Passengers get a kick out of subway adverts

A passenger gets rid of his frustration at Shanghai’s Xujiahui subway station on Aug 9. [Yang Yi / for China Daily]

Netizens encourage commuters to use padding as way to relieve their stress

SHANGHAI – Three mat-wrapped pillars in the city’s Xujiahui subway station are taking a beating from passengers who would normally pass them by without a second glance.

Though the mats are actually advertisements to encourage people to stretch and limber up during the waiting time, many people seem to think the padding is there as a stress reliever.

“Don’t waste your wait,” says the writing on the padding added to the pillars located between platforms 20 to 22, and passengers have taken to punching and kicking the mats while they wait for trains.

“If you have been scolded by your boss or had a fight with your girlfriend, go kick the pillars,” posted a netizen under the name of “liuming 10,000 pages” on her Sina micro blog.

“The pillars are like the sand bags we use to direct people to release their pressure by punching or kicking,” said Liu Gaoxia, a psychologist at Shanghai Soul Garden Psychological Counseling Center, “However, a public space is not an ideal place to do that as it may lead to people hurting themselves or others.”

The fact that it is a public area also deters some people who might otherwise wish to do so from taking out their frustrations on the pillars.

“I dare not kick or punch in front of so many people, it is a bit shame,” said Zhang, a passenger who declined to give his full name.

“We were surprised when we heard that people think the padding is there as a pressure release,” said Gu xiaojie, a staff member in the public relations department at Adidas, the German-based sportswear manufacturer responsible for the advertisements.

“We wanted to raise the awareness of sports and help people make efficient use of their waiting time,” said Huang Xiaoqiang, the director of the marketing and communication department at Adidas China.

The advertisements were a response to a recent survey released by the World Health Organization, which found that more than 30 percent of residents in the city are in sub-health condition, which means a state between health and illness, and a similar survey by the Horizon Research Consultancy Group, which found that for the whole of China the figure soared to 60 percent.

Heavy pressure is one of the common problems that affects people’s well-being, according to the research and consultancy company.

China Daily

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