Sorry, I can’t come to work, I have to watch the World Cup.
Bù hǎoyìsi, wǒ bùnéng shàngbān le, wǒ dei kàn shìjiè bēi!
Whether you’re living in China or not, you’ve probably noticed that for the past few weeks, people everywhere have been celebrating one of the only truly?international holidays: the FIFA World Cup!
China’s team may not have made the cut this year, but that certainly hasn’t stopped Chinese people from getting swept up in World Cup fever. In fact, for a lot of people here, the question isn’t “Will I watch the World Cup?” but rather, “How can I get out of work the next morning?”
Nearly every game is broadcast live here, but because of the time difference, the marquee match ups tend to start at 2:30 a.m.—not exactly a convenient time for anyone with a nine-to-five job!
People throughout China are coming up with creative ways to get out of work the next day. One online vendor has been selling forged “doctor’s notes,” and some companies have adjusted their day-to-day schedules completely, postponing the start of work until 10:30 a.m. or even later, until the World Cup is over.
Many Chinese became enamored with the North Korean team after its star Jong Tae-Se wept openly during the national anthem before their game with Brazil, one of the world’s most powerful soccer dynasties, and were further impressed by the team’s grit and sportsmanship in the hard-fought 2-1 loss. With the elimination of the North Koreans, many Chinese seem to be pulling for more traditional powerhouses. This past weekend, I saw a young woman sporting a team Argentina outfit, complete with a matching handbag and hat!
There may be one group of people who aren’t as excited about the World Cup as everyone else, though: girlfriends. Some Chinese college students have expressed frustration online and in print that the World Cup has stolen their boyfriends, becoming their “number one rival in love.”?The Global Times has reported that at least one Chinese netizen is ready to surrender: “I totally lose,” she wrote, “I present my boyfriend to the World Cup. I hope it will give him amazing memories and hope he will get tired of it after a while. Then he will love me again forever.”
Best of luck to your favorite team, and keep an eye out for the next issue of?The World of Chinese coming soon!