I knew that this would happen. As I crank away at chapter 2, I get more immersed in this world of Hong Kong 2, the society and the culture. It has begun to affect my aesthetic sense of how this world looks and feels. I’m sure that when all the chapters are collected into a final volume, I will want to go back and make modifications, not unlike a director does when the work print is viewed for the first time. Sometimes you have to bring back the actors and and reshoot some scenes. But this scene is NOT one of them. In fact, page 33 would probably slotted-in as one of my favorites, It was a bit of a trick to pace out the dialog.
Hopefully you have been following each pages as we have progress thus far, and have been zooming in for all the additional detail. At the end of page 32 we were introduced to the Chinese symbol for “cheers.” It’s important to note that because as this panel evolves we have a couple of modes of time transpiring. First there is the dialog, punctuated with “finish”. Then there is the before-and-after of the bottle of Eau de Vie.
干（乾 Traditional）is used when a couple of homies are having a cup of beer together. It’s more casual and sort of a masculine word, sometimes even a little aggressive. So it is not commonly used if there were ladies present. It literally means “finish (the cup)”. It’s pronounced like something between “gone” and “garn”. There is really no exact vowel in English like that in Chinese. Plus Chinese, includes a tone-change that English just doesn’t have.
To be completely precise, I should include 干杯（乾杯）This is the literal translation for “cheers.” However, it is most often used in formal settings or with acquaintances, toasting together. It is more polite and less aggressive. Again the first character sounds like something between “gone” and “garn”. The second one reads “bay”. This one sounds pretty much the same. So when pronounced it’s — Gānbēi! It’s a bit reminiscent of the Japanese “kanpai.”
As with most Asian translations it’s alway a bit hard to decide which way to go but my translator Linxiao Sun, suggested to go with more of the guy | guy translation since it’s a more macho spin for a couple of buds doing shots.
OK, enough of the Chinese lesson. There is a bit of interesting backstory here which flavors the society as a whole. As you read in the very early pages of the story, people can choose to live—forever—if they want. This can be a blessing and a curse as we will delve into a bit more later in the story, since the eternity thing puts a totally different framework on the idea of life, family, career, and even appreciation for being alive at all. This also sheds a bit of light on Techman’s past.
The view, of course is from above, peering into the shielded cage that Techman constructed to keep the surveillance out of his workshop and private meetings private. Hopefully you are not afraid of heights. Cheers!