Sunday, October 21, 2007

I've Been Rivercrabbed!

Well, not yet, fortunately.

Homonyms are very important in China. They show up in superstitions, for example; you don't give someone four gifts because four sounds like death in Chinese; nor do you give a clock, because that sounds like "sending someone to the end," which I've heard can describe attending a funeral.

Today's youth, what with their crazy music and their websites, use homonyms to avoid the net-nanny. Referencing chairman Hu's "harmonious society" program, bloggers have begun to refer to being censored as being harmonized. Of course, if you're going to censor the internet, you're not going to let people say whatever they want about it, or even acknowledge that it's happening; so now the word "harmony" (he xie) is a commonly blocked word on large Chinese blogging sites.

But those naughty netizens, they've found a way around it. Instead, they talk about river crab, which is only one tone different from harmony, and apparently the censors are still none the wiser. I guess you could call it teenage rebellion with Chinese characteristics.

No comments: