To pick up his giant check worth 520 million yuan in lottery winnings, a Shanxi man disguised himself in a silly cartoon bear costume yesterday morning, giving us the most delightful-looking press conference of the year.
The 520 million RMB issued by Shanxi province’s welfare lottery is the third largest jackpot handed out in Chinese history (though not the highest handed to a bear). The winner said that he spent between 20,000 to 30,000 RMB each year on lottery tickets. Hopefully, he will spend at least some of his winnings on honey.
Dressing up in ridiculous costumes in order to conceal one’s identity while receiving over-sized lottery checks is actually a Chinese tradition dating back
5,000 25 or so years. The lottery winner’s image is typically broadcasted on local TV, reaching a bunch of nearby people who could really use some cash, including: family, friends, enemies, and the government. So, winners take the proper precaution of hiding themselves inside furry costumes, and the style of the costume has become a thing.
In August, Mickey Mouse took home a cool 398 million yuan. A panda hit it big in 2011 with a 565 million yuan jackpot. Last month in Shanghai, 7.8 million yuan went unclaimed when the winner presumably spent too much time debating what costume to wear to his press conference.
A Prophet for our times.
by Alex Linder
[Images via ChinaNews]