Living up the I-life
Updated: 2012-02-17 07:48
By Liz Tung (董怡) (China Daily)
A blogger named Datou ppb published a microblog on an anecdote about actor Tony Leung (above) she had read in the Hong Kong media, creating a "life font". [Provided to China Daily]
The meme that launched more than 200,000 posts illustrates influence of the internet
In our upcoming issue, we write about some of the Internet "fonts" (体, tí), also known as verbal memes, that have gone viral in the last year or so in China. We thought we had them all - and then last month, a brand new one popped up that we could not resist.
To wit, it involves: a) Hong Kong actor Tony Leung (梁朝伟), b) extravagant, Gatsby-like spending and c) netizens' envy of the above.
To give you some background, Chinese Internet fonts basically function as a glorified form of Mad Libs - quotes that are either hilarious or asinine (or both) get passed around weibo (China's Twitter-like microblog service) as fill-in-the-blanks, with netizens plugging in their own increasingly absurd answers.
Tony Leung's, which would come to be known as the "life font" (生活体, shēnghuótí), started on Jan 31, when a blogger named Datou ppb (大头ppb) published a microblog about an anecdote she had read in the Hong Kong media. She writes:
(I saw a news report that said sometimes when Tony Leung has nothing to do and is feeling bored, he will go to the airport around noon and just get on whatever plane he is able to catch. For example, he will fly to London, and spend an afternoon alone squatting in a park, silently feeding the pigeons. Then that night, he will fly back to Hong Kong, as if nothing happened. And I am suddenly thinking - that is called living!)
Datou's post spread like wildfire across the Internet, with some netizens expressing envy and others questioning the feasibility of flying to and from London in a single afternoon.
And then there was another, more cheeky contingent, that started Mad Libbing the post like crazy. Within a few days, the meme had exploded across the Internet, with more than 230,000 mentions and 30,000 forwards.
The template goes as follows:
(Sometimes, when [subject] has nothing to do and is feeling bored, around noon [pronoun] will go to [place], and catch whatever [method of transportation / destination]. For example, [absurd place], and spend an afternoon alone, silently [verb]ing. Then that night, [pronoun] will go back to [original place], as if nothing happened. And I suddenly think - that is called living.)
Here are some examples to get you started:
The traffic jam version (堵车版)
(Sometimes when I have nothing to do and am feeling bored, around noon I will go drive on Beijing's ring roads, and whatever ring roads I get on I will just drive around. For example, I will get on Third Ring Road, and spend an afternoon alone stuck in traffic there, inching along and silently staring at the license plate of the car in front of me. Then that night I will return home as if nothing happened. And I will suddenly think - that is called living.)
The time traveling version (穿越版)
(Sometimes when I have nothing to do and am feeling bored, around noon I will flip through the list of dynasties, and whichever one my finger lands on, I will time-travel to. For example, I will travel to the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), and spend an afternoon alone, silently sitting among the bubbles of a jade-inlaid hot spring bath. Then that night I will time travel back as if nothing happened. And I will suddenly think - that is called living.)
Someone even posted a job ad that starts off using the font:
(When I am bored, sometimes I will just go to the airport and get on whatever airplane I find. For instance, I will fly to Hengdian, and spend an afternoon alone at the Ming and Qing palaces, silently watching a movie star filming. Then that night I will fly back to Beijing as if nothing happened. And suddenly I will think - this is a real job.)
Though Leung has already kind-of denied the quote (in a December interview, he amended: "It is not to that extent, but sometimes I really do suddenly get the inspiration to fly someplace. For example, I will go to New York for a few days or a week just to rest and be someplace where people don't know me."), the story had already taken on a life of its own.
And while a number of netizens have enjoyed satirizing the actor's rather inexcusable extravagance, others have greeted it with a measured wryness that arguably captures more reality than the sillier spoofs.
(We should all try to spend our lives so pleasantly.)
(It turns out I never "lived".)
(Alas, the days are passing us all by.)
(Dears, when you read this did you suddenly feel like releasing a flood of tears? Man, that is called living.)
Courtesy of The World of Chinese, www.theworldofchinese.com