yunv wugua / yùnǚ wú guà / 雨女无瓜“none of your business”
A: Why are you always on your phone? Put it down and go play outside.
B: I am an infuencer. It’s my job.
A: Playing with your phone all the time will not give you a good life.
B: Yunv wugua.
As we celebrate Chinese New Year, let us remember how time flies. If you saw the original Lion King at age 8, you are now in your 30s. Those that spent their college years watching Friends are now the wrong side of 40. The post-2000s generation is now in college or entering the workforce. As they gain internships in the glossy offices of global conglomerates, they are already taking over pop culture in China.
This post-2000’s generation, otherwise known as Gen Z, has no idea who Marcel the monkey is, nor Simba in 2D form. They have their own pop culture and memes inspired by childhood memories and nostalgia. Yunv wugua is one of them. Literally meaning “rain girl has no melons,” the phrase makes little sense – who is rain girl and why doesn’t she have any melons?
The phrase comes from a 2000s kids’ TV show titled Babala the Fairies (芭芭 拉小魔仙), where a group of schoolgirls cast magical spells and turn into powerful warriors to defeat evil creatures (kinda like Sailor Moon with more clan members). It features an icy and aloof prince whose favorite phrase is “none of your business” (yunv wuguan). However, the laconic prince wears a clumsy plastic helmet that severely restricts his nasal passages. When he utters his catchphrase, it sounds likeyunv wugua, aka “rain girl has no melons.”
The prince, being a highly aspirational character, immediately made yunv wuguathe most fashionable way of asking someone to butt out of your affairs. Kids across the nation adopted the phrase and began to confuse their parents with stern statements of rain girls and melons.
In the vein of “okay boomer,” yunv wugua is today’s kids’ phrase of choice when older people tell them what to do. When their parents tell them that the way to a good life is to get a ‘real job,’ get married or have kids, “yunv wugua,” is what they’ll reply. They know those things can no longer guarantee a good life; they are facing a vastly different world than their parents, where social classes have solidified, power and wealth are entrenched and no amount of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps can make up for class differences anymore. So the phrase is their defense against judgment from the older generation. In their world, rain girl has no melons.
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