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Mind the Gap Saturday: Forums East and West

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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.

We continue our journey through the Chinese forum world, diving deep this time into a few phrases you might encounter on your travels on Chinese forums. Meet the netizens in person and sample great food at fubai events. Mind the majias and out-of-hand ZTs. And yes, we hope to make this a non-orz post.

Which floor are you on?

If you're asked which floor you're on in a forum on the Chinese internet, you'd be more than confused - especially if this is your first visit.

Fear not: most Chinese forums work like a skyscraper - albeit inverted (floors with higher numbers appearing below the first floor). The first floor is always the original post. The first reply (that's post number two) is always floor two. You can pretty much tell which post a fellow "topic resident" is talking about by taking a look at the post number, or adding one to the "floor-in-question" in terms of the reply.

So if you're told to check out the post "on the ninth floor", this would be the ninth message in the thread, or the eighth reply to the original post.

Floors are symbolised by the Chinese characters lou (楼) or ceng (层). They sometimes use it with the prefix di (第), thus making floor five wu lou (5 楼) or di wu ceng (第 5 层).

The first poster, by the way, is always the initiator of the post - and is known as the LZ, or lou zhu (楼主), as in the "owner of the floors". If you see LS (lou shang or "楼上" in characters), that refers to the post immediately before this present post (with the LS remark).

Culinary corruption: The essence of fubai

China is one big nation for delicacies - and the internet world in the PRC is absolutely cooking with great food. We refer, of course, to the world of fubai (腐败), or corruption - a la cuisine.

So how do we link cuisine to corruption? Word has it that those in power more often than not spend entire Everest-loads of cash just on food instead of doing something more decent or job-related. Since this appears to be corrupt practise, the netizenry has equated official corruption to what they do best - munching away on the food.

If you're witness to a post regarding a possible fubai, more often than not, it's an invite to a social - either a KTV-a-thon, an outing, or indeed - a food bash. Just ding away with your name and contact details, find out where the fubai's taking place, and socialise with the forum people - the real people. Fubais often can be social and very rewarding for those part of the event, but be sure to RSVP ahead of time.

Fubais are relatively popular among the Chinese internet world - and that's no surprise to a nation immersed in the best food on the planet.

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