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El Fua (also known as “Fuerza Universal Aplicada”) is the name given to a hypothetical concept of spiritual energy described by a drunk vagabond on the streets of Nayarit, Mexico. The term originated from a news interview with a man on the street who claimed to have psychic powers of “FUA,” which he drunkenly explained as an “inner strength” that can be released to overcome any kind of difficulties, in similar vein to the concept of Qi (氣) in Eastern philosophy.
The spot interview with the man was conducted and recorded by journalist Fabián García for the local news site Nayarit en Linea and uploaded via YouTube on June 23rd, 2011. The video shows an intoxicated man rambling about his supernatural power to foresee the future using the power of “FUA,” which he described as a “method personal growth.”
The man apparently approached the journalist to interview him, because he wanted to send greetings to his wife and sons, whom he claimed to be living in Mexico City. Recorded bits of the interview appeared for the first time in Noche de Emergencias, on Nayarit en Línea. Prior to this broadcast, other interviews with teporochos, a colloquial label for alcoholics loitering in the streets, have been subject to parodies on the Mexican web, such as the Canaca Guy and the “Tengo Miedo” Guy.
Narrator: …when in fact this person who we are presenting considers himself a globetrotter, and also assures us that he can see the future and bring the dead back to life.
Fua Guy (0:15): You, you want to be a badass, but you try to sink others for yourself.
Fua Guy (0:25): This guy will live more years than you or me combined.
Fua Guy (0:31): I can’t do it, I can’t do it! But I’m going to take out the Fua! And I will take it out. Why? Because I have to give the extra FUA strong character. I go and I take it out.
Fua Guy (0:50): The FUA means when you extract the character/discipline from your stomach and you say, “I will do it". “But I can’t, I can’t, I can’t”. How can you not? FUA! FUA! And then I take out the charater and I take out the strength and power as well. That is the Fua.
Fua Guy (1:22): It doesn’t matter what you do or have, the most important thing is to give extra, the FUA. FUA means to give extra. The, the thing that projects TO the universe, that’s what it is.
Fua Guy (1:56): When a person is dead and you’re told: “THAT’S IT, leave him he’s dead”…NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! FUA! FUA! FUA! and you will revive him. And WHEN that person is of service to society, that is when you give the FUA. When you do FUA, that is the real FUA..
Fua Guy (2:28): When you give Fua, that is the real Fua.
Narrator: These unusual situations are what goes on while you’re sleeping, and fortunately some of these stories end with nothing to lament.
When a user uploaded the video clip to YouTube on June 23rd of 2011, it gained a lot of attention. The most viewed instance on YouTube uploaded a few days later on June 27th has gained over 1 million views. By June 28th, the word “FUA” and hashtag #FUA became a global trending topic on Twitter. Among the people who retweeted the video includes several Mexican celebrities as well as politicians, not to mention the national media outlets that have picked up on the story. The Fua Guy has also spread on Facebook, with a number of fan pages dedicated to the man.
The Fua Guy, whose real name is Julio César Segura, was a seminarist and a waiter prior to leaving his job and family due to alcoholism. At the time of the interview, Segura was homeless and living on the streets when approached by The Nayarit en Linea’s reporter and a rescue staff for questions, which he openly accepted since he wanted to send greetings to his family who were living in Mexico anyway. One of the last things he said was that he wanted to get rid of his alcoholism.
Remixes & Parodies
In the following days of the video’s upload, people started making remixes using the original footage of the video as well as parodies, many of them related to the Dragon Ball series due to the similarities between the Fua and Ki.
On July 7th, 2011, web designers Héctor and Alejandro Sobrevilla Viveros created and uploaded a Flash game inspired by the Fua Guy. In the game, the Fua Guy fights agains a plague of zombies with the help of super powers activated through the Fua.
2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup Final
On July 10th, 2011, during the final match of the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup held in Mexico, the Fua had its biggest spread when thousands of people shouted “Fuuua!” every time the goalkeeper goal kicked the ball. Finally, Mexico won its second title with a score of 2-0 against Uruguay. This could be considered another case of Internet Leaking, just weeks after the origin of the meme.
Usage in Chilean Protests
In Chile, the concept of Fua was adopted by students occupying schools or in barricades during the 2011 protests for free and better education. “Go Penguins (secondary students)! Fuaa!!! Resist the commercial boot!,” the Las Últimas Noticias newspaper put in a headline on August 4th, 2011. The Fua was also used by Chilean football fans and columnists during the 2011 Copa América held in Argentina.
President Calderón Mentions “El Fua”
On September 23rd, 2011, Mexican president Felipe Calderón referenced “El Fua” during a reception event held for athletes who will be participating in the 2011 Pan-American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. During his speech before the 646 athletes representing the country, he asked them to give all they have for the game--the “Fua”--and promote the value and pride of being Mexican. Shortly after, President Calderón’s remark was quickly mentioned by several news sites and blogs.
Search queries for “el fua” began to soar in June 2011, corresponding with the time when the YouTube clip gained viral momentum and news media coverage: