November 8, 2014 by ...
What a cute little gift this would make. A fuzzy little bunny no more harmful than an ill-fitting DNA strand. Big floppy ears and doe-like eyes are sure to bring joy to children and adults alike.
Hey, wait a minute. Something is odd. What’s that he’s got on his head?
Why it looks kinda’ like military gear. And the red star, isn’t that a symbol of China’s People’s Liberation Army? Hmm, looks like I need to investigate further.
Xiaomi’s mascot-a communist soldier?
This little fella’, who is inexplicably dressed like a Red Army soldier is what Xiaomi has chosen to represent them. The hat on his head hearkens back to the ‘days of liberation’ when Mao and his kind were calling the shots.
Is it just me, or are these two not eerily similar? Perhaps its the background glow and pride in rocking the communist war gear, but to me they seem like brothers in arms (pardon the pun).
Xiaomi rockin the Red Army?
Nonetheless, this choice of images was a wise one. Lei Feng, the human, was beaitified by Chairman Mao. The virtuous solider was supposedly a tireless worker who kept an extensive diary of his struggles and progress during the 1950’s and 1960’s. So good were his writings, that children then as well as now, memorize his words.
‘Live Lei Feng.’ they proclaim and list off his most notable accomplishments- which are beyond count.
Lei Feng the man
So prodigious were his successes that a voluminous blog could barely scratch the surface at exposing his insignificant deeds, let alone the most glorious. The current author believes it is not in his power to put to words what comrade Lei had done. Being a humble sort, my solilquiy shall be as concise as it is respectful.
The good soldier Lei Feng was practically a carbon copy of Boy Souts across the globe. According to his memoirs, he helped little ladies across the street, shined the shoes of his comrades and even cleaned their weapons.
Lei Feng lives on
Like I said, back in the day, he was glorified by none other than Mao himself. A man of such esteeem, however, cannot be pigeon-holed into a singular period of time. Today’s modern Mandarin’s have not forgotten him either. In his desire that the good people of China ‘stick to their knitting’, Xi Jinping has resucitated Lei Feng in all his glory.
‘All his glory? You mean he is dead?’
Oh, perhaps I forgot to mention, the good soldier met his demise. Rather than hob-nobbing with the commoner and leading them on the path to righteousness, Lei Feng rests in peace.
No, no, he did not succomb to bullets spitting forth from weapons of capitalist imperialism while he fought side-by-side with the gallant North Koreas as they warded off those pesky invaders from the west. Nor was his life sacrificed while pulling a child from a smoldering embers of a building and resuscitating life back into her fast expiring lungs. No, the good soldier met a rather inauspicious death. Lei Feng was crushed by a telephone pole.
Crushed by a pole?
I could use artistic liscence and wax poetic about how this unfortunate turn of events shed light on the courage and mettle of such a great man, but I shant. Not all the spin-doctoring in the world could turn the story of his passing into a tale of Robin Hood-like proportions. His death, as was his life, was unflinchingly simple.
Lei Feng was simply crushed.
The death of comrade Lei Feng
Rather than beat around the bush any longer, your humble author must now tell the tale. It would appear that in between doing good deeds and scribbling notes to his comrades, Lei Feng liked to wash socks, and this was his undoing.
Once, while preoccupied with scrubbing foot-rot from the toe linings of his army issue gear, Lei was frightened by a loud noise. From nowhere appeared a monstrous truck with bad intentions. The one-ton menace bore down on little Lei like an enraged bull in Pamplona.
Never one to run from adersity, the good soldier sprang to his feet and assumed control of the situation. The homicical humvee apparently needed to park and Lei Feng was there to help.
‘Ok, comrade, I will guide you in,’ he cried, eyes filled with glee. ‘Wow, another entry for my diary,’ he said to himself, ‘Helping a comrade in need.’
‘Ok, right this way!’ He screamed at the approaching mass of unforgiving steel.
Fate being what it is, the driver heard nothing and mashed the gas with the the fury of a man whose shift should have been over hours before. The sullen giant he commandeered proceeded on its path which was nobly being blocked by soldier Lei, who for some explicable reason did not move. The military menace struck a pole which cudgeled soldier Lei where he stood.
Physics being what they are, the troop transporter gained purchase on not only the hardpacked Chinese dirt but soldier Lei himself and churned both equally into sod for the next harvest.
Say it ain’t so Lei Feng
Current communist teachings are fuzzy on the details of the incident. As one may expect, however, questions still abound.
They range from the philosophical,
‘What were Lei Feng’s last thoughts at that moment?’
‘Was he silently quoting the words of Mao before he died?’
‘Did the bearded mein of Stalin greet him at those great red doors in the sky?’
‘Was he proud to take one for the Big Red Team?’
To the more pragmatic
‘Why the hell didn’t he just move? Three-toed sloths coulda’ outrun that old truck.’
Of course pursuing this line of discourse will nudge us no closer to the truth, but one thing is for sure. Lei Feng is a fallen hero. (Fact checking comrade Lei Feng here)
‘Ok Lei was a hero, but how does that relate?’
Great question, I am glad you asked. The fuzzy bunny and Lei Feng charactize a crucial component of the Xiaomi strategy. It’s all about national pride.
Lei Jun-Xioaomi’s founder, who is not to be confused with Lei Feng, who is dead, stated that he wants to create a company of which all Chinese are proud. It stands to reason that he’d lean on nationalism to further that cause. Such sentiments are on the rise, especially in Xiaomi’s target market– less educated 20-30 year old men hailing from from tier-two and three cities.
Xiaomi’s take on it all
Through a friend I asked the Xiaomi clan about the bunny and my hypothesis. ‘Hogwash,’ they snarled and then trundled off with a bowl of fangbien mien- instant noodles.
I was told that the bunny has nothing to do with China’s army. ‘It is just a coincidence,’ they murmerd.
‘Hmm, how about this?’ My friend, said as he grabbed another Xiaomi’er and pointed at fuzzy bunny’s home. ‘Says here 1921, isn’t that the year China’s communist party was formed?’
‘Enough,’ my friend was told by another. ‘Xiaomi has other mascots, don’t think too much.’
But think I did. In fact, I visited Xiaomi’s homepage to test my hypothesis. Does Xiaomi play on nationalism in order to sell its kit? Not surprisingly I found things like this.
Xiaomi routers, a call to arms?
Of course I may be overanalyzing, but then again that is my job. From the looks of it, Xiaomi is not a ‘smoke the peace pipe and sing koombiya’ kind of company.
Whats more, it was through research that I hit upon this hypothesis. Based on survey results, Xiaomi taps into a strong sense of pride which laps at the beaches of nationalism. The ‘toys’ and military-themed gadgets merely seem to confirm it. All of this, ocupled with the high percentage of men owning Xiaomi phones is icing on the cake.
If this is not enough to convince you, then consider the following: what would you think of Apple’s leanings if they chose this to symbolize them
instead of this…