And now, DJ crew China Social Club have made a hat featuring the character. I spoke with one half of the duo, PCJ, about the hat and the chai life in general.
Where did you first see the Chai character? Is there anything aesthetic you love about it or is this more about its meaning?
PCJ: I first noticed it after beginning to study Chinese and then saw it almost everywhere I traveled in China. The character really describes the transformation China has been going through over the last couple of decades -- the old makes room for the new.
Other than that, the character is aesthetically quite cool. Originally we tried designs where the 拆 was circled the same way they spray it on walls but the minimal look was definitely best. We also have a couple of new designs in the pipeline and all will come with lifetime China Social Club membership. (Haha.)
Which place have you been saddest to see get chai'ed?
PCJ: It's never great seeing the Old Shanghai neighborhoods pulled down. There’s been many old and beautiful buildings destroyed near Yuyuan to make room for big apartments, but the most recent and upsetting chai-fest was the Anxi Market, which I strolled into last week to see what looked to have been a tornado of shifu with sledgehammers.
Even bathrooms are getting chai-ed in 2016
Which place could you care less about?
PCJ: There was this massive eyesore in Jiaotong University’s Xuhui campus that got pulled down and re-constructed with shiny new bits -- others were most likely forgotten.
What’s next for CSC?
PCJ: We’re going to keep on holding down those dance floors and create a thirst for spritz at our Oceanic Sense parties through summer on the Le Baron terrace. We have now begun regular NTS Radio programming so looking forward to our fifth program, "Live from Shanghai", mid-August. We also have some more internationals coming through including the return of our good friend Peggy Gou who joined us last February!
China Social Club's 拆 hats are available for 80rmb at their gigs and via their Weidian shop.