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Mind the Gap Saturday: Forums East and West

Enter the Big Big Pig

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Mind the Gap Saturday is a feature every Saturday where Blognation China tells its readership the differences - the gap - in the tech, mobile, and enterprise worlds between China and the Western world.

The humble forums. Once a dial-up operation back in the days of BBS systems, these forums have now become an integral part of our lives. And forums, too, are taking China by storm. Find out more about forums in the People's Republic on this Mind the Gap Saturday.

The feeling of being without a (real) name

Face it: the sense of being a creative nobody or an anonymous somebody never felt better - than in China. With way out there names like Magic Beans, Heartless Man or even - get this - A String of Eights, your real identity will remain your personal secret for a lifetime - unless you reveal it.

This wasn't the case, though, after the Xiamen PX demonstrations (the demonstrations dealt with local residents upset that a new polluting factory was given the construction go-ahead). For quite some time, Xiamen BBS systems forced the user to use his or her real name, even if it was just to utter an innocent nihao.

In the rest of the nation, however, the Big Big Pig and the Flying Smoke (or is that Flying Cigarette?) were back in the black - as popular nicknames on forums.

The weirder and the more traditional a nickname gets, the better - and the more localized the participant is in the whole forum. Here are just 10 all-too-typical nicknames from Chinese forums that will make you simply go WHAT; yes, they're part of the Internet Culture with Chinese Characteristics:

  • Beware of the Panther
  • Don't Move
  • Fisherman by the River Farm
  • Big Fire Bear
  • City by the River
  • Chinese Old Man
  • Pig Climbing onto the Dinner Table
  • Seat Belt
  • Fish Swimming To and Fro
  • Double Standards

Image heaven/hell

Chinese forums tend to be on the lively side, in particular when it comes to images. Fed up of the nodding monkey of MSN (Windows Live Messenger) fame? Get ready for exploding monkeys, pictures of outright gorgeous young models, and impersonations of political leaders - some at massive resolutions or at vast image sizes.

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