Song Interpretation: 薛之謙 Joker Xue – 動物世界 Animal World

Singer: 薛之謙 Joker Xue

Song: 動物世界 Animal World

Animal World is a super interesting song because the lyrics make you think a lot. This song is not related to the Chinese film with the same name. Joker Xue is the lyricist of this song.

Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species book appears in the music video. Darwin made great contributions to the field of science because of his research on evolution. I’ve taken a university-level course on Animal Psychology and I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology so I might be able to provide some insight…

I’ve only provided my interpretations to the parts that stood out the most to me.

要將情人一口吞下

還要顯得溫文爾雅

螳螂委屈的展示舊傷疤

This part is about swallowing a lover. The female praying mantis eats the male after they mate.

努力進化 笑動物世界都太假

This part is about humans laughing at how fake the animal world is. Humans work hard to evolve. My interpretation of this – this relates to how superficial society has become. We spend a lot of money to look good. We spend a lot of time altering how we look by applying filters to our pictures and posting on social media to show how much “fun” we are having. All of these, one could argue, is “fake.”

不再進化 動物世界裡都太傻

This part is about thinking that animals are stupid. My interpretation is that we as a human race believe that we are superior to other animals. Whether or not this is true, is up for debate.

得到了你就該丟下 人性來不及粉刷

所以啊 人總患孤寡

This part talks about how people don’t always hide their true nature. It talks about the “ugly” side of people and how we can easily break up with a person for superficial reasons. The next part says that people are always worried about being alone.

別再進化 別讓動物世界太假

Now the lyrics are saying that humans should not evolve, to not let the animal world become more fake than it already is. Here, we understand the perspective of the singer – which is not necessarily Joker Xue’s perspective.

我們 該露出爪牙

This part says that we should show our claws and teeth. My interpretation is that we should drop the superficial act and show our “true selves.” We can be cunning and harm others, so why not show it.

優勝劣汰 自舔傷疤

This part talks about Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” phrase and that it is part of our human nature. The interesting part about this is that it says that part of our nature is to lick our own wounds – which relates back to the earlier lyric of humans being alone in this world.

假裝進化 拼命想和動物有差

玩一出高貴優雅

This part talks about humans pretending to be different from animals by acting noble and elegant. My interpretation of this is that the singer believes that we are no different than animals. Humans could even be worse than other animals, because of the fake acts we do in order to appear that we are the “better evolved” species.

在人們腐爛的慾望下 獸性來不及抹殺

This part is about human desire and that our animal instinct is undeniable. My interpretation – even if we try to pass off as elegant, our natural instincts are still “animal-like.”

人類用沙 想捏出夢里通天塔

為貪念不惜代價

This is about our dreams, and how we are willing to pay any price for our own greed. Some people would resort to killing or robbing other people for their desires.

駕馭著昂貴的木馬 巢穴一層層疊加

最後啊 卻一絲不掛

This part is saying that we drive expensive cars and add layers to our nests. In certain bird species, the female bird chooses her mate depending on how “good” the nest looks. The male bird with the most beautiful nest will mate with the highest number of females. Then the lyrics say that in the end, we will end up naked. I think this refers to sex. We do these things to attract potential mates and the outcome is sex.

別害怕 我們都孤寡

This part says that we are all alone.


I want to make it clear that my interpretations of the song don’t necessarily reflect how I personally feel. I’m just giving my thoughts on what I think the song is supposed to mean. I could be wrong, and you may have a different interpretation of it. Although Joker Xue wrote the lyrics to his song, it is unclear what his perspective is.

My thoughts? I think the song sounds great. I really like Joker Xue’s voice. The music video has intimate scenes, which goes back to the theme of sex and reproduction. I think the lyrics are definitely thought-provoking, but they are so cynical. To be honest, I feel very dejected after analyzing the song.

I don’t think I agree with everything the singer says. A flaw is that the song kind of lumps every person on the planet together and sees them as a single entity that has the same goals and motivations. However, that’s just how the singer (not necessarily Joker Xue) views things. There’s nothing wrong with that in my opinion. It was interesting to hear this kind of perspective, especially the parts on superficiality.

Advertisements

Animal World: Kaiji Film Adaptation Review

Animal World (2018) is a Chinese film based on the manga, Kaiji by Nobuyuki Fukumoto. It is on the rock-paper-scissors arc of the manga. As a huge Kaiji fan, I had to watch this film.

0529046e0f73073c1f992cb6e08e3838

Synopsis: Zheng Kaisi is tricked into shouldering on his friend’s debt. He enters a game that takes place on a ship. There, he sees players from all over the world with enormous debts. If he wins, he will be debt-free. However – if he loses, he will have to face a life worse than imaginable. The game is rock-paper-scissors but it has its own set of rules. Zheng Kaisi has to beat the other players in rock-paper-scissors. Sounds straight-forward, right?

Actually, it’s an extremely intense and interesting game. There are various psychological elements to consider, such as cheating, betrayal, working with comrades and greed. This psychological thriller/gambling film adapts the Kaiji manga very well. The gambling that happens in the film is identical to the manga, so you won’t be disappointed with the ending.

Something that was interesting was that the players were diverse and spoke different languages. Kaisi communicated with non-Chinese players by listening to an earpiece that translated the other player’s words into Chinese in real time. I thought this was realistic.

methode-times-prod-web-bin-b5ec45fc-7af2-11e8-9c4a-473552a1b7c8.jpg

Kaiji is a great manga that tackles themes such as human nature and I think that ‘Animal World’ is a suitable name for the film because in an environment where there are not a lot of regulations, humans may succumb to “animal-like behaviours.” Kaisi is a great protagonist that refuses to degrade himself like that. In this game, he fights the resistance to betray others. He is a flawed protagonist that does not have a 100% chance of winning. That is what makes him such a relatable character.

I don’t think that Kaiji is a simple manga to adapt. Animal World did it well, because of a number of reasons. One, the cinematography is really well done. Nobuyuki Fukumoto does a lot of panels with metaphors, and Animal World has amazing graphics that showcases those metaphors. Metaphors help the audience understand the depths of what the character is feeling. I liked that the film remained close to the source material in this way.

The actor who plays Kaiji/Kaisi, Li Yifeng, is a great actor. He is famous in China and played the role really well. Kaisi is different from Kaiji in terms of his personality, family background, life situation and relationships, which gives Animal World its own sense of originality. Like Kaiji, Kaisi is a likable and strong protagonist.

min-nguen-mn-animalworld-ship-int-06.jpg

The budget for this film and also the cinematography allowed the manga to come to life. Extra elements were added in the film but they were enjoyable to watch. Overall, I was really impressed with this adaptation and enjoyed it a lot. I recommend watching Animal World, even if you have never read or watched Kaiji. If you are a Kaiji fan, it doesn’t hurt to give this a try.

Animal World is available on Netflix.

Spring

IMG_20190322_144948_588.jpg

I got these two Korilakkumas as gifts. Matcha affogato at a café.

IMG_20190326_212631_114.jpg

Showing my love for my husband. Izaya loves fatty tuna

20190328_135155.jpg

Cherry blossoms – something to look forward to every year!

Book Review: Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami

Men Without Women is a collection of seven short stories written by the famous writer, Haruki Murakami. Murakami’s original works are in Japanese, and his books have been translated into 50 languages. I read the English translation.

Can we take a moment to appreciate the front and back covers? The back cover starts with the word, 女 ‘woman’ and it transforms into a puzzle piece. The front cover depicts a man with a puzzle piece missing. He is a Men Without Women.

Haruki Murakami is my favourite contemporary writer. He often writes about the themes: isolation, loneliness and loss. These are stories of men who have lost important women in their lives, sometimes to other men, sometimes to death or due to complicated reasons. The impact of these women lost and gone forever cut deeply, and sometimes life will never be the same again.

I was pleasantly surprised at how different each story is. I really enjoyed reading six of the seven short stories, which is a really high number. My favourite story from this collection is “Kino.”

Murakami often writes about sex, so don’t be surprised about that if you read his works. I started reading his novels when I was in high school. Another common feature in his works is that the endings are often open to interpretation. You may be disappointed at the endings of some of these stories, or really confused. However, he gets you to think critically about the stories which draws upon your imagination and creativity. As a reader, you are an active agent.

This was a really quick read, which shows how invested I was in these stories. I love short stories because they are little gems. I recommend Murakami’s books because his writing is engaging and because he really brings his characters to life. I believe that he has a lot of knowledge on human emotions. Every time I read his books, I gain new perspectives.

Leaving Twitter

In August 2018, I wrote a post about my feelings towards Twitter and how much I hated it. It took a while, but I’m done with Twitter!

Reasons #3, 5 and 8 (unpleasant interactions, people complaining, and negative news) became the norm on my feed. Did I really want to open an app just to feel worse about people and the world? 

A note: 3-4 people would reach out to me regularly and ask if I was alright. I was actually puzzled about what made them concerned, but it’s because my tweets were negative. To me that is normal because I am a pessimist…. I mostly update my blog when I am in a good mood and/or if I have the energy to sit down and write. Twitter, on the other hand, is quick and easy. I can tweet something wherever I am, any time of the day because it only takes a few seconds to send out a tweet. Leaving Twitter would remove a platform for me to be negative and cynical, which is probably the best for me and others so they don’t have to worry.

Removing myself from that toxic environment will probably lift my mood in the long-term, and I’ll have some free time cleared up.