Fun, we want it, and most of the time, feel we don’t have enough of it. But no matter where we are, people usually find a way to have fun.
For those of us living in westernized societies our fun is placed in specific areas – the beach, parks, the bars, the discos or at home. But in China and many Asian countries, fun is more often out on the streets. Parks are for walking through and admiring, not sitting, picnicking or playing games in. Children’s playgrounds are few and far between. Often the apartments are too small, too hot or too cold to be places of fun, and people are more likely to meet outside for dinner or to enjoy themselves.
This means that walking down streets in China gives the opportunity for watching people having fun right beside the road, sitting on footpaths, open to all to join in.
Empty streets will have shop assistants playing a quick game of badminton (without the net). Any handy set of steps with a delivery slide will have children creating their own slippery slide. And almost every street has card, mahjong and Chinese chess players crouching over home-made boards, or sitting on kindergarten sized chairs intensely involved in an epic battle of wits. Onlookers watch the progress of the games with as much concentration as the players – maybe the coloured pieces of paper changing hands after the game has something to do with that.
At night, the big, empty public spaces will be filled with line dancers or couples waltzing. Early mornings are likely to see those places filled with old men with their kites or diablo, and middle-aged women practicing fan dances, or balancing tennis balls on small bats as they glide to music.
Fun… it can be anywhere if we look for it.