Awesome Mops of China

China has 1.3 billion people and 5.4 million mops.
This is their story.
Zhang Ming was adamant that his diminutive stature (157 cm, give or take a millimeter) had nothing to do with the fact that he fanatically collected black Audi knockoffs. He was a powerful, rich man, after all. An important man.
The fact that he specifically chose to, well, nudge the more vertically gifted pedestrians out of the way with his bumper also had nothing to do with his own height issues.
Definitely nothing to do with them whatsoever.

Zhang Ming was adamant that his diminutive stature (157 cm, give or take a millimeter) had nothing to do with the fact that he fanatically collected black Audi knockoffs. He was a powerful, rich man, after all. An important man.

The fact that he specifically chose to, well, nudge the more vertically gifted pedestrians out of the way with his bumper also had nothing to do with his own height issues.

Definitely nothing to do with them whatsoever.

Lv Mei was ashamed of her calloused, knobbly feet. She wanted to go for a relaxing foot massage after a long day selling vegetables, but was terrified of what the masseur might think. People could be so blunt!
Maybe they wouldn’t notice if she wore anklet nylons during the massage. That would at least distract them from the callouses.

Lv Mei was ashamed of her calloused, knobbly feet. She wanted to go for a relaxing foot massage after a long day selling vegetables, but was terrified of what the masseur might think. People could be so blunt!

Maybe they wouldn’t notice if she wore anklet nylons during the massage. That would at least distract them from the callouses.

Ji Yeon was always the bad girl. The too-cool-for-school girl blessed with a pretty face. Partying on weekdays and spending way too much time on her webcam.
A pretty face hid an ugly heart though, and as her friends grew out of high school, they grew out of her. Now, Ji Yeon just spends her time hanging out in artsy Hongdae, wishing she was creative enough to draw even the infant-like scribbles on the door shutter and glaring enviously at the mops in coffee shops and hairdressers whilst dreaming of starting over in distant China.
Awesome Korean Mop photo and caption by Tom Stockwell

Ji Yeon was always the bad girl. The too-cool-for-school girl blessed with a pretty face. Partying on weekdays and spending way too much time on her webcam.

A pretty face hid an ugly heart though, and as her friends grew out of high school, they grew out of her. Now, Ji Yeon just spends her time hanging out in artsy Hongdae, wishing she was creative enough to draw even the infant-like scribbles on the door shutter and glaring enviously at the mops in coffee shops and hairdressers whilst dreaming of starting over in distant China.

Awesome Korean Mop photo and caption by Tom Stockwell

Niamh felt lost.
This Chinese language exchange sucked. She had no idea what the signs in front of her were saying. She could barely understand the people around her and had no idea how to inform her guest mother that she didn’t like eating fried insects.
She missed Ireland, she even missed the constant rain. Everyone was forever pointing at her red hair and freckles. She knew they were laughing. She knew they thought she was odd. She wanted to go back home.
Awesome Irish Mop photo and caption by the lovely Selly

Niamh felt lost.

This Chinese language exchange sucked. She had no idea what the signs in front of her were saying. She could barely understand the people around her and had no idea how to inform her guest mother that she didn’t like eating fried insects.

She missed Ireland, she even missed the constant rain. Everyone was forever pointing at her red hair and freckles. She knew they were laughing. She knew they thought she was odd. She wanted to go back home.

Awesome Irish Mop photo and caption by the lovely Selly

Han Xiaolian hated doing laundry during the heat of summer. Shanghai was so humid that it took nearly three days to dry her beige anklet nylons, and by that time, they smelled quite odd. She worried about what they were doing to her feet.
However, she dared not wear her gunmetal grey, patent leather pumps without them. It just wasn’t civilized.

Han Xiaolian hated doing laundry during the heat of summer. Shanghai was so humid that it took nearly three days to dry her beige anklet nylons, and by that time, they smelled quite odd. She worried about what they were doing to her feet.

However, she dared not wear her gunmetal grey, patent leather pumps without them. It just wasn’t civilized.

Ge Lixue couldn’t face her friends. The bleaching had gone horribly wrong.
She wished that she hadn’t bragged to them that she would look just like Lady Gaga at M1NT that evening. There would be That’s Shanghai nightlife photographers there! 
Also, the butcher refused to help her make a meat dress. He tried to sell her a lump of fatty pork but wouldn’t slice it thinly for her, nor would he sew it all together.
This really wasn’t her day.

Ge Lixue couldn’t face her friends. The bleaching had gone horribly wrong.

She wished that she hadn’t bragged to them that she would look just like Lady Gaga at M1NT that evening. There would be That’s Shanghai nightlife photographers there! 

Also, the butcher refused to help her make a meat dress. He tried to sell her a lump of fatty pork but wouldn’t slice it thinly for her, nor would he sew it all together.

This really wasn’t her day.

Rumor had it that the new iPhone 5 would be released in September. Or maybe October.  Zhao Shen wasn’t taking any chances. He had set up camp outside the 百脑汇 electronics market in Shanghai in June, quite pleased with himself that he’d be first in line to get one of the smuggled, unlocked Hong Kong ones as soon as they came in. Whenever that was.
He wished he’d packed spare underpants and something besides packets of dried ramen.

Rumor had it that the new iPhone 5 would be released in September. Or maybe October.  Zhao Shen wasn’t taking any chances. He had set up camp outside the 百脑汇 electronics market in Shanghai in June, quite pleased with himself that he’d be first in line to get one of the smuggled, unlocked Hong Kong ones as soon as they came in. Whenever that was.

He wished he’d packed spare underpants and something besides packets of dried ramen.

Mindy Tang had dreams. She had done three master’s degrees in fashion at Donghua University and graduated top of her class for two of those degrees. The top fashion magazines of Shanghai, Beijing and Chongqing had praised her work.
What she couldn’t understand, however, was why she couldn’t make that leap to success in the US. 
Her line of clothes, Triple Beautiful, just wasn’t catching on. She couldn’t get the Americans to appreciate the innate stylishness of mixed animal prints, leather, lace, fur, polka dots and florals all in one.
They just needed time, she told herself. Leopard print hotpants with black lace tights and floral babydoll blouses would be all the rage by next year. She could feel it in her bones.
Awesome mop photo submitted by Kristina Johnson 

Mindy Tang had dreams. She had done three master’s degrees in fashion at Donghua University and graduated top of her class for two of those degrees. The top fashion magazines of Shanghai, Beijing and Chongqing had praised her work.

What she couldn’t understand, however, was why she couldn’t make that leap to success in the US. 

Her line of clothes, Triple Beautiful, just wasn’t catching on. She couldn’t get the Americans to appreciate the innate stylishness of mixed animal prints, leather, lace, fur, polka dots and florals all in one.

They just needed time, she told herself. Leopard print hotpants with black lace tights and floral babydoll blouses would be all the rage by next year. She could feel it in her bones.

Awesome mop photo submitted by Kristina Johnson 

Zhou Tao figured if he just hid from the gas and electric men he might be able to get away with not paying for one more month. The iPad he had just bought totally cleaned out his bank account.
It’d be boxed ramen noodles for the next month at least. If the gas didn’t get cut off, that is. 
He wondered if uncooked ramen noodles were nutritionally viable.

Zhou Tao figured if he just hid from the gas and electric men he might be able to get away with not paying for one more month. The iPad he had just bought totally cleaned out his bank account.

It’d be boxed ramen noodles for the next month at least. If the gas didn’t get cut off, that is. 

He wondered if uncooked ramen noodles were nutritionally viable.

Hu Bingwen’s friends were worried about his recent change in demeanor. Hu saw nothing wrong with being aggressively pro active. It worked in business- why not not in private life?
The new decals on his car were certainly making driving easier. He had much more room to manoever on the roads now.

Hu Bingwen’s friends were worried about his recent change in demeanor. Hu saw nothing wrong with being aggressively pro active. It worked in business- why not not in private life?

The new decals on his car were certainly making driving easier. He had much more room to manoever on the roads now.

Zhao An couldn’t shake them. The neighbourhood watch committee was following her everywhere. Those old biddies were doing her head in. Her period was only three days late and already they were eying her belly for signs of pregnancy. One was always waving a sheaf of forms for her to sign if it turned out to be true.
She pedalled faster. Surely they couldn’t run after her if she got to a major ring road.

Zhao An couldn’t shake them. The neighbourhood watch committee was following her everywhere. Those old biddies were doing her head in. Her period was only three days late and already they were eying her belly for signs of pregnancy. One was always waving a sheaf of forms for her to sign if it turned out to be true.

She pedalled faster. Surely they couldn’t run after her if she got to a major ring road.

Nelson Tang was exhausted. He had just flown twelve hours across the Pacific Ocean and already his uncle had put him to work at his laundry in San Francisco, hanging clothes.
His mother had said it would look good on his resume but Nelson knew better. His 24 hour computer game marathons obviously perturbed her. This was not the filial piety she had hoped to see from her only son.
Three months of hanging laundry would do him a world of good. She was certain of this.
Awesome Mop photo submitted by Kristina Johnson 

Nelson Tang was exhausted. He had just flown twelve hours across the Pacific Ocean and already his uncle had put him to work at his laundry in San Francisco, hanging clothes.

His mother had said it would look good on his resume but Nelson knew better. His 24 hour computer game marathons obviously perturbed her. This was not the filial piety she had hoped to see from her only son.

Three months of hanging laundry would do him a world of good. She was certain of this.

Awesome Mop photo submitted by Kristina Johnson 

"Do you think he saw us?" Yu Shifang whispered to her friends. 
The giggled as they crouched together behind the low wall. Li Jintao was so dreamy.
Awesome Mops and caption by emmaindalian 

"Do you think he saw us?" Yu Shifang whispered to her friends. 

The giggled as they crouched together behind the low wall. Li Jintao was so dreamy.

Awesome Mops and caption by emmaindalian 

Grace Lee and Mavis Chang had been quietly watching their downstairs neighbour for the past three months since he moved to San Francisco from rural Fujian province. 
He wasn’t, it seemed, adapting very well to the new culture.
Every day he sat on his balcony, staring morosely out at his unused, unworn pyjama bottoms.
Apparently, even in the Chinatowns of Měiguó, no one wore their PJs out in the street to play cards and drink beer. You couldn’t even smoke anywhere! 
The waistband of his jeans chafed. He felt so homesick.
Awesome Mop photo submitted by Kristina Johnson 

Grace Lee and Mavis Chang had been quietly watching their downstairs neighbour for the past three months since he moved to San Francisco from rural Fujian province.

He wasn’t, it seemed, adapting very well to the new culture.

Every day he sat on his balcony, staring morosely out at his unused, unworn pyjama bottoms.

Apparently, even in the Chinatowns of Měiguó, no one wore their PJs out in the street to play cards and drink beer. You couldn’t even smoke anywhere!

The waistband of his jeans chafed. He felt so homesick.

Awesome Mop photo submitted by Kristina Johnson 

It must have been quite a night. Dave was certain of that. The last thing he recalled was the seventeenth gānbēi of the evening, out celebrating his birthday with an increasingly large group of Chinese friends. They had hauled out the Maotai with the toddler face on the bottle. 
But that was in Melbourne.
This didn’t appear to be Melbourne.
His head ached.

It must have been quite a night. Dave was certain of that. The last thing he recalled was the seventeenth gānbēi of the evening, out celebrating his birthday with an increasingly large group of Chinese friends. They had hauled out the Maotai with the toddler face on the bottle. 

But that was in Melbourne.

This didn’t appear to be Melbourne.

His head ached.