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'Chinese damas': China's new secret weapon

2017/09/13 22:22:21

Shanghai, Sept. 13 (CNA) A group of wealthy middle-aged women who dress plainly and are loud and showy is the face of the nouveau riche and a new patrol force in China.

The "Chinese damas," as they were dubbed by The Wall Street Journal after they purchased 300 tons of gold at US$16.4 billion in the blink of an eye in 2013, have become a global phenomenon, attracting the attention of not just the public but also governments worldwide.

"Dama" literally means auntie in Mandarin, which is a suitable word to describe the women who appear very much like the average housewife.

Some people have said that the women are bored, suffering from empty-nest syndrome, or simply have too much time on their hands and cash to burn.

Whatever the reason, the Chinese damas have become a secret weapon in China and a force to be reckoned with.

In the same way that they bought up gold as prices were plummeting in 2013, the damas can assemble very quickly to achieve almost anything they wish.

Recently, the damas have been investing their time and energy into patrolling the streets of China.

During the 2017 BRICS Summit in Xiamen Sept. 3-5, the damas, wearing red hats, took up positions throughout the city to keep an eye on foreign reporters.

According to reporters' accounts, at the slightest click of a camera, a dama would show up and ask why the reporter was taking photos.

In one instance, a dama asked a reporter to delete the photo, and when the reporter refused, she contacted the police, who arrived within minutes to check the reporter's credentials, according to the reports.

Such reports highlight the networking skills of the damas, not just among themselves but with the police.

In light of these developments, the damas have become known as the "hall monitors" of China.

They have been known to take photographs of subjects they were trying to investigate, and even live streaming events so that other damas could be in on the action.

The cardinal rule for the dama is to share information, usually via WeChat, with other damas.

While the financial power of the damas has been widely acknowledged as they have been investing heavily in bitcoins and overseas property markets, it is only very recently that they have been associated directly with patrolling.

They may be amusing because of their love of square dancing, but their power is no joke.

While they are not officially employed by the Chinese government as watchdogs, the women have become China's secret weapon for maintaining social stability, according to local and international reports.

(By Chen Chia-lun and Kuan-lin Liu)