Saying of the Week: You Understand

The  comes from China Digital Space’s Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon, a glossary of terms created by Chinese netizens and frequently encountered in online political discussions. These are the words of China’s online “resistance discourse,” used to mock and subvert the official language around and political correctness.

Believe in Brother Chun and receive eternal life.

Believe in Brother Chun and receive eternal life.

你懂的 (nǐ dǒng de): you understand

Hint at sensitive topics as if one were addressing a higher power. The saying originates from chatter about Li Yuchun, 2005 winner of China’s Super Girl singing competition. Li attracted a cult following not just for her musical talent, but for her androgynous appearance. Li became the object of online satire and adoring praise. She is sometimes referred to as “Brother Chun” (春哥 Chūn Gē). She become so popular that netizens began depicting her as a savior figure using Christian and Buddhist iconography.

In 2010, netizens began posting a series of prayer-like comments invoking Brother Chun:

Brother, I’m going on a blind date tomorrow. You understand…

哥,明天我要去相亲,你懂的。。。

Brother, I heard you have real power. My probability test is tomorrow. You understand…

哥,听说你很灵的,明天就要考概率论了,你懂的。。。

Over the years, “you understand” has become a verbal wink to fellow netizens, replacing reverence for Brother Chun’s omnipotence with respect for the reader’s power of comprehension:

@期待曙光168: Don’t get get too excited. The key thing is that President Xi’s prescription for the country demands a powerful, all-knowing executor—and that person is Old Hottie. You understand!

也别太兴奋,关键是习总的治国良方需要一个强有力的智慧的执行者—这个人就是老帅哥,你懂的!