One of the hottest Chinese memes to express rejection
After making Wolf Warrior, the Chinese 3D war action film, and its renowned sequel Wolf Warrior 2, the all-time highest-grossing movie in China, actor and director Wu Jing probably never expected to gobble up the spotlight once again because of a public service advertisement.
Released by China Fire and Rescue, and aiming at getting drivers to give right of way to emergency vehicles, the PSA shows Wu reprising his role as a macho and patriotic warrior who firmly protects his country and people—this time, wearing a firefighter uniform with his arm crossed in an "X" across his chest. The caption below reads, “Do not occupy the lane of fire trucks.”
Some witty netizens, however, have turned the poster into a meme and captioned it "Da Mie (达咩 dá miē)." This sounds similar to the Japanese word dame, meaning "no,” “can’t,” or “don't.” This is an example of soramimi (mishearing) or 空耳 (kōng’ěr), the homophonic translation of a foreign language. Thanks to the popularity of Japanese animation and culture in China, youths in China are familiar with the Japanese word, and find humor in combining it with Wu’s bombastic image.
After the meme went viral, netizens have found a plethora of uses and interpretations of the word. It is commonly used for any kind of reluctance or rejection. For instance: “No matter how heavy the workload is, I refuse to work overtime. Da mie. (工作任务再沉重也要拒绝加班，达咩 Gōngzuò rènwù zài chénzhòng yě yào jùjué jiābān, dá miē)" or simply: "Work overtime? Da mie (工作加班？达咩 gōngzuò jiābān？Dá miē).”
It can also express ones reluctance, embarrassment, and even excitement:
Reluctance: Why do people like to eat durian? I can't even stand the smell. Da mie.
Wèi shénme rénmen huì xǐhuan chī liúlián, wǒ wén yì wén wèidao dōu shòubuliǎo, dá miē.
Embarrassment: Help! This is so awkward! Da mie da mie!
Jiùmìng, zhèyàng hǎo gāngà, dá miē dá miē.
Excitement: Why is he so handsome? Da mie da mie!
Wèi shénme tā zhème shuài! Dá miē dá miē.
Netizens have also made many similar gifs and stickers for social media showing a person with crossed arms, captioned with a big “Da Mie.”
Meanwhile, Wu Jing was back in the news again this month after he sued a betel nut retail company named Wolf Warriors for using his name in promotions without permission. A court in Beijing ordered the company to pay Wu 340,000 RMB—no matter how many times they cried "Da Mie" in protest.