Post #17: Response to: Young & Restless in China

In Young & Restless in China, FRONTLINE presents the lives of nine young Chinese over the course of four years.  

Responses to discussion questions:

1. Why do you think Miranda Hong describes her generation of Chinese as “confused”?

 

Miranda Hong

Miranda Hong

Miranda Hong describes her generation of Chinese as “confused” due to the changes that are taking place in China. The new generation is confused amid the changes that are happening to both China itself and the younger generation. In the beginning of the film, Miranda Hong states that the economy has changed drastically and that the ration tickets that were used in the 1990s to buy food were no longer used.  Not only this, but Ben Wu states that the company he works at is doubling its size in half a year and the new building is going up one floor per week. This shows how drastic changes are taking place economically in China. Things are not only changing economically for the new generation of Chinese but they are also changing religiously and socially. Ben Wu believes that China has changed religiously, stating that people no longer believe in Moism and helping others and, instead, believe in getting rich as fast as they can and being happy. It is evident that the younger generation is changing socially too. Women, like Miranda Hong and Zhang Jingjing, are becoming more active and are no longer following the tradition of housewives.  Not only this, but the new and younger generation of Chinese like Ben Wu and Lu Dong who have studied abroad feel that the bribery and corruption present in both the government and business is unacceptable and want to take a different path when doing business. In China today, changes seem to be occurring in all aspects of the lives of the younger generation of the Chinese, causing confusion. The new generation is in a state of confusion in which they are having trouble choosing between traditional and modern ways. 

 

5. Why do you think that several of the profiled characters have turned to religion or spiritual outlets?

 

Lu Dong

Lu Dong

Several of the profiled characters have turned to religion or spiritual outlets, including Lu Dong.   Surrounded by work and the confusion brought about by the changes taking place in society, the younger generation seems to have turned to religion for various reasons. Money is all that counts to them. As Lu Dong puts it the Chinese believe in “getting rich as fast as they can and having good lives.” However, as the businesses start to settle down a little, it seems like nothing is left of the characters when they have achieved their single goal of making money. When Lu Dong finds time to spare, he realizes how lonely he is and states that “after being baptized I [he] no longer feel[s] lonely.” This shows that he has turned to religion “to search for the meaning of life and universal truths,” to find the meaning of life beyond making money. Not only this, but I think characters like Lu Dong have turned to religion as a result of the confusion that was brought about by the changes that were taking place in society. He states that “values have changed greatly in China” and he was no longer able to find something he truly valued. Through religion, though, I believe that he was able to find the answers he was searching for. Last but not least, I believe the characters have turned to religion for protection from corrubtion. When Lu Dong deals with the bribery and corruption, he states that christianity seems to serve as a filter between the world and himself which will protect him. In general, I think that several of the profiled characters have turned to religion to find the meaning of life beyond making money and to seek protection from confusion and corruption present in the Chinese society.  

 

8. Who do you think is the happiest of the young people profiled in this documentary and why?

 

Wang Xiaolei

Wang Xiaolei

Of the nine young people profiled in this documentary, I think that the happiest is Wang Xiaolei, the rapper. Although in the beginning he complains about poverty, his house, and his parents, over the years and through hip hop, I believe that Xiaolei becomes the happiest of the young people profiled in this documentary. In the beginning, Xiaolei started off as a young man whose life was full of problems; he did not like the way he was discriminated based on money and how girls only believed in money and not anything else. Through hip hop, however, he learned that although he does not live a good life he should be optimistic. Over the years, as his music gets more popular and his dream to become a star on stage comes true, he becomes more optimistic. In the end, his dreams grow and he dreams to become the head of a record company, believing that his dreams will come true if he works hard. He is the only character in this documentary who works for the next day, without struggling from any other conflicts or problems; he does not have parents or a family who he needs to support, he does not struggle in a relationship, and he does not seem to have any problems with the world. He also is the only character who has adapted to and is not affected by the changes taking place in Chinese society. Not only this, but his definition of happiness is different from the others’ definition of happiness. He believes that happiness is equal to music and not money. He knows what he truly wants and what will make him happy. For these reasons, I believe Wang Xiaolei is the happiest of the young people profiled in this documentary–he does what makes him happy.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: