Saturday, February 20, 2010

Word of the Day: 被-ing Passive

The word bei (被) has been nominated "Chinese character of the year 2009" in an online poll conducted by a linguistic centre under the Ministry of Education and the state-run Commercial Press.

According to Nciku, an English-Chinese online dictionary, bei (4) is used in a passive sentence to introduce the doer of the action or the action if the doer is not mentioned.

But now the word is used to express a sentiment deeper than a passive voice -- to convey a sense of helplessness in deciding one's fate.

These days bei is used to reflect dissatisfacton over the abuse of official power.

For example, bei ziyuan -- 被资源 -- to be volunteered or compelled to volunteer actually ridicules government departments that force people to something against their will while alleging they "do it out of their own free will."

Bei jiuye -- 被就业 -- means being found a job, inferring employment statistics are not accurate.

Here are a few more bei phrases:

bei zisha -- 被自杀 -- to be forced into suicide.
bei shizong -- 被失踪 -- to be forced into disappearance, referring to those who don't tow the party line.
bei xiaoshi -- 被消失 -- to be forced to suffer losses, particularly financial.
bei hexie -- 被和谐 -- to be harmonized, or to be censored.
beidaibiao -- 被代表-- to be represented.
beizengzhang-- 被增长-- to be increased, or to doubt official statistics related to an increase in salaries.
beiwangyin -- 被网瘾-- to be addicted to the Internet. Apparently the official definition of Internet addiction is 40 hours a week, but then that would mean that all office workers who depend on using the Internet for their work would be considered to be beiwangyin-ed.
beigaotie -- 被-- to be high speed rail-ized. As the government builds more high-speed rail networks, this results in higher ticket prices imposed on passengers.

1 comment:

gung said...

may be this is a by-product of a dominant dictatorial government. people are more subdue and passive--lack of desire to be proactive?