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In the Blink of His Eye? Never!

6 April 2007

A 17-year old Chinese fella called Ma Shaodong (马绍东) can keep his eyes open for 24 hours without blinking, according to himself. During one hour interview with Chengshi Wanbao journalist, he indeed did not blink, not for once, according to the journalist and two other witnesses.

But he isn’t a natural born non-blinker, according to himself again. When he was nine, he watched TV cartoon show Three Kingdom’s Romance, and was romantically attracted to an archery training method developed by Zhang Fei (张飞). In Zhang’s quest for being the best bow-man in the land, he trained himself to stare at a given object without blinking so as to enable him performing highly focused precision shooting.

Ma Shaodong probably did not seek to be the best archery master, but he aspired, like most little boys and little girls, to be able to do something unusual. It is known that people blink about 15 times per minute, and being able to not to blink for hours straight is certainly something very unusual, so the little boy decided to give it a go. After three years diligent practice, by the age of eleven, he accomplished his goal and could withhold blinking for the entire waking time until he sleeps.

For this, he becomes a legend and is nicknamed Zhang Fei Reborn (张飞再世) and Fish Eye Boy (鱼眼少年). Boys and girls would travel from near and far to his school just to see he blink-not.

His blink-not kung fu not just brings him fame, but proves to be quite useful in his daily life, for instance, when he needed to impress his desk mate – a lovely girl called Xiaomei. Xiaomei shared a desk with him, and when she watched their teacher working on the blackboard, she was fascinated with the teacher’s flowing running hand and wished to learn the way of doing it. But the teacher wrote so swiftly and she was never able to follow the rapid hand movements - in the blink of her eye a character had already been done. And that was the time when Ma Shaodong’s fish-eye kung fu came handy.

But not all the things come with his kung fu skill is favourable. Computer video gaming parlors in his county, for example, prohibit him from entering their premises. In his never blinking eyes, no movements of the animated action figures slip from his attention, therefore he can not be fooled by the visual tricks. With a chip cost only twenty cents, he would be able to occupy a machine for half a day – imagine what a fool the gaming parlor owners must have felt like.

Now a master of non-blinker, Ma Shaodong seems to have forgotten how to blink all together; and if he forces himself to do so, he would fell dizzy. While he keeps to be admired by his peers, so much to his delight, he is continuously shunned by gaming parlors, very much to his chagrin. Life never means to be perfect, doesn't it?

(Original Chinese report and photo on 城市晚报by 郑伟)

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