All Together Now

Last month, The Atlantic published a series of  amazing photos from China showing people — lots of people — doing things in unison.


I had a good chuckle because seeing people do things as a group is a fairly common site in China.

Students (from pre-school to university) learn how to march in step and do synchronized morning exercises.

Security guards practice goose-stepping in front of the establishments they guard.

Restaurant and store staff often line up on the sidewalks outside their respective establishments in the morning to chant or sing their pledges to serve their customers. Sometimes they even dance, as was the case with these ladies getting ready to start the work day in their beauty salon in Ya’an, Sichuan!


I remember my first encounter with a lots-of-people-doing-things-in-unison event in China. It was at the National Games held in Zhengzhou in 1984. All the foreign teachers in the city (that would be 10 of us) were taken to the event and seated in the VIP section where we watched a thousand 3-year olds dancing and twirling parasols in unison as part of the opening ceremonies.

china national games zhengzhou 1984

No way you could get a thousand  American 3 year olds to do that.

Am I right?