Saturday, February 7, 2009

Can I call him Grandpa Wen?

I asked the students about Wen Jiabao and Hun Jiantao. What, I asked, does a Prime Minister do in China? They told me that PM Wen looks after the day-to-day running of the government. I then asked them what a President does in China? Their answer was that President Hu looks after other things and can fire the PM if he wants. So, they weren't clear on what the two men's responsibilities were. I thought of asking if their relationship was like Batman and Robin, the Lone Ranger and Tonto, but they wouldn't have understood.

The students were uncomfortable with my idea of calling Wen Jiabao, Grandpa Wen. I call him Grandpa because that seems to be the public image he is cultivating on Chinese television.


Bill said...

Wen can be called Grandpa Wen because that how he addressed himself to kids.

Andis Kaulins said...

So this image of him being the Friendly old Grandpa so concerned about everyone's problems is being cultivated.

You may be interested to hear John Derbyshire's take on Wen Jiabao in this podcast:

Derb thinks Wen is an android manufactured by the Japanese.

Timothy Qiu said...

Although "Grandpa Wen" is the image Wen appears in television, it is very strange for an adult to call him "Grandpa Wen" in China. Because Wen is obviously not old enough to be your grandpa :)

p.s. I am a College Student from Wuxi

Andis Kaulins said...

Tim thank you for reading my blog. What college do you go to in Wuxi?

BTW, Wen is 67 years old. He has to be someone's grandpa. He is old enough.

In the west, we would call someone grandpa if we think he is old enough to be one.

Timothy Qiu said...

I am a Wuxi native studying in Nanjing Institute of Technology.

That might be a misunderstanding caused by cultural differences.

Usually, we call someone grandpa when he is old enough to be your grandpa. As an adult, calling Wen "Grandpa Wen" is available when talking to kids or when you want to be humorous.