China got a taste for the Giant Rubber Duck, now it never wants it to go away. It'll even make its own if it must.
And ship it to Dubai.
Not with a bang but a whimper.
Poor duck. Poor, poor duck.
“Kitsch causes two tears to flow in quick succession. The first tear says: How nice to see children running on the grass! The second tear says: How nice to be moved, together with all mankind, by children running on the grass!” – Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being ~
"It's not just children who like it. The core value of the rubber duck is to bring back childlike innocence to all of us, especially weary adults." – Zeng Hui, head of the Beijing Design Week Organizing Committee
"Mass-produced curio," we called it. "Kitsch." "Pop art." "Naked commercialism."
And it's here, all here -- in Beijing.
Florentijn Hofman's rubber duck is the goldmine that will never be depleted. Deflated, maybe, but never depleted. This we know because his rubber duck arrived in Kaohsiung, Taiwan on Thursday ahead of Typhoon Usagi -- that storm that's killed 33 people in southern China and southeast Asia so far, i.e. around where Taiwan is located -- and attracted half a million spectators.
That rubber duck -- you know the one -- looked pretty sad in its new environs of Beijing last week. Check out these photos via AP, and the accompanying story via Reuters:
As we in Beijing eagerly await the arrival of the Rubber Duck, here's a reminder that large floatation thingies do require upkeep. This picture was taken at Yuantouzhu Scenic Area in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, posted to Sina Weibo and highlighted by China Navis.
Ever since we found out that Florentijn Hofman's famous Rubber Duck was coming to Beijing, the question has been: where will it be placed? Houhai? The National Center for the Performing Arts ("The Egg")? Zhang Xin's personal swimming pool?
The rubber duck is coming to Beijing Design Week in September. Dutch creator Florentijn Hofman apparently made the announcement at a press conference in Beijing on Saturday, saying, “The Rubber Duck knows no frontiers, it doesn't discriminate people and doesn't have a political connotation. The friendly, floating Rubber Duck has healing properties: it can relieve mondial tensions as well as define them. The rubber duck is soft, friendly and suitable for all ages!”
This is the end, beautiful friend. This is the end, my only friend.
I'm just going to put this here and admire from afar.
Noting the wild popularity of Hong Kong's big rubber duck in Victoria Harbor, designed by Florentjin Hofman, Wuhan went ahead and got its own. It's made by a property company, notes Sina.
To be honest, I'm surprised that a property company practicing shanzhai wouldn't go bigger instead of smaller. Surely 16.5 meters isn't the upper limit for rubber duck sizes.
The 16.5-meter inflatable duck in Hong Kong's Victoria Bay remains entertaining. Look at the above. Just look at it.
It was due to air leakage, says Sina. It lasted 12 days, as of yesterday.
Pity the duck. Pity us all.
I don't really have anything to add to Hong Wrong's piece about the 16.5-meter duck in Victoria Harbor, "In Pictures: HK Goes Completely Insane For Big Yellow Duck’s Arrival," or Shanghaiist's guide to SCMP's articles about these rubber ducks (with rolling updates), except to say this is awesome: