Chinese netizens just invented a new word, and it's going insanely viral

By Ryan Kilpatrick, February 28, 2015

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If you're a regular reader of the Chinese-language interwebs, you've probably spent the last few days wondering "WHY DOES EVERYONE KEEP SAYING 'DUANG'?"

We have Jackie Chan to blame for this ubiquitous and (arguably) exasperating new meme. The Hong Kong-born actor has been in a news a lot lately, what with his son Jaycee being released from prison after serving a six-week sentence for drug possession and his latest film Dragon Blade dominating the box office.

Along with all this publicity - some wanted, some perhaps not so much - a television commercial staring Jackie from about a decade ago has been rehashed and recut. In the advertisement for Bawang herbal shampoo, Jackie described the after-effects of Bawang usage with a unique onomatopoeia, claiming that it made his now-luxuriant head of hair go "Duang!" - roughly translatable as "Boing!"

With the Chan clan firmly in the headlines, one netizen then came to the fore by edited the ad into a satire on both Jackie and the miracle hair wash:

Bawang International, the country's largest herbal shampoo manufacturer, was accused in 2010 of replacing the supposed Traditional Chinese Medicine ingredients in its darkening and hair loss-fighting products with cancer-causing chemicals. The revelations only deepened suspicions that Jackie curses every product he endorses.

As well as poking fun at the carcinogenic controversy, the video also makes fun of Chan himself. As citizens of his native Hong Kong know better than anyone else - he famously described his hometown as "chaotic" due to being "too free" and argued that "Chinese people need to be controlled" - Jackie has acquired a reputation of doing or saying anything to make a quick kuai.

To this end, he confesses to actually having no hair at all and says that the "duang" was all just Hollywood magic.

Since going viral, the term has been turning up in virtually every corner of the Chinese internet and taking over online streams nationwide. Someone even created a whole new character by combining the simplified character for Chan's Chinese name. Read "duang ㄉㄨㄤ," it is defined as "special effects" or "to add special effects."

From its intiial onomatopoeic origins, the word has also taken on new and evolving meanings. It can now be used as a verb and an adjective. One can be "duanged" (e.g. 真的duang了) or something might get "duanged up" (e.g. duang起來了) or just be really duang (e.g. duang的).

For example, #TheDress phenomenon that shook the worldwide web yesterday (is it white and gold or blue and black, etc. etc.) was described by some Chinese web users as being duang, i.e. just digital effects.

Now go forth and duangify!

READ MORE: It's official: Chinese is the saddest language

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