BO.BO

 

Yesterday I called my mate from university for a chat at Starbucks and was scorned. ‘This is absolute petit bourgeois,’ he said.

 

‘Come on!’ I retorted, ‘isn’t this exactly what we’re supposed to be when we’re marching towards a more affluent society? We’re no longer penniless students now. You don’t expect me to still behave like a bohemian, do you?’

 

And before I could rightfully stand up for my teenage luxury my friend just said, ‘it’s all about BOBO now.’

 

BOBO. Sounds like a clown’s name. But being a highly receptive new-age intellectual of the twenty-first century I felt the impulse to scour the internet a bit. A quick search with my state-of-the-art iMac told me a few simple facts of this latest social trend.

 

Apparently a guy named David Brooks wrote a popular book called Bobos in Paradise in 2000 and coined the termed BOBO, which stands for Bourgeois Bohemian. It describes a group of people definitive to the Information Era and embraces traits of both bourgeois and bohemian. So apart from being a petit bourgeois with a successful career and a 150 sq meter apartment in the suburbs, there must also be part of me that’s bohemian in nature. Emm… I wonder if gulping cappuccino or watching Zhang Yimou films or going to Qinghai for holiday could make me one.

 

So I scrolled down the screen, and looked for more definitions. There I found a webpage with the title ‘Are you a BOBO? Quick guide to Boboism’ I sat up straight, sweat all over my hands, and carefully checked the list of characteristics that was going to qualify me as a member of the group.

 

Okay, here we go. Number one: belongs to the elite of society. Check. I suppose a degree from a top university and a pretty handsome office on the 43rd floor of Zhongguancun’s tallest building will suffice.

 

Number two: works in a company that has a philosophy as cool and hip as they are. Well Since all my colleagues wear baggy clothes and sandals to the office I’d like to think there’s no problem with the hip part. As for cool, yeah I am, in fact all IT professionals are just cool that is if they’re not nerds.

 

Number three: despises consumerism and buys Tibetan or Thai souvenirs at local stores. Check, except that I prefer Nepalese ones.

 

Number four: pays meticulous attention to insignificant details of themselves and their belongings. Oh well, I won’t tell people the laces of my skateboarding shoes are of silk. It’s a matter of taste, not parade.

 

Five: only purchases for good value. Of course, what’s the point of squandering 200,000 yuan on a vulgar platinum mobile phone? I’d rather spend the money on my multi-functional Land Rover so that I can dash along the Yellow River.

 

Number six: loves nature, in general. Quite true, I eat organic food and love hiking immensely. Boy, the weather-proof hiking boots are well worth the money I thrown in.

 

Number seven: concentrates on the spiritual side of personal growth. Emm… this one’s a bit tricky. I did once think of signing up for a yoga class, but when they told me I would have to put my right foot on top of my head while using my left hand to touch my toes on the left,  I thought yoga had been corrupted by modern commercialism and lost its spiritual side.

 

Well, six out of seven isn’t too bad, I think. But the moment I prepared to pronounce myself a BOBO, I spotted a catchy line on the screen, with words bigger than any others, saying: ‘How to be a true BOBO? Get the book with 100 tips on transforming yourself into a true BOBO for only USD15.99.’

 

Oh no! I scored only six out of 107!

 

1