Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

Yu Ming Is Ainm Dom - 我的名字是于明

I was pointed to the short film My Name is Yu Ming, and found it rather interesting — and a bit sad.

It's the story of a young Chinese man who decides to emigrate to Ireland; since he read that the official language there is Irish, he learns that language first.

When he gets there, he understands nobody and nobody understands him, and he at first thinks that it's due to his imperfect command of the language — until he meets an elderly man who has the Irish and who tells him that it's because everyone speaks English and nearly no-one speaks Irish. (Yu Ming apparently ends up finding work in Connemara, in the Gaeltacht, where he can get by better with that language.)

Vaguely, it reminded me of Manchán Magan's documentary No Béarla, in which he tries to travel through Ireland without speaking English. Though in Manchán's case, he had the English, while Yu Ming hasn't, underscoring the irony that learning the official language of a country may not help you much in that country. (Yu Ming also remarks at one point that so many signs are bilingual — surely that means that people speak Irish? The elderly man tells him that only few do.)

I confess I was a bit disappointed by the Chinese characters visible in a couple of the first scenes; they seemed as if they were written by people who did not really know what they were supposed to look like. (Though for all I know, perhaps people in China do write like that occasionally.) And I was a bit amused at Yu Ming's accent in Irish (which seemed to have English influence), and by the fact that he pronounced "Yu" as [ju] rather than as [y].

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