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China Memes & Viral

‘Auntie Goose Legs’ Goes Viral after Becoming Sensation in Beijing’s Student Scene

She has become all the rage in Beijing’s student district, but Auntie Goose Legs just wants to run her roasted goose leg stall in peace.

Manya Koetse

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A Beijing food vendor, affectionately known as ‘Auntie Goose Legs,’ has become a viral sensation after becoming super popular among the city’s student community. However, this beloved ‘auntie’ has caused quite a commotion recently after relocating her stall, triggering debates among local students over which university she truly ‘belongs’ to.

This winter, students at Peking University, Tsinghua University, and Renmin University are all craving hot, roasted goose legs. This snack has gained quite the reputation in the Beijing’s Haidian District, where ‘Auntie Goose Legs’ has been selling her food near the dorms and entrances of the various local universities.

The food vendor, who is known for wearing a pink helmet, initially sold her goose legs near the entrances of Peking University and Renmin University, not too far from Haidian South Street. All went well for years. She would let students know when she would be setting up her stall near what entrance, and the neighbourhood kids could come and enjoy her roasted goose legs.

Although her business was doing well, Auntie Goose Legs still found it necessary to remind students she was coming and promoted her goose legs through WeChat to ensure sufficient sales.

Then, one day, Auntie made a sudden decision to relocate further north, near the entrance of Tsinghua University. This move stirred conversations in many Beijing students’ WeChat groups.

While the Peking University student community mourned the loss of convenient access to their beloved goose legs, the Tsinghua crowd welcomed Auntie with enthusiasm. Besides eagerly buying her goose legs, they went a step further by assisting her in professionalizing her business, setting up special Goose Legs WeChat groups, and implementing online queuing and payment systems.

Popular meme showing a neglected ‘Beida’ (Peking University) on the left, while mother ‘Auntie Goose Leg’ is playing with Tsinghua.

As reported by WeChat account Meishaonv023 (美少女挖掘机), the students at Peking University pleaded for the return of their beloved Auntie. Meanwhile, concerns arose among Tsinghua students, as the Auntie’s skyrocketing popularity made it increasingly challenging to secure their goose leg snacks. Perhaps their campaign to promote her business had become a little bit too successful?

Long lines for auntie’s goose legs.

Where is Auntie Goose Legs?

According to Meishaonv023, Auntie Goose Legs has become so famous locally that among Beijing’s university students and in Wudaokou circles (Wudaokou is the famous student hub in Beijing’s Haidian), there are now only two groups: those who have tasted her goose legs and those who have not.

Roasted goose, with is deep flavor and golden skin, is a dish that is commonly enjoyed in various international cuisines, especially during winter seasons. According to some people who have tasted the Beijing food vendor’s goose legs, they are the perfect mix of juicy and tender, sweet and spicy.

Amidst the hype surrounding the goose leg food stall, Auntie decided to raise her prices by 1 yuan, increasing from 15 yuan ($2.12) per goose leg to 16 yuan ($2.26). Unexpectedly, some people also decided to make some extra money by becoming ‘Goose Leg scalpers’ and adding another 2 yuan to the price of one goose leg when reselling it to other students.

Auntie Goose Legs, wearing her pink helmet, surrounded by students.

And there were more developments in the Auntie Goose Legs saga. When she decided to announce that she would no longer set up her stall at Tsinghua on Sundays, the students argued that she then should not set up her stall anywhere else on that day, either. If they can’t have goose legs on Sundays, then the Peking Uni students certainly shouldn’t have goose legs on Sunday either?

Then, the canteen manager at Renmin University suddenly made a surprising move on November 27 and introduced roasted goose legs in the university’s canteen, selling them for just 15 yuan. Some people, however, argued that they lacked the ‘soul’ of Auntie’s food. Meanwhile, the people at the nearby Forestry University also showed their interest in joining the Goose Leg battlefield.

One of the reasons why this story has blown up on Chinese social media is because the universities involved are among the most prestigious of the entire country. It strikes people as amusing that instead of focusing on applied mathematical problems, these top academics are actually engaged in bickering over roasted goose legs.

As the success of her business blew up, Auntie Goose Legs, seemingly overwhelmed, announced that she was going to take a short break from her food stall on November 28, writing: “It’s all too messy now.” One day later, she seemed emotional in a Douyin video, in which she said she felt too much pressure because of how the situation was unfolding, and that she just wanted to sell her goose legs in peace (“只想平平安安做烧烤”).

Auntie Goose Legs said she was overwhelmed in a video posted on November 29.

Her story shares some resemblance to that of the duck head seller in Zibo (鸭头, duck head, is a Chinese snack). Earlier this year, when the Shandong town of Zibo became all the rage, a local duck head seller became an online sensation after a video showing how a female tourist touched his muscles went viral overnight. What do you do when you suddenly see 180,000 visitors a day passing by your small duck’s head shop?

The duck head seller in Zibo.

Although his hit status initially boosted sales, the crowds of people coming to his shop soon became so overwhelming that he could no longer run his business as usual. As some even started harassing and physically assaulting him, he could no longer do his work and had to temporarily close his shop. In a live stream, he tearfully talked about how his business, ironically, was facing difficulties due to his viral success.

“It’s not always good to go viral like this,” one Weibo commenter wrote about Auntie Goose Legs. “If she wants some peace, just let her.” While many share the sentiment, suggesting that the food vendor deserves a break after becoming a local sensation, others just want to try out her food. One thing is certain; goose legs are the trending snack for this Beijing winter.

By Manya Koetse, with contributions by Miranda Barnes

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©2023 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the founder and editor-in-chief of whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer, public speaker, and researcher (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends, digital developments, and new media in an ever-changing China, with a focus on Chinese society, pop culture, and gender issues. She shares her love for hotpot on hotpotambassador.com. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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China Memes & Viral

“Bye Bye Biden”: Biden’s Many Nicknames in Chinese

Throughout the years, Biden has received many nicknames on Chinese social media.

Manya Koetse

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Our Weibo phrase of the week is Bye Bye Biden (bài bài Bàidēng 拜拜拜登). As news of Biden dropping out of the presidential race went viral on Weibo early Monday local time, it’s time to reflect on some of the popular nicknames and phrases given to US President Joe Biden on Chinese social media.

 
🔹 Biden in Chinese: Bàidēng 拜登

Biden in Chinese is generally written pronounced and written as Bàidēng 拜登. Although the character 拜 (bài) means “to pay respect, to worship” and 登 (dēng) means “to ascend, to climb,” they’re used here primarily for their phonetic similarity. The characters chosen are neutral to avoid any negative implications in the official translation of Biden’s name.

Why are non-Chinese names translated into Chinese at all? With English and Chinese being vastly different languages with entirely different phonetics and scripts, most Chinese people find it difficult to pronounce a foreign name written in English. Writing foreign names in Chinese not only standardizes them but also makes pronunciation and memorization easier for Chinese speakers.

 
🔹 Bye Biden: Bài Bài Bàidēng 拜拜拜登

Because Biden is Bàidēng, and the Chinese for ‘bye bye’ is written as bài bài 拜拜, some netizens quickly created the wordplay “bài bài Bàidēng” 拜拜拜登 (“bye bye Biden”) upon hearing that Biden would not seek reelection. Try saying it out loud—it almost sounds like you’re stammering.

 
🔹 Old Joe: Lǎo Dēng Dēng 拜拜拜登

Another common farewell greeting to Biden seen online is “bài bài lǎo dēng dēng” 拜拜老登登, which sounds cute due to the repetition of sounds.

“Old Biden” or “lǎo dēng dēng” 老登登 is a common online nickname for Biden in Chinese. The reduplication of the 登 (dēng) makes it sound playful and affectionate, while the “old” prefix is commonly used when referring to someone older. It’s similar to calling someone “Old Joe” in English.

 
🔹 Biden Variations: 拜灯, 白等, 败蹬

Let’s look at some other ways Biden is nicknamed online:

Besides the official way of writing Biden with the 拜登 Bàidēng characters, there are also other variations:

拜灯: bài dēng
白等: bái děng
败蹬: bài dèng

These alternative ways of writing Biden’s name are not neutral. Although the first variation is not necessarily negative (using the formal Biden 拜 bài character but with ‘Light’ 灯 dēng instead of the other 登 ‘dēng’), the other two variations are usually used in more negative contexts.

In 白等 (bái děng), the first character 白 (bái) means “white,” which can evoke associations with old age due to white hair (白发). The character 等 (děng) means “to wait,” and the combination can imply being old and sluggish.

败蹬 (bài dèng) is typically used by netizens to reflect negative sentiments towards the American president. The characters separately mean 败 (bài): “to be defeated,” “to fail,” and 蹬 (dèng): “to step on,” “to kick.” This would never be used by official media and is also often used by netizens to circumvent censorship around a Biden-related topic.

 
🔹 Revive the Country Biden: Bài Zhènhuá 拜振华

Then there is 拜振华 Bài Zhènhuá: revive the country Biden

In recent years, Biden has come to be referred to with the Chinese nickname “Revive the Country Biden,” also translatable as ‘Thriving China Biden’. This nickname has circulated online since 2020 and matches one previously given to former President Trump, namely “Build the Country Trump” (Chuān Jiànguó 川建国).

The idea behind these humorous monikers is that both Trump and Biden are seen as benefitting China by doing a poor job in running the United States and dealing with China.

 
🔹 Sleepy King: Shuì wáng 睡王

Shuì wáng 睡王, Sleepy King, is another common nickname, similar to the English “Sleepy Joe.” During and after the 2020 American presidential elections, there were numerous discussions on Chinese social media about ‘Trump versus Biden.’ Many saw it as a contest between the ‘King of Knowing’ (懂王) and the ‘Sleepy King’ (睡王).

These nicknames were attributed to Trump, who frequently boasted about his unparalleled understanding of various matters, and Biden, who gained notoriety for being older and tired. Viral videos, some manipulated, showed him nodding off or seemingly disoriented. The name ‘Sleepy King’ then stuck.

 
🔹 Grandpa Biden: Bài Yéyé 拜爷爷

Throughout the years, Biden has also been nicknamed Bài yéyé 拜爷爷, “Grandpa Biden.” This is usually more affectionate, though it emphasizes his age—Trump is not much younger than Biden and is not nicknamed ‘Grandpa Trump.’

Another similar nickname is lǎo bái 老白, “Old White,” referring to Biden’s age and white hair. 白 (bái, white) can also be a surname in Chinese. This nickname makes it seem like Biden is an old, familiar friend.

On Weibo, many speculate that American Vice President Kamala Harris will be the new candidate for the Democrats, especially since she’s been endorsed by Biden. Many have little confidence that she can compete against Trump. Her Chinese name is Kǎmǎlā Hālǐsī 卡玛拉·哈里斯, commonly referred to as ‘Harris’ (Hālǐsī).

In light of the latest developments, some netizens jokingly write: “Bye bye Biden, Ha ha ha, Harris.” (Bài bài, Bàidēng. Hā hā hā, Hālǐsī 拜拜,拜登。 哈哈哈,哈里斯). With a new Democratic candidate entering the presidential race, we can expect a fresh batch of creative nicknames to join the mix on Chinese social media.

Want to read more? Also read: Why Trump has Two Different Names in Chinese.

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2024 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Memes & Viral

Enjoying the ‘Sea’ in Beijing’s Ditan Park

This “seaview” spot in Beijing’s Ditan Park has become a new ‘check-in spot’ among Chinese Xiaohongshu users and influencers.

Manya Koetse

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“‘The sea in Ditan Park’ is a perfect example of how Xiaohongshu netizens use their imagination to change the world,” a recent viral post on Weibo said (“地坛的海”完全可以入选《红薯人用想象力颠覆世界》的案例合集了”).

The post included screenshots of the Xiaohongshu app where users share their snaps of the supposed seaview in Beijing’s Ditan Park (地坛公园).

Ditan, the Temple of Earth Park, is one of the city’s biggest public parks with tree-lined paths and green gardens in Beijing, not too far from the Lama Temple in Dongcheng District, within the Second Ring Road.

On lifestyle and social media platform Xiaohongshu, users have recently been sharing tips on where and how to get the best seaview in the park, finding a moment of tranquility in the hustle and bustle of Beijing city life.

Post on Xiaohongshu to get the seaview in Ditan Park.

But there is something peculiar about this trend. There is no sea in Ditan Park, nor anywhere else in Beijing, for that matter, as the city is located inland.

The ‘seaview’ trend comes from the view of one of the park’s stone walls. In the late afternoon, somewhere around 16pm, when the sun is not too bright, the light creates an optical illusion from a certain viewpoint in the park, making the wall behind the bench look like water.

You do have to capture the right light at the right moment, or else the effect is non-existent.

Some photos taken at other times of the day clearly show the brick wall, which actually doesn’t look like a sea at all.

Although the ‘seaview in Ditan’ trend is popular among many Xiaohongshu users and influencers who flock to the spot to get that perfect picture, there are also some social media commenters who criticize the trend of netizens always looking for the next “check-in spot” (打卡点).

There are also other spots popular on social media that look like impressive areas but are actually just optical illusions. Here are some examples:

One Weibo user suggested that this trend is actually not about people appreciating the beauty around them, but more about chasing the next social media hype.

The Ditan seaview trend is not entirely new. In May of this year, Beijing government already published a post about the “sea” in Ditan becoming more popular among social media users who especially came to the park for the special spot.

The Beijing Tourism Bureau previously referred to the spot as “the sea at Ditan Park that even Shi Tiesheng didn’t discover” (#在地坛拍到了史铁生都没发现的海#).

Shi Tiesheng (1951–2010) is a famous Chinese author from Beijing whose most well-known work, “Me and Ditan,” reflects on his experiences and contemplations in Ditan Park. At the age of 21, Shi Tiesheng suffered a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Ditan Park became a place for him to ponder life, time, and nature. Despite the author’s deep connection with the park, he never described seeing a “sea” in the walls.

Shi Tiesheng in Ditan Park.

If you are visiting Ditan Park and would like to check out the ‘sea’ yourself in the late afternoon, there are guides on Xiaohongshu explaining the route to the viewpoint. But it should not be too difficult to find this summer—just follow the crowds.

By Manya Koetse and Ruixin Zhang

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2024 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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