Chinese New Year Shopping

(Last Updated On: May 13, 2009)

Christmas may be shopping craziness in North America, but Chinese New Year is a festival that lasts for 14 days – imagine the shopping that goes into that?

Forget the shopping, imagine the promotion. Companies, big and small, tout their wares as everyone gets ready for the Chinese Lunar New Year.

I was handed a Chinese New Year advertising flyer as I walked home from the gym last week. It made for some interesting reading – allow me to share.

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From the top of the flyer. I don’t know if the words cheap and pharmacy should be used in ad copy, or even in the same sentence. Probably a bad translation.

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Oh, good. Twelve centimeter flattened, dried lizards are on sale. There are probably medicinal benefits to the little creature. I’m not well-versed enough in CTM (Chinese Traditional Medicine) to know how they affect your Chi. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problems with alternative medicine.

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Yum! Dried Seahorses, what every Chinese New Year party needs, with a little ranch dip on the side. Better than beef jerky.

Okay, I jest. Again, seahorses are used in CTM (Chinese Traditional Medicine). These I have taken, and again I don’t know the real purpose. The doctor created a special brew of roots, nuts, and seahorses, to cure my asthma. I was skeptical. After choking down the foul mixture for two weeks my asthma was gone. My skepticism, too, was gone.
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This is the sort of post that would cause me to label another China blogger a “douche bag” for his cultural insensitivity. In my defense, I have tried the seahorses, and a number of other “healthy” foods (frog uterus) during my tenure in China. This post is not meant to mock, but to point out the incredible differences in culture. Could you imagine a North American pharmacy having dried seahorses on sale? I won’t speculate on the effects of dog meat in the supermarket’s deli counter.

Advertising is the same all over. Companies, be they American, Chinese, or Bulgarian, flog their products around the holidays. The products are dictated by the local culture. What fun would the world be if we were all the same? Where would the adventure be? And what would travel bloggers blog about?

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5 thoughts on “Chinese New Year Shopping

  1. I was recently reading a little about CTM and sometimes regret that it’s not available in my area. I understand it’s quite effective.

    I might be okay with the dried seahorses. I’m not sure about the lizards, though.

    Robin´s last blog post..Sledding

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