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Resistance within Contexts:A Study of University BBS Youth Culture in China
Unformatted Document Text:  5 possibilities of resistances. More specifically, cultural practices exercised within one context might be resisting the discourses or cultures in another context. Resistance within Contexts Background: University BBS Youth Culture in China Before analyzing the ‘concealed’ meanings of the Chinese university BBSs youth culture, let me briefly review the whole phenomenon. This BBSs youth culture starts from a Hong Kong “nonsense comedy 3 ”, A Chinese Odyssey 4 . Chinese students rediscovered the movie, originally shown in China in 1995, at around 1999. The hot discussions on this largely forgotten and originally despised film produced some dominant interpretations in the university-based BBSs. Gradually, some BBSers appropriate the language of this film in their postings and establish a distinctive language style in the BBSs. Many other BBS participants feel the pressure to see this film and to accept its language so that they can participate in the BBS youth culture. The charismas of this funny, non-traditional film and the free, open, safe public forums, the BBS, provide the resources for the BBSers to build a virtual community around the film’s language style. The style becomes diffused in every area of discussion in the BBSs. And student BBSers begin to estimate ages, personalities, and educational levels of anonymous participants by the latters’ use of the language style. At the same time, this style also differentiates student BBSers from other people in the BBSs, in the universities and the society. Thus their mutual activities around the style make their BBS community a certain youth culture. Is there any resistance in the behaviors of the participants of BBS youth culture’? My answer is yes. But what are they resisting? In this article I will try to answer this question by observing the possible resistance within the three distinctive dimensions of contexts: a broad sociocultural context of contemporary China, the real-life university context, and the university BBS context. 3 Nonsense comedy is one particular movie genre in Hong Kong. ‘Nonsense’ is the translation of the phrase mou lei-tau ( ) in Cantonese. According to Stokes and Hoover (1999: 250), definitions of mou lei-tau range from ‘without a shred of meaning’ to ‘at evens and odds.’ 4 A Chinese Odyssey( ) was directed by Jeff Lau ( ) in 1995. Literally, the film’s title is translated as: Western Travel Diary: The 101th Chapter of Journey To The West. The film contains two separate parts: Pandora's Box ( ), literally translated as Return Moonlight Precious Box; and Cinderella ( ), literally translated as Fairy Slipper Miraculous Affinity.

Authors: Dong, Dong.
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5
possibilities of resistances. More specifically, cultural practices exercised within one context might
be resisting the discourses or cultures in another context.
Resistance within Contexts
Background: University BBS Youth Culture in China
Before analyzing the ‘concealed’ meanings of the Chinese university BBSs youth culture, let
me briefly review the whole phenomenon. This BBSs youth culture starts from a Hong Kong
“nonsense comedy
3
”, A Chinese Odyssey
4
. Chinese students rediscovered the movie, originally
shown in China in 1995, at around 1999. The hot discussions on this largely forgotten and
originally despised film produced some dominant interpretations in the university-based BBSs.
Gradually, some BBSers appropriate the language of this film in their postings and establish a
distinctive language style in the BBSs. Many other BBS participants feel the pressure to see this
film and to accept its language so that they can participate in the BBS youth culture. The charismas
of this funny, non-traditional film and the free, open, safe public forums, the BBS, provide the
resources for the BBSers to build a virtual community around the film’s language style. The style
becomes diffused in every area of discussion in the BBSs. And student BBSers begin to estimate
ages, personalities, and educational levels of anonymous participants by the latters’ use of the
language style. At the same time, this style also differentiates student BBSers from other people in
the BBSs, in the universities and the society. Thus their mutual activities around the style make
their BBS community a certain youth culture.
Is there any resistance in the behaviors of the participants of BBS youth culture’? My answer
is yes. But what are they resisting? In this article I will try to answer this question by observing the
possible resistance within the three distinctive dimensions of contexts: a broad sociocultural
context of contemporary China, the real-life university context, and the university BBS context.
3
Nonsense comedy is one particular movie genre in Hong Kong. ‘Nonsense’ is the translation of the phrase mou
lei-tau (
) in Cantonese. According to Stokes and Hoover (1999: 250), definitions of mou lei-tau range from
‘without a shred of meaning’ to ‘at evens and odds.’
4
A Chinese Odyssey(
) was directed by Jeff Lau (
) in 1995. Literally, the film’s title is translated as:
Western Travel Diary: The 101th Chapter of Journey To The West. The film contains two separate parts: Pandora's Box
(
), literally translated as Return Moonlight Precious Box; and Cinderella (
), literally translated as
Fairy Slipper Miraculous Affinity.


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