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Chinese Youth's Online Vacation

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Yang Shuo logged on his MSN, Skype and other SNS accounts Sunday afternoon. His peers were yet to appear, but he was sure online communities would come alive soon.

It came halfway the eight-day holiday, Chinese people's long-awaited National Day holiday season starting October 1. It was one day longer than previous years because it coincides with the Mid-Autumn Festival which falls on October 3 this year.

But Yang opted for huddling in his bedroom to spend his vacation online. He cared little about Beijing's traffic control plan and authorities' early warning of holiday traffic congestion.

"I am stuck to the screen at work. But as to the long holiday, I could not think out a better plan than staying online as usual. I can communicate with more friends here," Yang said.

Indeed, the Internet is an effective medium in a national festival for people across the country to share their patriotic sentiments.

Xinhua BBS launched a National Day online gala on October 1. The online celebrations included flowers tribute, flying doves and fireworks set-off, all expressing ordinary people's best wishes to the 60th founding birthday of New China.

As of 10:00 PM on October 1, a total of 500,000 netizens clicked the website.

The National Day parade and pageant were also ranked as the hottest topics in cyber community. Besides the most favored dragon-boat style bandwagon of Guangdong Province, netizens from local provinces felt the thrill of the contest in boasting of their hometown shows.

"Two clay figurines are our specialty. And Wuting Bridge is a sign of Yangzhou," said "Water Lamp" from east China's Jiangsu Province.

Wuting Bridge, built in 1757, is the landscape of Slender West Lake in Yangzhou of Jiangsu.

A few people also expressed their regrets on some live broadcast details after a thorough examination.

"Wulikanhua" said, "Some of the shots were too low and back lighted. And the flag guards got too few camera shots."

Young netizens who could not go to the scene showed great enthusiasm to take part in the parade. More than 18,000 people joined the virtual parade launched by the online Qiangguo Community. Just input your name, you could be included in a parade.

"Saisai" in the "student float" added her greetings, "We Chinese embrace the prosperity by wisdom and aspiration."

Easy access to the Internet provided an alternative for people who had to work in the Mid-Autumn Festival which traditionally featured by family reunion.

Wu Xuan is 25-year-old teacher in a Beijing-based college. Her parents are in Jiangsu Province, 1,200 kilometers away from Beijing.

"Work is busy, and getting a ticket to go home is heavy-going," she said. "So I choose to talk to my family via Internet telephone. It's more accessible."

Spending one's vacation online spares one's hard exertion in holiday plan making, but surfing on the Internet is not a real travel after all.

"Online vacation?" Wang Ye, 24, a logo designer, said: "It sounds a little bit strange. But I stay home to avoid the flu."

The rampant A/H1N1 flu is another factor that kept people home. Wang used to share her travel experience via blog, but she decided to watch the American TV series "Lost" during the holiday.

However, some Chinese young people were really "lost" in the cyber space.

A post issued by "Go Die Go Travel" at Tianya BBS invited two or three girls to join him on a tour by helicopter.

"It's apparently false," a follow-up comment said. "He was just pretending to be arrogant."

Indeed, "group boredom" turned into a catchphrase on the Internet. It reflected in a way the cyber culture in which young people kill their time in virtual world after being bored by other traditional entertainments.

But culture of this kind could bite into the holiday in a funny way.

"Yang Shuo, your mom is calling you back home to eat moon cakes." Yang read this greeting at, a popular Chinese SNS website.

A computer-savvy prankster put his name and greeting on the headline of a newspaper. It seemed he became a celebrity all of a sudden.

"At least, the Internet could help enrich our holiday life," Yang said via the MSN.

(Xinhua News Agency October 6, 2009)

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