‘Phi Phi shrimp’: China says it won’t name new aircraft carrier after online poll winner
As the new domestically-built carrier was launched on Wednesday, an online poll emerged on Iqiyi.com, a popular video-streaming site, suggesting several names for the aircraft carrier.
While at first ‘Taiwan’ topped the list…
It seems that it was beaten out by an odd name – ‘Phi Phi Shrimp’ – also called ‘mantis shrimp,’ a meme popular in the Chinese web.
The name received 540,000 votes overnight, according to Taiwanese media. On April 28, there were already 890,000 votes, and on Thursday, the apparent winner already had over 1.37 million votes, according to the South China Morning Post.
The poll even attracted the attention of China’s Ministry of National Defense, which had to react to the rumor. Answering a reporter’s question, the ministry’s spokesperson , Senior Colonel Yang Yujun, noted that the poll was launched by “the netizens themselves” and the ship is yet to be named.
“As I noticed, the name of ‘Phi Phi Shrimp’ is also one popular option in the voting. According to the Chinese military’s rules, the name for a new ship will be determined when it is handed over and commissioned,” he said during a briefing on April 27.
Some still saw opportunities for the new name.
“For the formal name, listen to the party. For the nickname, we’ll just call it mantis shrimp!” as quoted by the South China Morning Post.
Others said that it was rather appropriate and called on the defense officials to think it over.
“I think our new aircraft carrier should also possess such qualities, so that it can protect the country’s honor. Maybe the ministry can consider mantis shrimp as the ship’s nickname” one user said, as cited by the People’s Daily newspaper.
Chinese social network site Sina Weibo has been flooded with comments, referencing the hugely popular meme.
“Is there any video of the Defense Ministry spokesperson making this statement? I want to see if he burst into laughter when he said Mantis Shrimp,” a user wrote.
However, while the majority exploited the viral trend to master their meme-creating skills, one user pointed out that no one cared to ask the opinion of the protagonist.
“Has anyone ever considered how Mantis shrimps feel about all of this?” the comment said.
Seafood is not only highly popular in China, but also a catchphrase. This originates from an online game and means “a carefree and capricious attitude,” according to the People’s Daily. It also notes that the sea creature has such strong hammer-like claws that it can “smash aquariums.”
The Chinese Defense Ministry has recently come under fire, as it posted a poorly photoshopped image to mark the Navy’s 68th birthday. The picture, which featured its newly-built carrier among navy ships and fighter jets belonging to other nations, was mocked by social media users.