Kua Kua groups: pay your way to adulation

By Lu Yuanzhi Source:Global Times Published: 2019/3/22 0:13:39

Illustrations: Peter C. Espina/GT

If you say "I lost my bicycle today. I have looked for it for a long time, but failed." How will you expect others to reply?

If you are a member of a "Kua Kua" online chat group, you will receive positive responses like "In spite of losing your bike, you are not irritated, which shows your elegance. Well done!" "Your next bicycle will be much better." Or "when looking for your bicycle here and there, you have done a lot of physical exercise. Well done!" Are you willing to join such a group?

In recent days, WeChat "Kua Kua" groups have drawn increasing attention in China, especially among young people. In Chinese, "Kua" literally means to praise. The "Kua Kua" groups are online chat groups, in which group members can respond positively to whatever you say, even if the things you tell them are negative. 

It is said that "Kua Kua" groups originated in Xi'an Jiaotong University, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province. Such groups then swept across other universities and young Chinese people. Not all groups offer free services. Aware of the commercial opportunities of "Kua Kua" groups, e-commerce platforms are operating paid "praise" services. 

If you search "Kua Kua" groups on online retail platforms like Taobao, you will find them offering temporary membership for prices ranging from 50 yuan ($7.4) to over 100 yuan for a 5-minute service during which you are complimented. After paying the fee, you will be added to a chat group. For 5 minutes, group members will give compliments for whatever you say. 

Their business seems to be doing good. The top seller on Taobao received 1,667 memberships last month at the rate of 50 yuan each.

The emergence of "Kua Kua" groups reflects people's stressful life. Members of the post-90s generation are its main users. Youngsters don't have a place to let their hair down. In daily life, there is nowhere where they can go to get destressed. Members in such chat groups can persuade you to see negative things happening in a positive way. Compliments we receive from such groups can re-build our confidence when we face pressures and frustration.

In fact, everyone hopes to get praise or encouragement from others, which is a general human trait. Currently, young people are facing the pressure of competition and workplace and need mental support to deal with such stress. 

As we are busy with our work and daily life, the sense of estrangement and indifference among individuals is increasing. Our desire for praise cannot be met in the real world, but can be achieved virtually. The internet has become the emotional harbor that young people can rely on. 

The compliment we receive from "Kua Kua" groups can help improve our mood and satisfy our cravings to be valued. Even if the praise from strangers in such chat groups sounds fake, it can reduce the pressure and boost our self-esteem. This may be the main reason for the popularity of "Kua Kua" groups.

However, "Kua Kua" groups are only one of the new things in the era of the internet and will fall silent someday. Such chat groups are sources of entertainment, but we cannot always rely on them to seek comfort.

Furthermore, compliments from strangers on the internet are usually insincere and meaningless and cannot bring genuine happiness and satisfaction. Additionally, it is not satisfying to hear too many insincere compliments. Receiving praise when we don't deserve it can be considered delusional. 

When confronting pressures, we should learn how to adjust and relax in healthier ways such as by exercising, reading and chatting with friends and relatives. When dealing with failures and frustrations, we need to analyze their root causes so as to avoid falling back into the same old trap. 

Moreover, we have to be good listeners. We should generously praise any progress or achievement our friends and relatives make and show concern for their frustrations and failures, thereby bringing down our reliance on the virtual world.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. luyuanzhi@globaltimes.com.cn

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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