The biggest challenge is to find . . .. . . your own Tomboy

The most daunting fad among Hong Kong youths, but ONLY for females, is the TBG (Tomboy Girlfriend). There seem to be hundreds, maybe thousands more girls who want to be a TBG than there are available tomboys. Supply just cannot keep up with demand. Biological boys are out. Why would anyone want an original when the pirated copies are so much cooler?

TBGs know the difference between Life and Art, and which one is more interesting. Life is boring, Art is cool.

The Tomboy Look began with the 1960s actress Betty Lo, who had a penchant (but certainly not a figure) for menswear. A bombshell she was, and she drove the boys and the girls mad with desire.

Then came along the ultra-cool singer-actress Anita Mui, who donned all sorts of masculine gear. Her Frankie Sinatra was a classic. Miss Mui was a cameleon so her tomboy phase was just one of many changes of persona. Yeah, we all miss her.

Everyone who’s resided or visited Hong Kong has seen lots of TB-TBG couples, especially on Sundays when the Filipina maids are off-duty and partying in the Central District. A distinct subculture developed there and now it’s less about artifice and just a part of life in the city. Different strokes for different folks, right?

The hottest and coolest (at the same time, now that’s an achievement) of the new-generation tomboys is Li Yuchun, a pop singer from Sichuan. Her female fans by now outnumber the PLA. Hair salons across the country are just churning out the “Twin Brother” hairstyle. BTW, the Mandarin word for tomboy is jiaxiaozu, which of course means a girl that looks like a boy.

The tomboy phenomenon is really bad news for all the single guys in a country where males outnumber females by 20 percent. Consider the extra downside, gentlemen, because a TB-TBG couple takes TWO girls out of the dating pool.

What’s a lonely Chinese boy to do? Well, the Other Cool Trend happens to be ladyboys.

The War of the Sexes has ended with a new Demilitarized Zone between guys and girls, as in “to each their own.” Or does DMZ stand for Dating Men is for Zombies?

The two sides of Chris Lee/Li Yuchun

She’s hot and cool, cutesy and tough, ultra-feminine in a traditional cheongsam dress and China’s favorite tomboy. Chris Lee/Li Yuchun is a pisces – the astral fishes are a pair, so maybe that explains her duality. Her adopted English name is unisex. What about her preference? Don’t ask and we won’t tell. Like Christina Aguilar, she’s probably full of surprises.

The Big Break: Winning the Super Girl 2005 contest (TV talent show)
Voice: mezzo, deep and passionate
The hairdo: inspired by Ziggy Stardust, the David Bowie boy who fell out of the sky
Albums: The Queen and the Dream (2006), Mine (2007), Youth of China (2008), Li Yuchun (2009)
Singles: Sweetheart, I Love You; Give Me Five; Happy Wake Up
Concerts: annual series called Why Me
Movie role: Fang Hong in Teddy Chen’s “Body Guards and Assassins”; sings theme song Fengmo (Dust)
Her Agent: Taihe Rye
Fan Slang: fans call themselves Yumi – Yu(chun) mi (fan), yumi translates as corn
China Post: First postage stamp bearing image of a mainland pop star (2006)
Fame: Cover of TIME magazine Asia
Charities: ambassador, Viva Glam MAC lipstick’s AIDS Fund in China, and the Yumi Love Fund of the China Red Cross to help children with leukemia.
Ads: Amoi, Swatch, Coca-Cola, Crest, H-P
Hometown: Chengdu
School: Sichuan Music Conservatory
Birthday: 10 March 1984
Nickname: ChunChun
Quotes: “Music is an intrinsic part of my life – I am a perfectionist.” “If I had more time, I would like to devote it to helping others.”

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One Reply to “Tomboys”

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