Chinese author and academic Yu Yan has compiled a fascinating history of the ping poké games, as well as the world of the pong table.
In an interview with the Telegraph’s Yu Yan, Yu describes his love for the art form, his fascination with the characters, and his admiration for the players.
“Ping pong is very different from ping-a-thons, which are generally played on a tennis court,” Yu told the FT. “Ping pokés are not traditional games and are played on mats, on tables, in cafés, on buses and on trains.
You can do anything with them.”
Yu also explains why the Chinese love ping poks so much.
“Ping-a‐thons are not very good,” he said.
“They’re boring, they’re not very social, they are not as fun as ping pongo, which is played in public.”
This, in my mind, is what I love about ping pokes.
I love that they’re different from traditional ping-pong.
The ping podge is a very simple game, but with a wonderful variety of options and possibilities.
Yu, who is based in Hong Kong, is a visiting professor at the University of Oxford and author of several books, including the book Ping Pong in China: An Essay on Modern Chinese History.
His new book, titled Ping Pong: A History of the Ping Podge in Chinese History, will be released on December 7.
A full transcript of the interview can be found here.
Check out Yu’s other fascinating pieces, such as the panda and bears and a picture book called Bears that features Chinese-American pixies and dogs.
Also, check out Yu Yan’s A History of Ping Pongs in Chinese History: 暴合大大陳兵地非音论柯文化自己 (茐苴辑大化文地讻大靠文美的大地).
The FT will be delivering a special lecture on Chinese history on December 7.
You can listen to the interview here on the FT or via Twitter and Facebook.
Follow Yu Yan on Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.