A chubby-faced Shanghai gas station intern known as "Little Fatty" has reached the heights of Internet fame in China thanks to cheeky Photoshop artists who are turning the 100kg youth into a pop icon.
It all started three years ago when Qian Zhijun, then 16, was attending a traffic safety class and someone snapped a picture of his rotund, rosy-cheeked face.
His suspicious-looking sideways look at the camera soon made its way on to the Internet. That picture of "Xiao Pang" (Little Fatty), as he was soon named, has since been morphed onto other iconic visages including the Mona Lisa, Marilyn Monroe and other well-known celebrities. It has also spawned Web sites, blogs and numerous fan clubs.
"I like it when they put me on the body of heroes, such as Russell Crowe in Gladiator," Qian said. "But I hate it when they place me on the shoulder of naked women or when the touchup job is terrible," he said.
Qian, who now attends vocational school and works part-time at a gas station, discovered his fame when he walked into a cybercafe and came face to face with himself.
He is yet to make any money off his celebrity and initially considered suing somebody, but now welcomes the attention and even set up his own personal blog where his fans, many of them also overweight, write in.
"I really like the way you are," one blogger called "Constantine" gushed in Chinese on Qian's blog. "Very ordinary but very hopeful and with a fat person's cleverness."
Qian now fancies a career in entertainment. "It would be nice to work as an entertainer, even though it'll mean I'll have to give up some of the pleasure of being a regular guy," he said. (AFP)
1. rotund adj.
矮胖的 (ai3 pang4 de5)
例: The chef's rotund figure confirmed her belief that his food must be immensly enjoyable.
2. iconic adj.
象徵的 (xiang4 zheng1 de5)
例: Jackie 'O' was famous for her iconic sunglasses.
3. spawn v.t.
產生 (chan3 sheng1) ，招致 (zhao1 zhi4)
例: Sally's absence from school spawned rumours of a pregnancy.
4. touchup n.
影像處理 (ying3 xiang4 chu2 li3)
例: Cover models benefit from touchup in the design stage.