The World of Chinese
FROZEN IN TIME
代的眼泪。T` sh# w6 t5ngni1n n)sh9n ne! K0x~ le, c9ngj~ng h5ngj! y#sh!, xi3nz3i qu- ch9ng le sh!d3i de y2nl-i.)”
Old things, though, can also become classics. 古早 (g^z2o), a term in southern Fujianese dialect meaning “classic” or “retro,” has become synonymous with vintage trends that make a comeback. Guzao makeup (古早美妆 g^z2o m0izhu`ng) is a fad for cosmetics made from natural products used in ancient times. A guzao series (古早剧 g^z2oj&) is a formerly popular TV drama worth revisiting, and guzaoflavored food (古早味食物 g^z2ow-i sh!w&) refers to traditional recipes that bring back customers’ childhood memories.
Yet some retro trends are really best left forgotten. The term “dark history (黑历史h8il#sh@)” refers to shameful past scandals and secrets that a person, usually a celebrity, wishes to
网是有记忆的。H&li1nw2ng sh# y6u j#y# de).” This phrase points out the reality that photos, posts, and comments can almost never be erased once published on the web, and are available to anyone with a quick search.
In some cases, screenshots from the internet serve the cause of justice. Last October, during an acrimonious divorce between Li Guoqing and Yu Yu, billionaire cofounders of the e-commerce platform Dangdang, text messages dating as far back as nine years ago backed up Yu’s accusations about her husband’s extramarital affairs.
The internet’s long memory also powers the “human flesh search engine,” vigilantes who seek personal information to use against a criminal or moral offender, and online trolls: “The internet never forgets. She faked her college degree; she hardly deserves to be a star (互联网是有记忆的，她伪造过学历，根本不配当明星。H&li1nw2ng sh# y6u j#y# de, t` w0iz3o guo xu9l#, g8nb0n b% p-i d`ng m!ngx~ng),” they might exclaim about a hated celebrity.
So while it’s fun to post a throwback photo on Weibo once in a while, be careful what you share with the internet. Or just get a Polaroid camera—they’re retro, making a huge comeback, and you can always destroy the evidence.