Haikou, Hainan Style…

The other night I came into the living room, and the wife was watching the evening news. The segment ended, and what proceeded was proof that the whole Gangnam Style meme had most definitely jumped the shark.

In an attempt to cash in on what is quickly becoming this decade’s “Macarena”, the broadcaster somehow managed to convince (it is China, land of a million KTVs, so maybe not “convinced” so much as just “asked”) their staff to partake in what surely someone at some point explained was a “viral ad campaign” — Haikou news style.

Like a Haikou autumn, it was a hot wet mess.

And so it was that when I first saw my friend Nicki share a video called “Hainan Style” on Facebook that I figured it might be one and the same. Nope, nope nopah.

Actually it appears to be much the same premise — a couple companies (aided by uni students — and, by the looks of a stage in the vid, what appears to be a contest to be in the video) cashing in on the twilight hours of this much-overplayed one-hit-wonderful song. And if you understand Chinese, but can’t figure out what the hell they’re saying in the video, welcome to Hainan hua — the dialect spoken in a variety of hues across the island.

Note: Oddly, the video is titled “Haikou Style”, but they’re clearly saying “Hainan Style” in the video — which makes more sense considering the original title of the song. Gangnam in Chinese is Jiangnan (江南 – River/South), and is the name of the district of Seoul (sensibly, south of the Han River that bisects the city). Hainan (海南 – Sea/South), therefore, is a better quasi-homophone.

2 Responses

  1. Hello!
    I am currently pursuing a teaching job in Haikou!
    I’ve been doing some research on the location which led me to you blog. I’m wondering if there is any other info you could give me. So far I’m obsessed with the island but being a soon to be college grad having only been to Cancun mexico, finding a new place to live in China is super scary. Is there any advice you could give me? Would you recommend moving here? whats healthcare like? weather? food? etc
    Thanks so much! I hope to hear from you soon

    • Hi, moving to China is an awesome experience and I recommend it to everyone I can. It’s not without its challenges, but what fun would it be if it wasn’t? Teaching ESL in China is a very well-worn path, and there is lots of information out there on finding jobs and what to watch for. The only advice I have is to be absolutely certain you’ll be getting a proper visa to work on. It used to be a flexible/relaxed system whereby you weren’t technically allowed to work on a tourist/business visa, but authorities turned a blind eye — those days have passed and I routinely hear of people being kicked out of the country for doing so now. With a good officially-recognized school, this won’t be a problem.

      Hainan is a special sort of place. If you want a tropical locale, and have your heart set on China, it’s one of the few (if only) options. Haikou, at the northern end of the island is the capital and largest city, and where most of the teaching jobs are. Sanya is at the south end of the island and is primarily a tourist destination. Both cities have modest expat populations, so you will not be the only foreigner around. Weather on the island is hot and humid in the summer. Winter is cooler, but in Sanya still quite warm. In Haikou weather in the (albeit short) winter is chilly, grey and wet.

      I don’t know what healthcare is like in Sanya, but in Haikou there are a number of hospitals with typical Chinese standards (crowded, reasonably competent staff, moderately clean and well-equipped). For minor things, the local hospitals are fine, but I don’t know if I’d want to go under the knife here. One plus here in Haikou is that we have a hospital staffed with a foreign trained, English-speaking doctor (as well as an actual foreign doctor, though he mostly just does consultations).

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