Our Desk | Fun Mandarin 3: Jiàn Pán Xiá (Keyboard Man)

Julie Zhu

As with all my previous opinion pieces, what follows is solely to provide entertainment.
Today marks the third installment of the Fun Mandarin series. The highlight of today’s column will be some of the new mandarin words that have emerged following the widespread use of mobile phones, computers and, of course, the internet.
The mandarin phrase mentioned in the title of this article may or may not have originated from mainland China. And, since even the English translation of the terms certainly varies from individual to individual, my own translation should not be referred to in order to defend an argument, fuel a discussion, or even officially start a conversation.
键Jiàn盘Pán侠Xiá is a word roughly tracking back to the internet in mainland China in 2014, purportedly based on a People’s Daily article written by a mainland commentator.
键Jiàn is a key on a keyboard. 盘Pán is a plate. When together, 键Jiàn盘Pán means keyboard. 侠Xiá means people who defend, stand up, fight against anything unfair.
键Jiàn盘Pán侠Xiá is thus Keyboard Man. In real life, there may be some individuals who, despite being spineless, timid, and spiritless, act extraordinarily boldly when surfing on the internet, and make non-stop remarks and comments, especially to demonstrate their allegedly impeccable noble conscience, which plays against their behavior in real life. This term, 键Jiàn盘Pán侠Xiá, particularly depicts a person who, in real life, simply watches things unfold but, once they turn to the internet, it’s likely they could be awarded a Nobel Prize in literature, given the implicit perfect morality embedded in the words they have typed on a keyboard.
Before I get to the second term, I will need to explain 妖Yāo精Jīng. 妖Yāo精Jīng is a spiritual fad, and can be related to an evil character, similar to witch. However, due to the cultural background, a妖yāo精jīng is not the same as a witch. They look different, they act differently, they dress differently, they talk differently. 妖Yāo精Jīng will help me explain the third word. I would not recommend translating 妖Yāo精jīng into English, because they are not the same, just like a Bao is not a bread, a tāng is not a soup. After all, I believe it will met with strong objection if I started to refer to a ‘monk’ when telling a mainland friend that a priest is a western monk who works for a western temple. The second term for today’s lesson is 柠Níng 檬Méng 精Jīng. 柠Níng檬Méng is a lemon. 精Jīng has various meanings, including detailed, smart, thorough, the purest part after a refining process, energetic, very, perfect, best, clear, and 妖yāo精jīng.
柠Níng 檬Méng 精Jīng, as we have already grasped, combines the terms ‘lemon’ and ‘Yāo Jīng’. The superficial meaning of the term is that a lemon became a Yāo Jīng.
However, 柠Níng 檬Méng 精Jīng portrays precisely those individuals who are resentful and can’t bear to see other people being better than themselves in any aspect, such as in terms of beauty, talent, wealth, and even personal relationships. At the same time, this kind of person labels themselves as being the most righteous, ethical, principled, innocent, guiltless, blameless, honorable, and faultless.
The level of a 柠Níng 檬Méng 精Jīng’s jealousy is massive.

Categories Opinion