ARTS / CULTURE & LEISURE
Young Taiwan people’s wide use of network buzzwords from the Chinese mainland reflects inexorable cultural communication
Published: Apr 18, 2021 09:15 PM
Some hosts of the program attend the press conference in Beijing. Photo: Courtesy of Mango TV

Some hosts of the program attend the press conference of the Who’s the Murderer in Beijing. File Photo: Courtesy of Mango TV


  
The influence of Chinese mainland pop culture on young Taiwan people has been found enlarging in a news outlet on the island of Taiwan, and one major piece of evidence of this influence is the widespread use of network buzzwords from the mainland in young people’s daily lives.
 
“This is very normal. The culture of the Chinese mainland has developed and is more attractive to young people in the region speaking Chinese, who have similar taste. The communication cannot be stopped,” Zhang Yiwu, professor of Peking University, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Taiwan media READr collected more than 3 million posts from an online forum popular among college students in Taiwan and ranked all buzzwords from the Chinese mainland according to frequency of use.

The top 15 most frequently used buzzwords in 2020 originally surged in usage between 2015 and 2016, and continued to maintain a high usage rate in subsequent years. And these buzzwords from the mainland mostly appear in the forum’s BL (boy’s love), entertainer and TV episode sections. 

The most frequently used word of 2020 was guimi (a woman’s best friend), which was used more than 6,000 times on the forum in 2020, while from 2015 to 2019 it was used more than 3,000 times.

A teacher with 10 years of work experience said that he often hears students using the 25 top buzzwords on the ranking.

READr also interviewed local young people including high-school students and undergraduates as well as school teachers and found that the pop culture of the Chinese mainland has become strong on the island.

A 16-year-old student told READr that she enjoys watching a reality show called Who’s the Murderer airing on Hunan TV station and Mongo TV, using WeChat to talk to friends and that her favorite mobile game is Honor of Kings produced by Tencent.

Another college student, 20, also said that the mobile apps she uses most often are WeChat, Sina Weibo and Tencent to keep a watchful eye on her idols in the Chinese mainland.

A teacher surnamed Cai surveyed his 105 students on what TV and online shows they love watching. The results revealed that one-third of these students watch dramas and variety shows produced in the mainland.

Some experts in the island considered the popularity of these buzzwords and TV shows behind them as “cultural infiltration” to the island.

“Culture of both sides have the same origin and both are Chinese culture, how could they call it as ‘infiltration’?” Wang Yunting (TaimeiPKGIRL), a vlogger from Taiwan having over 1.3 million followers on Douyin, told the Global Times.

Wang noted that only those who are extremely unconfident and backward but are afraid of being known by others will be fearful of cultural exchanges.

Taiwan’s TV dramas and pop music once swept the mainland early on in the 21st century. Many young people in their 30s and 20s remember the Taiwan pop culture wave.

“I remember being unable to wait to watch the TV drama It Started with a Kiss after school while in junior high school. The lead character Jiang Zhishu was the most handsome guy in my eyes at that time,” Li Qi, 28, who was born in North China’s Shanxi Province, told the Global Times on Sunday.

She recalled that in her school days before university, almost everyone around her could sing songs by Taiwan singers such as Jay Chou and Jolin Tsai.

“Taiwan’s pop culture boomed in the Chinese mainland for a time and we accepted it with an open and hailing attitude, and then it declined. Now it is the mainland pop culture’s turn to influence Taiwan’s young people. This is an unstoppable cultural communication,” Li said.

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