Sat, Jan 14, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Youth name 2005 a `reckless' year

STAFF WRITER, WITH DPA , TAIPEI

Some 30,000 Taiwanese, angry at the chaos in the nation last year, have selected the Chinese word for "blind" (瞎) as their word of the year for last year, two online search engines said yesterday.

Following the example of Japan, which has been selecting its word of the year every year since 1995, yam.com and Taiwan hinet.net launched a competition to select their own word of the year for last year.

"Xia (瞎, the character meaning blind in Mandarin Chinese) beat sha (殺, kill), men (悶, frustration) and xian (鮮, fresh or weird) as the word of the year for 2005," Liang Hsiang-yi (連祥一), deputy manager of yam.com, told a news conference.

Heavy and frequent use of the word "xia" to mean "reckless" by Taiwanese pop singer and teen idol Jay Chou's (周杰倫) has meant the word "xia" has come to mean more than just "blind" among the nation's young people.

"This shows many people are dissatisfied with the social and political chaos in Taiwan last year," Liang said.

Some 30,000 people took part in the selection of the Chinese character for last year. They voted cai (,fortune) as the word for this year, hoping it will be a year of peace and good luck.

The selection of the word of the year began in Japan in 1995 when Japan's association for testing the ability of kanji (Chinese characters) launched the competition to select the word of the year.

The selected word is announced by the head priest of the Kiyomizudera Buddhist temple in Kyoto in mid-December.

Japan's word of the year for last year was ai (愛, love).

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