I wrote a version of this way back in 2007, but this version is better. It’s probably the most indulgent thing I’ve ever written, but at least it has iambic pentameter. For those of you not familiar with Rudyard Kipling’s poem, you can read the wonderful original here.


“If you can keep on lying when all about you

Are seeing through your lies and blaming it on you,

If you can blame others though all men doubt you,

But do it loudly enough to carry it through;

If you can’t wait and get tired by queuing,

Queues are for the weak, don’t bother with queues,

Hate the dissenters, no matter what they’re doing,

Don’t listen to others, ignore their views:


“If you can cheat – and cheat others faster;

If you can bully – and bully those who aren’t the same;

If you can look at victims of environmental disaster

And laugh at the wretches with disdain;

If you can’t bear to hear the truth when it’s spoken

By Taiwanese separatists or Tibetan slaves,

Or you live in a country where everything is broken,

And you don’t stop your son when he misbehaves:


“If you can look at all that is good and true

And deny it all for the sake of face,

And ignore SARS, AIDS, and bird-flu

For the honour of the Motherland and her “pure-blood” race;

If you can litter the earth with piss and shit

And imprison grannies who study Falun Gong,

And hold up high your right to spit

Though others look at you and shout “You’re wrong!”


“If you can blend in crowds and join the mob,

Or drive your Audi down a cycle path,

If you only sip tea and eat banquets in your job,

If you see others hurt, and choose to laugh;

If your good deeds can be summed in a minute

And lies and corruption are all you’ve done,

Yours is the world and all the gold in it,

And – which is more – you’ll be a Han, my son!”

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