‘YYDS’, ‘lying flat’, ‘metaverse’, ‘awakening era’: China’s 10 2021 buzzwordsjessie tan
The following top 10 buzzwords of the year have been released this week by the National Language Resources Monitoring and Research Centre, an institution administered by the country’s Ministry of Education, after checking billions of posts on Chinese social media for trending terms.
1: YYDS or “forever God”
The four English letters are the initials of yong yuan de shen , meaning “forever God” in Chinese. It was first used by players of a popular internet game, and later was adopted by many internet users to express their admiration and high esteem for their idols. In the summer of this year, Chinese competitors at the Tokyo Olympics such as Su Bingtian, the first-ever Asian-born sprinter to break the 10-second barrier of the 100 metres event in track and field, were hailed as YYDS by the mainland public.
2: Tang ping or “lying flat”
The Chinese term tang ping , or “lying flat” , means people who give up or do nothing and have a defeatist attitude. This type of attitude has permeated Chinese society in recent years as many young people have become tired of the notion of working themselves to the bone, with many reaching the conclusion that no matter how much effort they invest, they can not change their fate in China’s increasingly unequal and competitive society.
Sociologists said lying flat is a counter-attack to nei juan, a buzzword from last year, which literally means “involution” and refers to tough competition in society. The lying flat mindset has become so universal among China’s youth that some mainland media issued editorials, labelling it a “toxic chicken soup for the soul”, to encourage younger generations to cherish their time and work hard.
3: Jue xing shi dai or “awakening era”
Jue xing shi dai is the name of a television drama series about the founding of China’s Communist Party in the early 20th century. It was made to mark the 100th birthday of the Party on July 1 this year, the series has become one of the most popular television shows in China since it was released at the beginning of this year.
4: Shuang jian or “double reduction”
The full context of the term Shuang jian is to reduce the homework burden and after-school tutoring pressure on students who are studying under China’s nine-year compulsory education system. Shuang jian, as the term is known in Chinese, has appeared widely on the internet after state authorities announced harsh education reforms to rein in excessive academic workloads caused by the country’s highly competitive education system.
5: Po fang or “breakthrough the defence”
Originally used by online game players, it evolved to describe a person who is affected after their psychological defence is broken.
6: Yuan yu zhou or “metaverse”
Yuan yu zhou is a hot buzzword in business in mainland business circles, although this new industry is not understood by many people and is still evolving. In the past few months, metaverse-related jobseekers have become highly pursued in China’s job market.
7: Jue jue zi or “terrific”
Delivered in a naughty tone, Jue jue zi is used to express praise. It can be roughly translated as “terrific” or “fantastic” in English. It was first created by fans of a comprehensive television art programme to encourage their idols.
8: Shang hai xing bu gao, wu ru xing ji qiang or “not harmful, but very humiliating”
This slang term first came into being to describe the situation of a woman in an online viral short video clip who seemed lonely at a table shared with a couple who explicitly showed off their love by clipping dishes with chopsticks to each other and ignoring the woman’s presence. It later evolved into a term to describe a person’s embarrassment.
9: Wo kan bu dong, dan wo da shou zhen han or “I didn’t understand, but I was quite shocked”
Wo kan bu dong, dan wo da shou zhen han was a comment by film director Ang Lee about the documentary Trespassing Bergman (2013). Mainland internet users soon picked up the term to express their confusion and shock at something.
10: Qiang guo you wo or “a strong country has me”
A controversial inclusion on the list, Qiang guo you wo was questioned by some people who doubted it was a viral term. The phrase is from the oath sworn by 1,000 primary and middle school students at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on July 1 this year during the Communist Party’s centenary celebrations. The full pledge goes: “please be assured, the party, that a strong country has me”, young students vowed to make their contribution to China.