88 and 521, bye bye and I love you

I was just online with a friend from China, Elf. Elf was surprised when I signed off with the text “88”. I picked up this habit from friends in China. Most mainland China IM users sign off their chat session with a “88” or a “886”. They use this as a short-cut as “88” when read in Mandarin sounds like “pa pa”, - a bit like bye bye (the Mandarin sound for p is closer to b). Some people also say “886” - “ba ba liu”. The number 6 (liu) here is only to make it sound nicer, it has no meaning. You can use either 88 or 886. Another such shortcut used commonly is “521”, “wu er yi” - with some imagination you can rhyme it to “wo ai ni” - i love you. Elf sent me a longer list: 596 wo zou le / i will go 456 shi wo la/ it is me 7998 qu zou zou ba /go for a walk 594230  wo jiu shi ai xiang ni /i just love to miss ya 360 xiang nian ni /miss ya 2010000 ai ni yi wan nian/ love ya for 10 thousands 1372 yi xiang qing yuan/it is ur business 259695 ai wo jiu liao jie wo /love me,so try to know me 5871  wo bu jie yi/ i never mind 82475 bei ai jiu shi xing fu /it is happy to be loved 08376 ni bie sheng qi le /dont be angry 1799  yi qi zou zou/ lets go for a walk 5366  wo xiang liao liao /i wanna have a chat 246 e si le /I am starving 918 jia you ba/ come on 04551 ni shi wo de wei yi/ u r my only 51396  wo yao shui jiao le/ i will go to sleep 537 wo sheng qi/ i am angry Ok, now I will go out and try some more Burmese food. 596, 88, 521.