I was wondering the other day, why it is that certain animals are picked to be ‘National Animals’. Could it be because they possess certain attributes that they share with the national character of the nations concerned? On a whim, I decided to check it out…
Bald Eagle: chicken with a superiority complex and an antisocial streak. Check.
Gallic Rooster: strutting pompously around, like it owns the farmyard. Check.
Kangaroo: name means “I don’t understand”. Check.
Xiongmao: does nothing but eat, sleep and shit all day long, and is hopeless in bed….
Wait a minute. Xiongmao? What the hell is a ‘Xiongmao’? It turns out that a Xiongmao is what the Chinese call a Panda. But why? And if they call a Panda a Xiongmao, then where does the word Panda come from?
First up, Xiongmao means Bear Cat. Right. Because it’s an interesting combination of bear and cat, yes? No, actually. A Panda is neither a bear nor a cat, nor any combination of the two. It was long classified as a raccoon, and although some people now insist with some justification it is a bear, no one has ever considered it to be any relation to the cat. Where the cat part comes from is anyone’s guess, but hey this is China and anything is possible.
So, why does everyone else call it a Panda? No one knows. Not one single person has ever come forward and claimed that they invented the word. So perhaps we should be calling it a Xiongmao, because that’s what the Chinese call it. Except that the Chinese also call it Pi, Pixiu, Mo, ZhiYi, BaiHu, not to mention White Fox, White Leopard, and Tiger/Bear. And meng shi shou (beast of prey), bai bao (white leopard), shi tie shou (iron-eating beast), and zhu xiong (bamboo bear). Also, a banded bear (huaxiong), a catlike bear (maoxiong), a bearlike cat (xiongmao), or a great bear-cat (daxiongmao). Jesus titty fucking Christ! I’m sticking to ‘Panda’ after all!
Some Facts About Pandas
FACT! Some Panda’s have actually learned KungFu and have qualified as Grand Masters. They can perform all the secret Arts of WuShoo and can fly through the air like Michelle Yeoh. That’s pretty cool, unless they land on you.
FACT! Panda’s are known to enter Chinese cities at night, where they eat the bamboo scaffolding at construction sites, causing many buildings to collapse. There was a particularly bad infestation of Panda’s in the city of Wenchuan, Sichuan Province, in early May 2008.
FACT! Panda’s are black and white. So was the 1964 classic ‘Doctor Strangelove’.
FACT! Former Communist Party boss Deng Xiaoping regularly smoked cigarettes made from rolled-up Panda skin. He was also the inspiration behind millions of mothers telling their children that “smoking will stunt your growth”.
Some Panda Myths
Myth: The Panda comes only from southwestern China.
Verdict: Untrue. Panda’s in fact were widespread in Burma, Vietnam, and throughout East Asia as far as Beijing and eastern China, until they got eaten nearly to extinction by the local yokels. They’d be extinct now, if not for the efforts of the World Wildlife Fund, and various other international organisations (contrary to what the Propaganda Ministry says, no Westerner killed a Panda until Kermit and Theodore Roosevelt Jr shot one, on an expedition funded by the Field Museum of Natural History in the 1920s. Good for them).
Myth: The Chinese Communists give Panda’s to other countries as part of their diplomatic overtures.
Verdict: Bullshit. China has never, ever, given a Panda to anyone. They have, however, rented them out to zoos all over the world at extortionate rates. The Communists typically charge a million dollars a year, which does not include the building of special facilities, special dietary costs, or salaries for Communist Party ‘experts’ who must be hired along with the Panda. If you want to rent a Panda, you will also be required to spend around a quarter of a million additional dollars per year for unspecified ‘equipment’ that the Chinese Communists deem essential for the Panda’s well-being, but which they keep in China and never show to the public. A few tens of thousands of dollars will also be expected to pay for China’s ‘Panda conservation research’. Finally, if your Panda has a baby, you must pay the Chinese Communist Party hundreds of thousands of dollars on top – and you don’t even get to keep the baby fucking animal, because it belongs to China, too! Very little of this money goes to Panda research or conservation in China. Oh, and your zoo attendance figures won’t go up either, so don’t think that you’re going to be selling any extra admission tickets.
Myth: The Panda is a Protected Animal.
Verdict: Hahahahah! There’s a restaurant not far from where I live, where they serve Panda cooked a variety of ways. I’m not a big fan of it myself, as it tastes a bit like horse, but the kebab’s with fennel seed are quite tasty. And in case you think this is illegal, then take it up with the Police and Party Officials I see eating there on a regular basis.
How did the Panda become China’s National Animal?
Several decades ago, Chinese experts sat down and made a list of all the native animals that had not yet been eaten to extinction. Unable to choose between them, they named both ‘National Animals’. Actually, they named them both ‘National Treasures’, but then the Chinese always use strange words. The other animal was called the Crane, but they’re as common as muck, and besides Japan has better Cranes anyway. Panda Xiongmao it was.
Anyway, I was wondering the other day, why it is that certain animals are picked to be ‘National Animals’. Could it be because they possess certain attributes that they share with the national character of the nations concerned? Hmmm…
Xiongmao: does nothing but eat, sleep and shit all day long, and is hopeless in bed…. Check.
Xiaongmao? Panda? Iron-Eating Beast? Falling Cow is more like it…
Fuck the Panda.