Connect with us

China Arts & Entertainment

In The Digital Age, ‘Handwritten Weibo’ Have Become All The Rage

A new trend on Sina Weibo is showing the more artisanal side of Chinese netizens. In an age where everything is digital, ‘Handwritten Weibo’ have become all the rage.

Avatar

Published

on

READING TIME: 3 MINUTES, 1 SECOND

A new trend on Sina Weibo is showing the more artisanal side of Chinese netizens. In an age where everything is digital, ‘handwritten Weibo’ have become all the rage.

Handwritten Weibo have become a new trend on   Sina Weibo. Weibo (literally meaning ‘micro-blog’) now attracts a large number of netizens who post their status updates in written notes. With photos of little handwritten scribbles, under the hashtag of #手写微博# (“handwritten Weibo”), netizens post poems, wishes, stories or just simple signatures. In an age where everything is digitalized, handwritten characters come back to life in China’s online environment.

 

“The world is so big, I want to go out and see it.”

 

Last month, one handwritten note caused a huge buzz in China’s social media. Female teacher Gu Shaoqiang at Henan Experimental High School resigned from her job by writing a simple note that said: “The world is so big, I want to go out and see it”.

U10808P1T1D31717261F21DT20150414205411The resignation note that went viral, saying: “The world is so big, I want to go out and see it.”

A snapshot of the note went viral, and netizens praised the teacher for her courage, wanderlust and bravery, but most of all – for her nice handwriting.

Handwriting bestirs quite some emotions amongst Chinese. For many Chinese, mastering good handwriting is as important as one’s physical appearance. The long tradition of Chinese handwriting and its close ties to power and tradition is still shaping modern views of handwriting in China. People tend to comment on a bad hand, and being able to write beautifully is connected to their personhood and level of education. Practicing calligraphy or fountain-pen calligraphy is a very popular pastime, and bookshops all over China offer many kinds of practicing books with practice copy paper to improve handwriting.

There is no Chinese ‘alphabet’. Instead, every word is composed of one or multiple characters. Respected Chinese dictionaries list more than 85,000 characters. An estimated 7000 characters are needed for everyday use. But with the rise of new technology, Chinese penmanship is on the decline. With the help of software on computers, smartphones and tablets, Chinese users can type in the basic sound of words in Latin letters, whereafter the correct characters are picked from a list. Due to these new technologies, more and more people in China can recognize characters, but forget how to write them.

_76671688_screenshot2014-07-25at4.47.27pm

Because of China’s ‘character amnesia’, China’s Education Ministry wants children to spend more time learning how to write; younger students should have classes every week specifically in writing Chinese characters. Older students are offered optional lessons and after-school activities.

Whether or not the emergence of handwritten notes on Weibo is due to aspirations of becoming as inspiring and trending as Gu Shaoqiang, to show off nice handwriting or to ‘circumvent the netnanny’ [getting around China’s online censorship] is not clear, but people seem to have fun with it. Most notes are a little melancholic or poetic, and there are many little love notes or poems in handwriting.

This girl posted a sentence of a poem by the Russian Konstantin Balmont: “I entered this world to see the sun” (为了看看阳光,我来到这个世上):

11210246_10153130995782025_2071121893_n

Wishing everybody a goodnight, this user is posting her handwritten note saying: “As long as you are human, I wish you a life long without sorrow” (“除非黄土白骨我守你百岁无忧”):

call0

Under the hashtags ‘we live to die’ and ‘handwritten Weibo’, this user is posting her handwritten note saying: ‘Living with pain in this present moment is for the fairness of the future” (“现在活的那么痛苦,还不是为了以后的高漂亮”):
call1

As the Digital Age is blamed for the forgetfulness on how to write characters, the latest trends on written Weibo’s might offer hope to those fearing a decline in China’s literacy levels.

By Laura Vermeeren
Follow What’s on Weibo on Twitter

[box type=”bio”] About the author: Laura Vermeeren is a Dutch sinologist, currently doing her PhD in Calligraphy in Modern China at the University of Amsterdam.[/box]

©2014 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

About the author: Laura Vermeeren is a Dutch sinologist, currently doing her PhD in Calligraphy in Modern China at the University of Amsterdam.

Continue Reading
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    DorianTang

    May 21, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    “In The Digital Age, ‘Handwritten Weibo’ Have Become All The Rage” May 8, 2015, the last handwriting weibo should be “现在活的那么痛苦,还不是为了以后死得漂亮”, but not “现在活的那小痛苦,还不是为了以后的高漂亮” which doesn’t make any sense. 🙂

    Nice website!!! Goed bezig!! Veel succes!!

    Groetjes,
    Dorian

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

China Brands & Marketing

About Lipstick King’s Comeback and His ‘Mysterious’ Disappearance

After Li Jiaqi’s return to livestreaming, the ‘tank cake incident’ has become the elephant in the room on social media.

Manya Koetse

Published

on

Earlier this week, the return of China’s famous livestreamer Li Jiaqi, also known as the ‘Lipstick King’, became a hot topic on Chinese social media where his three-month ‘disappearance’ from the social commerce scene triggered online discussions.

He is known as Austin Li, Lipstick King, or Lipstick Brother, but most of all he is known as one of China’s most successful e-commerce livestreaming hosts.

After being offline for over 100 days, Li Jiaqi (李佳琦) finally came back and did a livestreaming session on September 20th, attracting over 60 million viewers and selling over $17 million in products.

The 30-year-old beauty influencer, a former L’Oreal beauty consultant, rose to fame in 2017 after he became a successful livestreamer focusing on lipstick and other beauty products.

Li broke several records during his live streaming career. In 2018, he broke the Guinness World Record for “the most lipstick applications in 30 seconds.” He once sold 15000 lipsticks in 5 minutes, and also managed to apply 380 different lipsticks in another seven-hour live stream session. Li made international headlines in 2021 when he sold $1.9 billion in goods during a 12-hour-long promotion livestream for Alibaba’s shopping festival.

But during a Taobao livestream on June 3rd of this year, something peculiar happened. After Li Jiaqi and his co-host introduced an interestingly shaped chocolate cake – which seemed to resemble a tank, – a male assistant in the back mentioned something about the sound of shooting coming from a tank (“坦克突突”).

Although Li Jiaqi and the others laughed about the comment, Li also seemed a bit unsure and the woman next to him then said: “Stay tuned for 23:00 to see if Li Jiaqi and I will still be in this position.”

The session then suddenly stopped, and at 23:38 that night Li wrote on Weibo that the channel was experiencing some “technical problems.”

But those “technical problems” lasted, and Li did not come back. His June 3rd post about the technical problems would be the last one on his Weibo account for the months to come.

The ‘cake tank incident’ (坦克蛋糕事件) occurred on the night before June 4, the 33rd anniversary of the violent crackdown of the Tiananmen student demonstrations. The iconic image of the so-called ‘tank man‘ blocking the tanks at Tiananmen has become world famous and is censored on China’s internet. The control of information flows is especially strict before and on June 4, making Li’s ‘tank cake incident’ all the more controversial.

But no official media nor the official Li Jiaqi accounts acknowledged the tank cake incident, and his absence remained unexplained. Meanwhile, there was a silent acknowledgment among netizens that the reason Li was not coming online anymore was related to the ‘tank cake incident.’

During Li’s long hiatus, fans flocked to his Weibo page where they left thousands of messages.

“I’m afraid people have been plotting against you,” many commenters wrote, suggesting that the cake was deliberately introduced by someone else during the livestream as a way to commemorate June 4.

Many fans also expressed their appreciation of Li, saying how watching his streams helped them cope with depression or cheered them up during hard times. “What would we do without you?” some wrote. Even after 80 days without Li Jiaqi’s livestreams, people still commented: “I am waiting for you every day.”

On September 21st, Li Jiaqi finally – and somewhat quietly – returned and some people said they were moved to see their lipstick hero return to the livestream scene.

Although many were overjoyed with Li’s return, it also triggered more conversations on why he had disappeared and what happened to him during the 3+ months of absence. “He talked about a sensitive topic,” one commenter said when a Weibo user asked about Li’s disappearance.

One self-media accountpublished a video titled “Li Jiaqi has returned.” The voiceover repeatedly asks why Li would have disappeared and even speculates about what might have caused it, without once mentioning the tank cake.

“This cracks me up,” one commenter wrote: “On the outside we all know what’s going on, on the inside there’s no information whatsoever.”

“It’s tacit mutual understanding,” some wrote. “It’s the elephant in the room,” others said.

Some people, however, did not care about discussing Li’s disappearance at all anymore and just expressed joy about seeing him again: “It’s like seeing a good friend after being apart for a long time.”

By Manya Koetse 

Elements in the featured image by @karishea and @kaffeebart.

 

Get the story behind the hashtag. Subscribe to What’s on Weibo here to receive our weekly newsletter and get access to our latest articles:

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.

©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Continue Reading

China Brands & Marketing

Chinese Actor and State Security Ambassador Li Yifeng Detained for Soliciting Prostitutes

Li Yifeng is not exactly living up to his role as spokesperson for the Ministry of State Security.

Manya Koetse

Published

on

Chinese actor and singer Li Yifeng (李易峰) went top trending on Chinese social media today. The actor, who previously starred as brand ambassador for the Ministry of State Security and played Mao Zedong in The Pioneer, has been detained for visiting prostitutes.

On January 10 of 2021, China celebrated its very first National Police Day to give full recognition to the police and national security staff for their efforts. For this special day, the Ministry of State Security launched a promo video starring Chinese actor Li Yifeng as the National Police Ambassador (#李易峰国安形象传片#). But today, it turned out that Li might not have been the best man for the job.

Chinese official media reported on September 11 that the 35-year-old actor has been detained for soliciting prostitutes. The hashtag “Li Yifeng Detained for Visiting Prostitutes” (#李易峰多次嫖娼被行政拘留#) received nearly two billion views on Weibo on Sunday; the hashtag “Beijing Police Informs that Li Yifeng Solicited Prostitutes” (#北京警方通报李易峰多次嫖娼#) received a staggering three billion views.

Shortly after the news was announced, various brands for which Li served as a brand ambassador announced that they were no longer working with the actor. Lukfook Jewellery, Mengniu Dairy, Honma Golf, Panerai, Prada, Sensodyne, King To Nin Jiom, and other brands declared that they had terminated their contract with Li (#多个品牌终止与李易峰合作#).

Li rose to fame in 2007 when he participated in the Chinese My Hero talent show. He later debuted as a singer and became a successful actor, starring in various Chinese TV dramas and films. Li became especially popular after starring in Swords of Legends and won an award for his role in the 2015 Chinese crime film Mr. Six (老炮儿). He would go on to win many more awards. One of his biggest roles was starring as Mao Zedong in the 2021 blockbuster The Pioneer (革命者).

According to Global Times, Li was previously announced as one of the celebrities attending the Mid-Autumn Festival Gala on CCTV on Saturday night, but his name was later deleted from the program.

“I had never expected my idol to collapse like this,” some disappointed fans wrote on Weibo.

In a ‘super topic’ community dedicated to the star, some fans would not give up on their idol yet: “Where is the proof? Besides the Beijing police statement, where is the actual proof?”

On Li Yifeng’s Weibo page, where the actor has over 60 million fans, nothing has been posted since September 5.

The Huading Awards, a famous entertainment award in China, announced that they cancelled Li Yifeng’s title of “Best Actor in China” (#华鼎奖取消李易峰中国最佳男主角等称号#).

“He lost all he had overnight,” some commenters wrote. “Celebrities generally get cancelled for two things: one is evading taxes, the other is sleeping around,” one popular comment said: “So in a nutshell, pay your taxes and don’t sleep around.*”

“Why do you even need to see a prostitute when you’re so good-looking?” others wondered.

One Weibo user (@大漠叔叔) wrote: “Have a good head on your shoulders and just remember one thing. It does not matter how good your reputation is, or how many titles you have, how much the audience loves you, how much the fans embrace you, how many awards you get, it won’t protect you. Stay clear-headed, merit does not outweigh faults! You can’t cross the moral bottomline nor cross the boundaries of the law. You can be canceled just like that.”

By Manya Koetse 

* This comment is loosely translated here, but the Chinese is quite funny because the words ‘taxes’ and ‘sleeping’ sound similar. “明星塌房的两个主要原因:一个睡,一个税。 简而言之:该税的税,不该睡的别睡.”

 

Get the story behind the hashtag. Subscribe to What’s on Weibo here to receive our weekly newsletter and get access to our latest articles:

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.

©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Contribute

Got any tips? Or want to become a contributor or intern at What's on Weibo? Email us as at info@whatsonweibo.com.
Advertisement

Become a member

Get the story behind the hashtag. Subscribe to What's on Weibo here to receive our weekly newsletter and get access to our latest articles.    

Support What’s on Weibo

What's on Weibo is 100% independent. Will you support us? Your support means we can remain independent and keep reporting on the latest China trends. Every contribution, however big or small, powers our website. Support us from as little as $1 here.

Popular Reads