“We want to stick our thumbs UP in the air tonight… saying let’s go.. let’s get some Chinese food!” That’s what we sing on our Quests. Trust me, you don’t want to hear us sing. But, you’ll want to see FIVE thumbs up in the air after we finish our meal. For you’ll know that if The Quest likes it, you’re likely to like it too.
Lest you think it’s easy for a Chinese restaurant to obtain five thumbs up, it hasn’t happened yet. And only twice in recorded Mee-story has a restaurant even obtained a perfect score on one particular metric. There are many factors that go in to our reviews and ratings. For a while, this was one of the world’s greatest kept secrets. Though the formula has been published, the discerning tastes of the Quester’s can not be replicated.
A thumbs-up or thumbs-down is a common hand gesture achieved by a closed fist held with the thumb extended upward or downward in approval or disapproval, respectively. These gestures have become metaphors in English: “The audience gave the movie the thumbs-up” means that the audience approved of the movie, regardless of whether the gesture was actually made.
Conversely, Roman custom of spectators’ voting on the fate of wounded gladiators with their thumbs. You may think a gladiator would appreciate the crowd’s “thumbs up” (verso pollice), but exactly the opposite is true. Where we give thumbs up as a sign of approval, it meant death to its Roman recipient; much to the crowd’s delight. In the Western world we will stick, for the purposes of this article, to the positive connotation of thumbs up being a positive response/approval.
Thumbs Up Around the World
In Thailand: A serious side-eye (or similar). Some say it’s very offensive, while others contend it’s more childish than obscene, like sticking your tongue out. Best just to play it safe and keep your hands in your pockets.
In Arabic countries, a thumbs up in any Muslim country pretty much means, loosely translated, that you hope the person you’re gesturing at has a very pleasant trip to the proctologist.
Meanwhile, Back in the USA
The gesture’s popularization in America is generally attributed to the practices of World War II pilots, who used the thumbs up to communicate with ground crews prior to take-off. This custom may have originated with the China-based Flying Tigers, who were among the first American flyers involved in WWII. The appreciative Chinese would say ”挺好的“ (“ting hao de”), meaning “very good,” and gesture with a thumbs up, which in Chinese means “you’re number one.” High officials in the Chinese government see it as a sign of respect.
More recently, these gestures are associated with movie reviews, having been popularized by critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert on their televised review show Siskel & Ebert — the thumb up meaning a positive opinion of a film; the thumb down meaning a negative one. The trademarked phrase “two thumbs up”, originally meaning a positive review from both reviewers, has come to be used as an indication of very high quality or unanimity of praise. To be politically correct, and not to infringe on any trademark, Chinese restaurants strive to achieve FIVE thumbs up, one from each member of The Chinese Quest.
By extension from the movie review usage, many websites allow users to approve or disapprove of items, such as comments in a forum, products in a store, or even other people’s reviews of movies, books, products, etc., by choosing to click either a thumbs-up or thumbs-down button.
On the internet, and most particularly at the Facebook social media site, the thumbs up gesture is shown as an icon and is associated with the term “like”—which within that context means to follow or subscribe to the page, posts, or profile of another individual or company. Check out how it works… watch how simple it can be. Please go (yes, right now) to our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/thechinesequest and click on the thumb. Watch it turn blue. Return back to this article.
Humbly submitted for your approval,
—Mee Magnum (“Chop! Chop!”)