It’s been over three years since our last KFC update, but happily this time the news is so good you might be tempted to lick your fingers!
Super Chinese search engine Baidu has partnered with the Louisville-based fowl giant Kentucky Fried Chicken to trial a new “smart restaurant” in Beijing. The smart bit is that the restaurant has terminals which use face recognition software to suggest a choice of meal, based on the customer’s age, gender and mood. A worked example might be as follows: “Hi – you appear to be a 47 year old man who is disillusioned with the state of the world in 2017 – have a family bargain bucket!”
However, disappointed fast food enthusiast and former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Buckethead (pictured) is reported as saying that the face recognition terminals “simply do not work”.
65 years after KFC first opened its doors, the identity of the 11 herbs and spices that go into founder Colonel Harland Sanders’ “original recipe” coating remains a matter of intense speculation . However, if I had to guess, I would go for salt, black pepper, white pepper, celery salt, garlic salt, thyme, basil, oregano, dried mustard, paprika and ground ginger.
It’s Day 3 of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and China has made a strong start – sitting four medals behind Trump’s USA with 8 medals and equal in the gold medal standings, having taken top spot in the synchronised 3m springboard (Wu Mingxia & Shi Tingmao), 10m air pistol (Zhang Mengxue) and 56kg weightlifting (Long Qingquan).
But if we put aside the swimming pool handbags between freestyle rivals Sun Yang and “the swimming gala” Mack Hortan, the biggest controversy for Team China has come at the top of a flagpole where sharp-eyed observers have spotted a glaring fault. Can you spot the difference?
Argh! My eyes!
There was uproar, with CCTV declaring “The national flag is the symbol of a country. No mistakes are allowed!”. Although it later emerged that the faulty ensign was manufactured in China.
Chinese President Xi Jinping would make the ideal husband. He is caring – both for his wife and the nation; he is rich, with an estimated family wealth of £188 million (impressive on his ministerial salary of about £8,000 per annum); he has a good sense of humour – one of his recent speeches in his US visit reportedly included a “joke” referencing the Netflix series House of Cards; and he is cute (see video below).
While the British media spends its time snouting around its leaders’ penchant for pork scratchings, here is a disturbingly excellent video reminding us that not all leaders are bad folk:
Further hagiographic videos include the viral hit single charting the love Xi Jinping has for his wife. ‘Xi dada loves Peng mama’
At brushduck we would love to hear from you:
How can you be more like Xi Jinping?
Why doesn’t your daddy love you like Xi loves you?
Now, people in some quarters have claimed that Brushduck was not even aware that the Asian Cup – Australia 2015 was taking place, let alone that China was taking part, having qualified for their 11th straight championship. While there might be some truth to this, it doesn’t matter, as we now bring you this Sports Report special on China’s progress in the competition.
China breezed through the early phase, topping Group B after smashing grieving Saudi Arabia 1-0, pulverising coastline-challenged Uzbekistan 2-1 and mullering long-time ideological pals North Korea 2-1 – Jiangsu Sainty’s Sun Ke (孙可) with a brace making it 3 in 3 in the competition.
Sun Ke celebrates v North Korea
Unfortunately it all came to a dramatic end at the Brisbane Stadium against the home nation in the last-8, as China failed to take advantage of early pressure and veteren Socceroos’ talisman Tim Cahill ensured his side’s progress with a couple of beauties, including this overhead effort:
Australia take on UAE in the semis as they hunt for their first Asian Cup triumph on their fourth attempt.
“The biggest difference between us and their parents is that their parents want to lock them up. Whereas we don’t” says Dr Tao, the lead psychiatrist in charge of a rehabilitation centre for teenage internet addicts.
“Chairman” Tao then proceeds to lock up Hope, one of the teenage ‘addicts’ for 10 days in solitary confinement.
This excellent documentary by Storyville focuses on the medicalisation and radical ‘treatment’ of the growing problem of internet addiction in China. The teenagers in the bootcamp have been defined as “addicts” as they use the internet for more than 4 hours a day – not for study or work purposes. At one point they describe how they ended up in rehab: one was drugged by his parents and carried in his sleep, another was promised a skiing holiday, only to be dumped in a rehab detention centre on the outskirts of Beijing.
The treatment can last for months or even years and involves instilling discipline and order, whilst obviously avoiding any use of computers. The boys are made to do marching drills, press ups and keep their rooms tidy, whilst the centre offers lectures, individual therapy and family therapy. They also offer brainwashing the teenagers into changing their behaviour. The brainwashing (originally a Chinese term) involves repetition: singing repeated choruses of patriotic army ditties expounding the glory of the nation, the virtues of obedience and the importance of rules in life.
The documentary raises some interesting questions about mental illness and the internet – Do parents fail to fully understand the social elements of living online? Is there a point at which it becomes unhealthy to remain on the internet? Some of these children are from violent and abusive homes, One of the boys talks about how he tried to jump out of a window after failing a level on a computer game. Another father talks openly about how he threatened his son with a knife to make a point. It is clear in many of these cases that the internet addiction is not the route of the problem, so it does seem a bit extreme to set up a bootcamp that focuses on the one form of release these teenagers have.
The program ends with an alternative solution to the problem: One father hired online virtual ninjas to assassinate his son’s avatar character in an online shoot ’em up in a desperate attempt to get his son to stop playing online games. Unfortunately his son cottoned on to his ruse and beat out the truth from his virtual assailant.
Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba are about to break records by floating for a whopping $16-20 billion.
This is bigger than Facebook and sliced bread put together.
Alibaba connects Chinese businesses with overseas companies and also owns Taobao – China’s answer to ebay.
The founder of Alibaba is the enigmatic Jack Ma. Ma started out his career as an English teacher earning $12 a month and is now one of the ten richest people in China. He has his own unique style of leadership and he likes to entertain his employees by dressing in gliitery mohawk outfits, black lipstick whilst singing bad karaoke.
According to one of his colleagues there is a personality cult centred on Ma that is encouraged by senior management at the company. There is even a hagiographic film documenting his rise Crocodile in the Yangtze. Despite the slightly dull narrator this films offers a fascinating insight into Ma’s meteoric rise and includes footage of the first company meetings and its early aspirations.
Although he is hailed as China’s answer to Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg Ma insists that he knows ‘nothing about technology’ and often offers words of wisdom such as:
‘The internet is like a glass of beer: it tastes best when there are bubbles in it’.
Ma is now such a big cheese that even David Cameron is desperate to get a selfie with him (or vice versa)
Alibaba group has just bought China Vision Media Group – who own the broadcasting rights to the English Premier League in China and run the Beijing Times. This deal has, for the time being, scuppered the mega floatation as their accountancy records are under scrutiny. In order to make sure no one messes with them further they have installed martial arts legend Jet Li as a non executive director.
The “bigger than facebook” float hasn’t happened yet. But watch this space…
Position statement: Brushduck opposes the Beijing authorities’ move to ban outdoor grills from the streets of the capital from 1 May 2014
While it is agreed that the rarely reported pollution in Beijing is becoming an issue, we say tackle vehicle and industrial emissions instead – this will also make it nicer when sitting on comically undersized chairs on the side of the road eating yang rou chuanr.