1/16/17

Ching Ching Chinaman And Ching Chong Chinaman

   "Ching Chong Chinaman" is a well-known offensive slur often used to taunt Chinese, and sometimes other Asians, for many decades in countries where many Chinese emigrated to. The slur occurs in countless limericks, some directed for children but others were of a bawdy nature.  Several examples are:

Ching Chong, Chinaman,
Sitting on a wall.
Along came a white man,
And chopped his tail off

Ching Chong Chinaman sitting on the grass,
Along came a bumblebee and stung him on his..
Ask no questions, tell no lies,
I saw a policeman doing up his...
flies are a nuisance, bugs are even worse,
And this is the end of my silly little verse.

Ching chong chinaman went to milk a cow.
Ching chong chinaman didn't know how.
Ching chong chinaman pulled the wrong tit.
Ching chong china man got covered in shit.

Chin chin chinaman bought a little shop
And all he sold was peppermint rock
He wee'd in a bottle and called it pop
Chin chin chinaman bought a little shop

         
Ching-chong Chinaman, he's got a curlicue,
And he'll get my job some day,
'Cause he works like the devil owned his soul
And settles for half the pay.

    Ching Chong Chinaman can easily be confused with the very similar "Ching Ching Chinaman,"  which was the title of a short story written in1917 by a leading short story writer of the early 20th century, Wilbur Daniel Steele.  Even though Yet Sin, his Chinese laundryman character is depicted in stereotypical ways, it is one of the first somewhat sympathetic depiction of a Chinese, as he is a hero of sorts in exposing a blackmailer before   returning to China at the end of the story.

    The short story was made into a silent film in 1923, Shadows, which was promoted as "The Greatest Story Ever Told in Motion Pictures."  Lon Chaney, the great silent film era actor (The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom of the Opera (1925), played the role of the Chinese laundryman.  


     Chaney's "yellowface" performance was highly acclaimed by two critics in the early 1920s.

Now and then a picture is produced that stands out above the others, just as the Woolworth building stands out above all the buildings that surround it. It is such pictures as these that prove beyond any doubt that picture-making is an art. Such a one is "Shadows" - a picture that stands out above all others. With a worth-while theme as it foundation, masterfully directed and artistically acted, with its setting and general atmosphere realistic, the story creates in the mind an impression that lasts many days and weeks after one has seen the picture. Through tragedy, the sad fate of the principal characters does not leave an unpleasant feeling. On the contrary, their fate so arouses the compassion of the spectator that he feels regret for not being able to help relieve their sufferings. The acting of Mr. Chaney, who assumes the role of a Chinaman, is remarkable. Better acting he has never done in his life. 

Wilbur Daniel Steele's prize story, "Ching, Ching, Chinaman," makes a picture which is certain to be accepted as one of the better things under its new title of "Shadows" - principally because of Lon Chaney's eloquent pantomime as a Chink, and the spiritual value of the theme. The locale? A fishing village. The central figures? A young clergyman and his bride, whose first husband made her a widow when he was lost in the angry sea. The motif? The Chinaman's devotion in returning a kind deed. He watches and waits to unmask the villainy of the disappointed suitor - the pillar of the church who has compelled the youthful domine to pay hush money under the threat that he will be exposed as a bigamist. The Chink accepts Christianity when he sees the lesson of faith and humility. Some compelling scenes. But mostly a character study for Chaney who demonstrates his uncanny talent for characterization. Worth seeing. Don't be ashamed of your tears.

          Ching Ching Ching Chinaman, a racist song composed in 1923  by Eve Unsell with music by Lous F. Gottschalk promoted the Lon Chaney movie, even though it was not included in the movie.


Ching Ching Ching Chinaman

Dreams of far-off Chinalan'
Laugh and laugh when velly sad
And even laugh when mad
See his funny little walk
Hear his funny talkee talk
Queer little quaint Chinaman

Ching Ching Ching Chinaman
Ketchee ketchee if you can
Blandly smiles and so beguiles
With Oriental wiles
Chop-chop-suey Yocky main
This mean Eatee all you can
Queer little quaint Chinaman

Chorus
Ching Ching Chinaman
Ching Ching Chinaman
Eatee lychee nuts and play fan-tan
Singee high and singee low
Like a shadow come and go
Allee samee Ching Ching Chinaman
Ching Ching Chinaman
Washee velly fine
Makee muchee goodee 'melican dime
Where he go you never know
What he think he never show

Winky blinky Chinky Chinaman 


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