The Nanfang / Blog

World’s oldest woman urges Shenzhen youngsters to cheer up

Posted: 10/11/2013 2:00 pm

Alimihan Seyiti, image courtesy of The Daily Sunshine

Alimihan Seyiti, the world’s oldest woman, said she hoped that young people in Shenzhen would remember to smile everyday in an interview with Daily Sunshine last week.

Seyiti, 127, from Xinjiang was named the world’s oldest person in June this year when Luo Meizhen died in Guangxi.

Claims about her age are not verifiable enough to enter the Guinness Book of Records as documents from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) tend to be sketchy. But she obviously knows a thing or two about longevity, so the Shenzhen-based paper sent a reporter to seek her advice.

Seyiti said the secret was spending a lot of time with loved ones (she first married in 1903 and has 50 descendants, according to records) and having a carefree attitude. “Nothing is ever worth worrying or getting angry about. My advice to the young people of Shenzhen is to smile every day and live every day,” she told the paper.

According to the paper, there are 47,773 centenarians in mainland China. 80.1% of them are female. Are today’s city dwellers living in a way that might help them join them?

Well, many don’t appear to have found healthy ways of overcoming the stresses of modern life.

Much has been made about how China doesn’t appear to have got happier as it has got richer. One of the most popular texts about tapping the nation’s ancient culture to help make sense of the cut-throat modern world is “Confucius from the Heart” by Yu Dan. Even though Yu Dan, a media studies professor, has been pilloried by classical scholars for the apparent superficiality of her understanding of ancient texts, her judgment has earned her nearly 3 million followers on Sina Weibo.

The latest bright young thing to bring ancient Chinese wisdom to a modern audience is Michael Puett, a 48 year-old professor of Chinese history at Harvard University. You can read about him here.

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