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June 14, 2011

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Instructor with the wow factor

A DISTINCTIVE-looking female fitness instructor who stars in a touchscreen video playing in thousands of city taxis has become the subject of heated online debate.

Shanghai-based in-taxi advertising company Touchmedia recently launched a Mr and Miss Wow fitness campaign to encourage passengers to take gentle exercise while they travel.

The video shows the heavily made-up woman wearing a 1980's-style blue top and a pink headband, blinking and swinging her pigtails while doing her exercise routine.

Some web users complained she disturbs them with her "peculiar appearance and strange movements."

But others have rallied to the defence of the retro-style instructor, saying a sight of her in the morning gives them a boost for the day.

On microblogging site, her instruction video had been forwarded more than 7,700 times yesterday.

Some web users said they enjoyed doing the exercises in cabs but the female instructor was "too strong and too muscular," an image, one uncharitably added, that reminds them of a "horror movie."

In one sequence, the toned woman puts her right hand on her head, and starts pushing and pulling her head up and down, as part of the exercises.

"I don't understand why the company asked such a tough-looking woman, with her strange movements and thick make-up, to demonstrate such soothing exercises," said 25-year-old local resident Rohn.

And Elsa Bouillot from France told Shanghai Daily that she believed the "poor girl" was only trying to become famous by donning such weird attire.

She asked: "If she looked like all the other instructors, who would bother to watch and learn the exercises?"

But the instructor also has her fans. "She is the only reason I take a cab to the office every morning instead of driving my own car," said web user "gogoboi". "She gives me energy!"

A local cab driver surnamed Cao said the video certainly brought a reaction from passengers. "Some passengers laugh out loud, while others say, 'turn that thing off,'" said Cao.

Touchmedia officials told Shanghai Daily they designed the instructor's look to mimic the 1980s fitness craze that swept North America to demonstrate healthy body. Another instructor will take her place on July 1.


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