I was chatting with a Chinese friend recently when she reeled off a Chinese phrase I wasn’t familiar with. Her English isn’t very good, so she does that a lot. If I’m not sure what she means which is often, I just use the ‘translate’ function on WeChat, which comes in dead handy. On this occasion she said: xi xi ni de cai hong pi, which translates directly as ‘Thank you for your rainbow fart.’
This was something I didn’t recall hearing before, and I think most uninitiated would agree this it comes across as equal parts cute, bizarre and mystifying.
After a lengthy explanation from my friend and a little additional investigation I discovered rainbow fart is Chinese internet slang coined to describe the flamboyant and often unwarranted compliments fans bestow upon their idols. The root meaning is said to infer that you are so blinded by your idol’s looks or talent that you think their farts smell of rainbows. As is so often the case, the saying now seems to have crossed-over into more mainstream usage.
I love the way the Chinese utilize flatulence and make it part of every day life by virtue of incorporating it into so many idioms. Another one I am especially fond which is used to berate someone for doing something completely unnecessary or making something needlessly complex or laborious goes something like, tūo kù zì fàng pì which translates as “Don’t take your trousers down to do a fart.”
You can’t help but be impressed.
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