Thanks partially to the inability to express criticism on the internet, it seems that a new style has emerged – a new feature of internet slang, to rant about their dissatisfaction. It’s called paoxiaoti (咆哮体), or “the roaring mode of writing”.
Basically, since you can’t really write Chinese in capital letters, it’s an explosion of exclamation marks… and it’s now taking over China’s online pop culture. What the maximum number of exclamatory marks can be used is disputed. Some say three, but the real deal only starts at five exclamation marks. The style that originally spread on RenRen, is unstoppable and has migrated into text messaging and e-mail. Even into into commercial advertising ah!!!!!
Originally, it was used to describe the performance style of Taiwanese actor Ma Jingtao, who roars and shouts really hard and loud in almost every TV drama he is in. As a tribute, the actor created a micro-blog, dedicated to “all the people who like to roar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”, which gained more than 100,000 fans in just two days.
Offbeat China gives us the key to mastering the roaring mode of writing:
First, prepare yourself and get emotional, better if a little bit hysteria, just a little bit. Secondly, title the article with “xxx你伤不起” (ni shang bu qi, meaning “you cannot afford to hurt xxx”). Thirdly, fill the body with rhetorical questions ending with “有木有” (you mu you, meaning “isn’t there not”; or “isn’t it true”), and occasionally “尼玛/尼马” (ni ma, used interchangeably with 你妈 (ni ma), literally meaning “your mother” but usually used to express the feeling of WTF). Last but not least, use an excess of “啊” (a, meaning “ah”) and the exclamatory mark “!”.
Here is an example for what the mastery of roaring looks like in all its glory:
(What is engineering department)
(It is not the department for engineers ah)
(It is the club of blind dates ah)
(Yet it exists in name only ah)
(Because none of the blind dates turn to a relationship ah)
Now that you know, go forth and roar ah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By Nele Diels