Word of the Week: Dama Era
Word of the Week comes from the Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon, a glossary of terms created by Chinese netizens and encountered in online political discussions. These are the words of China’s online “resistance discourse,” used to mock and subvert the official language around censorship and political correctness.
Literally “marijuana era.” Playful contraction of “Daddy Xi and Mama Peng,” terms of endearment for President Xi Jinping and first lady Peng Liyuan.
On November 18, 2014, four men in Henan posted a music video paying homage to the marital bond between Xi Jinping and Peng Liyuan. Within a week, the video had been viewed more than 20 million times. The video shows images of Xi and Peng stepping onto tarmacs and visiting foreign dignitaries, while urging listeners to learn from “Daddy Xi” and “Mama Peng.” At the New York Times, Austin Ramzy offers a translation of the lyrics.
In the song, Xi is called “Daddy Xi” (习大大 Xí Dàda), where dada is a term of endearment from Shaanxi, the province of Xi’s father’s birth. State media often refer to the president as “Daddy Xi,” lending intimacy and warmth to Xi’s image. Meanwhile, Peng Liyuan is called “Mama Peng” (彭麻麻 Péng Máma), with the playful use of 麻麻 máma instead of the standard 妈妈 māma.
Uncharmed by the music video or the familiar appellations for Xi and Peng, netizens created a clever contraction of the “glorious era” of “Daddy Xi” and “Mama Peng” in the invention of “Dama Era.” 大麻 means marijuana, lending the abbreviation a mischievous undertone. “Marijuana” is blocked from Weibo search results as of November 26, 2014.
hansontangbc: A reporter recently learned that at the upcoming National People’s Congress working conference, in order to fully express the masses’ love and admiration for Daddy Xi and Mama Peng, a resolution will be adopted to make “dama” the national flower of China. (November 25, 2014)
文山娃: And so we enter the Dama Era. (November 24, 2014)
Tian2hua: The strongest netizen comment: Dama Era. (November 25, 2014)
See also have everything but daddy.
Want to learn more subversive netizen slang? Check out Decoding the Chinese Internet: A Glossary of Political Slang. Available for $2.99 in the Kindle, Google Play, and iTunes stores. All proceeds from the sale of this eBook support China Digital Times.