ALL CHINESE TAKE SUPERSTITIONS----SERIOUSLY.
Imagine my surprise when the manager of Beijing Coca Cola, where I taught, explained the difficulties faced by American’s largest soft drink corporation when they introduced Coca Cola to the Chinese people---many years ago.
Although China has hordes of people, there is a huge underground “pipeline” that broadcasts information throughout the neighborhoods and is much speedier than any national news flash! This human pipeline is a powerful means of communication, powerful enough to transmit a fear that banned and suppressed sales of the world’s most popular drink product.
Somehow the word “on the street” warned Chinese against drinking this internationally-popular soft drink—stating the dark brown liquid would permanently turn the consumer’s skin the same dark brown color. If a pregnant woman drank this Cola, her baby would be born black.
Highly superstitious, the Chinese refused to drink Coca Cola. The Chinese People refused to gamble on permanently-staining their skin. After untold dollars and heavy marketing----Coca Cola successfully-created Ads showing testimonials from American-Chinese-- drinking the product. Overtime, more and more brave Chinese took a few sips of Coca Cola-- waited a day or two, then tried another few sips--and soon discovered--- it didn’t affect their skin color.
Now—many years later--Coca Cola is a huge hit in China--- overpowering Pepsi Cola--to be China’s favorite carbonated drink. Yet, most pregnant women continue to boycott the famous beverage for a full nine months---still afraid the chocolate-colored drink might color their unborn child’s skin--black! (Interesting-to-note: Chinese women almost-never date men of color.)
Early in 2000, another frightening theory emerged--- threatening to be adopted by the more superstitious Chinese. This explosive information emerged just weeks before I was scheduled to return to America. It seems more and more Chinese were beginning to boycott Kentucky Fried Chicken-- the popular American Fried Chicken Restaurant that had established itself in China during the eighties.
China’s notorious “pipeline” began spreading shocking information about American chickens that horrified the Chinese people. Chinese authorities announced that American Chickens were treated with high doses of estrogen to improve the chickens' appetites. Making them fatter meant American chicken farmers could attract higher prices for their chickens. Authorities warned that these hormone-treated chickens could immediately convert chicken-eaters into homosexuals. That meant men would turn into women and---women into men!!!!
Even more- frightening to Chinese-- the babies who ate the chicken would be permanently- switched to the opposite sex--- right before the parents’ eyes! This sounds preposterous to Americans who try to separate reality from fantasy and superstition---but----Chinese are historically-naive and highly-superstitious.
Chinese--completely believe what they hear from neighbors and so-called authorities--- by way of the “pipeline”.
My hotel’s executive chef, a mainland Chinese raised in Singapore, believed strongly in the homosexual/chicken premise. I was amazed at his success in boycotting ALL Chicken dishes from the hotel’s luxurious dining room. AND, despite the many American-Chinese who regularly- crowded the Hotel's elegant dining room---no one complained about the "missing" chicken dishes. Even the most sophisticated Chinese---- respected China's notorious "Pipeline" and they-too were deathly afraid of the chicken-homosexual theory.