49 obsolete Chinese words, Part I – People’s Daily

From The People’s Daily Online:

Many words or phrases are not frequently used or have been completely forgotten by Chinese people in the last decade. This is 49 of them. People may have different attitudes towards them. Nevertheless, these words are in people’s memories and they are worth discussing.

Neighbor: disappeared in the 1990s

For several thousand years, a close and friendly neighborhood played a major role in the lives of Chinese people. People knew almost everything about their neighbors and were always ready to help. However, Chinese have become more and more estranged from one another following a 1990s trend towards commercial residential buildings. Furthermore, a lack of mutual trust and an emphasis on privacy has made people more indifferent to their own neighborhood. They know almost nothing about their neighbors. As a result, the term “neighborhood” means almost nothing to most Chinese and has passed into oblivion.

Danwei: disappeared in 1990s

The Chinese word “danwei” means a public-owned entity (a state-owned enterprise, for instance) for which a person works. For several decades, the danwei — work unit — played a dominant role in almost every aspect of a person’s life, from living necessities and welfare to marriage and birth.

Since the reform and opening-up campaign was launched, a large number of privately owned enterprises have emerged and the Chinese government has greatly reformed its role in society. Consequently, the danwei is no longer so important and many Chinese have found jobs in private enterprises. People’s attachment to their danwei has weakened. A large number of people are not connected with it at all. [Full Text]

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