Macabre duck think humor

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From the Chinese internet:

First duck:  Guàlú hǎo! 挂炉好!("Hanging ovens are good!")

Second duck:  Mènlú wěidà! 焖炉伟大!("Brasiers are great!")

Caption at the bottom of the cartoon:

Rénshēng zuìdà de bēi'āi mò guòyú:  nǐ běnlái shì yī zhī yāzi, nǎodai lǐ què mǎn shì Quánjùdé de sīwéi.  (Láizì wǎngluò)

人生最大的悲哀莫过于: 你本来是一只鸭子,脑袋里却满是全聚德的思维。(来自网络)

"The greatest sorrow in life is that, after all, you are a duck, yet your mind is full of Quanjude's way of thinking.  (From the internet)"

Note:  Quánjùdé 全聚德 is the most famous Peking (!) Duck restaurant in Beijing (!).

It's hard to wrap one's head around the logic of what the ducks are saying, but after thinking about it for a while, one can understand.  It's a devastating indictment of the human condition.

Selected readings

[h.t. Tong Wang]


  1. David said,

    May 18, 2020 @ 9:50 pm

    One particularly memorable duck-related witticism was in the 2001 Hong Kong film "My Life as McDull", on a similar theme, sung to the tune of Schubert's Moment Musical in F minor:


    Duck being a bilingual pun for the Cantonese 得 (yes; can; it's possible). Indeed how do you turn a chicken into a duck?

  2. Janet said,

    May 18, 2020 @ 11:58 pm

    Reminds me of an old American saying, about turkeys voting for Thanksgiving…which is oddly apropos of our current political situation.

  3. Dave said,

    May 19, 2020 @ 2:26 am

    some ducks are more equal than others: "the explanation was really very simple. The van had previously been the property of the knacker, and had been bought by the veterinary surgeon, who had not yet painted the old name out. That was how the mistake had arisen." (cf Russell's parable on the problem of induction)

    Does this mean that automation (the substitution, at first, of brass for brawn, and later, of brass for brains) would be 燜齋鴨?

  4. Victor Mair said,

    May 19, 2020 @ 6:38 am

    From Conal Boyce:

    Wonderful! (And thank God for all the exegesis. Otherwise, I would have thought, "Am I looking at someone's attempt to write down Shanghainese or what?")

    By a fun coincidence, just a few days ago, I had occasion to relate a scene from Moonlighting (a TV show of the 1980s) to my daughter, a scene that involves ducks. It goes like this:

    The main character, played by Bruce Willis, has a brother who appears rarely in his life, and when the estranged brother does appear, they immediately start fighting, to the extent that they are soon punching one another and even rolling on the floor wrestling. By way of explaining the relation to the other main character on the show (played by Cybill Shepherd), the Bruce Willis character says to her:

    "We're like two ducks in an oven."

  5. Cervantes said,

    May 19, 2020 @ 7:27 am

    Charlie the Tuna comes to mind.

  6. KeithB said,

    May 19, 2020 @ 8:46 am

    I think I have eaten in that restaurant. Is that the one where the staff wear the paper duck hats?

  7. Victor Mair said,

    May 19, 2020 @ 11:27 am

    From June Teufel Dreyer:

    The ducks at this, Beijing’s most renowned duck restaurant, are also featured in this 2012 satiric commentary. The propaganda outside urges the ducks to go into the restaurant, even though you can see them being slaughtered behind the wall.

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