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An American in a Chinese Village

19 August 2006
 

It is a family of three generations living in a Chinese village in Sichuan Province. But the elderly couple in the photo are not the young women’s parents, and the young man, clearly, is not the boy’s father.

Alan is from America and currently studies at Sichuan University. A chance meeting between he and Chen on a street led to this fruitful relationship that transcends the barriers of race and culture.

Chen came from a broken family and had to look after herself and her younger sister ever since she was nine. When she and her sister moved into her boyfriend’s house in a suburban Chengdu, she thought they finally found a place to call home and happily lived with him and his parents. But shortly before the wedding, by then she was pregnant, her boyfriend left home. With the help of his parents, she gave birth to their son and waited for him to return, and waited patiently for four years, until one day she met Alan. One year later, they married.

Another three years have past. Now this family of six has settled in the sisters’ native village. Chen works full time to support the family, Alan studies while juggling three part-time jobs to help pay school fees for her son, her sister and himself, and the boy’s grandparents take care of the housework.

With his kindness and friendliness Alan has been warmly accepted by the villagers. His biggest dream right now is to finish his study quickly and find a well-paid stable job so he can provide a better life for the whole family. (Source: 羊城晚报)

Match-Breaker

Matchmaker is an old profession in China, now a new profession has emerged with the intention to undo matchmaker’s hard work. For a price of 100 to 500 yuan, you can get someone else to say goodbye to your girlfriend, boyfriend or formal partners, and say it in a professional way. A separation agency in Guangdong once has successfully separated 10 couples in 10 days. But this profession is yet to be accepted by the community in general. It is said that 80 percent of the people surveyed are against the idea of having someone acted as a match breaker.

Let’s Be Professional Casuals

Instead of using the summer vocation to research potential industries and positions, many college students in Shanghai busy themselves with casual works, such as being tutors and salespersons. Most of them work 8 to 10 hours a day and get paid 10 to 15 yuans an hour.

Ms Yang is in her third year, this summer she works for a telemarketing company and earns an average of 200 yuan a day. She also tutors English on weekends. Last month she got paid a total of 5000 yuans. Consider a new graduate with a full-time office position normally only earns 2000 yuans a month.

Finding a professional job is a task that becomes increasingly challenging. On the other hand, it is pretty easy for a college student to get casual jobs. Apart from campus notice boards that have job ads renewed constantly, there are many member-fee based job agencies in Shanghai. Once you’ve paid 100 to 150 yuan to become a member, you’re almost guaranteed to have a casual job.

As the highly competitive job market leaves many college students disillusioned about their future employment prospect, some say they may just give up on looking for a permanent professional position after graduation, but keep working on casual bases.

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