|This article is part of UnNews||Straight talk, from straight faces|
20 May 2007
Chu-Sakwes Chun Academy is much like any other school in China's sprawling education system. Every dawn, the students assemble in the courtyard for exercises, before an hour of mathematics and Mao worship. But the classes in reading autocues, appearing on gameshows and tasteless, tacky fashion sense are more unusual. But it should come as no surprise, since Chu-Sakwes Chun Academy is devoted to training a new generation of Chinese D-list celebrities.
Acutely aware of China's huge gap with the West in production of spoiled, talentless nothings, the Chinese leadership has embarked on a massive ten-year plan to catch up. D-list Academies like Chu-Sakwes Chun are part of that strategy, churning out thousands of gameshow hosts, washed-up actors and 'socialites' every year. I talked with Chu-Sakwes Chun's headmaster, Duyu-No Hu-Iam, to find out more.
"We Chinese can put a man in orbit, and produce more bras and lunchboxes than the rest of the world combined, but we can't turn someone like Paris Hilton into world news," explained Mr Hu-Iam. "Clearly, if China is to achieve a living standard equivalent to the West, we need to nurture and develop our pool of D-list celebrity... erm... talent." But surely, I put it to him, D-listers can't be trained, they have to develop naturally, much like mould on a damp window. "A-ha!" he replied, "That is where you are wrong. Tell me, has anyone in the West ever made a school especially for D-listers?" I have to admit that no, it hasn't been tried. "Exactly! And that is why China will succeed. Soon, we will be able to challenge the likes of Pete Doherty, Posh Spice, and Screech."
The classes take the same lessons in the morning, but during the afternoon, they split. For the girls, it's a mixture of shoplifting, plastic surgery and cramming dogs into handbags.Meanwhile, the boys learn how to punch journalists, deal drugs and trash restaurants. Later, the classes are reunited for intensive training on how to front crooked TV phone-ins and coping with a lifetime of ever-increasing obscurity and debt.
"You're from Britain, aren't you?" asks one girl. I reply that I am, and she smiles brightly and says "The land of Dale Winton. How lucky you are. Someday, I hope to visit the set of Supermarket Sweep for myself."