Aside from my usual Tuesday – Friday job, I privately tutor students who want to enhance their English skills. Basically this means I get paid to ‘shoot the shit’ with students about any and all subjects available.
Every Sunday I tutor one student, Charlotte*. Charlotte is unlike most Chinese students in the fact that she has recognized politicians indeed have the capacity to lie. This is remarkable for such a young person (she is ~15 years old) and even more so because she is a young Chinese person. Today we ended up in the discussion of how news content is delivered to people. I started by saying it’s common in New Zealand for families to eat dinner at 6pm and watch the national news channels for one hour. China on the other hand has blanket coverage across all channels between 7-7:30pm for national news delivery. Charlotte said there is a running joke about Chinese news that goes like this –
The first ten minutes are about the various leaders looking busy.
The second ten minutes are about how China’s economy is growing and everyone is happy.
The last ten minutes are about how every other country in the world is functioning badly.
I then asked if she was interested in becoming a journalist at all when she finished her education. She said when she was younger she loved to write articles about current topics, and the thoughts she had regarding the morals behind these topics. I asked why she stopped doing it. She said that as she got older the schoolwork became overpowering and now she has no interest or motivation to continue writing. I saw the eyes that said these words, and they were dead.
The school system has told Charlotte the only careers worth investing your time into are –
Five careers. That’s it.
Charlotte said there is no more room for doctors or lawyers in China because her parents were told these careers were the only ones worth doing. so everyone did. I asked her where are the writers, the artists, the tradesmen, the chefs, everybody else? She said they do not make money so they cannot survive.
Of course, in the land of Communism ‘Cash is King’.
This made me really sad. China is losing the potential to have very unique individuals inscribed in its history books, and instead is breeding a future of technically capable yet goalless/soulless individuals. I wonder how many abstract thoughts the world has lost because this education system beats it out of them from the moment they learn to think.
Sadly these dead eyes already give me an answer.