‘Most powerful uncle in the universe’ who splurges US$8,800 on hosting 16 nieces and nephews at his home for two months a viral hit

An online series of videos uploaded by an uncle taking care of his four sisters’ 16 kids and his own two daughters has been a hit in China. The creator of the videos said he and his sisters are close and want their children to be the same and so they all stay with him during the summer holidays. — SCMP

Millions of people in mainland China have been entertained by a series of videos about the daily trials of a man looking after his 16 nephews and nieces and two daughters during the summer school holidays.

The series began on June 28, and ended on Aug 22, when the video poster, Gong Lingjun, 35, from Chongqing, southwestern China, uploaded his final episode in which he bids farewell to his nephews and nieces as the holidays draw to an end.

“This year’s summer vacation is coming to an end, and you kids will need to study hard once you get back home,” said Gong, seen wearing a red apron and waving goodbye to his young relatives in the video.

“My sad summer vacation finally comes to an end. I spent 60,000 yuan (US$8,800) on these kids,” Gong captioned one of the videos. Photo: Weibo

“We will be back next year!” one of his nieces replied with a mischievous grin.

Gong is then seen closing the door of his home with a smile of relief after the children have left.

“My sad summer vacation finally comes to an end. I spent 60,000 yuan (RM39,166 or US$8,800) on these kids in 55 days which I had secretly stashed away for over 30 years!” Gong captioned the video. “Now that they’re gone, I can finally relax.”

However, Gong’s complaints about the expense of caring for the children are mostly theatrics rather than an actual annoyance; he has hosted his nieces and nephews over the summer holidays every year since 2017.

“We used to all go back to our hometown during summer vacation but since my father died in 2017, we haven’t gone back,” Gong explained.

“Because my four sisters and I are close, I don’t want our kids to be estranged, so now I invite them to my house every summer.”

Taking care of 18 children, including Gong’s two daughters, all at once for two months is revealed in the videos to be anything but easy.

People online were impressed at the task Gong had taken on. “It’s scary taking care of so many kids at once!” one commented. Photo: Weibo

“I had to spend at least 500 yuan (RM326 or US$73) on food every day, not including snacks like ice cream and fruits,” Gong explained. “They ate more than 8kg of rice, 4kg of meat and 20 eggs every day.”

Gong said that he had had no quiet time to himself except when sleeping from the day the children arrived.

“They brought me a sense of fear at first,” Gong said. “Sometimes, when I saw them sitting together, I didn’t want to sit next to them because of the noise they made when they played together.”

However, at the same time, Gong said that he felt happiness and satisfaction in his heart after seeing them together.

Gong in his red apron from one of his videos saying goodbye to his relatives as the summer holidays come to a close. Photo: Weibo

People on social media are amused by the large family, with many praising Gong’s courage for caring for so many children over the entire summer holidays.

“It’s scary taking care of so many kids at once!” one person commented. “If I were him, I would have been driven crazy.”

“What a big family!” said another. “I can see that they are very close.”

Another praised Gong: “He is the most powerful uncle in the universe!” – South China Morning Post

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