Last week is the Spring Memorial Holiday (清明节）for Chinese, it is the time for people to go sweep the tombs of ancestors and loved ones, and pay them some tribute. We Chinese believe that you can send gifts to the dead by burning the gifts in front of their tombs. Popular tributes include fake money (from fake gold and silver ingot made with foil, to US dollar bill in which the face of Franklin is replaced by that of the Chinese god in charge of Heaven), paper houses and paper servants, the luxurious liquor Moutai and other things Chinese people crave in this world.
Heaven Money and Alcohol. Photos by Tian Ma Hua Ti.
But this year the trend is you have to give your ancestors iPads and iPhones if you don’t want them to be looked down upon in Heaven.
Burning Paper iPhone on Qing Ming Festival
Burning Paper iPad on Qing Ming Festival
No kidding, people are buying iPads and iPhones made with paper to burn in front of tombs. Even I myself considered buying two iPads for my grand parents, but they have never even used computers when they were alive, so I was worried that they wouldn’t know how to use them, and they wouldn’t be able to communicate with me via iPad anyway given the ever extending reach of the Great Firewall of China. Some of my friends are also skeptic of this trend. One was worried that his icon Steve Jobs might be bothered by too many Chinese asking him for pirate software. Another was concerned that the plugs we have in this world might not fit the outlets in Heaven.
Anyway, I am again touched by the creativity Chinese people have in reinventing rituals and our unshaken belief in materialism.
Heaven Bank Note
Apple CEO Tim Cook is visiting Beijing these days and meeting with Chinese officials. He even was spotted in the Apple Store in Beijing. But what my fellow netizens are curious about is how he likes our shanzhai（山寨, knock-off) Phones.
I heard a story from a proud Shanzhai iPhone user: Tim Cook decided to try the subway in Beijing. And he was pleasantly surprised that the phones that most people were playing with on the train were iPhones. Then he noticed something even more surprising. One iPhone was running android, another was running symbian, and another even let the users choose from iOS, android, symbian and windows 7 in its menu!
- Courtesy of Techweb China
Cook then noticed that a girl was opening the back cover of her iPhone, changing the battery. But Cook saw that her iPhone is holding 4 sim cards! Yes this is the legendary iPhone PS with built-in simultaneous dual-dual sim cards.
- Courtesy of Techweb China
Apple had a partnership with China Unicom, but the iPhones bundled with China Unicom network are not selling well. My uncle, who is a peasant,
just got an iPhone for 600 RMB, while China Unicom is selling at 5888 RMB a piece.
- Courtesy of TechWeb China
I’m a big iPhone fan also, but I’m not buying the iPhone 4s, I am waiting for an iPhone that I saw on the Internet, which can be worn on the wrist like a watch and has a built-in LED flash light!
- Courtesy of Apple频道 中国