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Day of reckoning draws near; Nanjing prepares

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As most are aware, the world is set to end on 21st December. While the day draws ever nearer we are beginning to see some crack under the pressure while others become rather caring in their ways. For others it’s a combination of the two.


Don’t panic, Nanjing! No piranhas in this town

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On Friday the 13th, the Modern Express newspaper (现代快报) ran the following headline: “'Man-eating fish', Nanjing has close relative". The header was offset in brown, with two color photos, one of the man-munching piranha recently pulled out of a river in Guangxi alongside one of our Jiangsu residents, the Orbfish. Such a fishy tale merited a full-page “investigative” report. The overall gist of the article might not come as a shock: "You know that local fish that looks a bit like a piranha? Yeah, it’s not a piranha".


Nanjing Beauty Seeks Action Man

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Andy Warhol once said, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”. For Nanjing University junior, Li Jiannan, her short brush with online stardom has come at a price.  The 20-year old student recently posted a want ad on her microblog for a bodyguard. 

Li was recently dubbed “Nanjing University’s Most Beautiful Girl”. The moniker, bestowed by the online community, has propelled Li to become Nanjing’s most recent temporary celebrity. Our soon-to-be-falling rising starlet has recently been a guest on not just one, but two local television programs. In general, she’s the best thing to happen to our Nanjing since French Fry Brother.

Described by a staff member at the university sports department, Li is apparently “good at sports and low key at school”.  She is the captain of the Ping-Pong team, though recently has been noticeably absent from training.  It seems that Li’s fame has led to some unwanted attention from men; some have apparently come to the school, knowing that she is captain of the Ping-Pong team at NJU’s Xianlin campus, to ask staff for her location or phone number.  Little Li, as she is also known, has also reported being followed home by men. She has since moved house.

At 11:24 pm on 26th June, the following posting appeared on Weibo:

“Recently, I have encountered scary stuff like being followed home and knocking at my front door. Add to this a few exaggerated reports of what women encounter on the streets, and I have decided to hire a male bodyguard.”

The job requirements:

  • Able to beat up three guys at once
  • Good-natured
  • Protect my safety, escorting me home at night
  • No requirement concerning physical appearance
  • Suitable applicants get ¥300,000 over three years
  • If outstanding can sign for ten years
  • Serious inquiries only

The ad brings up a few questions.  They are, in no particular order:

  • In the 3-on-1 scenario, who has what weapons? Will there be a test for this qualification?  If so, can we come to watch?
  • How many good-natured bodyguards are out there? If your job is to beat up attackers, is a heart of gold really a must? If so, is Jacky Chan available?
  • Why no requirements on physical appearance? If you’re going to see this guy every day for the next three years, don’t you want someone who is easy on the eyes?
  • Think about that potential ten year contract for a minute. Three years is a stretch, but do you really think you’ll need a bodyguard at age 30 because you were “Nanjing University’s Most Beautiful Girl” ten years ago?

The want ad has drawn a lot of attention online. It was reposted 15,000 times on Weibo and received around 1,000 comments. There are questions about whether or not it was a sincere advertisement, though Little Li insisted when asked by reporters that it was an honest post. There have also been questions as to where a third year student would find the ¥300,000 mentioned in the ad. Li says that her family has offered to pay for someone to protect her. 

Little Li, we have good news. The Internet may have extended Warhol’s aforementioned 15 minutes to something closer to three weeks, but your time is almost up. Don’t get suckered into signing a 3-year contract; private security is a racket. Find a guy who is willing to work for peanuts on a 3-month “probationary period”, and by the time he’s expecting a permanent offer you’ll already be long forgotten.

The new celebrity will be the poor sod who was suckered into protecting you. We can see the headlines now; “Nanjing’s most honest resident protects NJU girl; never gets paid”. Girl power.


Naked Nanjing tomfoolery leads to 500,000 downloads of graduation photos

Preparation for the high school graduation test that is the bane of most Chinese teenage existences will no longer dominate the lives of graduating students. The exam, also known as the Gaokao, was held at locations all over the country last week. Classes are over. Diplomas are being handed out. There is but one thing left for students to do: celebrate.


American in Nanjing gains national fame

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Jason Loose, a 23-year old American has been thrust into the limelight of national media as the “French Fry Brother”. Loose was photographed in early May sharing his French fries and a warm chat with an elderly beggar in Nanjing.

Loose, a graduate of Nanjing University is currently working as an intern for a sports brand company in Nanjing. In his free time he volunteers for public welfare groups, working as an English teacher for children of migrant workers.

He is very surprised at all the attention given to him by national media; even the Xinhua News Agency conducted an interview with him in Mandarin, which he speaks fluently. He says he feels "extremely shy, as it was just an encounter with someone in need. They (the beggars) are just like us, and they deserve respect and social concern."

The pictures that have been shared online show Loose sitting with an elderly begging woman on the ground close to McDonald’s while he offers her his fries and drinks, both of them in deep conversation. Within days there have been 150,000 posts related to the "French Fry Brother", stirring discussions about the country's relationship with the needy on micro-blogging site Sina Weibo. It is also not the first time foreigners have stepped into help; a year and a half ago, also in Nanjing, another American helped to fund a beggar's surgery.

"It was such a heartwarming scene, but brought by a foreign young man, who offers his love, care and trust to a stranger in need," one micro-blogger wrote, questioning whether they "could do what he does."

As usual, there is not only praise for Loose’s actions, with some netizens arguing that foreigners do not understand China’s actual conditions, suggesting that beggars were cheaters unworthy of other people’s help. For this reason, some bloggers defended themselves by stating that since many beggars are frauds, as outlined in this earlier article on Hello Nanjing. For this reason, the bloggers apparently do not dare offer love or concern.

That being said, the concern showed by Loose has added to the discussion about morality and apathy in China, half a year after the death of two-year-old “Little Yue Yue”, who had been run over by two vehicles and lay dying in the street while 18 people passed her by with only the 19th person, a migrant woman collecting trash, pulling her off the street and alerting her mother.

While many Chinese worry about such cases, Loose’s impression is far more positive. “There have been numerous sweet and warm scenes in public," he recalls. "People offer seats to the elderly and to children, and many people like to give money or food to beggars. They are not indifferent.”


Tire marks on city wall leave Ferrari red-faced

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A Ferrari dealership has landed itself in hot water after a promotional event atop Nanjing’s ancient city wall was cancelled due to an “unauthorised” burnout leaving tire marks across the wall’s surface. Footage has been released on Youku of the car performing the burnout, followed by the damage being mopped up the next day.


Titanic 2 to be built right here in Nanjing

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The “reboot” has become a popular concept in Hollywood of late; with Spiderman, Star Trek, The Hulk and Red Dawn all wiping the slate clean and starting afresh. Now, Titanic is set for a reboot, but this time around it will not be produced in Hollywood. Rather, Jinling Shipyard here in Nanjing has been set with the task of rebooting the Titanic.


Where do Babies Come from; what Chinese parents tell their kids

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It is that most sensitive of topics; how and when to tell one's children the truth about how they came into this world. In the meantime however, each culture has their own sometimes very unique way of keeping their offspring's curiosity at bay. China is no exception…where-do-babies-come-from2

Illustration by Rachel Skeels

Such an issue traditionally has depended heavy upon the times in which one lives. As can be seen from our list of the most popular answers to the most sentient of questions, what's here today is gone tomorrow.

The most popular answers in China to the question “Where do I come from?” (by half a billion parents):

You were picked up from the wayside!

We planted a seed in the field in spring and harvested you in autumn!

We bought you on Taobao!

You jumped out from a big stone just like Sun Wukong (孙悟空)!

You were jettisoned from a UFO!

You were part of a “Buy one, get one free” offer!

You were downloaded from the Internet!

You climbed out of the television!

Your father and I showed our devotion to Tai Shang Lao Jun (太上老君,a magician in Chinese Mythology), who then gave us a potion which I swallowed. You in my belly was the result!

One day your father bought you from a shoulder pole peddler. You were in the left basket and your brother was in the right; we bought both of you!

One day your mother and I were hiking in a forest whereupon a baby fell from a tree branch. We caught it immediately to avoid it getting hurt; and you’ve already figured out it was you!

We called the take-away service (外卖) asking to buy a baby. They then sent you to our house, we signed for you and brought you inside!

We went to a temple and prayed to Buddha for a baby after which a monk gave us an empty basket. When we arrived home and took off the cloth cover, an amazing thing had happened; you were in the basket!

You fell out of your mother’s armpit!

You were picked out of the dustbin!

You are the product of modern technology thanks to the doctors in Beijing Xiehe Hospital (北京协和医院,a hospital which is famous in China for curing infertility)!


On the menu; “Four dishes, one soup" and a rebalancing of global power

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Great leaders need good slogans, and in China's case preferably ones that employ simple arithmetic. For the late, great, Deng Xiaoping it was "one country, two systems", referring to the semi-political autonomy enjoyed by post British Hong Kong during the late 90s. For Xi Jinping, his legacy may also lie in four simple words; “Four dishes, one soup".

Ever since becoming the world's second most powerful man, Xi Jinping has been determined to put an end to corruption and the lavish overspending by officials on luxury items. In his latest public appearance this was his continuing theme during a visit to the rural villages of Hebei province.

A source close to Xi who is also coincidentally a Hello Nanjing informant has released to us what is purportedly the actual menu given to Xi during the visit intended to drum up support for a more cost conscious officialdom for his reign. Further to reports from a previous trip Xi made to Guangdong in which he actually carried his own tray at lunchtime, our insider confirms that Xi in Hebei also stood in line for the bathroom at the humble restaurant. The fact that Xi specifically instructed not to serve drinks sent a further chilly message down the spines of many a cadre.

While Mr. Xi’s feast-fit-for-a-peasant was met with cheers from lay people, all is not quite so rosy across the Middle Kingdom; such a simple meal and a consequent drastic doing away with what amounts to state-sanctioned indulgence has profound consequence for China, her immediate neighbours and much of humankind.

Above, could this be the actual menu enjoyed by a leaner, meaner Xi Jinping? At this early stage only the first flimsy details of possible repercussions are becoming clear.

  • Exports of cheap plastic toys to be eclipsed by those of eels and chicken feet as delicacy providers struggle to find new markets. Expect EU sanctions and pandemonium at border crossings.
  • A project leader at a top secret China think tank/research unit at international consulting firm McKinsey & Company revealed to Hello Nanjing, "I got guys working on this 24/7, but at this point we've simply no idea where all this cash is going to go. It's easy to say, like, investment. High speed trains, aircraft carriers and so on. But it is also possible we may see a Chinese man on the moon by 2015."
  • The humble potato held on high. Expect the rise of the "tatty-tycoon" with more clout than has ever been wielded since Sir Walter Raleigh brought a few sackfuls back from America and persuaded people to smoke them.
  • Shark populations on the rebound. Expect quite literal eye-for-eye retaliations from our fishy friends that never sleep...
  • With pork on the wane, garlic set to be the new staple of China. Expect more bad breath, along with increased sales of "eau de toilet", much shrugging of shoulders and the use of heavily accented English.
  • The entire baijiu industry on the rocks. Expect knock-on effects that include the closing of thousands of restaurants and mass layoffs in the advertising industry. One industry analyst commented, "Some media outlets derive up to 35 percent of their revenue from baijiu commercials shown during children's programming. Many of these guys are headed for the wall. Those who survive may only do so by rebroadcasting the shopping channel in lieu of commercial breaks".

We are expecting more ramifications to emerge in the near future. One just in; reaction from a spokesperson for the Singapore Stock Exchange; "Quite plainly whoever dreamt up this ridiculous story is barking mad. Nevertheless we have instructed our brokers to prepare China investors for an accumulated loss of up to 11.7 billion SD, just in case."

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