Th­ese words got a buzz and more out of 2016

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - VIEWS -

Yaowen­jiaozi, an in­flu­en­tial Chi­nese lan­guage mag­a­zine which pub­lishes China’s top 10 buzz­words ev­ery year, has just re­leased the list for 2016. The buzz­words re­flect peo­ple’s spir­i­tual ori­en­ta­tion.

“Crafts­man­ship spirit”, which refers to the ded­i­ca­tion with which crafts­men work to make ev­ery prod­uct as per­fect as pos­si­ble, be­came in­tensely pop­u­lar af­ter it was used by Premier Li Ke­qiang in this year’s Gov­ern­ment Work Re­port. The premier said the coun­try will “en­cour­age en­ter­prises to use flex­i­ble and cus­tom-tai­lored pro­duc­tion pro­cesses and fos­ter a crafts­man­ship spirit of striv­ing for the best, so that more types of prod­ucts, prod­ucts of higher qual­ity, and brand prod­ucts will be made”.

Al­though the term has been lifted to a high level of na­tional strat­egy, it ac­tu­ally talks about the spirit that many or­di­nary peo­ple have. Car­ry­ing for­ward the spirit of crafts­man­ship is a sign that the val­ues im­por­tant to or­di­nary peo­ple, be they crafts­men or grass­roots man­u­fac­tur­ing work­ers, are be­ing rec­og­nized and pro­moted in so­ci­ety. Crafts­man­ship spirit also pro­motes a healthy so­cial en­vi­ron­ment that en­cour­ages in­no­va­tion and the pur­suit of per­fec­tion, which is cru­cial to China’s trans­for­ma­tion from a big man­u­fac­tur­ing coun­try to a great man­u­fac­tur­ing power.

Be­sides na­tional strat­egy, this year’s buzz­words also re­flect a lot on so­cial trends.

“Pre­his­toric power”, a magic nat­u­ral power cre­at­ing the world, first ap­peared in a pop­u­lar Chi­nese fan­tasy TV drama The Jour­ney of Flower in 2015. But the word went vi­ral only af­ter 20-year-old Chi­nese swim­mer Fu Yuan­hui used it dur­ing a TV in­ter­view at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro to de­scribe how she has tried her best in the com­pe­ti­tion.

The pub­lic im­me­di­ately fell in love with Fu, not only be­cause she used a pop­u­lar in­ter­net buzz­word dur­ing a live TV in­ter­view that re­flected her live­li­ness and hu­mor, but also be­cause of her spirit of op­ti­mism and love for swim­ming. Fu said she was sat­is­fied with her­self and the re­sult, be­cause she had over­come many dif­fi­cul­ties to achieve her best tim­ing ever.

The term “pre­his­toric power” she used dur­ing the Rio Olympics, where Fu won the bronze medal in 50-me­ter back­stroke, rep­re­sents the spirit of the Olympic Games. Sports­man­ship is not only about the re­sults and medals that ath­letes achieve, but also about the spirit of try­ing their best and tran­scend­ing be­yond them­selves. Olympic medals are spe­cial, but the unimag­in­able ef­forts Fu and many other ath­letes like her make are laud­able and spe­cial too.

Chigua qun­zhong, or in­ter­net on­look­ers, refers to peo­ple stand­ing to­gether and eat­ing melons. They are big groups that fre­quently ap­pear on Weibo, China’s an­swer to Twit­ter, and their pop­u­lar­ity re­flects pub­lic opin­ion to a cer­tain ex­tent. Al­though they al­ways mock them­selves as “the peo­ple who are kept in the dark”, in re­al­ity they ex­press opin­ions on the in­ter­net by retweet­ing, writ­ing on­line com­ments or sim­ply press­ing the “like” but­ton.

The so-called in­ter­net on­look­ers’ views, to a cer­tain ex­tent, tells us what the so­cial en­vi­ron­ment is like. You can know what peo­ple love or hate the most and weigh the pros and cons through the over­whelm­ing opin­ions peo­ple ex­press on the in­ter­net.

More im­por­tantly, the in­ter­net on­look­ers ac­tu­ally form a “pub­lic opin­ion field”, which sparks pub­lic dis­cus­sions, and pub­lic su­per­vi­sion to some ex­tent. Al­though we can’t make a judg­ment on a cer­tain is­sue based only on ne­ti­zens’ opin­ions, we can­not deny many so­cial prob­lems raised by ne­ti­zens have gone vi­ral on­line and led to their so­lu­tion. The pop­u­lar­ity of in­ter­net on­look­ers ac­tu­ally shows an ever-in­creas­ing and im­prov­ing sense of pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion, which is con­ducive to build­ing a har­mo­nious so­ci­ety.

Th­ese buzz­words re­flect dif­fer­ent as­pects of China’s so­cial devel­op­ment in 2016. Hope­fully, more peo­ple will carry on the crafts­man­ship spirit with “pre­his­toric power”, as so­ci­ety con­tin­ues to evolve in 2017 with more in­ter­ac­tions among the “in­ter­net on­look­ers”.

The au­thor is a writer with China Daily. wangy­iqing@ chi­

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