In China, the character 微 (pronounced: wēi) has been chosen by some media in China as the character which encapsulates the year 2012. This character means tiny, small, micro and insignificant.
In China, the equivalent of Twitter is called 微博（micro-blogging; pronounced ‘wēibó’), which is powerful in breaking firewalls and has allowed the voice of the general public in China to be heard. A few Chinese idioms also carry this character. It may refer to people feeling ‘insignificant’ and powerless. It also refers to the selflessness of many ‘tiny’ people of China with their spirit of sacrifice.
In essence, 微 (pronounced: wēi) represents each tiny particle in the Chinese society and the voices of the people.
In Taiwan, the people chose the character for Worry 憂（or, in Simplified form, written as 忧; pronounced as yōu).
Japan, in kanji (or character), has chosen Gold 金 (Japanese pronunciation as Kin; Chinese pronunciation as jīn. ) The character was chosen to represent a year of “many monumental landmarks,” including the London Summer Olympics, a solar eclipse, the completion of the Tokyo Skytree, and the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Shinya Yamanaka for his work on stem cells.
In Singapore, embarrassingly, people have chosen Lust 色 (pronunciation: sè) to sum up a year of high-profile sex scandals, involving sex-for-contracts, sex-for-grades and paid sex with an underage prostitute.
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