Slow Chinese 12
The development of science and technology has caused seismic changes to people’s way of life. Suddenly people are able to stay home and not engage in activity for sustained periods of time, to continuously go on just existing at home. This “zhai” lifestyle is what we are going to talk about today.
“Where have you been lately?” “Nowhere, I’ve just been zhai at home.” If an individual always stays home, engrossed in the internet or TV, we say they are “zhai”. This usage of “zhai” has been imported from Japan: In Japan those who love animations or game-playing spend the whole day “zhai-ing” at home, lost in their own dawdling in said cartoon or game. These people came to be called zhai men or zhai women. Later the concept arrived in China. As an adjective, zhai is in thoroughly accepted usage by China’s young. My understanding of zhai‘s meaning is that one is so bored that you can’t but not waste time online.
Indeed, many Chinese youngsters frequently zhai. Some students will sit in front of their computer and, before they know it, zhai the whole day away. Today, online social networks are very popular. Foreign websites include Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter. Due to the influence of language and habits in China, more people choose to use Chinese online social networks such as Renren wang, Kaixin wang etc. still more people use QQ and MSN chat. I have many friends, in particular female friends, who like to visit YouTube, Youku, and Tudou wang, because there is so much to check out. It doesn’t matter whether they are streamed TV variety shows, classic animations or the amusing uploaded videos of online friends, they all make it difficult for a person to get up once they have sat down in front of the computer screen. There are also people passionate about current affairs. They read a lot of news stories, fascinated by social issues. Even though these zhai men and zhai women won’t say a word out loud at home, the extent of their passion for communicating via the internet can in no way be held in contempt.
Why zhai? Students and office workers alike, once they start to work or study, have a lot of pressure, not to mention the competition people face due to China’s large population. So as soon as people finish work, they turn to amusements. Chinese people especially like novel things, and to a high degree the internet satisfies people’s curiosity. Another reason is the Chinese character. Compared to westerners, Chinese are relatively introverted. So they don’t participate in many social gatherings. People like to quietly get news online by themselves or share their feelings privately with friends.
Neil Armstrong (firstname.lastname@example.org)