China’s dancing grannies: ‘stun gun’ claims to solve square dancing dilemma by sabotaging the music
- The device looks like a flashlight and can be used from a distance of between 50 to 80 metres
- Dancing grannies are an important form of exercise and social activity for older Chinese people, but are also a source of public annoyance
China’s infamous dancing grannies gather at all hours of the day, often first thing in the morning or when the neighbourhood begins to sleep.
Now, a new product available on China’s internet offers a solution; a “stun gun” that claims it can sabotage the stereos used by the square dancers. It acts as an all-in-one remote control that does not necessarily need to be paired to a specific device.
In a video going viral on Weibo, a man from Jiangxi province in eastern China simply points the remote, which looks like a flashlight, at a speaker box to sabotage the music. The neighbourhood then gets to enjoy a brief moment of silence when the women investigate why their speaker suddenly stopped working.
Website cnBeta reported that the device could be used from a distance of between 50 to 80 metres. In the viral video, a person is seen pointing the device at two groups of grannies from a nearby housing complex.
As one person wrote on Weibo, the distance “gives people an escape plan” to avoid the wrath of the grannies, who are often called damas – a rude word in Chinese for middle-aged women.
Another person on Weibo wrote: “There is definitely a market for this thing and I want to buy one to play with. How much does one cost?”
What’s On Weibo, a site that tracks Weibo trends, found dozens of examples of “anti-square dancing devices” on Taobao that sold for around 250 yuan (US$39).
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According to the Post, square dancing has its roots in the Cultural Revolution, particularly the great link-up of 1965 and the educated youth campaign in 1969. The damas are of middle age because square dancing links back to these moments of their youth when collectivism was an important social value in China.
Dancing grannies do not simply gather once a day and then go about their days; they often do everything together, from shopping to travelling – even buying property together.
In 2013, a massive group of damas bought 300 tonnes of gold worth 100 billion yuan (US$12.7 billion in 2013) after the price plummeted.