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Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Ant Population

Today marks 1 week anniversary of this blog... I have kept my promise of posting something every day! Hopefully this record will continue for weeks to come. :)

In this post, I will talk about a new phenomenon I saw on Chinese television this afternoon. The show was in Chinese so I will try to describe it the best way I can here.

On the show, there is one girl, who supposedly belongs to this "Ant" population, "蚂蚁族". It's a phenomenon that is apparently widespread in many of China's largest cities, especially in Beijing and Shanghai. The characteristic of this population is one of high education, poor family background (birth in smaller cities), lack of employment opportunities in big cities but unwillingness to return to birth place. They are usually born after the '80s, commonly referred as 80后.They live in very run down houses far away from city center, living condition is poor. But why do they stay when life for them elsewhere can be better? That is a good question. On the show, the girl complains about her life struggles... Why is it that some people can have a better life when she has worked hard too?

To make the show more interesting, there are two opposing sides--supportive of the "Ants" to stay in the city and against their taking up city's resources. After listening to the girl's stories, they argue back and forth, providing their opinions and points of views.

SUPPORT:
  • "Ants" are people too. Why should they be the one to leave? The government (or agencies) should help them.
  • They work just as hard. It's not fair for people of better backgrounds to discriminate against those who don't. 
  • Society needs to change. People need to be aware of the "Ants" and give them room for development.
AGAINST:
  • If your goal is to be successful, then you must work hard. Keep your expectations in check.
  • Yes, life is unfair. Either suck it up or leave [the city]. After all, no one is forcing you to stay.
  • You are neither weak nor disabled, get rid of your victim mentality. No one can "save" you from your current condition, only you can help yourself.
Which side are you on?

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