Yellow and Red -  Background Information


This song was written at the end om my four month trip to China and Tibet in 1986.

It is probably the most controversial song I have written with regard to the Lyrics. I would hence like to stress that in no way is this song intended to insult Chinese people or express any form of racisme towards Chinese or other asian people. .

The lyrics of this song should be placed in the context of a number of influencing factors.

Firstly my own exhaustion and frustration after travelling as a back packer through China at a time when the were very few visitors allowed in China. Also having spent 4 months in China I changed my mind many times about the Chinese and their way of life at that point in time. Practically everybody I met were working for the state at that time and not many seemed very motivated about their business. On the other hand they were of course carefully very curious about the west and our lifestyle without openly voicing any critisism. This was a period of relative openess and before the Tianeman Square protest. It was a perfect time to visit China and see how such a large country could function without the luxuries of the west like computers, cars, and westen pharmacueticals. The is not to say that the Chinese did not have medicines, in fact a Chinese Chemist shop was more like entereng a department store with countless sections with all kinds of herbal and animal rermidies. .

After spending 4 months in China and Tibet I must say I have the deepest respect for their society while not agreeing with all their customs and practises. At the time 1986 China was not using too much Western Technology like computers etc. Instead their banks were full of people using their Chinese manual bead calculators. Of course that has all changed in recent years and I would expect that China is catching up very fast with the west. I just hope that they dont loose all their skills, recipies and customs by trading them in for our westen lifestyle.

I also witnessed endless colonies of trucks bringing food from the industrial and productive east of China to the more arid North Western dessert regions, in fact right up onto the Tibetan platau. So yes I was very impressed on the one hand. On the other hand the trip had also been very frustrating in many ways. At that point in time the Chinese had no commercial interest and were incredibly bureaucratic about practically everything. For example they would say 'no' to basically every question you asked them. Like can I get a train ticket to Chengdu? No not today. Can I order a Beer? No beer. Can I book a room at this Hotel? Everything full!

Finally after speaking to more experience travellers, I finally caught on to how you should approach this negative attitude. The answer was to be even more stubburn then they were themseleve and just not accept no for an answer. This could involve blocking the kiosk for the train until the queue got so long that the person behind the counter would finally back down and give you the train ticket. Helping yourself to a beer from the fridge of a cafe instead of asking for one. Likewize to get a Hotel Room the best method was not to ask but just to enter the building and find an empty room. Even when I offered to pay the next morning they would offen still say NO sorry you cant pay.

Another important point is that at the time of this trip my partner and I were expecting our child. I had already given up my job to go on this trip when this news arrived, so I decided to go ahead with the trip but use it also to mentally prepare myself for fatherhood and all the responsibilities that come with it.

So, this song is partially about my circumstances and partially about the differences in cultures and my acceptance that there is nothing wrong in being different.