"Beat The Heat" In China

September 29, 2013 China 6 Comments 15,286 Views

Chinese Men And Their “Beat the Heat” Habits.

We’ve been to China a few times now; to cities as well as remote country locations. The thing that we came across here every time during the soaring summer heat are a lot of Chinese men with their shirts off. We’ve never seen such blatantly men who love showing their big bellies anywhere else but here.

Men of all ages can be seen with rolled up T-shirts presenting their often not so six-pack tummies in public (in the subway, train, streets, restaurants, etc.), sometimes fanning themselves with the garment. It’s a habit through all ages, social standings and tummy sizes, yet not gender. So women, don’t take these men as an example, because that would simply be too scandalous.

We’ve had our share of different bellies: round, oval, large, small, hairy, tattooed … and sometimes even 9-month-overdue-pregnancy bellies. Sure, summertime can be very (!) hot in China, but it’s hot in other countries as well and you don’t see anything like it there?!

So, every time we travel to China, we wonder why Chinese men have this natural urge to pull up their shirts whenever they want. We did some research on the topic but nothing really came up… A possible explanation could be that during the cultural revolution, good manners were condemned and people became started acting more like pigs (spitting, munching, slurping and so forth).

Before the Olympic Games in China 2008, the government tried hard to erase the belly-showing (and other bad customs). All mayors of larger cities urged their fellow men to button-up. But these old habits sit deep and their efforts didn’t have a great success.

We’re very positive that on our next visit to China we’ll continue seeing non-sixpack bellies and many other strange customs – but then again, they make a good photo opportunity.

Chinese men without their T-Shirts in the middle of the street in Guangzhou, China.
Shirtless Chinese men in the streets of Guangzhou.
A shirtless butcher in Hong Kong.
A shirtless butcher in Hong Kong.
Shirtless Chinese men in the streets of Beijing.
Shirtless Chinese men in the streets of Beijing.
Shirtless men resting in the streets of Guangzhou, China.
Shirtless Chinese men resting in the streets of Guangzhou.
Shirtless Chinese man playing a game of Mahjong in Guangzhou.
Shirtless Chinese man playing a game of Mahjong in Guangzhou.
Shirtless Chinese selling watermelons in the streets of Beijing.
Shirtless Chinese man selling watermelons in the streets of Beijing.
Chinese men unloading a truck in Beijing.
Shirtless Chinese men unloading a truck in Beijing.
Shirtless Chinese sitting in the streets of Guangzhou.
Shirtless Chinese man sitting in the streets of Guangzhou.
Shirtless Chinese man sleeping in the streets of Guangzhou.
Shirtless Chinese man sleeping in the streets of Guangzhou.
Shirtless all around in Guangzhou, China.
Shirtless all around in Guangzhou.
A dedicated turtle seller without his T-Shirt at a market in Guangzhou, China.
A dedicated shirtless turtle seller at a market in Guangzhou.
An exhausted shirtless Chinese man in the streets of Guangzhou. Somehow he reminded us of a beetle on his back...
An exhausted shirtless Chinese man in the streets of Guangzhou. Somehow he reminded us of a beetle on his back…
Shirtless men eating dinner in the streets of Guangzhou, China.
Shirtless Chinese men eating dinner in the streets of Guangzhou.
Appreciate this Story?

Go tell your friends by sharing or tweeting it.

This Story is Tagged With:


6 Comments

Join the Discussion

“Chinese Men And Their “Beat the Heat” Habits.”

  1. These photos are wonderful! I love the daytime nap pictures-especially the man on his back in Guangzhou. Wouldn’t it be great to just perch up and fall asleep wherever and whenever you felt like it?!

  2. Nisa

    Hi Molly!
    Thanks so much.
    Oh I tell you, I was very tempted to just lie down in the middle of the street after a full day of walking in Guangzhou. I bet that would have been a funny picture and the Chinese wouldn’t have believed their eyes :D
    Best, Nisa

  3. Ha ha ha……… wonderful collection of pic of different bellies……… Nice picture of variety of people.

  4. Great photos. I never really thought of it as a cultural thing but I suppose it is. In the Philippines they roll their shirt up really high to just under their armpits for the cooling effect. It’s a very popular technique.

  5. Nisa

    Hey Ross!
    Yeah you also see this quite often in China. I mean I have to admit that sometimes I wish I could do the same when it’s really hot & humid. Yet in our culture it’s not common to do so and I guess you’d get some pretty weird looks :)
    Best, Nisa

Leave a Comment