Chinese Urban Dictionary: Pindie

By Mia Li, June 19, 2018

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pindie / pīndǐe / 拼爹 v. to compete for more social status and wealth by using one’s father’s social status and wealth

A: Look at Little Zhang. He is the CEO of a big company at the age of 26.

B: Look up who his father is and you’ll understand.

A: Oh, wow, he is winning the game of pindie.

Do you still believe that “life is a blank canvas”? Snap out of it. Life is a relay race on a single track of wealth and status, with the baton being passed from one generation to the next. 

What do you strive towards in life? The pursuit of happiness? Looking good in front of family and friends at high school reunions? Bad idea! The real purpose of life is to take the baton from your father and run as fast as you can with the single purpose of delivering it to your offspring at a slightly more advantaged point. If your father fell behind, you work hard so your son or daughter can have a chance at the race. If your father was already in the front, you live to increase his or her advantage. 

We live in a world where any success can be traced to the endeavors of past generations, making social status and wealth a multi-generational project. There wouldn’t be Donald Trump without Fred, for example. There wouldn’t be Ivanka without Donald. 

Many generations later, the starting points for every one of us are so far apart that our lives are, to a large degree, determined by where we got the baton – whether we were born in big cities or the countryside, whether we go to a public or private school, or whether we can inherit a multi-million dollar corporation right out of college. 

Literally meaning “to compete using father,” pindie is the exercise of using one’s father’s achievements to compete with others for upward mobility. It happens when people ask you what your father does when you attend elementary school, when you apply for universities, and when you apply for job openings. Sometimes it feels like who your father is matters more than who you are, because no matter how hard you try, there’s no bridging the status gap of the last generation. 

Don’t have a rich and famous dad? Be that mom or dad to your kid! Failing that, you can blame all your failures on your father. Great news all around.


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