Tuesday, 02. September 2014
02. 05. 14. - 15:00
After Cabbage Patch Kids come, simply - the cabbages.
Lonely teenagers in China who feel life is pointless and who struggle to find friends have taken to befriending the lowly vegetables as the perfect, undemanding companions.
And the sight of them out 'walking' the cabbages in a bid to battle loneliness is the latest way of meeting someone new - as cabbage walkers use their weird pets as a way to start up conversations with each other.
"It's not about finding a boyfriend or girlfriend, just about having someone to talk to and share things with, a statement of youth isolated in the big cities," said Chinese psychiatrist from Beijing University Wen Chao, 56, about the weird phenomenon.
"The idea is simple - you feel as lonely and as simple as a cabbage, so you begin to act like one and befriend one. And in that acceptance comes change."
A group of youths were recently photographing walking cabbages at a music festival named the Midi Music Festival currently underway in the Chinese capital Beijing.
Lui Ja Chen, 17, and one of the cabbage walking youths, said: "I feel I can transfer my negative thoughts about myself to the cabbage, go for a walk with it and come home feeling better about myself.
"If I see someone else it's easy to start up a conversation with them about their cabbage, and they are better than dogs as they don't bark, or start fights with other cabbages. It doesn't even need feeding, or leave a mess on the pavement.
"In fact afterwards, I can throw the cabbage away and feel that I have tossed my feelings out with it."
Another cabbage walker, Da-Xia Sung, also 17, said: "I have more interest for my cabbage than I do my parents. I feel it understands me."
But worried doctors fear that many young people are seeing the cabbages as surrogate pals and are eschewing human contact to grow unhealthily closer to their nutrient-packed veg pals.
"At the end of the day someone real to talk to is much healthier," said Wen Chao.
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