This Might Offend My Political Connects

Earlier this week, Runako sent me this article on the children of China’s One Child Policy, hereafter dubbed “Singletons”. Two days later, Janelle linked me to the NYT article on “millennials” in America, which has been ripped to pieces by…basically everyone aside from the NYT.

I probably shouldn’t be taking on this post right now since I’m too pooked to even compose a Tweet, let alone a coherent, comparative essay, but I guess I’ll just do a rant:

Singletons = Millennials (in terms of age and doting parents, but for clarity purposes we’ll differentiate the two by their names), yet their outlooks are as divergent as East and West. Lest you miss the point, it has little to do with the “One Child Policy”. If you’re not a moron, then you would have realized that the so called crisis facing many “millennials” is nothing but a case of serious entitlement. I’m not exactly on my knees to worship China and all of its idiosyncrasies here (because Chinese people have serious issues that I will probably get into another time), but we breed men and women that suck it up and get it done. Why? Because if you don’t finish your homework before dinner so you can practice the violin/piano/accordion (yes, stop it), study extracurricular work 3 grades above your current grade level, write essays that implements “Chengyu” (Chinese proverbial idioms, basically SAT words but much much more sophisticated), recite Tang dynasty poetry (like reciting Shakespearan sonnets, but more immediately culturally relevant), you will not only miss the opportunity to read your story book, you will get beat. When you start building that sort of discipline when you’re 7, naturally, you’re not whining about your miserable disposition, for which you have no one to blame but yourself. Furthermore, this middle class bourgeois issue of “soul searching”, is a luxury granted to sons and daughters of millionaires, which is obnoxious under those circumstances, but becomes ridiculous and embarrassing when it’s being supported by the savings of your parents’ middle class income. Income they earned by sucking it up and doing what’s necessary. This moron wants to move out and have his parents pay the rent until he figures it out so he feels like he’s on his own? You know what will really help with your independence? A job.

Do you know what? It’s not some uniquely Chinese characteristic, which the article try to convey with its whole Confuican filial piety resultant no retirement policy, maybe partially, it’s so ingrained that I don’t even notice anymore, because it’s SO CHINESE?! But, I’d like to venture to say that, it is just a matter of humility and basic human decency to want to 1) establish yourself 2) show some gratitude to the parents who’ve spent the last 20 odd years giving you everything you needed to become a failure?

Seriously, Scott, have you no shame? To first be a completely incompetent jerkface and then to bring shame to your family by agreeing to an interview like this? No publicity is bad publicity only holds true if your name is Snooki, please, get a job.

Another note: centralized government, which all the morons in America fear more than HIV and illiteracy, it is the reason why China is basically churning out geniuses and talent and laughing at America at the same time. Because we’re too busy trying to maintain the illusion of free-will, democracy, and individuality, with what? The loan you took out from China? So much for sovereignty. I’m aware of all the negative consequences of this centralized government, so if you want to assert your world news awareness by listing the human rights violations, religious oppressions, corruption, go TA an undergrad globalism class, it would be an ad hominem attack here.

Then earlier this afternoon, I read David Brooks’s op-ed piece, in which this idea of deference lit a bulb. But, of course. America was founded upon this principle; we are rooted in forging our own rules in reaction to rules we don’t like. Obviously, there are different circumstances, but I suppose that’s the American spirit if we are to make cultural attributions. Is it problematic? Is Scott’s refusal to accept the conventional path simply a reflection of his culture? (I’m being very generous here.)

I may be biased in the assessment of the two situations with a bit of idealizing the more distant past, but I do feel very fortunate to have gotten the latter half of my education in the US. With the foundational disciplinarian start in China, it’s allowed me to think for myself, which is not entirely possible in China. There were various moments in that singleton article that made me tear up (on the subway!) in being resonant of various moments in my life. As much as I appreciate the foundation, I’m also very aware of the weight that comes along with this discipline. Sometimes, it pushes me along, but there are other moments, in which the weight of the guilt suffocates me. In an ideal world, we would all have the discipline and discretion to exercise – and not abuse – liberties to their maximum benefit. The absence of liberty is very apparent to those in China, while the absence of discipline in this case seem almost irrelevant. I’m not sure what’s worse.

It’s a shame how skewed the media portrayal presentation of the world can be, because for every Scott Nicolsons, there are plenty more who are doing extraordinary things. It’s a shame that NYT chooses to write about the “products” of these desolate times, which keeps these Scott’s in a cloud of recession complacency. The unemployment, the bankruptcy, the not paying your mortgage, all creating a culture where responsibilities can be evaded on a personal level. Misery does love company.

Also: “…since one-child was set in motion, critics have called the policy “draconian,” “crude,” “horrid,” “drastic” — an intrusive policy that allows the state to strip individuals of the most intimate of human rights: the decision to have a baby.” Isn’t it a bit ironic that “strip individuals of the most intimate of human rights: the decision to have a baby” can be said re: abortions, both anti and forced? Perspective is all relative. Crazy, huh.

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2 responses to “This Might Offend My Political Connects

  1. james f July 10, 2010 at 5:59 PM

    You need to think about the NYT target audience. Well off, upper middle class parents will read this and feel not so bad about supporting their own adult children.

    Supposedly educated, informed parents who see the news about economic hard times would support their kid turning down any decent job offer?

    I’m more upset about the parents who enable this. The grandfather and father are upset that there is no old boy’s network(i.e. friends) to take care of Scott like they had.

    I guess it’s a sad day when the children of privilege can’t get what they want.

  2. mlle z July 11, 2010 at 11:09 PM

    The grandfather suggested that he go to Europe for opportunities; there is no indication that he should have any type of capabilities to work in Europe other than the obvious American entitlement.

    I agree; my issue is definitely the angle that the NYT chose to take with this angle. “Human interest” is pathetic

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