The Changing Language of China

If you will take the time to look at language, any language, you will see how street talk reflects the public mood and direction. Forget the professional wordsmiths, PR people and politicians. Virtually everything they say is predictable and retro. I
Here are some examples of what language has already done politically. In the 1930s the word “Hooverville” was a pejorative using the name of the previous president of the USA to indicate homelessness and poverty. Today the word “Obamacare” means that this piece of legislation will forever be tainted. The smartest thing that our current President could do is to repeal it; otherwise it hangs over his head like a verbal sword of Damocles threatening his presidency.

China’s people are now speaking more openly. Yes they call it humor, and just as Court Jesters were allowed to make fun of the king and not be hung, so a people believing themselves restrained will use the comic, frequently cartoons, to express ridicule, fear and contempt for the ruling authorities. I just love their sarcastic new phrases.

    1. “snail dwelling tribe” – a reference to tiny apartments or none at all
    2. also “mortgage slaves”
    3. “soy sauce representatives” – they will do anything for money
    4. “the dangers of being reincarnated in China”
    5. “50 cent party” for those pajamas folks who allegedly paid 50 cents to spice the internet with glowing praise for political decisions and leaders
    6. Finally they mock the banal and predictable news reports as “we are working towards a harmonious solution” even for Japan’s earthquake. No matter what happens, it is always harmonious.

Keep in mind that this kind of verbal rebellion would not have been allowed during Chairman Mao. I’m indebted to the cynical writings found on China Digital News for these newest slurs.

Click here China Digital Times


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