Saturday, September 02, 2006


When I visited Shanghai last October, China was all abuzz about an Internet phenomenon named "芙蓉姐姐" (Sister Lotus). Recently I came across some pics of her, which I'll share with you, gentle readers.

Sister Lotus first attracted attention when she posted to the BBS'es of Tsinghua and Beijing University (the top two universities in the nation). She wrote the story of how she failed to get into those universities. Then she posted pictures of herself in sexy poses, and wrote lines such as:

"I have the face of an angel and the body of a devil."

"To men, I am the sweetest flower. They love to drink my nectar."

"My sexy appearance and ice-and-jade pure quality bring me a lot of attention wherever I go. I'm always the centre of everything. People never tire of looking at my face, and my physique gives men nose-bleeds."

Is she the sweetest flower? You judge:

She spread like wildfire across China. My theory is that it's because the nation has 4000 years of history of being humble and downplaying oneself. In the US, if you tell your friend, "Hey, you're gorgeous!", she'll say, "Wow, thank you! I'm so flattered!"

In China, if you say that, your friend will say, "Me? No, I can't be. My nose is too flat, and I have fat here [pulling at tiny fold of skin at hip]."

Finally someone comes along who blows all that humility out of the water. After her outlandish claims, you can imagine the mockery that ensued. Unperturbed, she continued right along, and is now getting book deals and commercial endorsements and a wikipedia entry.

I think she frees the Chinese people to be proud just a little. Because if she's making the boasts that she does, then maybe it's not so much of a sin if occasionally you allow yourself to accept one little compliment.

At least this is my understanding. Recall that I have a screwed-up impression formed from my parents' snapshot of China 20 years ago, and reading martial-arts novels growing up.

I leave you with this delight:

Yes, what you see there is the most popular blogger of my homeland.


stephenhacking said...

being proud of oneself and all that is good, but what is with being proud of ones appearance when ur not commended upon it, really intriguing about the reply u get from a yankee and the one you get from a chinese, but seriously one cannot totally agree about justifying the acts of somebody who is publicising herself as a sex-symbol and pose her as a model for those ppl who are really not proud of their appearance. Anyways nice post, kudos to u!!

ishkabubba said...

i prefer the *photoshopped* version of sfjj that xiaxue posted on her blog last year. ;-)

Larry (song ha ning) Chiang said...

I think someone like CAA in LA is repping /boosting her the way "lonelygirl15" from YouTube is