By Ning Shung, Yang Mingzhuo
When chatting with Chinese net friends, you may get confused by some strings of numbers. The most popular ones are 666 and 233, and they can be extended into any longer form. In Christianity, the number 666 is purportedly to invoke Satan. While in Chinese culture, 6 is a lucky number connected with “smooth”, expressing the wish that everything goes well. There is also a set phrase in Chinese called “六六大顺”(“liuliudashun”, “六” is 6 in Chinese character, “顺” means fulfilling what you want without a hitch. The whole phrase delivers the wish of everything going smoothly.) The number 666(or a longer string) first prevails among online game players, used to praise their teammates or themselves for excellent performance in game. Then it quickly gains popularity among young Chinese netizens as an expression of “well done” or “Fabulous”. While 233 stands for laughing, it comes from the 233rd emoji of a Chinese networking platform called mop, meaning laugh out loud.
Chinese netizens are also fond of creating a relaxed and joyful conversation by using a mix of emoticons, including emojis, kaomojis and memes. Besides those classical emoticons, Chinese popular social networking platforms, such as Wechat, QQ, and weibo offer users a wide choice of new emoticons, such as cute animals, stars, funny faces and so on. Young people favors memes as well, except for global “stars” like dodge, they also love sending some unique local-made memes, such as the panda with a spoofed face. Sometimes they even chat with each other online only with memes, which is jokingly called “斗图”(doutu, literally means “fighting” with each other by memes.) As a kind of memes exchange, it provides “fighters” lots of fun.
Laughing, weeping, ranging, emoticons expresses users’ moods with their “actions”, even feelings beyond description can be perfectly conveyed. With them, we can even stride over the language gap between us and enjoy the pleasure of chatting online.