2009 End of the Year Review – 10 Most Popular Internet Phrases in China

20091231-slangs-08 Happy new year again! Here is another tally of 10 most popular Internet phrases in China to see off 2009.  Compare it with ESWN’s version!

From QQ:

#1 Don’t Need More Money (不差钱 – Implying for "We can have this")


During the Spring Festival Gala, hosted by China Central Television (CCTV), two famous comedians Zhao, Ben-Shan (赵本山), and Bi, Fu-Jian (毕福剑), along with Zhao’s apprentices Xiao Shen-Yang (小沈阳) and Maomao (毛毛)put up a classic comedy script "Don’t Need More Money" (不差钱). Although both Mr. Zhao and Mr. Bi are very well known comedians in China to multiple generations, the person who truly made this script famous and the term "Don’t need more money" popular was Mr. Zhao’s apprentice, Xiao Shen-Yang, who showed up with a classic Scottish skirt. Furthermore, connecting with the fact that Mr. Zhao broke his tradition of performing the show with his apprentices instead of his traditional partners (other known comedians in China) and the content of the show, the term "Don’t need more money" indicated an underlying meaning of "We can have this" suggesting the fact that nothing needs to stay in its traditional way as long as people are willing to make and accept the change. As such, the term "Don’t need more money" became the #1 popular netizen slang for 2009.

#2 Jia Junpeng, Your Mom Told You To Go Home for Dinner! (贾君鹏,你妈叫你回家吃饭)


The reason this particular phrase became popular among netizens was due to a post called " Jia, Jun Peng, Your Mom Told You To Go Home for Dinner!" post from a forum. After the post was initially posted, it was viewed and replied for tens of thousands times within the first few hours after the initial post. Additionally, the post only had "rt" ("Ru-Ti" – 如题, or "same as the title") in its content, and the person who initiated the post did not respond to any of the questions raised by fellow netizens, such as "What is the purpose of the post?", "Who is Jia Jun Peng?". Per further review, the post utilized daily conversation to raise an alarm to youngsters today, who are addicted to or spends majority of their spare times over internet casual games, which made it easy to accept and provided an instant connection to everyone who has had similar experiences or knows someone in similar situation. In fact, it is not important of who "Jia Jun Peng" really is, because there is at least one "Jia Jun Peng" in each and everyone of our lives, because often, our families continues to hope for more family time together and we all have few true friends, who will always stand by us to remind us things we’ve neglected.

See:  China Internet Phenomenon, “Jia Junpeng (贾君鹏), your mom tells you to go home to eat”

Secrets behind “Jia Junpeng” Incident

#3 Hide and Seek (躲猫猫) (Eluding the cat)


Similar to the term "Push Up" back in 2008, the term "Hide and Seek" in 2009 was originated from a criminal case during the year. After Li, Qiao-Ming (李乔明), 24 years old, got arrested for theft on January 30, 2009, he was sent to the hospital for severe injury on February 8, 2009 and died 4 days later due to severe head trauma. Answer provided by the police was that Li was injured during the "Hide and seek" game with his in-mates, such that, he was beaten by his inmates and his head hit the concrete wall. At the same time, another media source stated police’s investigation indicated Li was blind-folded during the game, which led to the tragedy. The new source received immediate attention from netizens and raise various discussions regarding the danger of the game, which also implied to inadequate job responsibilities in regards to the inmate safety performed by the police department.

Further more, there are more terms in addition to "Hide and Seek", such as "Taking a Shower", "Make a Dream", and "Take a Nap", that have similar underlying meanings and all indicating tragedies took place in the jail and relating to death of one or more inmates.

See: Eluding the cat

#4 Who Do You Represent? (你是哪个单位的?)


Some netizens said, during October 2009, it was not the red leaves that caught people’s attention and became more popular, but the phrase "Who do you represent". During the Chinese National Games of 2009, multiple incidents took place and shocked people who pay close attention to the competitions. During one of the incidents, Zhou, Ji Hong (周继红), Vice Chief-staff of National Swimming Management Center and National Diving Management Group, answered journalist’s question of whether the gold metals were pre-determined with "Who do you represent" rather than a clear answer. As such, the phrase soon became popular among netizens and continues to be applied by netizens over various circumstances to imply "I don’t want to answer you" throughout 2009.

#5 Anxious (心神不宁)


On June 18, 2009, both "National News" (新闻联播) and "Focused Discussion" (焦点访谈), two rather popular shows on CCTV, talked about Google China hosting various sexual ads on its website. Especially during "Focused Discussion", the journalist interviewed a college student named Gao, Ye (高也), who used the term "anxious" during the interview to describe his views over the Google ads in question. However, it was later noticed that the college student who got interviewed was also an intern at "Focused Discussion", which led to multiple criticisms of a famous talk show creating false interview to mislead its audiences. Starting from June 19, 2009, posts titled "Focused Discussion Lies" or along the same meaning were viewed and forwarded online rapidly. Also, Gao, Ye, the interviewee, also received undivided attention from netizens from questioning the truthfulness of his statements to perform detailed search and investigation of his private life (人肉搜索), which later exposed his blog, QQ, cell phone number, and his girl friend’s name and ID. As such, the term "anxious" became popular during 2009.

#6 The Lonely Group: Brother Is Not Eating Noodle, But Loneliness (寂寞党:哥吃的不是面,是寂寞)


The Lonely Group became popular overnight during 2009, which was originated from a non-main stream styled youngster posted a picture of himself eating noodle online with caption of "Brother is not eating noodle, but loneliness.". The picture is rather ironic and yet interesting. As such, the phrase of "Brother is not ____, but (do so out of) loneliness." For example, "Brother is not singing, but loneliness"; "brother is not giving an answer, but loneliness"; "Brother is not making a post on the forum, but loneliness"…etc. As the popularity of this phrase become more popular, it also formed the group "The Lonely Group". Starting from July 2009, almost all forums within China were flooded with this particular phrase and became the dominating response pattern for many forums. Additionally, people who frequently uses this particular phrase have also been categorized as "The Lonely Group" by the netizens. It is also a current pattern within the forum that many simple phrases will be used so frequently and applied to almost every incident to make it popular and at times spread like a wildfire. For example, sentences like "do not get obsessed with brother, brother is only a legend", "Jia Jun Peng, your mom told you to go home for dinner".

#7 Being "xx"ed (被XX, or got forced to)


"Being suicide-ed" is a term to describe murder cases with similar characteristics of suicide. The term is developed to describe and mock death cases that were concluded as suicide but with rather weak supporting evidence. Ever since the term "being suicide-ed" was developed, the pattern was again, being applied to many other situations such as "being employed", "being averaged", "being/forced to donate", "being missing", "being volunteered", "being to be happy" and etc, often it is a term of negativity and mockery.

#8 The Cup Set (杯具,Tragedy)


It is nearly impossible to determine the source of this term "The Cup Set" or tragedy. However, the most commonly used pattern is "Life is a cut set" (or "life is tragic). Netizens use the phrase "Life is a bowl of noodle soup, cup set is too small to hold it and regular bowls are too big, which will be a waste of space" to describe situations where they didn’t have a choice but to take the option in front of them. As the word "tragedy" has identical pronunciation as "the cup set" in Chinese, the term "the cup set" then become so popular that many netizens formed the "cup set group" (杯具党, bei-ju dang / tragedy group), some even further developed the term to describe other situations, such as "The washing set" (洗具, xi-ju / 喜剧, comedy), "the dining set" (餐具, can-ju / 惨剧, tragedy), "the tea set" (茶具, cha-ju / 差距, distance), to make the term more applicable to various circumstances.

#9 Can’t Go Into More Details (这事儿不能说得太细)


During one episode of "Focused Discussion" – "Questionable Access Fee", while facing the question of "how much does city TianJing have to pay back in debt for its freeway construction", government official in-charge, Liu, Bo (刘博), simply answered the question with "I can’t go into more details". The answer surely caused much questioning and raised many discussions among netizens. Again, the phrase is used to mock situations where transparency is required but yet non is provided. As such, netizens will follow their posts with "Can’t go into more details" or "Please be ware of the level of detail you’ve provided" to mock similar situations.

#10 xx Building (楼xx)


During 2009, the number of issues relating to quality of condo buildings has exceeded people’s expectation. For example, one awarded building in Shanghai, Ming-Hang District fell entirely backwards and because the "Crunchy building"; a 32-level community residential building in Nanjing City tilted severely and became the "Tilted Building"; the standard thickness for each floor level is approximately 12cm, however, one building in ZheJiang Province, Tong-Xiang City, only had 7.9cm and became the "Thin Building"; the bus station in Yan Tai city costed $40 million RMB to build, however, it is on the edge of collapsing after 5 years of use, which became the "Collapsing Building"…etc.

Given the rapidly increasing number of issues relating to residential or community used buildings, "XX building" became the new term for netizens to describe them.

  1. I can’t stand when people use the “,,but loneliness” phrase online. What happened to the swimming coach bitch btw? I remember when she said those things and it was clearly a corrupt case but I don’t remember hearing if she got away with it.

    I wonder in an earthquake prone country like China how the building codes are for the quality of highrises and to what extent these codes are followed. I suspect plenty of developers cut corners everywhere they can just hoping that the crappy buildings don’t collaps killing hundreds before they have immigrated or are dead. Unfortunately many people here would do this kind of shaite and as long as their family members and offspring have been sent abroad to study with a shaiteload of money they can try to escape the consequences of their actions alone. The next big earthquake hitting a big city will kill hundreds of thousands. And unfortunately the government probably wont let people take their cases to court as they did in Sichuan with the cardboard schools. Galloping hardcore capitalism isn’t the way China. Not in the 21st century.

  2. Year 2009 was really a big year,that so many sensational events occured that do rock both our mind and real life.Hope the coming year would be more better and better. Happy new year to everyone around table and fun of Chinahush.Cheerio!!!!

  3. KING KONG bashing ON dr. jones a.k.a funny looking, jeff lil d.d. and wang man says:



  4. KING KONG bashing ON dr. jones a.k.a funny looking, jeff lil d.d. and wang man says:

    year 2009 was a piece of crap, we got xiaowang writing nonsense and fred writing without common sense

  5. anyone noticed that “tragedy” or “cup set” is simultaneously popular with the expression “FAIL!” in america?

  6. Great beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your website, how can i subscribe for a blog site? The account helped me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear idea

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