Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Economic & Social Observations

Culture Shocked?

There are many beggars in the city, but I have yet to seen any in the town of Lanqi. Unlike homeless people back home, who sit and wait for you to approach them, beggars here push and tug at you insisting that you give them some money. I have yet to give anyone money, out of fear that I will become a constant target in high-populated homeless areas. There are lepers and other disabled homeless people who, will lie in the middle of a high-traffic area, crying out for you to help them. It is a hard site to see and it makes me uncomfortable. The really sad thing is seeing children beg for money. There is this one girl who I frequently see near the shopping mall. I think that she is about eight years old. She is has a dirty face and hands. Her face is shrunken giving her the look of wizened old woman. She has angry black eyes. Her hair is tangled and matted into two pigtails. She stands on a corner and will open the door for taxi passengers. She will then expect money from them; she will grab on to you and not let you go, until you give her money. I have been told that a woman watches her and collects the money. Sadly, she is a child of bonded labour. There is nothing that the authorities can do for her, because she always runs away before they can catch her. There are organizations in China who collect children and get them to steal or beg for them. Bonded labour for children is especially common in the country, where people sell their children to farmers who need extra laborers.
Chinese people do not hold the same traditional beliefs towards woman as their neighbors in Japan, however; there is quite a large equality gap between men and woman. Woman has the option of working in any career field but there is still an expectation for them to marry young and stay at home and raise their children. The words stay- at -home dad have yet to enter their vocabulary. Most of my colleagues are not interested in getting married right away, because of this notion their parents hold. Most marriages here are a business arrangement, even my forward thinking colleagues want to marry someone who is handsomely financially stable. I have seen many young beautiful women holding hands with old fat men with rich pockets. China still has population laws, but they are not as strict as they were a few years ago. About two years ago (not sure of the exact time), after a woman bared her child quota, she was forced to have a hysterectomy. This is no longer the case, in the countryside, families are allowed to have a second child, if they pay a fee, which is over five thousand yen (a great deal of money). The government has become more flexible with the law, because they recognize the fact that many farmers need extra hands to help with the labour. The government monitors the child law by making it a requirement for married women to have a physical exam once year to ensure that they are not pregnant.


Like most cultures, Chinese people are very family oriented. Those children that are cared for are very spoiled and have little independence. I visited the culture palace, which is a place for children to take art, singing, painting, dancing and other culture lessons, I observed that children’s parents will accompany them in the classroom and watch over them as they learn. If a child fails to get it right, the parent will do it for them, so that the result will be perfect. Parents expect a lot from their children. Children here go to school on Saturday and Sunday and are flooded with homework. They are required to learn Chinese, Math and English.


It is customary for a husband and wife to live with the man’s family. Grandparents often play a bigger role in raising their grandchildren. They do have nursing homes here, but it is not as common as North America. Children are expected to care for their parents, when they reach the age they can no longer live independently. Of course, older people are healthier here. I see them often at the park, playing Chinese cards together, or exercising with each other. They are not as isolated as the elderly in Canada.


Homosexuality is talked about here, but it is still a taboo subject, there is not a Davie Street Village, but like most traditions, the younger generations are coming to accept these things. Of course, when I have talked to my students about North American couples, some of them still turn their noses up at the subject. Surprisingly, most of them are open-minded about this way of life for people. Young people are not afraid to show affection towards each other. Young teenage boys will hug each other and young girls will hold hands.

2 Comments:

At 9:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In China, the begger is not welcomed, but some of them are not a really begger, who pretend as a job. esp. some policy deny begger admission in public place. but managing them require many people,,, we hope city become better and better.
in city mainly women work in company, as for women who is stay- at -home is caused by some reason of raise baby ( in China bring up children will spend most money and time, so purpose of Chinese parent is to bring-up children or buy a apartment flat) or need to farm in country. the primary reason is lossing the balance between income and payout.
if someone is Homosexuality, he/she is hard to adapt current social in China in my viewpoint.
Joe

 
At 9:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In China, the begger is not welcomed, but some of them are not a really begger, who pretend as a job. esp. some policy deny begger admission in public place. but managing them require many people,,, we hope city become better and better.
in city mainly women work in company, as for women who is stay- at -home is caused by some reason of raise baby ( in China bring up children will spend most money and time, so purpose of Chinese parent is to bring-up children or buy a apartment flat) or need to farm in country. the primary reason is lossing the balance between income and payout.
if someone is Homosexuality, he/she is hard to adapt current social in China in my viewpoint.
Joe

 

Post a Comment

<< Home