The Girl Who Broke the Chinese Internet

On Monday Fu Yuanhui, a 20-year old swimmer from Hangzhou won the bronze medal in the 100 meter backstroke race. During the medal ceremony, she could not hide her excitement.


Reuters photo, via WSJ

It’s noteworthy because Chinese Olympians have been known to cry and apologize for earning silver medals (instead of gold).

But Ms. Fu’s claim to fame out of Rio is not so much her medal as her exuberant reaction to her speed during a qualifying race. When she exits the pool, she doesn’t have any idea of how fast she swam until the reporter tells her. (email readers click here to see the video)

Within hours, the Chinese Internet was melting:

Since then, Fu, from the southeastern city of Hangzhou, has gained more than three million fans on Chinese social networking site Weibo in two days. Her catchphrase “mystic energy,” or “prehistoric power,” has become a meme, and her super-excited expressions have been turned into emoticons.


I don't have expectations for tomorrow; I am already pleased!

I don’t have expectations for tomorrow; I am already pleased!

You can read more about Ms. Fu here, here, and here.

You go, girl!

Related Posts:

A Beijing Winter Olympics?

Beijing 2008 Olympics Photos

Peasant Olympics

New Olympics, Funny Olympics


Image credit: What’s on Weibo

Top Ten Posts of 2012

It seems that every other blogger on the planet is doing an end-of-the-year “Top Ten” list, so why not me?  Herewith, then, is the list of my top ten posts of 2012, as measured by WordPress stats:

10. Living Well Where You Don’t Belong (full version)

A collection of lessons I’ve learned over the years about successful cross-cultural living. Many lessons were, of course, the result of cultural mistakes that I made.

9.  The Great Moon Cake Exchange

A look at the art if giving and receiving moon cakes during the Chinese Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.

8.  Start Seeing Mops

A fun slide show of random mops seen on the streets of China. There is no problem that cannot be solved with a bucket and a mop.

7. Flooding in Beijing — What Does it Mean

Some observations on the historic flooding that hit Beijing in July. Think of Beijing is a small state, rather than a large city.

6. Silly Season

A look at life in Beijing in the run-up to the Party Congress meetings in November, and what the authorities did to prevent people from throwing “reactionary leaflets”* out the windows of taxis.

5. A Letter to Language Learners

Some thoughts and ruminations on the privilege of learning a language.

4. Chinese Bumper Stickers

My first installment of funny Chinese bumper stickers.

3. Swimming Masks

A few scary photos of Chinese swimmers at a beach in Qingdao.  Do not click on this link if you are given to having nightmares!

2. Karachi Memories

Some of my fondest memories of growing up in Karachi, Pakistan.

1. How Long Does it Take to Learn Chinese?

Some accused me of spreading discouragement with this post. I see it as helping folks set realistic expectations regarding how long it takes to learn a second language. That’s actually discouragement-prevention!

Which one was your favorite?

Onward to 2013! Happy New Year!

*I wish I could take credit for this term “reactionary leaflets” but I can’t. I picked it up from blogger Imagethief. It was too brilliant to  pass up.