Dec. 16, 2017

CHINA’S SUPERSTITIONS AND A FEW, FAR-OUT FANTASIES.

 

As Coca Cola-Beijing's English Teacher, I was shocked when Coke's manager told me how the world's number one soft drink had, for a long time, been outlawed in China.

Although millions of Chinese watch TV, listen to the radio, and read numerous newspapers, most get there news from an historic underground “pipeline” system that funnels information across China--- faster than a “speeding bullet”! This human pipeline is China’s most powerful means of communication, powerful enough to transmit a fear so strong, it was able to ban and suppress sales of the world’s most popular soft drink….for decades.

The first words about Coca Cola-on the street-warned Chinese not to drink it. The Pipeline had "proof "that anyone who drank the brown liquid would soon see their skin turn the same dark brown color. If a pregnant woman drank Coca Cola, her newborn baby's skin would be dark brown.

Highly superstitious, Chinese refused to drink Coca Cola, knowing it would permanently stain their skin.  After untold dollars and a heavy marketing campaign that included testimonials from American-Chinese shown drinking the product--- a few brave Chinese  took a few sips, waited, then tried another sip or two......... and, after more and more sips, realized it didn’t affect their skin’s color.  But, convincing the masses that Coca Cola was a safe and delicious drink took years and years of marketing, testing, money, and patience.

Now, so many years later, Coca Cola is a huge hit in China, far-out-ranking Pepsi as China’s most-favored carbonated drink. But, even-today, pregnant women in China boycott the famous beverage for nine months....convinced they'll deliver a black baby if they drink Coca Cola while pregnant.  

A more-recent and equally-scary superstition emerged in 2000, shortly before I returned to America. Suddenly, the Chinese stopped eating at Kentucky Fried Chicken--China’s favorite American Restaurant. I learned that China’s notorious pipeline was spreading shocking information about America’s chickens.  Chinese “authorities” said that American Chickens are treated with daily doses of estrogen to improve their appetites because fatter chickens attract higher prices.   When eaten, hormone-treated chickens turn the person into a homosexual….making men into women and women into men. 

Most frightening to the Chinese, every child who eats the hormone-infused chickens will switch genders almost immediately---in front of their parents!!! This sounds preposterous to Americans who pride themselves on separating reality from fantasy or reality from superstition.  But most Chinese are, traditionally, naive and extremely superstitious.  And, most Chinese  believe every word that passes through China’s historic pipeline.

My hotel’s executive chef, a mainland Chinese born in Singapore, believed so strongly in the homosexual/hormone-infused chicken premise, that he successfully eliminated all chicken dishes from the hotel’s American Menu. 

Makes one wonder who controls China’s pipeline and….who gets “the first and last word.”

 Sally Miller