Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Word of the Day: Baofahu

Living in Hong Kong we grumble amongst ourselves about mainlanders invading our city day in, day out. They come literally by the bus, ferry, plane and train loads snapping up whatever good deals they can find.

While it's great they're keeping Hong Kong's economy afloat, the side effects of hearing incessant Putonghua on the streets, getting priority service in boutiques and eating up our shark's fin and abalone supply can be quite a culture shock.

And it's the nouveau riche who are gaining the most attention. Last year alone, the number of China's millionaires jumped by 12 percent to 534,500 -- fourth in the world behind the United States, Japan and Germany, according to Capgemini SA and Bank of America Corp.

So these people are called baofahu (暴發戶) or "suddenly wealthy". The Chinese is so apt as bao can mean "explosive", but it can also mean "brutal" and "vicious".

Which takes us to a well-known baofahu -- Wendi Deng Murdoch.

She saved her 80-year-old husband from further embarrassment yesterday when a man tried to throw a plate of shaving cream into Rupert Murdoch's face while he testified in front of the select committee on culture, media and sport.

But the 42-year-old Deng quickly stood up and smacked down the intruder.

On the mainland she's already earned the nickname "slapdown sister".

Now you know your lesson -- don't mess with a baofahu.


  1. there is a chinese saying: it is difficult to suffer sudden poverty and it equally difficult to watch the baofuhu.

  2. Simplified: 暴发户 (bao4 fa1 hu4).