Rotary lunch 20 July 2021

I quit

We had our Rotary lunch 20 July 2021 in Kempinski, this time not anymore as Sergeant-at-Arms as I quit for “obvious personal reasons”. Well I can finally enjoy the food, the company and listen to the speaker!

Speaker was Sean McLeod, consular officer in US Embassy in Beijing. Topic: “ “How I Became a Foreign Service Officer”.
He told his story on how he become a diplomat after a diverse career, with posts in Indonesia, among among others. He was deeply involved with the evacuation flights from Wuhan last year.

Meeting Highlight as in the Newsletter

Sean McLeod is a consular officer from the US Embassy in Beijing. In this captivating talk, Sean described the trajectory of his career and highlighted the reasons why he decided to quit the private sector to serve his country. It all started with medicine. Sean first studied to become a doctor, but finding it not what he wanted, he made a big jump to computer programing and moved to Japan to live overseas for the first time. Finding it not fulfilling still, he went on to study for an MBA and later became a management consultant for IBM for 15 years. While as many people would have just settled down at what they had at this stage in life, Sean was not satisfied. Deciding to join the foreign service, he then took the foreign service examination and after successfully passing it, took the foreign service training on teamwork and how to achieve consensus on issues while representing US interests abroad. Sean’s current tour is in the consular section at the US Embassy in Beijing.

Old China Hands 2 July lunch

Always well attended!

Our Old China Hands 2 July lunch again drew a full house with 37 attendants!
Renaat Morel and myself made a frame of the previous celebration, one frame above the fish tank in the restaurant and one frame in my office.

This time no special performance, we all simply enjoyed each other’s company, and the food.
Later in the day the restaurant gave me this BIG “hongbao” for my support to the restaurant. Hm I am rich?

Next lunch

Next round planned for Friday 6 August, right in the middle of Beijing sauna week. Hopefully not flood week. The disastrous floods in many regions were really horrible but also showed so much solidarity.
Hopefully Beijing will be spared, I still remember the deadly floods here years ago.

Pole dancing is a sport (part 2)

More about pole dancing

Yes pole dancing is a sport (part 2), see part 1 .
More about what happens in China and the history of the new sport and fitness craze.

The Way of The Pole

China’s pole dance pioneers vie for a spot on the international stage.
14 July 2013 See:

Cao Nao poses on a pole over the Tianjin skyline on the roof of the CPDSTC studio, where China’s pole dancers go to become pros

I quote:
The China Pole Dance Sports & Training Center located in the heart of Tianjin is where China trains its premier pole dancers. The sport is getting a lot of attention and not just because of the opportunity for lechery. When standing in a room full of  beautiful, scantily clad women, it should be made clear that it is actually a room full of beautiful, scantily-clad champions.
Though pole dancing has a reputation as more of a striptease than a sport, it is taken very seriously by a select few. Everything from the height of  the pole to the duration of the song is taken into account, and points are deducted mercilessly; a minor slip or a bent leg could cost you an entire point out of 30.

Why is Pole Dancing Sexualized?

I quote:
The reason pole dancing is sexualized is because of its western modern origins where traveling circus-like crews would mount tents with a pole in the center holding it up and women would seductively dance around the pole in order to entice the male crowd.
From there it jumped to bars and clubs where the sexualization became even more accentuated. Clubs would build stages with the intention of having women dancing and stripping to attract the male clientele.

But as more and more people started participating in the activity and the popularity of the hobby grew, different avenues started to emerge especially when the physical benefits where acknowledged.
A massive change started to occur and the notion of stripping started drifting farther and farther from simple pole dancing to take a more sportsmanlike approach.
Pole dancing evolved from its infancy stage and matured becoming more of a means to achieve fitness rather than a form of sensual entertainment.

For too long the words pole dancing has been associated with stripping because both strippers and pole dancers use a pole to perform their routines.
it’s origins definitely tainted the term, but it’s an outdated notion, people need to be aware of the differences between now and then, there’s a need for more information about the topic; this article will be helpful in putting a stop to misconceived, outdated ideas.

Hilton Hotel: pole dancing competition

As I posted on 24 November 2010:

Zeta Bar at the Hilton held one more pole dancing competition on Saturday 13 November 2010 – I had missed the first one in May. The bar was fully packed and we “did not have a seat”. Lucky us, we were sent upstairs where we ended up having the best view of all.
Some of the girls were great and “attractive”, can’t say more, my wife was there too!
I had intended to stay till midnight but the whole family decided to watch till the very end and we were back home at 2 am.
See the pictures in the original post.

The movie – Posted on 6 December 2010:

Pole dancing is a sport

A scandal

Pole dancing is a sport, not a lewd performance! I had organized a dinner in Mango for friends, all very happy with the food and the cabaret show. When most had left we saw the pole dancing show. Pictures of it in a WeChat group offended a very few – none of them were present. One can argue posting the pics was misleading and not the best idea. A storm of indignation followed. A bit like those extreme American evangelists condemning me to hell for denigrating women. Gilbert! Repent!
Those most vocal are supposed to know China. Well, it seems they have no clue and need a seminar to learn about China today.
“Cabaret dancing” as in Mango (see here about the restaurant) is very popular in China and is mostly watched by Chinese families (yes, with the kids). They also often perform in the big bath houses where there are entertainment theaters. Chinese families, with kids, watch the shows.

This is the first part to explain what is pole dancing in China, part 2 to follow.

Pole dancing, very popular and accepted

See: “Fitness & Sports Industry in China: Pole Dancing, a New Discipline in China”.
I quote:
China is interested in Pole dance, a sport that mixes gymnastics, acrobatics, and ballet. A challenging sport that combines ground and height movements, tricks (static figures) and spins (figures around the pole) demanding both strength and flexibility. The technical nature of this sport does not discourage Chinese athletes, who are more and more numerous every year to try that new discipline.
The full article, dated 15 March 2018:

Pole dancing in China Daily

China Daily has featured the sport several times. (Yes, it’s a lewd newspaper) Three examples.

Don’t get stuck! Pole dancers brave cold to compete
Dated 22 December 2020

A pole dancer performs at the opening ceremony of the 2020 Pole Dance Cold Competition in Mohe, Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province, on Dec 21, 2020. [Photo by Wang Jingyang/for] More pictures on China Daily website

The 2020 Pole Dance Cold Competition kicked off in China’s northernmost city of Mohe, Heilongjiang province on Monday. The six-day event has attracted 23 excellent pole dancers from the national team, the highest-level team in the country.
Despite temperatures as low as -30 C, dancers presented graceful performances at the opening ceremony.

Beijing’s first pole dancing school – China Daily
Posted on 7 February 2007
My original post:
Belly dancing is old-fashioned. Now, make way to pole dancing. All according to China Daily’s website. See:

The original article quoted by China Daily: “Chinese cautiously pole dance their way to fitness”

“A dance instructor shows a move to students at Roland pole dancing school in Beijing in this December 9, 2006 file photo. Treadmills are run-of-the-mill — Luo Lan wants the Chinese masses to pole dance instead. [Reuters]”

Pole-dancing a hit in Beijing
My original post:
Posted on 7 December 2008
According to China Daily, nothing to do with seedy strip clubs, like erotic dancers walk on stage, take off their clothes and their moves on the pole are quite suggestive.

After the craze with belly-dancing, pole-dancing is in and at least one center is offering lessons (Royal Sound International Dancing Center).
The original article: “Poles apart from seedy image – 6 December 2008”

Pole sports – Wikipedia
I quote:
Pole sports, or poling, merges dance and acrobatics using a vertical metal pole. Athletes climb up, spin from, hang off, flip onto, jump off, and invert on poles. Poling requires agility, strength, balance, endurance, and flexibility. Pole-sports athletes include men and women of a variety of ages and physical abilities, including para-athletes, who perform alone or with others (for example, in doubles competitions).

Poling developed into a fitness activity and sport during the 1990s and 2000s, with national and international pole competitions. Poling has become a dance, fitness activity and sport, and continues to evolve. The International Pole Sports Federation is endeavoring to make poling an Olympic sport. The federation has held world championships since 2012, and poling was one of seven sports granted observer status by the Global Association of International Sports Federations in 2017.
Professional pole-sports leagues have been formed. The Pole Championship Series holds its annual championship at the Arnold Sports Festival.

Poling involves technique as well as artistry. In a pole competition, each athlete performs a routine to music. Athletes are judged on their ability to perform complex movements (e.g. spins and strength and flexibility poses), choreography, style, and expressiveness. Poles in pole-sports competitions are brass, 45 mm in diameter, with 4 m of usable height. In competition, athletes use a static (non-spinning) pole and a spinning pole. Their skin helps performers grip the slippery poles, and athletes wear clothing which exposes the skin on their shoulders, waist, arms and legs The Federation requires competitors to cover their pelvis, gluteal muscles and (for women) breasts. When using Chinese poles (which differ from Federation poles), thicker clothing protects the body.

Dinner and show in Mango Restaurant

Mango Restaurant and Club

On 22 June 2021 I organized for some friends a dinner and show in Mango Restaurant. See my previous post about Mango:
I prepared the menu and drinks and I think everybody was pretty happy. Very reasonable price!

The show that started 8:30 pm was well received! I had never seen the pole dancing as it comes much later, well after 10 pm, this time a few of us were still there and we could watch it. Pole dancing is now very popular in China and is considered as a new workout, with many gyms organizing lessons. Years ago I was in the Hilton Hotel where I watched a pole dancing competition. It is certainly not easy and requires dexterity and a flexible body! At one point belly dancing also became very popular, even our daughter took part in it in the gym. Others prefer flamenco,  salsa, tango and other dances. Often just as a pleasant way to exercise. Sadly many people look at it as “sexy stuff”. Chinese don’t. In Mango many families with kids come to watch the shows…

Our musicians

I could organize the floor for our two musician friends. Great performance by Kevin and Brian, real professionals. It took some work to get them wired but they brought most of the equipment so, all went perfect. They got an extra pizza to reward them.

See a few short clips of our musicians and of the late-night pole dancing. Need VPN in China to access Vimeo.