China Expat Life Stories

How +700,000 people viewed our photo online

Why do you get your photo taken in China

This isn’t a post about Pinerest or some marketing hack. It is about how a picture of us ended up online and went viral without our control or permission. Yvonne and I have been in China for about 5 years now and everywhere we go people will take photos of us. Okay, they will take photos of Yvonne, I just happen to be there and end up in many of the photos. The truth is Yvonne is beautiful. She will say she is just ‘Okay’ and I am bias…. So you decide, leave a comment and let us know how good we look! LOL You don’t have to leave a comment, but we do like them.

Zoolander Quotes

Like I was saying, before I got distracted by my reflection on my spoon, we get our picture taken a lot in China, especially Yvonne. She is 6’1″ or 186 cm, blond hair, and blue eyed. So, she gets a lot of attention in China. She has had old women run up to her and scream “Ni hen Gou” or “You are very tall.” She often has to deal with young girls and boys running up next to her or behind her to compare her height with their own.

Why do you get your photo taken in China?

We have often wondered if there was a website full of photos of foreigners or if this is some big conspiracy to keep track of foreigners in China. We just didn’t know ‘why’ or ‘what’ they were doing with our photos. Until now! I work in an office with about 40 Chinese co-workers and about 400 co-workers in the building. I don’t know all of my co-workers but most of them know me because there are only 3 other foreign employees in our office.

One of my co-workers was really excited to see me one day, which is unusual, and he was telling me he saw my photo online. I was a little worried because you never know what is out there! Just Google yourself…. it can be scary. So, I asked him to send the link and here is the post. Ifeng is a really popular internet portal/blog/community site here in China and one of the bloggers had taken our photo. The post has 701,310 views and as you can see, it is not about us but it is interesting because now we know where some of our pictures end up.

Why do you get your photo taken in China

Yvonne getting her picture taken again!

The article itself is not that interesting and the comments pretty much tell the blogger to give up, but it is funny for us to see your photo. You will probably have your picture taken when you come to China. This is just a silly post about where your photo might end up, if you hang out in Beijing. This photo was taken in the San Li Tun area, which is popular with expats and locals.

Have you ever ended up online without knowing it? I would have never known about this post if my co-worker hadn’t told me. It makes me wonder where else Yvonne’s photo might be in China.

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    Celine
    June 17, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    This is hysterical! Your video speaks more than a thousand words. How do you guys even get things done?

    • Reply
      Miguel Roberg
      June 18, 2015 at 2:06 am

      Glad you got a laugh out of the video. I don’t know how Yvonne gets anything done. They usually don’t take photos of me by myself (not sure how to feel about that… lol).

  • Reply
    Anje
    June 19, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Ahh this is funny. I’ve seen it time and again in Korea as well – I think it’s worse if you have blonde hair (not even to talk about blond and blue eyes…).
    You can make money from this… 🙂

    • Reply
      Miguel Roberg
      June 22, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      It must be a culture thing. When we visited Korea, we noticed there weren’t many foreigners. I guess people are attracted to the strange/different. As for making money, there are many jobs in China that hire people mostly on there looks or “whiteness.” I guess Yvonne could always look into that line of work. lol

  • Reply
    James F. Trumm
    August 11, 2015 at 7:28 am

    From an unbiased point of view, Yvonne IS beautiful, so for that reason alone the pic deserved to go viral. When I lived in China, I had many of the same rock-star experiences, though probably not to the same degree you do. I lived in a small (by Chinese standards) city of only 1.5 million. There were maybe 50 laowai in the whole city and there were many people who had never seen a foreigner before. I had my picture taken frequently by Chinese people while shopping, dining out, sitting in an airport lounge, or just walking to work. I went in for a foot massage once and every masseuse in the place came over to take a selfie with me. I always wondered how widely some of those were shared on Weibo. It was one of the wonderful things about living there.

    • Reply
      Miguel Roberg
      August 11, 2015 at 8:48 pm

      Hello James,

      Thanks for the comment. From your site, it looks like you have been a lot of places. How does China compare to the rest of the world? Does this just happen in China? We just went to Japan and nobody seemed overly interested in us. We have never experienced this level of interest in other Asian countries we have visited (Korea, Japan, Laos, Thailand, etc.). Sometimes it makes you feel like a rock-star, but other times you just want to be left alone. 🙂

      • Reply
        James F. Trumm
        August 11, 2015 at 8:54 pm

        I know the feeling of just wanting to be left alone sometimes. Still, the attention I got in China never did anything more than mildly annoy me. And most of the time I was bemused by it.

        The country where I got the most attention was Bangladesh. I loved my trip there, partly because Bangladesh is not on the usual tourist trail. For that reason alone I stood out. Especially if you get out of Dhaka, you will be the center of attention wherever you go. Though Bangladesh is a very poor country, I don’t recall more beggars there than anywhere else. Mostly, the people were just delighted that someone from so far away had come to visit.

  • Reply
    Eva - eighty7
    December 7, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    That video is incredibly funny! And Yvon looks so patient.. 😉 I also wonder where photos of me ended up. Maybe someday I will find one somewhere..

    • Reply
      Yvonne Horst
      December 7, 2015 at 6:59 pm

      Hi Eva!
      Good to see you here 🙂
      I’m quite patient indeed, didn’t know what else to do, and I was to baffled to do something else, lol.

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