WHO knew China was tribal? The diversification of Chinese society has seen a flowering of a new vocabulary. Perhaps most fascinating has been the division of people into tribes (zu in Mandarin). The travails of the yi zu, or ant tribe, have been well-chronicled—recent graduates from outside the main cities who move to urban areas, live cheaply and work hard, often in low-paid jobs. Perhaps less well-known are the ken lao zu, the bite-the-old tribe, those between 25 and 35 who are underemployed or out of work, still at home and sponging off mum and dad.
Many of the tribes, inevitably, are made up of people looking for love. There is the jia wan zu, the marry-the-bowl tribe. These are young women searching for that most stable of husbands, the one who holds a government job (still known as the iron rice bowl). The shan hun zu, or lightning-marriage tribe, marry fast and sometimes divorce faster. They should not be confused with the yin hun zu, the hidden-marriage tribe. These are women in their 20s who hide the fact that they are married, knowing they will not be hired or promoted if there is even the whiff of the possible need for maternity leave—socialist gender-equality does not offer much protection in the Wild East of modern China. And if you can only afford a postage stamp of an apartment, you’re probably a member of the wo ju zu, the snail-house tribe.
You can belong to more than one tribe. Most members of the ant tribe also belong to the ben ben zu, the rush-rush tribe, to which, in fact, most urban Chinese belong. All that rushing around can create a lot of pent-up anger, giving rise to thenie nie zu, the crush-crush tribe, so named because they go into supermarkets and take out their frustration by standing in the aisles crushing packets of instant noodles (yes, really).
Many tribal members are also slaves (nu in Mandarin). There are the fang nu (mortgage slaves) and hun nu (marriage slaves, who are also, by definition, mortgage slaves) and all Chinese parents are of course haizi nu (slaves to the only child).
Perhaps the group China needs most as it tries to stimulate its domestic consumer economy is the yue guang zu, or moonlight tribe, so named because the Chinese characters for “moonlight” sound the same as the phrase “spend all your monthly salary”. Their parents saved every yuan, but life for these youngsters is just spend, spend, spend. Now, that’s patriotic consumption.
2012-01-30 19:12 编辑：kuaileyingyu