“Mang iô-kha!” (Don’t shake your leg!)
We have probably heard this line like a broken record from our elders whenever we would shake our legs out of habit. Leg shaking could probably be a mannerism we often don’t realize that we do ourselves. Most people are simply annoyed at the sight of fidgeting because it distracts one especially when they are trying to focus on something.
As Chinoys, we have more than just annoyance as our reason for why we hate leg shaking. This is because it has something to do with long-followed superstitions. Chinoys believe that leg shaking means kicking prosperity off. This habit is seen as negative as it is believed that people who shake their legs will end up having a hard life in the future because one is “kicking” the wealth off. Aside from “kicking” off wealth, it is also seen as rude, especially when it is being done while one is talking to elderly people. Surprisingly, the Chinese culture is not alone as South Koreans hold the same belief.
Aside from China and South Korea, Indians also hate the leg shaking act since it is considered an act of idleness. This dates back to the Indian caste system where all the castes that performed physical labor for a living have voluntary limb movements such as leg shaking during periods of minimum physical activity like gossips or trying to do something out of boredom.
Among Asian countries, Japan hates leg shaking the most that they even have a term they came up with. They call it bimbo yusuri, meaning “poor person shake.” which indicates that one is either impatient, nervous or lacking self-control and manners. It’s considered a really serious taboo that it could even cost someone’s job.
Beliefs aside, studies show that shaking can be a way to release anxiety, at the same time it also prevents arterial dysfunction caused by extended periods of sitting. On a more positive note, shaking your legs can also be a way to exercise and lose calories while you’re sitting! However, you must also be on the lookout for a syndrome called Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) which needs medical attention. It is a neurological condition that causes unpleasant sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them.
Do you believe in this Chinese superstition? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.