Multilingual cop

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Here at Language Log, we have several times discussed Li Yang's Crazy
English: Crazy English, Crazy English again, and A Sane Survey of Crazy English. Now there is an excellent movie from Singapore entitled "Mad about English." Here I provide a trailer for the movie and a clip of a phenomenal policeman featured in the film who not only can say "Welcome to Beijing" in more languages than I can count, but who also can talk like a New York gangster. First the multilingual cop:

multilingual cop scene

And now the trailer:

scene from Mad About English

I met Lian Pek, the director of "Mad about English," in Singapore, and she told me that not a single actor in the film was a professional. Moreover, none of the scenes were rehearsed, so the movie has an amazing sense of verisimilitude. I brought the whole film back with me on a DVD and watched it together with my wife last weekend. Li-ching was so rapt by the unrehearsed performances of the nonprofessional actors that she stood throughout the whole one and a half hours — one moment convulsed with laughter, the next weeping with empathy as the taxi driver, the old Chinese doctor, the little girl, the salespersons, and other Beijing citizens earnestly struggled to wrap their mouths, tongues, and throats around English with all of its complicated consonants and vowels. As for me, I was glued to my seat two feet from the TV screen, totally mesmerized by so much lovable earnestness.


  1. krum said,

    May 5, 2009 @ 3:57 am

    I found this link in one of the older articles about this phenomenon:
    "This blog has been archived or suspended for a violation of our Terms of Service."
    Censorship of criticism?

  2. Chandan Narayan said,

    May 5, 2009 @ 8:31 am

    And then there's this kid:

  3. K. said,

    May 5, 2009 @ 9:26 am

    Is there any chance of a non-Youtube source for those of us in Mainland China?

  4. Victor Mair said,

    May 5, 2009 @ 10:12 am

    @K: Is YouTube totally censored in China? Or just selectively? If the latter, why would the censors object to "Mad about English"? It's actually rather flattering to China. And Li Yang, with his passionate "Crazy English" rhetoric, is about as flaming a patriot as one can imagine.

  5. Parry said,

    May 5, 2009 @ 5:13 pm

    Youku has it up:

  6. Victor Mair said,

    May 6, 2009 @ 9:41 am

    Excerpts from a message I received from Lian Pek, director of the "Mad about English" film:


    Thanks for your email and posting! I'm really glad you liked the film. BTW,
    the film has a dedicated website: if anyone wants more background on the personalities.

    I'm currently working on a series of 'Mad About' films – for which we're seeking some deficit funding. So if you know of anyone into China and proper representation of the place, please shoo them my way!!

  7. Wordoch said,

    May 7, 2009 @ 10:01 am

    Youtube is officially no go at the moment in the PRC. Tut

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