive.
- Other news outlets reporting on the controversy (see References/External Links).
On November 20, 2007, he explained that he did not mean to offend anyone through his videos:
English: “True Communists say that it is not clothes, but ideas that are the most important!”
In his next video (and all videos thereafter), he has visible clothes:
March of the People’s Liberation Army (Chinese: 中国人民解放军军歌) (November 20, 2007)
Visit to China and Current Status:
In July 2008, Honglaowai visited China leading to a resurgence of interest:
Afterwards, he continued to release videos every couple weeks or so and covered modern songs, including one by Jay Chou (receiving over 4 million views).
When Lehman Brothers collapsed, Honglaomai (as a Wall Street Trader) stopped updating his Sina blog. He has not posted anything since August 14, 2008.
- He is single
- 29 years old (as of July 2010)
- From Chelsea neighborhood of New York
- Height: 6’ 2"
- Wall Street trader
- Goes to Chinatown on the weekends and sings at KTV (the Chinese term for Karaoke)
- Had not been to mainland China (until July 13, 2008), but had been to Taiwan
- Very good at typing and speaking in Chinese
There are no videos currently available.