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China’s ‘Dancing Grannies’ Anger Stressed-Out Students Ahead of Gaokao Exams

They gather at dusk and dawn to dance, for their good health and social catch ups. But during the most important exams of the year, the rowdy gatherings of China’s ‘dancing grannies’ lead to angered reactions from students with exam stress.

Manya Koetse

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They gather at dusk and dawn to dance, for their good health and social catch ups. But during the most important exams of the year, the rowdy gatherings of China’s ‘dancing grannies’ lead to angered reactions from students with exam stress.

Square dancing or plaza dancing is a common sight in public spaces like parks or squares across China. It is mostly elderly retired women who meet each other in the mornings and evenings to perform synchronized dance routines together to loud music. For these so-called ‘dancing grannies’, square dancing is both a cheap way to stay fit and a nice occasion to socialize with friends and neighbors.

In the days before the gaokao, China’s national college entrance exams, many square dancers across China decide to skip dancing for some days to give stressed students some silence to study.

For most Chinese students, the gaokao is the most important exam of their lives. Getting a high score might be the ticket to a good job and bright future. The period around these exams is like a national event, with construction workers halting their projects near examination rooms and police cars patrolling the streets to keep things quiet.

In Huizhou, Guangdong, however, some ‘dancing grannies’ were not willing to skip their exercise on June 6 and went ahead with their dancing as usual. A video report by Pear Video about these stubborn dancers drew thousands of angry comments on Weibo.

“The exams are tomorrow, not now, and we need to work out!”, one person told Pear Video reporters in this video clip. Another older man asked the journalists: “Why don’t you take the health of the elderly into consideration, too?!”

Some plaza dancers refuse to stop dancing to give students in the neighbourhood some peace to study. Image via Pear Video.

The video of the Huizhou dancers went viral on Weibo on June 8. Many people are angered with the inconsiderate dancers, saying that elderly people should know better than to be so selfish: “We shouldn’t respect the elderly just because they are old – they did not have to do anything for that -, we only have to respect the good morals and conduct that come with growing old.”

One of the most popular comments said: “I respect the elder but do not respect those without morals, I love young people but don’t like those without teachings”(‘吾敬老不敬无德之老,吾爱幼不爱无教之幼”).

“These are the kind of people who have enough energy to dance during the night, but will make you give up your seat on public transportation during the day so they can sit down,” another person writes.

“Don’t they have grandchildren taking exams, too?”, some wonder.

This is not the first time China’s dancing elders make headlines for their being rowdy and loud. In response to the growing complaints about square-dancing grannies, Chinese authorities started introducing fines and penalties since 2015 for dancers who cause too much nuisance.

On Weibo, bothered students ask: “Grannies, don’t you know how important these exams are to us?”

The topic “Good luck with the exams” (#高考加油#) is the number one trending topic today. “There are a thousand ways to exercise,” one commenter says: “but our college entrance examination is the only way out.”

By Manya Koetse

©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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China Local News

Online Anger over Inappropriate Toast by Dutch Watch Brand Executive at Chinese Dinner Party

This is how NOT to do a toast in Dutch!

Manya Koetse

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Instead of teaching guests at a Chinese dinner party how to say “cheers” in Dutch, this viral video shows how the Chinese are told to join in saying “dikke lul,” the Dutch expression for “big d*ck.”

The Amsterdam-based watch & jewelry brand Rosefield has recently come under fire within the Chinese community in the Netherlands after a video went viral showing Rosefield’s CEO and its Head of Sourcing proposing an unusual toast at a Chinese dinner party.

The video, that was viewed over 173,000 times on Dutch site Dumpert.nl, shows a woman in a white blouse bringing out a toast, saying:

In Dutch, we say ‘ganbei’ or ‘cheers’ in this way, and it would be nice if you all can say the same, we say: ‘dikke lul.‘”

The people at the table then proceed to toast saying “Dikke lul” – which is, in fact, is not the Dutch word for ‘cheers’ but for ‘big dick,’ something that the Chinese people at the table are seemingly not aware of.

On WeChat, Chinese-language newspaper Asian News (华侨新天地) reported about the video and identified the Dutch woman and man at the table as the CPO and CEO of Rosefield Watches, a fast-growing luxury brand that is active in various countries.

Asian News describes the incident as a way of “ridiculing Chinese friends,” and writes it has triggered anger online.

Asian News (华侨新天地) is a Chinese language newspaper founded in 1992. It is mainly distributed in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. Its WeChat account has some 120,200 followers, and the post on the ‘cheers’ video was among its most-well read on WeChat this week.

The blog post noted that ever since the ‘dikke lul’ video has gone viral in the Netherlands, it has become one of the first results showing up when searching for the vulgar expression ‘dikke lul’ on Google.

Although it is not clear where the video was filmed and how it ended up on short video site Dumpert, it is rumored in WeChat groups that it was recorded during the Hong Kong Watch and Clock Fair earlier this month, and that the Chinese guests are business relations of the Dutch brand (unconfirmed).

The comment section on the Dumpert site shows that although some Dutch commenters think the video is funny, there are many who find it “vulgar,” “rude,” and “distasteful.”

Although many (overseas) Chinese expressed anger in various WeChat groups – some expressing regret over a Rosefield watch they recently purchased – the Asia News blog does remind readers that we do not know the context of the video, and whether or not there was a certain pretext or common understanding to the joke.

Nevertheless, the blog states, this kind of behavior is not professional and if a company such as Rosefield wants to earn money in China, “it should also respect Chinese culture and people.”

Although there have been ample discussions about the controversial video on Wechat, there are no online discussions about this issue on Weibo at the time of writing.

Over the past year, many foreign brands became a focus for controversy in China.

In November of 2018, Italian fashion house D&G faced consumer outrage and backlash on Chinese social media for a video that was deemed ‘racist’ to China and for insulting remarks about Chinese people allegedly made by designer Stefano Gabbana.

Swiss investment bank UBS sparked controversy in June for a column which mentioned “Chinese pigs.”

Over this summer, various foreign companies apologized to China for listing ‘Hong Kong’ as a separate country or region on its websites and/or t-shirts.

Still curious about how to actually say ‘cheers’ in Dutch? It’s ‘proost’ and this is how you pronounce it correctly.

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. Please note that your comment below will need to be manually approved if you’re a first-time poster here.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

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China Food & Drinks

This Is the BBQ Restaurant Jack Ma Visited in Zhengzhou

Jack Ma’s late-night snack means overnight success for this Zhengzhou skewer place.

Manya Koetse

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Whatever Jack Ma does or says makes headlines in China. The superstar Alibaba founder has especially been a topic of discussion over the past week since his meeting with Tesla’s Elon Musk at the World AI Conference in Shanghai, where the two billionaires had a discussion about the risks and rewards of AI development.

But on social media platform Weibo, Chinese netizens have not just been discussing what Jack Ma has been saying over the past few days – what he has been eating has also become a topic that has attracted thousands of views and comments this week.

A BBQ skewer restaurant in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, gained overnight fame after a visit from the business magnate and his group. The Alibaba delegation visited Zhengzhou for a meeting concerning a strategic partnership between Alibaba and the local government.

Jack Ma visited the barbecue skewer restaurant around one o’clock in the morning, and was photographed and filmed by many people standing around.

Ma visited Dehua Pedestrian Street and Zhengdong New Area before arriving at the Zheng Xiwang restaurant. Ma was with a small group of people and spent a total of 700 yuan (around 100 US dollars).

Grilled skewers are popular all across China, but especially in the Zhengzhou region, which is also nicknamed the “holy land of skewers.”

Image via Dianping.com.

The Zheng Xiwang restaurant visited by Ma was founded in 1991 – although it was just a street stall at the time – and has been thriving ever since.

Besides skewers, Jack Ma allegedly ordered stir-fried Hunan prawns and spicy clams.

As Ma’s visit to Zhengzhou and the restaurant has gone viral, some social media users write that they have also visited the restaurant immediately after, sharing photos and their receipts as proof.

Weibo user Jia Chengjun (@贾成军) from Henan shared photos of people lining up to get a table at the popular restaurant.

According to various reports on Weibo, the restaurant’s owner initially offered Jack Ma the dinner for free, but the billionaire refused and paid anyway. His payment method will not come as a surprise; he paid with Alibaba’s online payment platform Alipay.

“Why would you offer him a free meal anyway?” some netizens wondered: “He surely has more money than you!”

Curious to try the same food as Ma? Zheng Xi Wang is located at the intersection of Fuyuan Street and Yingxie Street in Zhengzhou (福元路与英协路交叉口向西160米路北(银基王朝南门)).

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. Please note that your comment below will need to be manually approved if you’re a first-time poster here.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

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