Han Han: “A False Alarm” is the Most Beautiful Chinese Idiom

Han Han with a napkin over his face attempting to even the tan on his face due to previously wearing sunglasses.

Malaysia Airlines planes.


This is currently the hottest post of the week (#3 of the month) on Sina Weibo, China’s leading microblogging platform. It is by Chinese internet celebrity Han Han, who is also an author, race car driver, and has over 35 million followers on Sina Weibo. This post has over 115k upvotes, has been forwarded/reshared over 270k times, and has nearly 40k comments…

From Sina Weibo:

@韩寒: I once wrote something that said something like this: Sometimes, “虚惊一场” [xūjīng yī chǎng, “a false alarm”] these four characters is the the most beautiful idiom in the world, hundreds of times more beautiful than idioms like 兴高采烈 [xìnggāocǎiliè, “overjoyed”], 五彩缤纷 [wǔcǎibīnfēn, “colorful”],一帆风顺 [yīfānfēngshùn, “to go smoothly”]. You know what is loss. In these times, perhaps more so. May sadness and fear pass, and those who are not involved/affected know more to cherish [the lack of sadness and fear in their lives].

Comments from Sina Weibo:


When I was young, I often read in books mysteries like these, saying how a plane suddenly disappears in mid-flight but reappears many years later and the passengers are unaware of the passage of time. I don’t know if these are real, but at this very moment, I really hope this is real, and hope that they will be like the woodcutter who encountered the immortal in the mountains, the ax rotting away, eventually returning.


The attack in Kunming, the missing MH370, there are too many too many unknown catastrophes and indescribable calamities in this world… and the words that make people cry: “In the future whenever you will part with someone, be sure to say your goodbyes with earnest, the kind where you hug each other, because maybe when you really need to say goodbye, it’ll already be too late. So when parting, be sure to say your goodbyes with earnest, as if it were the last time; when meeting each other, have gratefulness in your heart, as if it were the first time.” ~Knowing to appreciate everything you have~


The news report I hope to see is: The plane has safely reached Beijing, the children sound asleep in their mothers’ arms, lovers telling each other their thoughts on the phone, tourists imagining their next vacation, tired young office workers have returned from their business trip closer to their dreams, talented artists describe their new inspirations to their wife and children, and pious religious believers put their hands together… the friends and family at the airport to pick up their loved ones embrace and sob, with sunshine, and the sadness have all passed.


I can’t handle bad/unfortunate news. I’d rather keep on thinking you all may have entered some time distortion, and that maybe the entire plane of people will one day however many years from now land in Beijing as flight MH370 all looking as they do today, giving everyone a pleasant surprise.


When putting on my headphones, I suddenly discovered that there is no sound on the left, but after careful examination, I discovered that it was a false alarm. Fortunately, it’s just that my left ear is deaf.


The best conclusion I can currently think of is that the plane was hijacked by terrorists who had a meticulous plan, who cut off all communications with the outside world, landed the plane in the desolate countryside, and are currently preparing to put forth their ransom demands. I’d rather it be like this, as at least we’d still have hope.


They entered a space-time tunnel. Tomorrow, they’ll disembark from the plane as if nothing has happened, astonished by seeing their loved ones holding back tears, unaware that their watches are a few days behind.


Not every twist and turn is a false alarm, and not every loss can be regained. Life ultimately has too many things that are too late, so we must learn to cherish, cherish everything we have beside us, while we still have time.


I remember in my last year of high school that one time when my parents took a plane to go on vacation. They were supposed to arrive at 9 o’clock, but all the way up to 11 o’clock I couldn’t get through with it saying the other side’s phone was turned off. That night, I was crying as I kept refreshing the news and kept calling all the uncles and aunts I could remember. It wasn’t until 12 o’clock that I was finally able to get through. My mom said the plane was going in circles in the air, and maybe it was because it had heard my heart that it finally landed. It was at that time that I finally understood how relieving and happy “a false alarm” could be.


I’ve refreshed my screen [for news updates] an entire day because of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane. For family, what torment it must be to wait holding onto a sliver of increasingly vague/distant hope, I dare not even think. Looking at all the missing person notices, I’m about to cry. Being able to walk to the end of one’s life [old age] safe and sound truly is one’s greatest luck in life. Let’s all say a prayer before bed, that when we open our eyes tomorrow, that Weibo will be filled with the words “miracle”, that every life is immersed in the rays of thanksgiving.

A relative of a passenger of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 cries as she walks past journalists in Beijing

Coincidentally, the hottest post of the day is also by Han Han, and is less topical and philosophical…

From Sina Weibo:

@韩寒: Only by doing this, by tanning my eyes that were not tanned over the past few days due to wearing sunglasses, can I make my entire face tanned evenly overall. Those who can’t help but marvel at their own ingenuity, click “upvote”.

Han Han with a napkin over his face attempting to even the tan on his face due to previously wearing sunglasses.


Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.