Chinese dama out of step with modern times

By Lizzie Yin Source:Global Times Published: 2014-8-18 18:48:01

Illustration: Peter C. Espina/GT

Chinese dama (elder women) have won international fame due to their acrobatic moves, furious music and persevering love for the art of dancing to their provincial yet catchy music.

Many people, however, are enraged by such inconsiderate, noisy, annoying behavior. Seeing Chinese dama marching on the squares in different cities worldwide, many foreigners are also starting to ask themselves the question - Why do elderly Chinese women turn into the dama that we know?

Well, here's your answer. After years of studying the most representative dama I know in my life - my mother - let me try to explain it to you.

My mom has lived a boring life since I left for college and my sister grew into a typical teenager who just ignores my parents.

Looking back at her past, she realized that one of the rare things that she misses from the old days was the old-style "socializing." As a sweet-looking young girl talented in singing and dancing, she proudly danced the "loyalty" dance with her "besties" from school. In the 1980s, she tipped her toe in the disco and ballroom dancing scene as a young woman of marriageable age. The last two decades of her life has been dedicated to raising two children, and now she's lost.

She never learnt to think outside of the box or do things all by herself growing up. Everything she did, she did it with her friends. So when some of her female colleagues flocked to the squares to dance, she felt she couldn't sit still and let the trend slip away from her.

I think the other thing about dancing is that it doesn't cost a thing. The elderly were raised in a way that one should invest in housing or children's education, but not spend a penny for entertainment. So instead of paying to go bowling or to Karaoke parlors, they dance at a public places which they have the right to occupy as residents.

In this materially rich age, dama still keep their thrifty, hoarding attitude towards life. My mother, who wears gold earrings and necklaces, still bargains with vegetable vendors over one kuai or five mao.

So why do they take it for granted that they could take over a square or a playground, depriving other people of the space and silence?

Well, first of all, they'd say "We are older, therefore anybody who's younger than us should listen to us." Don't try to argue with them, since they have all the time and energy in the world to exert their rights.

Some people say society is becoming more and more impetuous and practical, losing its traditional values. They blame the introduction of Western culture to China. However, Western culture also teaches people to have gentlemanly and lady-like manners.

Dama phenomenon is only a product of this age. After going through a materially inadequate childhood and youth, now they suffer from the anxiety as a result of spiritual void. I think the phenomenon represents the Chinese society panicking against changes and trying their best to fit into modern times.

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.

Posted in: Twocents-Opinion

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