Monday, June 11, 2012

A little taste of Austria, Chinese style

Listening to NPR the other day, I happened to hear an interesting story about what some Chinese officials have spent unknown (but undoubtedly huge) amounts of time and money to create. Here's the transcript, copied from the NPR site, which you can check for more fun stuff.

SAGAL: Roxanne, you're familiar with Chinese knockoffs of handbags and sunglasses. Well they're doing more audacious this time. They've made an exact replica of what?
ROXANNE ROBERTS: Is this a fashion item?
SAGAL: It is not. It's bigger than that.
ROBERTS: Is this a building?
SAGAL: It's bigger than that.
ROBERTS: A city?
SAGAL: Yes. It is an entire Austrian town that they have created a knockoff of.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: Halstatt is a quaint, scenic alpine town of 900 people in Austria, but now there are two of them.
(LAUGHTER)
SAGAL: Chinese developers spent a year secretly photographing the Austrian town, and now they have built their own replica in Southern China. It's an exact copy, down to the statues and flowers.
ROCCA: Oh my gosh.
SAGAL: If you woke up there, you'd think, "I'm in Austria." And then you'd think, "Why is everybody in Austria Chinese?"
(LAUGHTER)
ROBERTS: But why? It's hanging there, why?
SAGAL: Well, for a tourist thing. It's sort of this beautiful picturesque alpine village.
ROCCA: Oh, I thought it would have like a terra cotta goat herd.
SAGAL: Something like that.
(LAUGHTER)
SAGAL: It's hard to capture everything of the original Austrian Alps spirit. For example, their version of the "Sound of Music" is hard. You can't really have a family singing group when everybody only is allowed to have one kid.
(LAUGHTER)
SAGAL: It's a problem.
O'ROURKE: And what are they doing for anti-Semitism?
SAGAL: That would also be a problem.
(LAUGHTER)
ROCCA: Yeah, where do they escape to at the end?
SAGAL: I know.
(LAUGHTER)
O'ROURKE: Tibet.
ROCCA: Tibet, they go to Tibet.
O'ROURKE: Tibet.
SAGAL: The songs would change. It would be like "Do, a name, a Chinese name, Fa, another Chinese name."

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