Chinese Meme “No Zuo No Die” Laughs in the Face of Reason

Charles Liu , January 8, 2015 9:37pm (updated)

no zuo no dieThe culmination of decades of English language training in China has brought us to this point: a massive online meme that can be appreciated by Chinese English students, and only by Chinese English students.

No zuo no die” is a meme on the Chinese internet that only gets better as it continues to make less sense. Originally a Chinese phrase that meant “If you don’t look for trouble, you won’t find any”, the phrase was half-translated over to Chinglish where it retained one of its Chinese characters in pinyin.

Then, things could only get funnier in the same way a deceased horse can be slightly bruised in a variety of fashions..

urban dictionary chinese internet slang entries cultural validationA media buzz surfaced when several Chinese phrases were published in the Urban Dictionary. Online media saw the admission of “no zuo no die” along with “you can you up, no can no bb” and “zhuangbility” as “deserving of applause” for having “invaded a US online dictionary”. Even the People’s Daily boldly said, ”English speakers may soon be saying “you can you up, no can no bb” in response to criticism.”

Are you ready for “no zuo no die”? Because it’s ready for you.

The latest transformation of this meme is into a set of English lyrics that can be sung with a bunch of songs and TV show themes that include “Doramon”, “Sparkling Red Star”, “The Little Girl Who Picked Mushrooms”, “Only Mother Knows Best”, “The Most Dazzling Ethnic Customs”, “I Love Beijing Tiananmen”, and the Mozart hit “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.

The English lyrics go like this:

No zuo no die, why you try
No try, no high, give me five
Why try, why high, can be shine
You shine, you cry, you still go die
No zuo no die, don’t be shy
You shy, you die, you can try
Keep try, keep shine, love that guy
But he only say good night

Whaaa? Still don’t know what to make of these English words of which you are a fluent speaker? Here’s a video using the above lyrics to sing a variety of TV show themes:

Take a bow, English teachers of China: your hard work forging the minds of tomorrow has all come to this point.

Photo: Meilishuo

Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor