Roundtables: Hubei in 2021

by Lily Zhao

There is a good deal of anxiety about the direction of the moral life in China. Some argue that there is reason to fear that China may be entering a moral crisis. In my eyes, It is truly so, while China is not the only country facing this dilemma. 

I was born in Hubei, a central province of China in terms of geography. Born and raised here, I saw some obvious great changes. If asked the question "What's happening in Hubei or China at large?" My reply would be: by and large, people are changing their minds and thoughts gradually. Though the mainstream is still there, there is also room for the minority to happen and develop. 

Poverty is one of the fatal illnesses of the failure of a society. Decades ago, the real poor haveno access to the life of the rich. They didn't know how poor a life that they are living and how rich could a person be. Take me as an example, 10 years ago, I didn't know what is "poverty", living in an economically poor family, I feel contented, having no awareness of the fact that my family is poor. I always tell myself that I and my family are just of normal standard.  Until recent years, I can accept the fact that my family is poor. When I was invited to the house of my friend and I saw the delicate decoration and electronic devices, I thought if only I could live in a house like that. When I realized a bad tooth should be removed or treated but my mom thought it's not a big deal so that my first dental filling brought me memories of me arguing with my mom about how I was suffering from the decayed tooth only to get her cold words. When my dad was diagnosed with uremia and we can't afford the operation fee to have him implant a new kidney. My family is poor as such, though there are people who suffered more (from poverty) than I. Fortunately, more poor people can get aware of the condition they are in and are trying their way to work it out.

More people are trying to solve the poverty problem and improve their own life. This is good, and everyone has their understanding and plans forit. Among these people, the intellectuals are having a hard time combating the social reality. Most Chinese intellectuals, especially those youngsters, are full of youthful idealism. We are instructed like this, the more you struggle, the better you will live. With this belief, intellectuals are working their best to get a better life. And that's the reason for the newly emerged phenomenon of "involution". Everyone works hard to get better resources but the "better resources" are limited, to get the resources, today's intellectuals have to make more efforts (sometimes ten times or more than those several decades ago).

The Chinese working people also tried hard to live a better life or provide their offsprings with a better life. Most working class work for their children——to provide them with better education and resources. It is because the working class have realized the importance or more exactly, the priority of social status and educational status, maybe they didn't have that much, so they hope their children can have that to reduce part of their competitive pressure when the children step into the society and face the harsh reality for the first time. After all, in the fast-developing era, everyone who doesn't know how to renew their minds and technologies cannot survive for long. It's clear that social and educational equality is a matter of survival not only to the working class, but every one of us "common people ".

As most of us has realized the significance of struggling for a better life and the paradox of the natural rule of "involution", some has put that after all, we are all struggling for a future that doesn't need us to struggle anymore, where we can live peacefully and comfortably. Why don't we just enjoy a peaceful life now, what's the need to struggle if we don't have a healthy body to enjoy it anymore? And that's what most youngsters now are thinking. They don't seek extreme wealth, instead, they want a tranquil life. They know it's impossible to live a carefree life, their only wish is that they wouldn't be troubled by money affairs. And that part of the Chinese people would become the new mainstream. Then the population could be thoroughly divided into several parts: the extremely rich or powerful, the stable middle class, and the poor. And people from each class would be relatively fixed. 

Besides, I saw the Chinese women, as a group, is rising. Many girls now have their minds, they don't rely much on boys, and they can live quite well by themselves. They have decent jobs, they are beautiful and strong both in terms of appearance and inner mind. Maybe a few decades later, the marriage law will have big changes, then boys don't necessarily have to marry girls, so do girls. People who love each other can be together legally. Though it has to take a long time, I believe the day will come!

As for the young people today, it seems that they don't have any belief at all. While their only belief is to follow their hearts and not to accept makeshifts. To them, a person who has no choice but to accept makeshifts is a total failure, and no one wants to be a failure. Maybe not settling down and reject makeshifts is the last dignity for their youth. I am one of these youngsters now and how about you? would you like to settle down and accept makeshifts?