Chinese youth are resorting to keeping cabbages as pets to fight their existential despair, according to various reports in Western media. Downmarket tabloid, the Daily Star reported on the ‘craze’, as did the American Huffington Post and the Uk’s Metro. If such reports are true China could be well on its way to overtaking Japan as Asia’s weirdest country.
As evidence, the somewhat creative reports showed pictures taken at this weekend’s MIDI music festival in Beijing, where there was indeed a gaggle of Chinese youths walking cabbages on leashes. The stories all ran with a series of cracking quotes from a couple of festival goers, describing why they kept their verdant vegetable pets.
Lui Ja Chen, 17, told the Austrian Times: “I feel I can transfer my negative thoughts about myself to the cabbage, go for a walk with it and come home feeling better about myself.” In the same report, Da-Xia Sung, also 17, echoed Chen’s thoughts saying: “I have more interest for my cabbage than I do my parents. I feel it understands me.”
Eager to deeper understand the trend, the Daily Star threw Chinese psychiatrist, Wen Chao’s opinion into mix: “It’s not about finding a boyfriend or girlfriend, just about having someone to talk to and share things with, a statement of youth isolated in the big cities.” The paper even went out to posit sociological causes for the fad, stating: “In what could be a worrying result of China’s brutal one-child policy kids with no siblings are obviously going to the extreme in their quest for friendship.”
The reality of whether this trend is actually sweeping China is highly questionable as the reports seems to be based on the quotes of two teenagers, one psychiatrist, and a few photographs of half a dozen youths at a music festival.
It has been suggested that the inspiration for the cabbage walking was not in fact loneliness, but Chinese fashion artist Han Bing’s performance art project “Walking the Cabbage” from way back in 2000. Han actually walked a cabbage at Midi in 2004, so it looks like the cool kids are at least 10 years out of date.
Master image courtesy of 云间六扇门