Ancient Pastime Has Some Chinese Bug-eyed – Barbara Demick

34714585.jpg From The Los Angeles Times:

Before the 2nd National Cricket Singing begins, the master of ceremonies issues a stern warning to contestants.

“Don’t let your cricket take drugs. Anybody caught cheating will be disqualified.” The performers are lined up in glass bottles that look like big salt shakers. Some have socks around the bottom to keep out the late December chill, because it’s well known that cold crickets don’t sing. Hovering over the bottles, a judge wields a hand-held sound meter. In competition, louder is basically better — one of them tops the chart at 106.3 decibels up close, putting it somewhere between a lawn mower and the roar of an incoming subway train — but the timbre and resonance is taken into consideration as well. [Full Text]

[Image: A judge listens to a contestant at a cricket singing competition in Beijing. Louder is better; one managed 106 decibels, by Li tao, from Los Angeles Times.]

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