Found in translation episode 8
Do you remember in ancient times when we took pictures just to catch elusive, precious moments? And the anticipation before picking them up from the photo studio? Next there was buying the albums, segregating the photos and finally inviting family and friends over to admire the highlights of the vacation in Greece. It never even occurred to us to share our memories with hundreds of people.
Those times are long gone, of course. The newest generations will be flabbergasted to hear about them. With the proliferation of friend-making platforms like My Space, Facebook and Wechat, the motivation for taking photos has undergone a revolution. Plus smartphones contribute a great deal as well.
Let’s face the truth now – ever since social media took over, we don’t take pictures just for the sake of remembering our best moments any more. We do it for our own ego. We want to make sure that everyone around knows that we travel to the most exotic destinations, eat fancy food and have a super exciting life in general. Every new ‘like’ undeniably feeds our ego’s needs. However there are some social media users who take it to another level. Those who will not go through the day without posting a new LV trash can in their bathroom or a new pink Ferrari standing right next to the sparkling purple Maserati in an LV wallpapered garage. Discerning Chinese netizens named this phenomenon 拉仇恨lā chóu hèn. 拉” (lā) means ‘pull’ and 仇恨” (chóu hèn) translates into hatred. All these 3 characters together mean ‘courting envy’. Never holding back from inundating your social media audiences with the evidence of your luxurious life. There is actually a Chinese name for this behavior – shài 晒 and means ‘show’. When your Chinese friends are posting another snapshot of their 5,000 RMB dinner and you feel frustrated because you are tucking in the 10 RMB instant noodles , you can ask them ‘你是在拉仇恨吗’ – nǐ shì zài lā chóu hèn ma ? Are you trying to make me envious?
Although I am not a tǔ háo …yet, I admit I like to post a lot of pictures. Same as I loved showing my old school albums to all our guests when I was a kid. Instead of sharing shots of rainbow color BMW scooter with Hello Kitty, I just post things that make me happy or stuff that I think will bring a smile to my audience. The other day, for example , I saw two elderly men standing next to my house’s fence and working on the watercolor depictions of my beautiful street. I took a picture of this scene and was about to post it on wechat. But then I reminded myself how my Chinese teacher and a friend always teases me that I go on and on about how I am in love with the French concession and my street in particular ( although she is the one who made it happen ). That’s true, I am lucky and extremely happy about it, but I really don’t say it to lā chóu hèn others.
But I still wanted to share it with some bigger audience! So since Mirror doesn’t have a Facebook account , I will shài there! This way will avoid her jabs about my raves at Hunan road and still my ego will be properly fed.
My name is Gosia and I come from Poland. I set up my blog - Shanghai City Girl - out of my passion for writing,Chinese language and Shanghai itself.My goal is to explain Chinese slang and peculiar local culture, give tips about health and saving money in this overwhelming city!
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