XiaXue (which in Chinese means “snowing”) is the pseudonym of Wendy Cheng – the most popular blogger in Singapore. The 26 years old girl has a status of celebrity in her small country and her website has been added to the National Library Board’s list of blogs for archival. In 2005 it was awarded the title of the “Best Asian Blog” and today it drives an envious traffic of (more than) 20,000 daily visitors.
Xiaxue’s web world
Started in 2003, at the beginning her blog was just an online diary where Xiaxue described her personal life and thoughts on random topics. Due to inarguable literary skills and witty writing style she quickly gained popularity among readers. One might think that – since the author is an attractive young girl – most of her fans are guys. But no. A quick check on Alexa (website which analyzes the traffic statistics on internet) reveals that Xiaxue’s blog is visited more frequently by females who are in the age range 18-24.
It’s worth to mention that Xiaxue’s online presence is not limited to her blog, another notable example being the web video-series “Guide to Life”. And indeed it IS a definitive guide for Singapore girls (and to Chinese girls born in 80’s and 90’s in general). Here her fans can find useful information on: how to get a tattoo or tongue piercing, how to shop for clothes or sex toys, how to use fake eyelashes, as well as cooking, doing housework and so on. Readers of her posts are initiated with the knowledge that the most beautiful thing in the world is orgasm and can also learn a revolutionary system of measuring penises which is supposed to create a common language between girls who want to compare their boyfriends.
Who is Xiaxue’s model?
And while many girls love Xiaxue and listen to her advice, the interesting question is – who is the model for Xiaxue herself? Well… there is no need to make guesses. In her blogspot profile she acknowledges that her favourite book is “Confessions of a Heiress” by Paris Hilton. I haven’t read this book… but from publisher’s review on Amazon I learn that the description of Paris Hilton’s book can be easily reapplied to Xiaxue and her blog:
… loves her life, knows how to get what she wants and matter-of-factly explains how anyone can be glamorous… just like her.
… indulgent and sometimes reckless lifestyle might not be sensible for everyone, but her advice to “channel your own inner heiress, create your own image, and project an extreme sense of confidence” is an empowering message for young women.
But let’s give the word to Xiaxue herself regarding the things that she is standing for. Here is what she writes in her blog following one very controversial post which cost her two of three sponsors she had at that moment:
I am also an ambassador for non-smoking in Singapore.
I love Singapore, and I am strongly against drugs.
I have influenced innumerous teens/females to learn to stand up for themselves.
I have inspired many to start blogging and opening themselves to the world bravely.
Many tell me thank you, daily, for being the voice they never had…
What kind of person is Xiaxue
Remember the poll in which I asked what kind of adjectives foreigners use to describe Chinese girls? It would be interesting to see which of these descriptors would apply to Xiaxue whose personality and lifestyle inspire so many peers.
Beautiful… While most of netizens rank her looks somewhere between cute and gorgeous, Xiaxue herself admits that she is ugly without make-up. Though this statement is more playful than true, one can’t help but admire her straight-forward approach when it comes to self-description: Xiaxue has never pretended to be prettier than she is. It doesn’t mean, however, that she is a proponent of “natural beauty”. Quite on the contrary: she advocates any means that can help girls to look more beautiful (from make-up to plastic surgery) and slanders the men who feel “cheated” by artificial beauty.
Throughout her blog – and she never hides this fact – Xiaxue is heavily using Photoshop to edit her own pictures and in one of the most popular videos from the aforementioned “Guide to Life” she shows her photo-shopping skills in action. Curiously enough – many of modifications demonstrated in that clip Xiaxue later implemented on herself by the means of plastic surgery, including nose job and eyelid lift surgery.
Loyal… Xiaxue is very vocal in her opposition to school authorities who “abuse their position of authority to punish students for something personal”. Also she hates preaching and doesn’t accept the way in which official institutions of religion invade into personal matters (actually, in one of her interviews Xiaxue said that smoking and religion are two topics which she would never praise on her blog no matter what kind of incentives she would be offered).
On the other hand – she is a very loyal daughter showing deep respect to her mother, a good-hearted sister caring about her younger brother and a faithful girlfriend (wife already – since about a year ago she married her American boyfriend).
[Not] Small-minded… One of the hits on Xiaxue’s blog is her post about the expectations that local men have from their girlfriends.
Someone told me that he thinks that he wouldn’t mind having Mo Jing Jing as a gf. For those of you who dun watch Holland Village on Channel 8, Mo Jingjing is a semi retarded girl.
I almost died. She speaks 3 words a minute. The said fren claimed that she is good what, very pure and innocent, unlike many girls in our society now, so slutty and bitchy. (Somehow I suspect this is how paedophiles think too.) The above sentence makes sense as well… But should be girls succumb to these guys expectations and from now on be quiet and unopinionated too? No. I won’t change myself just to fit these selfish guys…
So, she doesn’t want to be like some cute but silly girl from TV drama and I applaud to such attitude. However – since Xiaxue has a big influence on Singapore teen girls – I hope that she is going to broaden her literature tastes beyond Harry Potter’s adventures and Paris Hilton’s bestseller.
Insecure… Taking in account the number of transformations that Xiaxue went through, in order to change the image of a girl with typical Asian looks to the one that she has today (Paris Hilton? Hannah Montana?), one can wonder if this is the sign of high confidence or extreme insecurity. In any case, I would have hard time in looking for a better illustration of Asian girls’ desire to be whiter.
Strong… Maybe the feature that is most readily visible to her blog’s readers. And again Xiaxue is loudly calling for girls to be stronger and resist the men’s chauvinism who prefer them to be weak and submissive.
Controversies around Xiaxue
It’s not wonder that Xiaxue’s blog which one of her fellow bloggers called the “poetry of angst and narcissism” has produced a number of controversies during the 7 years of its existence. The most notable of them were:
- “toilet-gate” when she attacked a disabled man who scolded an able-bodied guy for using the toilet for handicapped persons;
- presumably racist post in which Xiaxue accused foreign workers of molesting the local girls;
- provocative post defending a cute American marine who was convicted for raping a Filipino woman.
Regarding the latter, it’s quite curious that Xiaxue might be more close to truth than many are willing to accept. However, reading her post I was dismayed with the lack of integrity when she wrote that the victim was literally asking for rape by dancing with four Caucasian guys – “probably in slutty clothes”! Compare this to the description of Xiaxue’s own experiences:
Well some very cynical ppl may be thinking this in their heads now:
I dress up like a slut, so i deserved the molest?
To such ppl i say: If one day ur daugther/sister gets raped, will u say the same thing? Well, I would like to stress that everytime i get molest cases i was in school uniform. And besides this, even if women dress scantily, it is NO excuse to touch them. If this logic applies soon all women will be dressed like those in Pakistan. Not only it is unaesthetic, many will die of heatstroke in Singapore.
It is natural that besides loyal fans, the Queen of Singaporean blogosphere (as Xiaxue is sometimes referred on internet) has her share of haters – especially among other bloggers (…envy?) who either think that being like her is wrong or call her stupid bitch or threaten to sue her in court for defamation.
It doesn’t seem to bother the popular blogger too much. As one commenter noted – she “eats flames for breakfast”. And as Xiaxue acknowledged herself, she’d “rather be surrounded by haters than a bunch of indifferent people”.
You can love her, you can hate her but one thing is sure – Xiaxue is a model of many Singapore girls…
Yet another blogger, Crystal Tao