Chinese Website Asks People to Write Their Own Tombstones
A peculiar activity organized yesterday by Chinese news portal Netease left a sample of responses that spoke volumes about the fears, problems, and ambitions of participating netizens. This week, to observe the upcoming Ching Ming Festival (Tomb Sweeping Festival), Internet users have been asked to think of an epitaph they would like to see on their own tombstones, using the hashtag “#我的墓志铭” (“#myepitaph”).
Over 100 comments were left in a day, reports Xinhua. We have translated 10 of the most intriguing and/or funny epitaph submissions for you:
The Masses (群众):
To buy the real estate here is to love your country.
Buddha, if there is a next life, send me to the United States. I’ve had enough of this place.
Water Wolf Mocha (水狼摩卡):
Finally, I can afford housing.
Advertising space for rent.
When everything’s over, my epitaph will read, “One room, shared rent, price negotiable.”
以后 我的墓志铭 就写“一居室，求合租，面议”。
Suffer a Blade (白一刀):
Of course, I’d like my epitaph to be — to be continued.
当然，我希望 我的墓志铭 是——未完待续。
My resume is my epitaph.
Born in 85 (生于85):
Chat to keep you company. Offering late night drop-in service.
Shallow Apperance (浅容):
An example of housing relocation groups and people who refuse to leave their homes coexisting in harmony.
A Bully Who Drinks Ink (爱喝墨水的混混):
When I die, my microblogging will be my epitaph.
The site also features the epitaphs of famous figures, including those of Chinese writer Lu Xun (“有一游魂，化为长蛇，口有毒牙。不以啮人，自啮其身，终以陨颠。” meaning, ”There is a wandering soul who transforms into a snake with poisonous fangs. Not to bite people, only to bite itself, until it finally falls down and perishes.”) and composer of China’s national anthem Nie Er (“我的耳朵宛如贝壳，思念着大海的涛声,” meaning, “My ears are like shells, longing for the sound of waves.”).
In interviews with Xinhua, social researcher Zhang Sining and psychological expert Liu Jianhong noted how this web project about death had become an outlet for expressing worries about life:
“The netizens are conveying their feelings and hopes in real life,” he said.
Zhang noted that some netizens complain about the difficulties of finding a job, while others express hopes for finding girlfriends.
Liu Jianhong, a psychological expert with Huaqiao University, noted that it is natural for young people to ponder their life and death before the Tomb Sweeping Festival, a traditional occasion in China to mourn the dead.
“The Tomb Sweeping Day is like thanksgiving, a time for many to think of their deceased acquaintances,” he said. “Meanwhile, people face up to death, so as to cherish their life more and face the future with a more optimistic attitude. This is what we call ‘being-toward-death.’”
Discuss: What would you write on your epitaph?
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TAGS: Ching Ming Festival • death • epitaph • Lu Xun • microblogging • Netease • social media • tombstone
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