The Dedication of a Single Parent: Father Carries Disabled Son Everyday

Chinese netizens have been moved by the story of 40-year-old Yu Xukang and his 12-year-old son Qiang.

Yu is not only a single father living in the rural areas of Sichuan, he also happens to be the father of a disabled child. Qiang suffers from a severely curved spine and a bent hand and foot. Because the condition is so rare, doctors have been unable to treat the young boy.

Needless to say, the condition has made things very difficult for the father and son, but Yu is determined not to give up despite the difficult circumstances.

According to Shanghaiist, Qiang’s mother abandoned the family when her son was only 3-years-old. As a result, Yu took on the responsibility of raising the child on his own.

Of course, this is no easy task. The rural area lacks of transportation and Qiang’s school is a two-hour walk away. Qiang cannot physically handle the walk, so Yu carries his 12-year-old son all the way to and from school.

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In total Yu walks 28 kilometers a day (roughly 6 hours) just to make sure his son is educated. The walk to school is down a difficult and rugged mountain road which eats away at Yu’s rubber shoes.

Despite the difficult situation, Yu shows an undying amount of determination. “We are never late,” he said proudly.

 

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Traditional Chinese Instrument Creates Best Super Mario Bros. Cover EVER

Who doesn’t like a good cover of Super Mario Bros. music? We’ve seen this with just about every sort of instrument imaginable– using a piano, using the guitar, using a harmonica and even using wine glasses.

So what sort of instrument can produce the best cover? As it turns out, the most fitting instrument may be something we didn’t expect at all. A traditional Chinese instrument called the sheng may be our top contender.

You may be unfamiliar with the strange device, but it has actually been around since 1100BC. The sheng is a mouth organ made of wood, metal, or a gourd with a blowpipe and at least 17 extending pipes made from bamboo or metal.

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Although  the sheng is used primarily to play Chinese classical music with other traditional Chinese instruments, there seems to be room for its beautiful sounds here in modern times.

In the video below, a Japanese student is seen doing a sheng cover of the Super Mario Bros. theme song as well as many of the songs and sound effects from the original game. We even get to hear as Mario accumulates coins.

Needless to say, this impressive cover is on its way to viral fame. Check it out for yourself.

 

 

Possibly The Most Uncomfortable Marriage Proposal Ever

Are we a fan of marriage proposals here at Audrey? You bet.

So far, we’ve seen quite an interesting array of proposals. For instance, there was the adorable one that happened in the middle of a sing-along to Disney’s Frozen. Then there was the elaborate, 27-minute video proposal that contained music videos, flashmobs, and even movie trailers.

And then there are the people who do everything in their power to stick out from the rest. Who can forget the young lady who decided to defy gender roles and propose to her boyfriend instead? And surely we all remember the uncomfortable live marriage proposal that angered feminists everywhere.

Well now, we’ve uncovered a marriage proposal that aims to be even more uncomfortably awkward.

This past Valentine’s day was an opportunity for everyone to embrace their romantic side. This certainly seemed to be case for this Chinese woman in Xiamen, Fujian who made special arrangements at this movie theater. She then waited for her boyfriend to appear.

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After giving a proposal speech, she gets down on one knee and reveals a ring to her boyfriend.
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This is when things get a little awkward. Pictures of the boyfriend show a man who doesn’t seem to be very enthusiastic about the whole ordeal. Or maybe he’s just expressionless because he’s surprised?

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Here he is seen placing the ring on her finger, but he definitely appears reluctant to do so.
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And here we see the happy couple. Well, she certainly seems happy. His half-hearted hug and sour expression is questionable.
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Very little is known about the couple so our optimistic side says he may just carry that expression naturally. However, if our instincts are correct, we may be looking at the most uncomfortable marriage proposal ever.

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(source)

The Rise of the Asian Male Figure Skater

Story by Olivia Ouyang.

On a night when mistakes abounded, history was made. The men’s free skate competition was far from memorable, with falls occurring left and right. However, it was an evening for the books. For the first time in the history of Olympic figure skating, an Asian male won the event. Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu skated far below his abilities, falling twice during his program. However, he was able to edge out the competition and solidify the rise of the Asian male skater.

The Japan Figure Skating Championships is considered one of the hardest competitions simply because of the depth of the country’s field. Its two other representatives, Tatsuki Machida and Daisuke Takahashi, finished fifth and sixth respectively. Takahashi, who made history in 2010 by becoming the first Asian man to win the World Championships, did not even make the podium at Japanese nationals. However, given his experience, which includes a bronze medal at the prior Olympics, Takahashi was given a spot on the team.

It is worth noting that all three medalists are of Asian descent. Silver medalist Patrick Chan is of Chinese descent; both his parents immigrated from Hong Kong to Canada in the early part of their lives. Chan created a stir a few years ago when he told Reuters that he wished he could skate for China because the country appreciates their figure skaters whereas Canadians only value hockey. The statement was later retracted. The three-time World Champion was a contender for the gold medal, trailing Hanyu by less than four points. After Hanyu’s errors, the door was open for Chan to step in and clench the gold. However, the veteran skater made numerous errors and was unable to close the gap.

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After the short program, only 3.5 points separated third and eleventh place, leaving the bronze medal was up for grabs. It was Denis Ten, the 2013 World silver medalist, who rose to the occasion. Representing Kazakhstan, Ten is of Korean descent. His great-great-grandfather was Min Keung Ho, a Korean general in the war against Japan for independence in the early 20th century. Ten rose from ninth the third place with one of the best programs of the night.

Michael Christian Martinez, the first figure skater and only athlete from the Philippines at these Games placed a respectable nineteenth place. Read more on his story here.

The ladies’ competition gets underway today. Unlike the men, Asian women have dominated the past two Olympics, beginning with Shizuka Arakawa’s victory at the 2006 Torino Olympics. Reigning Olympic champion Yuna Kim of Korea is competing here in Sochi to defend her title. Also in the mix is Mao Asada, the 2010 Olympic silver medalist who is looking to improve on her prior finish and get gold.

Russians Back on Top; Chinese Off The Podium

Story by Olivia Ouyang. 

Four years ago, Russian figure skating was rattled when, for the first time since 1964, neither of its pair teams made the Olympic podium. Yesterday, Russia proved that they are still the best in the sport, clinching the gold and silver medal. Tatiana Voloshozar and Maxim Trankov were the favorites coming into the competition as the reigning, three-time European champions. Skating to Jesus Christ Superstar, their program was nearly perfect although Voloshozar touched her hand down on a throw triple loop. Voloshozar and Trankov’s main rivals were supposed to be the German pair of Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy. However, they succumbed to the pressure, each falling once. They ended up in third place and collected their second Olympic bronze medal. The mistakes of the Germans allowed room for Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov to move up into second place with a clean skate. Both Russian pairs now have two gold medals, having helped their country win the team figure skating event over the weekend.

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China off the podium

While Russia reasserted its dominance, China dropped off of the podium. At both the 2006 and 2010 Olympics, two Chinese pair teams finished in the top three. So what happened in Sochi? Clearly, China is going through a changing of the guard. Finishing in fourth place were Qing Pang and Jiang Tong, who won the silver medal in Vancouver. While the 35-year-olds skated a beautiful program to I Dreamed A Dream from Les Misérables for their fourth and final Olympic appearance, it was clear that Pang and Tong were past their prime. Botching their first side-by-side jumps, the pair lacked their former dynamism. However, they finished the routine with smiles and looking satisfied. The pair has been engaged since 2011 but put off marriage in order to train for these Olympics. As one of the original pairs who helped put China on the figure skating map, the legacy of Pang and Tong will be remembered fondly for years to come.

China’s second pair team, consisting of Cheng Peng and Hao Zhang, finished in eighth place. This team highlights the inevitable shift from the old and to the new generation of skaters in China. Zhang, age 29, won the silver medal at the 2006 Turin Olympics with former partner Dan Zhang, who retired from skating in 2012. Zhang was then partnered with Peng, a petite sixteen-year-old skater. An oddly-matched team, even their coach Hongbo Zhao, the 2010 Olympic gold medalist who now coaches for China, remarked, “In the future, I hope they can go out and not look like an older brother skating with a younger sister.” However, if Peng is an indication of what China has in store for the future, the rest of the world better watch out. Peng and Zhang made history yesterday by executing the first quadruple twist ever at the Olympics. With dedicated coaches like Zhao and Yao Bin, the man who single-handedly cultivated the Chinese pairs machine, it is only a matter of time before China finds its way to the top again.

 

You Won’t Believe What This Artist Did For Her Late Mother

Sun Yuan and Peng Yu are artists who have been working together in Beijing since the late 90′s. The duo is known for using extreme and sometimes controversial mediums. For instance, the two have used live animals, human fat tissue and baby cadavers within their installations. These works of art often deal with the theme of death. As expected, the two have come up with some of China’s most controversial pieces of art.

This year, the duo put together a very personal piece inspired by the passion of Peng Yu’s mother.

According to RocketNews24, Peng Yu conducted an interview with her mother before she died to discuss the end of her life and her thoughts on afterlife. Peng Yu’s mother went into detail about rebirth and reincarnation.

“If I die, I don’t want to come back as some creature that lives on land,” she explained. “I want to fly, soaring above the earth in the company of red-crowned cranes. How free it would be, live where I want, land where ever I wish.

Inspired by her words, the artists decided to honor her life with a piece called “If I Died.” The installment portrays what his mother hoped for in her afterlife. The piece shows Peng Yu’s mother soaring with the bird and see creatures. Precisely as she had wished, she seems at peace.

The birds are stuffed specimens while Peng Yu’s mother and the sea creatures are made from fiberglass and silica gel. Check them out below.

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Why China’s “Hot Mom” Photo Competition Makes Some People Uncomfortable

A competition was recently held by Chinese social media site Sina Weibo. Their mission? To find China’s hottest mom.

While American Pie has made the idea of a MILF (you can look that term up if you don’t know it) a run-on joke since the 90′s, China seems to take this concept very seriously.

The competition was influenced by Coach’s Mother’s Day “Hot Mom” Campaign. Once again- no, we’re not kidding. In America, Coach has recently seen a slow decrease in sales. Apparently, Coach bags have been criticized for being “mom bags” and lacking personality. Coach’s China branch decided to use this to their advantage.

With the help of social media, the China branch ensured that their products gave a youthful feel. They worked in the idea of mom’s feeling even more youthful after purchasing a Coach bag. They then launched the “Hot Mom” campaign and sales have gone up nearly 40% this year.

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Inspired by this idea, Weibo launched the “Hot Mom” photo competition. The competition proved to be a success. Tons of moms took part in it to show off their beautiful and youthful looks.

While many people seemed pleased with the competition, others seemed uncomfortable with the whole ordeal.

MailOnline remarked “Some of the mothers look so similar to their daughters it is difficult to tell them apart and instead they look like sisters.” Shanghiist shared the same discomfort and agreed that it was often very difficult to tell who was the child and who was the mother.

MailOnline also commented that motherhood was already stressful enough. Jezebel highly agreed and said, “As if beauty culture didn’t already put enough pressure on us to never start looking old, working tirelessly to turn us all into a diverse chorus of consumer Queen Grimhildes.”

As the growing pressure to be beautiful gets even heavier in Asia, is it right to pin these  expectations onto mothers as well? Be a good mother, wife, and now maintain your youth until your own daughter reaches adulthood. Are we asking for too much?

Or is this simply a way to keep mothers healthy and active? Maybe this is a way to congratulate the mothers who worked hard to stay healthy? Tell us what you think.

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(source 1, 2, 3, 4 )

Five of Asia’s Most Breathtaking Locations

Yesterday, BuzzFeed released a list called “27 Surreal Places To Visit Before You Die.” The list has already gained over 180,000 likes on facebook and for good reason. All of the locations are undeniably breathtaking.

We were pleased to discover that five of these locations were in Asia and we decided to take a closer look at all of them.

1. Zhangye Danxia landform in Gansu, China

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The Danxia landforms are sandstone formations most known for, you guessed it, their vibrant color patterns.The are located in a remote region in northern central China. The mountains and hills retain such color because Danxia landforms are composed of red sandstone. Mineral deposits were compressed into rock for 24 million years thus gaining a colors ranging from deep red to yellow and green.

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2. The Hang Son Doong cave in Quang Binh Province, Vietnam

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The Sơn Đoòng cave is currently the largest known cave in the world and is located near the border of Laos and Vietnam. It is five times larger than the Phong Nha Cave which previously held the record for being the biggest cave in Vietnam. Although it was created 2-5 million years ago, the cave did not become public knowledge until 2009. Inside, there is a fast flowing underground river as well as cave pearls the size of baseballs.

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 3. Hitachi Seaside Park in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki, Japan

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This popular tourist destination has been given the nickname “flower paradise” because the 32,000 square metres of flowers look amazing all year long. With each passing season, a different variety of flower will blossom throughout the Hitachi Seaside park such as the Nemophilas. The popular, blue flower blossoms annually during springtime.

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4. Bamboo groves of Arashiyama in Kyoto, Japan

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These Japanese bamboo groves, located in Northwest Kyoto, are a tourist favorite. The gorgeous line of bamboo not only looks beautiful, apparently it sounds beautiful too. Amusing Planet notes “The sound of the wind in this bamboo forest has been voted as one of ‘one hundred must-be-preserved sounds of Japan’ by the Japanese government.” The bamboo in this grove is still used to manufacture various products such as cups, boxes, baskets and mats in the area.

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5. Kelimutu crater lakes in Flores Island, Indonesia

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Kelimutu is a small volcano central Flores Island of Indonesia. It has gained popularity because the volcano has three craters- each contain a lake with a different color. The lakes periodically change colors from red and brown to turquoise and green, independent of each other. The lakes are named Tiwi Ata Mbupu (Lake of Old People), Tiwu Nua Muri Kooh Tai (Lake of Young Men and Maidens) and Tiwu Ata Polo (Lake of Evil Sprits, or Enchanted Lake). The scientific explanation behind the colorful lakes  chemical reactions from the minerals in the lake triggers by the volcano’s gas activity.

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(Source 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Horrible Reaction to “Man Sues Wife For Ugly Children” Hoax

For about a decade now, a story has been making its way around a number of media sources. The story claims that a man sued his wife after she gave birth to an ugly daughter.

According to multiple sources, a Chinese man named Jian Feng was “horrified” when his beautiful wife gave birth to an ugly child. He suspected his wife of an affair because he could not see how the two of them could create the child. After tests proved that it was in fact their child, the husband discovered that his wife had undergone surgery before they met.

The man divorced his wife and allegedly sued her for $120,000 for tricking him into the marriage. The crazy part of this story? He won.

Thankfully, a number of media sources have stated that this story was probably a hoax and has been making its way around since 2004. Pictures have begun to pop up in an effort to make the story appear real (see below), but the following picture has been identified as a Taiwanese ad for plastic surgery. The caption reads, “The only thing you have to worry about after plastic surgery is the explaining you’ll have to do to your children.”

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While we are relieved to discover that this tale may just be a hoax, we’ve discovered something even more shocking.

What could be worse than a man suing his wife over ugly children? What about men who whole-heartedly agree with and defend this act.

The blog Couples & Co describes itself as “a guide to a more blissful union & everything else… in between…” Though such a description doesn’t sound bad at all, their take on this story is quite unbelievable.

 It has always bugged me the way women commoditise their bodies: slathering on cosmetics, changing their hair colour, getting boob jobs, injecting botox into their faces and the list goes on and on.  Apart from the fact we’re told we men should not objectify women when women clearly are the biggest sexual objectifiers of their bodies, I found myself worried that such women have no honour.  A big part about honour is honesty and a woman with a fake body is not being honest about herself.  For me as a man, I look at a woman’s body and her features to guage how healthy she is physically and if she would produce good children for me because frankly I’m shopping for a good mother for my children.

 

The author then posts up the following picture of the wife before and after plastic surgery.

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He then writes this inappropriate comment:

This woman frankly should not have been able to reproduce because she’s the carrier of genetic refuse.  Think about it, would you want to have children with a haemophiliac, a person with Huntington’s victim or Down’s syndrome?  Of course you wouldn’t, and not because you hate the person with the disease, but because you love your future children too much to put them through such torment.

 

We couldn’t believe our eyes. Surely this author must have been writing sarcasm, right? Surely he can’t actually believe that ugly individuals should not be allowed to reproduce, right? Unfortunately, the post showed no signs of sarcasm.

Since its publication, the story has received a storm of angered comments from readers. Check it out for yourself. 

MUST SEE: Chinese Artist Liu Bolin Disappears Into His Artwork

Over the years, you’ve probably seen Chinese artist Liu Bolin grow in popularity. Or rather, you probably haven’t seen Liu Bolin because his art pieces, which consist of him disappearing into intricate backgrounds, have given him the nickname “The Invisible Man.”

Liu Bolin’s style of artwork originally began as performance art from his solo shows in Beijing in 1998. By 2005, he began to work on his most famous series “Hiding in the City,” which addressed social problems due to China’s rapid economic development.

His art pieces, which are both amazing to look at and meaningful, have gained him international recognition and have been featured in a number of major contemporary photography festivals.

This month, Liu Bolin  has blended himself into shelved lined with comic books as part of a series of performances in Caracas, on November 2013.

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Check out his other amazing pieces below:
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(Source 1, 2)