TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Two French vloggers on April 14 posted a humorous video showing French people attempting and failing to execute the "Asian squat," a maneuver most Westerners in Taiwan will have observed and likely had to attempt when using squat toilets.
A pair of French vloggers on April 14 released a video narrated in fluent Mandarin on their YouTube channel Xinshidandan (信誓蛋蛋, Pledge Egg Egg) showing people on the streets of the southern French city of Montpellier attempting to complete an "Asian squat." An "Asian squat" is when a person goes from a standing position to a squatting position, without touching their hands on the ground, knees completely bent to the point of the buttocks touching the ankles and all the while keeping both feet completely flat.
Show's host failing at the Asian squat. (Screenshot from Xinshidandan video)
As bystanders are at first reluctant to attempt the feat, the vloggers offer candy to those who can complete it. Soon they test over 20 volunteers, with the vast majority failing and falling onto their backs.
Who group of volunteers failing simultaneously. (Screenshot from Xinshidandan video)
In fact, only one man out of 20 people (5 percent) manages to pull off the feat with relative ease, but it appears that he is highly flexible and athletic. The host says that he does "kung fu," and the man says that he does a lot of sports.
The video host at first had speculated that the cause for the discrepancy between people being able to squat in this way in the West and Asia had to do with body structure, but he said that after researching it on the internet, the main theory is that it is simply a matter of practice and that because people in many Asian countries learn to use a squat toilet and are in the habit of squatting from an early age, their bodies are adapted to it.
The one Frenchman who was able to do the Asian squat. (Screenshot from Xinshidandan video)
Thus far, there is a dearth of scientific studies on the subject, but many experts theorize that it is a combination of habits from a young age and inherited hip structure and ankle flexibility.
Within two days, the video has received 373,133 views, 20,000 likes on Taiwanese news site ETtoday and has over 1,000 comments in both Simplified and Traditional Chinese, indicating many viewers in Taiwan have been watching the clip. One of the top comments in Traditional Chinese reads, "No wonder foreigners get such a headache when they see squat toilets."
Another comment in Traditional Chinese read, "Not being able to do it is not a problem, because I can't do it either. However, I think not being able to do it is because of a lack of exercising the thigh muscles or because of a big butt causing one to lose their balance."
In the video, they refer to an instructional video posted on YouTube by Monkey Abroad which gives instructions to Westerners on how to use a squat toilet. He emphasizes it is important to place the weight on the heels for more stability and he suggest aiming for the back, though this can lead to "splashback," so adjust as conditions require.
Once one figures out how to squat on a squat toilet, the next issue is which way to face, and the sign below should help answer that question somewhat:
Sign indicating which way to face when using squat toilet. (Photo by flicker user darwin.wins)
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made headlines last month for executing a flawless Asian squat while taking a photo.
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (right). (Facebook photo)
Below is Xinshidandan's video experiment with the Asian squat in Montpellier, France: