Sports Day

It’s at least a month after the fact. But oh well.

What could inspire a large group of (straight, at least mostly) teenage boys to don midriff-baring, one-shoulder cobalt blue costumes? Duh! The annual sports meet. (OK, let me be clear: actually, over here, there are probably lots of things that would make these guys wear these outfits.)

The sports meeting is a yearly mainstay at college campuses in Asia. It’s like a whole year full of intramural sports pushed into a three-day period. Everyone gets out of class, and competitions–in everything from jumping rope to rugby to potato sack racing–are open to everyone who’d like to participate. At the beginning and end of the meet, most of the colleges within the university sponsor their own performance. I can’t remember which college the guys pictured above are from, but to their credit they drew gasps of “Wah–sexy!” from the girls who let me watch the opening ceremonies with them.

Here they are again, just in case you didn’t get a close enough look at all that sexiness.

The performances this year consisted of lots of costumes, several dragons, acrobatics, and mass performances. It reminded me a lot of Greek Sing in college: all the participants practice intensely for weeks preparing for their three minutes of glory.

Interestingly, and sadly, the standards are very rigorous. A friend of mine, who is by no means a big girl, told me that her college informed her just a few days before the big show that she would not be allowed to participate in the performance because her costume was too tight. Girls here are under an amazing amount of pressure to stay thin and feminine. Although Asians tend to communicate indirectly, it is not taboo here to tell someone that they have gotten “more fat.” Thankfully, it makes me laugh: that’s a good thing because weight change (whether it be over winter holiday or just observed in old pictures) is regularly commented on.

Back to the sports meet. All the students sit with their classmates, and cheer intensely for their school when they rush the field for their performance. These hand-clappers (???) pictured below must be the Asian equivalent of pompoms.

These girls reminded me a little bit of Minnie Mouse, although I’m not sure exactly why. Did she wear a similar outfit? I honestly can’t remember.

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