In the 1990s, opium-laced hotpot was the mind-altering
fondue of choice among the masses. But in the swinging
first decade of the twenty-first century, hotpot spiked
with the potency drug Viagra has swelled in popularity.
The potent repast is the aphrodisiac
of choice among locals in the southwestern province
of Sichuan, Life Times newspaper reports. Viagra, known
in Mandarin as weige (literally "big brother"), has
skyrocketed in popularity in China since being introduced
in the late 1990s. A whole cottage industry in imitation
Western and traditional Chinese potency drugs has grown
up as a result. But this is the first time that the
potency drug has been used in Chinese cuisine.
Sichuan restaurants offer at least
40 different variations of "Viagra hotpot," and charge
as much as RMB2000 per pot, according to the newspaper.
Sichuan province is the traditional cradle of Chinese
hotpot cuisine. Hotpot is a communal dish in which various
sliced meats and vegetables are cooked in a pot of boiling
stock. Sichuan is renowned for its four-alarm, spicy
version of the dish.
The spiked stews have aroused so
much interest that owners have created a series of guidelines
for those who order them. For example, men and women
must eat separately, except in the case of couples who
are served special "family" hotpots. Also, no more than
four people are allowed to eat from one pot. According
to the proprietors quoted, these guidelines are necessary
for the drug to produce its full effect.
A Chinese matron was recently bilked out of RMB60,000
(US$7,500) by a man posing as a monk who claimed he
could magically change small bills into ones with much
larger face values.
The woman, sporting a bandage on
her injured left arm, was approached in a market in
the Guangdong province city of Yangjiang by a middle-aged
man pretending to be a doctor, according to a report
in the Beijing Evening News.
The "doctor" brought her to a hotel
room where she met another man dressed as a monk. While
the "monk" began applying a piece of ginger to her hand,
he told her he had mystical powers and could increase
the value of small bills. As proof, he asked the woman
to place a RMB5 bill, a RMB1 bill and a RMB.1 bill on
the floor. Then he asked her to close her eyes as he
When she opened her eyes she found
her money had turned into a RMB100 bill, RMB50 bill
and RMB1 bill respectively. Without thinking twice she
went and withdrew RMB60,000 from her bank account and
returned with the bag of cash to the hotel room.
The ritual began again. When she
opened her eyes the bag had doubled in size. From the
top she could see a RMB100 bill where a RMB5 bill had
been. Excitedly, she thanked the monk and ran home.
When she opened the bag, the contents were mystical
indeed - the bag was filled with nothing but one RMB100
bill and fake paper money used by the Chinese as traditional
burnt offerings to the dead.
A nationwide survey of Chinese teenagers shows that
the vast majority of mainland adolescents consider sex
"revolting and disgraceful," and associate the act with
shame, disgust, pain and suffering. The survey also
reveals limited knowledge and extensive misinformation
about sex among Chinese youth, according to the official
Life Times newspaper.
The survey, carried out in large
cities nationwide including Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou,
shows that fully two-thirds of Chinese teenagers polled
"consider sex revolting and disgraceful." Only one-third
consider it a natural, healthy act.
When asked about sex, the majority
of youngsters, all middle school and high school students,
said they associate sex with shame, disgust, pain and
The survey revealed that students
living in economically better-developed southern coastal
provinces are generally better informed about the facts
of life than their adolescent counterparts in comparatively
poorer northern China. Age was also a factor as 46 percent
of high school students surveyed listed sex as a normal
However, on the whole, Chinese children
scored well below the international average on general
knowledge of the facts of human sexuality . Major sources
of information listed were school, media, and family.
At least one educator is citing the
survey as a wake-up call for sex education reform, the
report says. Wang Yamei, a Beijing middle school teacher,
says that although middle school lasts for six years,
there is only one government-approved book that deals
with sex education. Wang says that both the textbook
and sex education curriculum lack depth and are not
taken seriously by students.
It Pays to
Say I'm Sorry
China's first company devoted to making formal apologies
for others opened recently in the Sichuan province municipality
of Chongqing (formerly Chungking).
A woman by the name of Xiang Nushi has founded the "Xiang
Apologizing Company" to help businesses and individuals
make amends for their public gaffes. When asked about
the idea, Xiang says that in a country where "face-saving"
is a crucial element in business negotiations, many
people are still unsure how to deal with the public
after making an embarrassing or damaging mistake. On
behalf of the client, "Xiang Apologizing Company" can
send flowers or postcards, write letters, and make obsequious
phone calls to make amends. Extra services include counseling
sessions for business executives on how to become "less
Fashion has always been a fickle industry and the most
recent trend to hit Beijing only confirms this. Whereas
1999 saw a marked increase in the number of first-time
female pet owners, this year more and more women are
buying bizarre and exotic pets.
Workers at the Beijing Animal Shelter,
a veterinary clinic originally established to rescue
homeless animals, say the shelter now resembles a circus
of "strange critters." In addition to the standard dogs,
cats, snakes, pigeons and parrots, the center has also
seen a large number of turtles, snakes, lizards, and
even koala bears come through their doors.
PRC Net Guide
According to a report issued recently by the
U.S. Embassy in Beijing the continuing explosive growth
of the Chinese Internet is making massive amounts of
information about all aspects of Chinese politics, economics,
science and technology readily available. The report
is available at
Students of the Internet and of the Chinese language
will find recent guides to Chinese Internet resources
helpful. Search engines on full-text newspaper websites
such as the People's Daily's make it easy to track statements
by leaders, their biographical information and specific
issues. A quick search of the People's Daily website
for the week after the Chinese New Year holiday turned
up four articles containing "Jiang Zemin" and two articles
containing "Zhu Rongji." This report introduces several
books on Internet resources, information security/hacking,
and electronic commerce that have appeared in China
over the past several months.
Although the net itself remains the
best guide to the net, these books are guides to many
resources including newspapers, bulletin boards, radio
stations, databases and software, that will be useful
to all students of China and the Chinese language.
Beijing city dwellers can rent a car via the Internet
This is the first e-commerce webpage providing car-rental
service to local customers. With 33 kinds of local and
imported cars, the products are displayed with exterior,
interior decoration, technical data and rental fee etc.
In addition, a new transportation service will be offered
in providing vehicles for conferences, group traveling,
and wedding ceremonies.
- Beijing Daily