Tag Archives: fun

Game: Electric Shock

L is a junior at University of Southern California studying Communications. He is an international student from China who is telling us about a game he played as a child from his hometown in China, Anhui Province in the city Hefei. His first language was Chinese, so throughout the interview, he would sometimes slip into Chinese and struggle placing the exact words in English.

L: “It’s just another version of hide and seek in the place where I live. Like every hide and seek game. The one whose finding the others is gonna have to stay in place and counts for 30 seconds but that specific place is, in this game, a big pillar. He places his hand on the big pillar and counts for 30 seconds before he goes off and finds the others. I think that’s it.”
Why is it called Electric Shock?
L: “When we find another one, we say “Electric Shock” and he can’t move. He could move before, like if he tried to dodge he can move but he can’t be seen. But if he is seen, then ‘Electric Shock’ and he can’t move. He’s frozen in place.”
How do you win the game, to just not get found?
L: “Yeah, and by finding them all. And there is a time limit. Like for ten minutes. Like, you can’t be looking forever. So, ten minutes. If you can’t find everyone, then yeah.”

“For some reason, we don’t call Hide and Seek Hide and Seek. We call it Electric Shock in Chinese, like that’s just a traditional version native to the place, it’s name is called Electric Shock…very childish, like before sixth grade. I really have no idea how we came up [with it]. It’s something that we come up with, like our community. Like, there’s like 20-30 kids who live around our community. We come to same place every two days to play them. We play it so often. I have no idea why, but I guess it was very fun.”
This was a game specific to the community of the informant, a game shared among all the children of that area in the city they grew up in. The informant specified that they played this frequently during their early childhood, but stopped before sixth grade. They used it as a way to have fun with other children, and viewed as something childish: enjoyable as a kid to play, but socially unfitting for an adult.

In every culture and nation, there seems to be a childhood game or two with which any child can play. There are commonalities between Electric Shock and American hide and seek and freeze tag. But to call Electric Shock a fusion of hide and seek and freeze tag would be ignorant of the Chinese community that created the environment that fostered this specific game. The time limit, the hand on the pillar, even the title, Electric Shock; these distinct variations compared to other examples of hide and seek or freeze tag make it unique. Even though it seems to be only played in one city of one province of one country in the world, Electric Shock has become a piece of children’s lore, its own folk game. However, its specificity to one region in the world does not take away from its purpose, synonymous to all other universal children’s lore. These small, folk games children invent give them a chance to let loose society’s expectations and have fun. There’s freedom that comes with playing the same game with dozens of other people your age, laughing and playing together. No matter the game style, title, or variation, the special nostalgia, fond fun and freedom that’s associated with childhood are hardly taken away. That makes childhood lore unifying under whatever variation, but simultaneously unique to each child’s upbringing.

Rock Hair Superstition

The following is from a 20-year-old USC student.  She is describing a superstition she was taught.  I will be represented by K and she will be represented by A.


K: So, tell me about some superstitions you have.

A: Uh, yeah, so… my… my grandma used to tell me, back in North Carolina, if it’s raining… with- when the sun is up, like it’s not cloudy and it’s raining- and you look under a rock, you’ll find the color of your future husband’s hair… It’s… true story.

K: So, what does this piece of folklore mean to you?
A: Uhm… to me it means that… uh, my husband’s going to have brown hair… and every day I look for him… Thanks Grandma!


This conversation took place in my living room with a group of people.  The informant brought up the superstition taught by her grandma and I asked her if I could record it for this project.  She agreed and we all listened to the story.

My Thoughts:

Like most superstitions, it is clear that this one is not necessarily accurate, but something fun to believe in.  The informant’s grandma told her about this when she was younger, probably trying to give her something to believe in and look forward to as a lot of adults do with kids these days.  We see this in a lot of Disney films with the idea of believing in a better future and looking forward to a happily ever after.  It is likely that this belief is meant as a happily ever after type.

Festival de Amancaes

Informant is a Peruvian friend who was visiting me this week. She first heard of the Amancaes festival from her grandmother. The Fiesta de San Juan was a festival that took place in the hills of the Amancaes located in the seaside Rimac district of Lima. The Amancaes are bright yellow flowers that grew on these hills during the months of June and July.
The Festival of Amancaes evolved from the pilgrimage site because of the beautiful Amancay flowers that blossomed during the months of June and July and covered the hills in their entirety. In these celebrations, limeñans of all classes and races came down to the hills for unlimited food, music and dance. This celebration went on until 1952 when it was discontinued because the hills of Amancaes were invaded by squatters coming from the outskirts in search of better opportunities in the capital.
This festival was meaningful because Limeñan society has always been very stratified and segregated by class and race. Limeñans of European descent always looked down upon the indigenous and African populations, but on this one day (like Mardi Gras and the Ancient Roman’s Saturnalia) all of these social mores are forgotten and people of all races and classes would party together and share food and drink. Now, there is a festival that was started two years ago called Mistura, this is a gastronomic festival organized every year in Lima and it has become so popular that tickets are sold out almost immediately after they go on sale. This festival is doing the same purpose that the Festival de Amancaes used to do which was to bring society together by providing them with something that people of all ages, races and social classes enjoy: good food.