Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

The “Idiot Shuffle” in China- Why Do They Do This?

Posted by w_thames_the_d on March 1, 2011


I wish someone could help me with this little cultural oddity I affectionately term, “The idiot Shuffle”. If you have never lived in the center of the universe- China, nor have spent much time with these advanced creatures, than you may want to scroll down to my next post or move on to the next blog as this post will make no sense to you.
Ok, for those who are still reading, can anyone explain what is up with that idiotic shuffle thing that Chinese do when they are at work and presumably want to show others how diligent or hard working they are. The best way to describe this act is that they look like a cartoon character pumping his arms and legs while going no where, as if to say, “hey I am really not a dim wit, I am really a hard worker look at how fast I’m sprinting in place, so don’t be angry bossman”. I have seen it quite often in all younger Chinese and in Chinese women up to 45 or so. The men, it would seem, outgrow this behaviour in their late 20’s.
When I first came here and saw this, I was reminded me of a toddler dancing as he waits for an ice cream cone. When the kid does it, it’s precious, when a young adult, however, does, its kind of creepy.Thinking that it may actually be a Beijing phenomenon, I noticed that it occurs all over China and just the other day I saw it on TV.
I would really like to know what this little action means. Can anyone please inform me?

One Response to “The “Idiot Shuffle” in China- Why Do They Do This?”

  1. If you figure it out let me know. I remain mystified by it.

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