The Battle of ChangSha Watch Along ep13

Grandpapa Hu with his offsprings at the resting place he has been tending for decades, burying all his kins, regrets, laments, generations before him and generations after him dying too young.    He presides on the same ground where his roots have long been planted, steering them this is where they belong, we remember our family dearly and they live on in our memories, never truly departed.   A similar conversation must have happened in his youth, a dogma he is living by and expects generations to pass on.  Life propagates on lives before.

XM finds stolen rifles in the cave, assuming they are not loaded, ‘BiL has taught me how to fire a gun!’ he accidentally fires a shot.  ‘BANG!’  It shakes up the quiet of XiangTan.
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XiaoQiu arrives at the scene where XP is furious the twins found his stolen weapons, they wipe their hands clean, telling XQ they are not on TeamXP.  XP admits his fault he has stolen the rifles. They are summoned before Grandpapa for their punishment.

What is the use of an education, of an offspring that is a thief?

XP adds oil on the fire, if he is useless to Grandpapa, please disown him.  He will become a soldier fighting the japs, defending his country.  He would be cannon fodder more likely, like the rest of the youngsters according to Grandpapa.  He must continue the lineage, have an offspring before he cuts his life short.

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With no family, where is a country?!

The term for country in Chinese:国家 with , family/home, a crucial semantic component of the term.  The pictogram composing the character is a sheltering where the most valuable sacrifice is made (it was a wild boar in oracle days) a devotional resting place we build and cherish.

This is from baidu, it intrigues me to no end how simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese for the same character can be broken down to drastically different semantic radicals.  I am brought up reading traditional characters only and for me the character 國, originally 或 is uncanny similar to the etymology of country (land lying besides divided), with the inner square of the character denoting the piece of land holding stead. 戈 is weapon, for fighting, defending the land, the outer large square acts like the pictogram of the fortress wall. And this drama is a perfect essay of the character…even when the outer fortress wall is broken, city is to the ground, 或 exists if we keep defending, fighting for it. I always thought the simplified character is created in the 50s by the PRC for efficacy in printing, but it actually originated in Song (how apropos for a dynasty that is most ‘anti-war’ in principles resulting in the weakest state in defense and a patronage of all forms of fine arts), succinct in depicting it is a bounded area where precious jade/authority is held, that is, it is astoundingly identical to the origin for 国家 can be referred to more poetically as 国 , interchangeable characters, implying the family first.


From XP’s vantage point, if he does not fight for his country, they will be slaves without the foundation to build a family within.  What is the point of living then?  There is always a point for living, to procreate the family.  Considering how many hands his 國 has changed, which Grandpapa witnessed since Dowager CiXi’s Qing, sovereignty is a tarnished notion for the old weathered soul.  This is the fortress he has fought with tears and blood and lives of his kin he can hold his own in, withstanding changes of authorities as generations before them had.  The Hu family is his 國, what they should be defending, not risking its definite obliteration with XP dying putting an end to his bloodline on some lofty notion of patriotism where… is there even a city of ChangSha left within its boundary?!

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XP is grounded by Grandpapa, he won’t be let out of the locked room until he repents.  XX tries to comfort Grandpapa, XM suggests getting XP a wife, he won’t be as enthusiastic leaving home.  Grandpapa acknowledges them being sensible and considerate for their elder.  They have grown up, it’s time for them to visit a place.

Grandpapa tells them the tragedy of their Uncle ChangKong, dying in his teens.  He was the brightest kid in the village, the best filial son anyone can only hope for.  Grandpapa had high hopes for him, grooming him to be the heir of their vast estate.  He had been extremely strict to the boy, to the dismay of his Mom, Grandmama.  On a business trip, he got very ill with a high fever without one grumble, no medicine worked.  By the time Grandpapa sent him back home, he has long gone.  Grandmama blames him for the death of her son, took their Dad back to her maiden home in ChangSha, sworn never to step back in XiangTan.  Grandmama also holds the grudge of him against her marrying into the family, she insists Grandpapa looks down on her and her son ChangLing, their dad.  That is why she has never budged every year when he sent people to fetch them.
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She won’t sway even when the entire ChangSha is burned down, let alone in time of peace.
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After hearing about the family feud, the twins are more proud and grateful for their Grandmama10 (Grandmama was married to the 10th brother of Grandpapa).  It must have been extremely difficult for her to provide for their Dad, sending him off to college on her crafty hand in sewing, making her own reputable name in the cultured city.   Thanks to her, XX can have an education as a girl.  It must have crossed XX’s mind what if Grandmama did not fight for her own pride and dignity, bravely earned her living in ChangSha?  Their lives would be trapped in feudal norms.

The air is filled with soot from the fire.  XiangJun insists on dusting them constantly.  This is the house her husband leaves behind, she is keeping it spotless for his safe return.  Their outfits are so lush and tastefully beautiful, befitting the best craftsman of ChangSha.

XJ whines about how often she has to dust the tiny bottom of PingOn, just like how it was with the twins… Grandmama reminisces about how hard it was bringing them up, missing them so dearly.

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I have not enjoyed my grown grandchildren doting on me and someone wants to steal them away.

They are not living under the same roof, but they have not leave Grandmama’s heart one inch.

Grandpapa sings praises for Grandmama as well,  and showers them with how much he likes them being good looking, bright, considerate and filial.    He likes them so much, he is asking XM to stay and take up the family business. Their land is so vast, they are very well to do, XM does not have a worry for life being the biggest landlord of XiangTan.

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XM immediately looks at XX for her opinion.  He can not take up Grandpapa’s preposition when Grandmama is not back in XiangTan.  Grandpapa reassures XM.  He will pass on soon, after XM is the rightful owner of the land, he can send for Grandmama to live with him and she will come.  XM is still hesitant, XX teases him he misses his girl in CS, XM bites back XX is the one missing her little guy…her fiance… who is dead.  A weighty turn of what started off as their usual silly bickering.

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Poor children, do not be sad.  I will arrange for you a good family.

XX is very afraid Grandpapa will follow through with his words.

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The person on your mind is fighting in the front line, you can not reach the reins.

– Hold the reins!…Wait what did you just say?  What fighting in the front line?!

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Whoever blushes is already guilty!

XM knows about XX’s crush over GCM, in her slip XX might as well have said it out loud.

XM eases XX mind with a lot of sense:  Grandpapa has to inform their Mom and Dad before marrying her off.  Grandmama would be against it.  Grandpapa would not risk getting on the wrong side of her even more.

JingYan begs them to put in a good word for XiangPing in front of Grandpapa. XM remembers if he lives by his word, he has to call XX his BigSis for life, losing to XP in a fistfight.  He is not going to help out the porcupine head easy.

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XX is also not keen on helping XP.  It is all his fault for stealing rifles, it is worse when his intention is noble, as if he is backed by reason.  ‘ Stray bullets do not have eyes in battlefield!’

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What if he could not make it back alive, leaving Grandmama3 alone? 

JingYan turns around and asks Mr XM again.  He can not refuse the pretty girl…and a childish revenge.

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If you dare touch JingYan, I will beat you to pulp!

XM taunts XP JingYan would long be married off by the time XP is out.

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XM is not done with chaffing XP, he guarantees XP will break the wooden door and dashes out if he kisses JingYan this moment, but JingYan does not know what k-i-s-s-i-n-g is.  lol

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My Brother in Law always says,

How can you not bow your head, living under someone else’s roof?!  But you won’t stay under someone else’s roof for your entire life.  You will build your own grand mansion someday, building the ceiling the taller the better and you have no need to bow your head anymore.

Bravo XM (and BiL, fyi, XM misses you!)  XP finally listens and softens his stance, he can not do anything being locked up.  He agrees to bowing his head apologizing to Grandpapa, braving through the humiliation admitting he is wrong, then he can do whatever he wants once freed.   He asks JingYan to send a word for Grandpapa he wants to apologize.
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XM shrewdly senses this won’t get by Grandpapa.  XP was fighting and kicking just a few hours ago.  He immediately comes up with a cunning plan.  He asks JingYan to lie to Grandpapa XP is sick, Grandpapa has to let XP out and arrange for a doctor.
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XiaoQiu informs Grandpapa the army is negotiating to buy rice from them. Grandpapa only agrees to let them have 500 barrels, he had seen his rice marked up in the black market in no time, time and time again.  The noble cause of fighting the Japanese is nothing but swindling, look at how fast they fled in ShanDong.  Is that how you defend your country from jap attack?! Look at ChangSha, burning the whole city to ashes by our own hands before the japs are even here.  XQ tells Grandpapa, there are nasty rumors spreading about them refusing to sell the rice to the army because they want to be profiteer of the war, there are even some saying the Hu family is keeping the rice for japs.
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If the japs are here, I would set my rice storage on fire.  I would not leave them one grain!!!

Anyone saying another word has to answer to all the spirit tablets in our Hu ancestral hall, so many of them were of children perished in their 20s. All of them worth more than thousands of barrels of rice!!

It breaks my heart.  T___T

Grandpapa wants to discuss with XiaoQiu passing down the family business to XX and XM.  XQ sees the problem of XX being a girl, she can not stay in XiangTan, taking care of the business once she gets married.  Grandpapa tells XQ to marry XX.  He is also set on matching up XM and JingYan.
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Overhearing the conversation, JingYan is devastated.  Grandpapa is ignoring XQ’s advice of informing Grandmama, Mom and Dad in ChangSha, he would take the blame, by then what’s done is done.  It would be even better if Grandmama comes back roused.   All for the good of the Hu family.

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The twins are taking a stroll, and XM mentions BiL again, they know better than anyone how unbearable it is to be grounded( how the boy misses his face-pincher), XX is not amused XM doesn’t try to dissuade XP from joining the army, instead conjures up a lie for Grandpapa to free XP.  XX sees through XM, with XP as the trailblazer, he can follow suit.

JingYan breaks the bad news for all.  XX makes up her mind she is running back to ChangSha, even with just her two legs.  JY flatly says she does not want to marry XM, she also knows XiaoQiu has a girl he loves, he could not refuse to marry XX because he would do everything Grandpapa says, even committing murder.
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XX thinks up a plan of escape, but JingYan has to put up a charade for them and cry hysterically.  XX encourages JY she will save all of them, including her XiangPing by lying and sometimes, it is not a bad thing.

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XX has a new fangirl in JingYan, she gushes XX is even more a ZuGe Liang than Mr XM, able to stay so composed.  XX’s revised scheme on XM’s is for JY to wail in front of Grandpapa, claiming XiangPing is gravely ill, in fits and throwing up, immediately attracting all eyes on XP so they can sneak out.

I learn it all from my Brother in Law!

AWWW.  This time it is XX, blatantly thinking of and missing BiL. Absence makes the heart grows fonder even for these two little brats.

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After tripping a few times, XX’s legs are quitting on her.  XM offers her a piggyride.  So cute.

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While XX is a runaway bride for the second time, running away from XiangTan, her OTP Commander Gu out of her reins just reports to base.  He glances over the new recruits and sees two familiar faces.   They can not be new recruits.   They claim to be transfers, but Gu is suspicious why army cooks are now grenade launcher, firing automatics.  He insists on getting to the bottom of it if they do not give him an explanation.  The cooks plead they have desperate mouths to feed, please be lenient.  Mookie knowingly pulls Gu aside, he will explain on their ride.

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XX and XM are caught up by XiaoQiu.  They still scramble up energy to run for their dear lives!

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Mookie tells Gu those two are the fall guys, paid to forge identities to the front line as infantry in the place of boys from rich families. GCM is annoyed at such unfair arrangements with guys giving up their lives for money. The two cooks will turn rabbits and run for their lives as soon as they sniff troubles, Mookie is reassuring commander Gu.

As expected with the twins running for their lives…XX will step on a life-threatening landmine.  XM does not believe the threat at first, lovely BiL mention by the twins x4 in one episode: BiL has made potty out of land mine shells.  ‘It does look like a chamber pot!’

XX burst out in tears like the little girl she is at heart as XM sticks by his Twinnie.
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4 thoughts on “The Battle of ChangSha Watch Along ep13

  1. Xiangtan is indeed soooo beautiful! The fields of wheat and gorgeous backdrop of forest actually inspired me to go out biking and running in search of nature trails, so yay Battle of Changsha for motivating me to get off my lazy bum!

    And I especially loved the twin relationship between XM and XX–they are indeed inseparable, and both actors were so convincing! Their fights, their laughs, their mischief, it was all incredibly believable! I couldn’t help but giggle at XM’s teasing of XX: “谁脸红谁知道!” XM, you know her so well!

    *gushgushgush* Eye-gasming so hard as I scroll through the screen grabs, both of the beauty of Xiangtan and XX’s adorable dimples! You, my friend, have got a great talent for perfectly timed screen grabs. You managed to capture her lovely smile many times and of the fleeting moments of “心有灵犀” between the twins.

    Also, you don’t have to answer if you don’t feel comfortable, but I was wondering if you were from Mainland China or Taiwan/HK? I’m assuming it’s the latter if you say you were brought up with traditional, but I’m just curious since you don’t seem to have any trouble understanding BoC.

    Thanks for yet another great post!

    1. Hahaha yes i want to run through a field!

      One of the first thing i adore about BoC is how convincing and amazing the twins are portrayed, and seriously bravo to Yang Zi and Niu JunFeng because chemistry is a double edged sword as they r so close in age as actors and have such comfortable sparks. i can’t help but ponder how they convey so convincingly they r loving inseparable bickering soulmates but stay 100% sibling-love never crossing the line.

      I am born and raised in HK, i can read simplified characters but i can’t write them… actually i doubt i rem how to write most characters nowadays when we don’t need to pick up a pen, all i do is scribble characters on gadgets. 執筆忘字

  2. Looking forward to your blog posts about BoC.. I feel like you always make me understand the episodes better and notice things that I didn’t notice before, adds a ton to my interpretation and understanding of the episodes 😀 please keep doing these!!!

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