STREET TALK

街头俚语

The World of Chinese - - Contents - BY TAN YUNFEI (谭云飞

Wu Zhengqiang walked into a sa­lon in Hangzhou with a free fa­cial care of­fer—and walked out with a bill for 40,000 RMB (5,851 USD), after be­ing charged var­i­ous add-on ser­vices. A video of his dis­mayed pout cre­ated a meme that would gar­ner over 42 mil­lion views, 70,000 for­wards, and com­ments on Weibo.

When Wu re­al­ized that he’d be­come known all over the web as 发际线男孩 (“hair­line boy”), he claimed that he had no in­ten­tion of “choos­ing the path of an ‘in­ter­net celebrity,’” but sim­ply wanted jus­tice. Soon, how­ever, peo­ple dis­cov­ered Wu’s ac­count on Weibo and video plat­form Douyin, and even his ap­pear­ance in sev­eral ad­ver­tise­ments. Overnight, Wu be­came the lat­est (un­wit­ting) celebrity to be dubbed 真香 (“re­ally de­li­cious,” zh8n xi`ng), a term mock­ing hyp­ocrites and peo­ple who break their prom­ises.

Its ori­gin can be traced back to a 2014 in­ci­dent on Hu­nan TV re­al­ity show X-change, in which ur­ban and ru­ral con­tes­tants briefly swapped lives. One pam­pered ur­ban­ite, Wang Jingze, re­fused to eat meals served to him in the vil­lage, vow­ing, “I, Wang Jingze, would rather die than touch your food!” Cut to the next scene, and Wang is filmed heartily tuck­ing in, ex­claim­ing, “So de­li­cious!” Amused ne­ti­zens made the con­trast­ing scenes into a meme to roast those who fail to keep their word:

A: I don’t un­der­stand why he is so pop­u­lar. All he has are his looks. W6 b& m!ng­bai w-i sh9nme t` n3me hu6, t` ji&shi zh2ng de h1i x!ng. 我不明白为什么他那么火,他就是长得还行。 A: (Sec­onds later) Wow, he sings and dances so well! W`, t` ch3ngg8、ti3ow^ d4u h0n b3ng!哇,他唱歌、跳舞都很棒!

B: Hypocrisy alert! zh8n xi`ng [email protected]­g3o! 真香警告! It can also serve as self-mock­ery:

I thought I would never watch that trashy show, but now I’m ad­dicted. All I can say is: “so de­li­cious!” W6 [email protected] [email protected]@ ju9du# b%hu# k3n n3 b& l`j~ di3nsh#j&, d3nsh# xi3nz3i w6 [email protected]~ng k3n [email protected] le. W6 [email protected] shu4: “Zh8n xi`ng!”我以为自己绝对不会看那部垃圾电视剧,但是现在我已经看上瘾了。我只能说:“真香!”

For peo­ple who re­peat­edly lie, pre­tend, or break prom­ises, an­other ex­pres­sion to use when they’re caught in the act is 打脸( d2 li2n, “slap in the face”), which can be more em­bar­rass­ing than a lit­eral slap. For ex­am­ple, ac­tor Jin Dong, who likes to cul­ti­vate a false air of in­tel­lec­tu­al­ism, once told me­dia that he was read­ing a book by a “No­bel Math Lau­re­ate.” Since there is no such award, ne­ti­zens com­mented:

He pre­tends to be so knowl­edge­able. What a slap in the face. T` b& d6ng zhu`ng d6ng, zh- xi3 b-i d2 li2n le ba. 他不懂装懂,这下被打脸了吧。

Be­ing called out for hypocrisy can be a blow to one’s face (pres­tige), as well as a metaphor­i­cal slap, and ne­ti­zens of­ten like to pile on the hu­mil­i­a­tion with ono­matopoeia— the sound of a cheek be­ing slapped, papa (啪啪), can be used in­stead of, or in ad­di­tion to 打脸 for em­pha­sis, or sim­ply added hu­mor:

A: I think money is almighty and the rich can have any­thing. W6 r-nw9i qi1n sh# w3n­n9ng de, y6uqi1n­r9n m9i sh9nme d9 bu d3o de. 我认为钱是万能的,有钱人没什么得不到的。 B: Well here’s a slap in your face: Li Ka-shing is the rich­est man in Asia, but he still doesn’t have my Wechat num­ber! M2sh3ng ji& r3ng [email protected] p`p` d2 li2n: [email protected] Ji`ch9ng sh# Y3zh4u sh6uf&, d3n zh#j~n d4u m9iy6u d9d3o w6 de w8ix#n!马上就让你啪啪打脸:李嘉诚是亚洲首富,但至今都没有得到我的微信!

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