“iSpeak China”: What Are Young Chinese Thinking About?

Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

From NetEase:

What are China’s young people thinking about?

In today’s China, the population of people 16 to 30 years old has reached 322 million but in the mainstream media, these ordinary young people’s thoughts and voices are often drowned out. British photographer Adrian Fisk traveled 12,500 kilometers and had a group of young people write down their thoughts on paper. Their future is also China’s future.

Rainbow Su. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“I’m currently worried about certain things. China’s girls are becoming materialistic. Without a house, my girlfriend won’t marry me. My parents aren’t able to help me either, so I want a high-income job. This is what I want.” Guangdong, Rainbow Su, 22 years old, software engineering student.

Chow Liang. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“In adults’ eyes I am a bad person in society, but in fact I am a very obedient person.” Gansu, Chow Liang, 17 years old, hair stylist student on way to see father who works in another province.

Lu Zheng Chui. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“After watching television I have many ideas, but am unable to realize them.” Yunnan, Luo Zheng Chui, 30 years old, farmer.

Li Nan Song. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“The Olympic Games proved that China is a powerful modern nation.” Yunnan, Li Nan Song, 21 years old, returned from migrant labor job, now wants to try and set up business trading local fungus.

Yan Long Long. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

(Illiterate) “When I go to the big city, I feel like I don’t know anything.” Gansu, Yang Long Long, 30 years old, farmer.

Song Jing Ping. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“When people leave their village to live in the city, it becomes very hard for them to go back.” Hubei, Song Jing Ping, 22 years old, migrated from 400 km away, runs two basic restaurants with her fiance.

Su Dong Ping. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“People care about money more than the past.” Guangdong, Su Dong Ping, 22 years old, works in a tea shop.

Feng Long. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“Why aren’t there any employers setting up factories in the countryside? We don’t want to work as migrant laborers.” Shanghai, Feng Long, 21 years old, first-time migrant laborer working on new building interiors.

Jell Zhu. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“I think it’s time for us to STAND UP FOR OURSELVES & be WHO WE REALLY ARE!” Guangdong, Jell Zhu, 22 years old, communications student.

Jia Jia. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“These days there are a portion of young people who are not very concerned with the development of China and the world, only caring about themselves, ignoring many of the people and matters around them.” Guangxi, Jia Jia, 25 years old, (day) mobile phone after sales service / (evening) self-studying marketing management / (night) professional nightclub dancer.

Jhoana Pan. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“I HATE the WEATHER in CHINA!” Guangdong, Jhoana Pan, 21 years old, international economic trading student.

Heng She Dong. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“I want to save people’s lives.” Qinghai, Heng She Dong, 16 years old, junior high school student.

Guan Ying Ni. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“City should be slow down. Country side should be speed up!” Shanghai, Guan Ying Ni, 25 years old, computer systems analyst.

Xu Ai Hua. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“I believe China’s economy will continue to develop forward.” Yunnan, Xu Ai Hua, 19 yars old, high school graduate.

Ma Xiao Lian. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

(Illiterate) “My husband and I want to become migrant laborers so we can work hard to make ourselves and our parents happy.” Qinghai, Ma Xiao Lian, 19 years old, farmer.

Jiang Min. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“I want to walk my own path, I don’t want other people telling me what to do.” Henan, Jiang Min, 24 years old, farmer.

Hu Lin Shuan. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“Living here, I feel frustrated!” Shanghai, Hu Lin Shuan, 27 years old, migrant worker as room service boy in hotel.

Qiang Chow. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“My dream is to one day be able to pilgrimage to the Potala Palace in Lhasa.” Qinghai, Qiang Chow, 25 years old, construction worker.

Liu Gu. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“If I have a sister would be better!” Beijing, Liu Gu, 26 years old, mobile phone hardware designer.

Meng Hai Lin. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“Why people must get married?” Beijing, Meng Hai Lin, 29 years old, mobile phone engineer.

Wong Jing Yi. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“I don’t want children!” Hong Kong, Wong Jing Yi, 30 years old, works in a sex toys shop.

Chan Jie Fang. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“I’d like to see any supernatural thing such as alien, UFO, mysterious thing.” Chan Jie Fang, 28 years old, supervisor in bag making company in Guangdong province but learning English in Guangxi province.

Lim. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“Do not judge China from the media, because the real China is not on the papers.” Beijing, Lim, 22 years old, political science student.

Li Qi Sheng. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“Huge cultural differences exist between the East and the West. Do not tell us what to do.” Guangxi, Li Qi Sheng, 30 years old, computer science teacher from Liaoning Province, currently studying English in Guangxi Province.

Ray Chuang. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“I want to associated with people from different cultures.” Guangdong, Ray Chuang, 20 years old, economic trading student.

Xiang Xue. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“I like English very much. I want to go on English. But I don’t much money. So I don’t to know what I will go.” Hubei, Xiang Xue, 18 years old, almost done with studies preparing to go to Shanghai factories for work.

Sarah Yip. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“Do whatever you want in your life. Because you might DIE tomorrow.” Hong Kong, Sarah Yup, 22 years old, investment bank receptionist.

Zhang Shuang. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“Right now I am really enjoying exploring China by myself.” Inner Mongolia, ZHang Shuang, 18 years old, traveling high school graduate from Liaoning province.

Avril Lui. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“We are the lost generation. I’m confused about the world.” Guangxi, Avril Lui, 22-years-old, post-grad student.

Wendy Xhang. Adrian Fisk's ISPEAK CHINA photo series featuring young Chinese sharing their thoughts on camera.

“Before I die, I want to see a united China. Both united with itself and with the world.” Great Wall of China, Wendy Xhang, 20 years old, law student studying in Canada.

Most of the above photos can be found on Adrian Fisk’s personal website. The overview for the “iSpeak China” photo series:

For the last few centuries the West has dominated economics, politics and culture. But now there is a shift towards the East, in particular China, a country of 1.4 billion people of which we know little about.

It is the young Chinese who will inherit this new found global influence, but who are they and what do they think about life.

I traveled on a 12500 km journey through China to find an answer to this question. I looked for young Chinese aged 16 – 30 years, gave them a piece of paper and simply told them they could write what ever they wanted to on the piece of paper, I then photographed them holding the paper.

The results are fascinating.

Comments from NetEase:

请叫我天使 [网易浙江省宁波市余姚市网友]:

Is using Chinese going to kill you? You think you’re so niubi just because you know a few sentences of English?

wanze [网易四川省自贡市网友]:

When I saw that so many people used English to express their own feelings, I knew what this generation of youth is thinking.

My statement is: I and the wu mao cannot coexist under the same sky.

邪先生 [网易江苏省网友]:

I just want to eat without being poisoned, drink milk without being poisoned, be able to afford medical care, be able to afford having a child, not be 70 km/h’d when walking on the street…etc.

hjdufk [网易上海市网友]:

I want 10 wives, so I can sleep with whomever I want at night!

笑看残阳的猫 [网易吉林省长春市网友]:

[I want to] live with dignity.

小小小书童 [网易福建省泉州市网友]:

Very realistic, very lively, very vivid…

profjphoe [网易四川省宜宾市网友]:

He should see what the youth of the UK and USA are thinking.

网易四川省成都市网友 [chrdw0896]:

I see a lot of people who are angry with those who used English. This is a foreign journalist taking photos for the entire world to see, so of course they hope and it would be best to use English.

Students these days all have to learn English, and English currently is the world’s common language, so what is wrong with [them using English]? What more, the English they wrote were all relatively simple, the vocabulary probably only about middle school level.

fs某猫 [网易广东省佛山市网友]:

The different levels of the youths based on educational and geographic differences I think is still quite representative. We are a society in a state of change, and often I feel we are full of ideals but without the inadequate to rise to the task.

superhanliu [网易天津市网友]:

Those who used Chinese with one wrong character after another I think is not funny at all and instead very sad. Most of those who wrote in Chinese may be migrant workers. They normally don’t have to write and the work they do is all manual labor, dirty and tiring work. Aren’t all people, regardless of their profession, supposed to have their own cultural life? But obviously they don’t.

What are you thinking about?

Help us maintain a vibrant and dynamic discussion section that is accessible and enjoyable to the majority of our readers. Please review our Comment Policy »
  • Kristine

    Nobody was thinking sofa…?

    • yournametobynow

      I was wondering about how someone might possibly come up with a racist reply to this particular post…

    • bjkid

      sit on kristine’s sofa and watch all the bad writings..

  • Just John

    Are they thinking about sofas?

    • Just John

      Nope, guess not. Kristine is though….
      1 minute earlier then me >.>

  • eattot

    hjdufk [网易上海市网友]:

    I want 10 wives, so I can sleep with whomever I want at night!

    hahaha!

    • SuperHappyCow

      That guy’s thinking with his head.

      • Joe

        I see what you did there…

      • Magda Carter

        The small one…

        • alpenmilch

          depends… you don’t know his actual size.^^

    • mr. weiner

      … would be handy in winter I ‘spose to have 10 wives, I can’t understand the whole xiao tai tai thing. Having one wife is enough problems for anyone [and from her perspective one husband is more than enough to clean up after]

      • eattot

        i want to marry two men, one is my FATHER, one is my young ROMIO.

        • Tengu

          Hooots and I will take you, mask and all…we’ll get a maid!

        • mr. weiner

          Romeo I could understand, but wanting to do your dad is kind of yucky. You doing that crack pipe again girl?

        • hooots

          “One fairer than my [eattot]? The all-seeing sun
          Ne’er saw her match since first the world begun.”

          • Tengu

            Such a romantic….

        • brizmat

          you have to put that mask first..

  • Chris N.

    “Students these days all have to learn English, and English currently is the world’s common language, so what is wrong with [them using English]? What more, the English they wrote were all relatively simple, the vocabulary probably only about middle school level.”

    But the thoughts and ideas expressed weren’t middle school level.

  • Wallimo

    Interesting, but not like these messages aren’t known I’m not sure where I read about this project before I thought it was china smack.

    Anyway Chinese youth will burn themselves out working to get ahead become jaded and start exploiting the system, then they will oppress the next generation of youths it’s a nasty cycle

    • Ryan

      Absolutely right, Wallimo. Except it’s an upward cycle so it will improve.

  • nn

    My favorites:

    “I want to save people’s lives.”

    “Huge cultural differences exist between the East and the West. Do not tell us what to do.”

    “Right now I am really enjoying exploring China by myself.”

    • nn

      My sentence is “America is not a place for me even I live here. But I cannot go back to China because its pollution and low income. Maybe I should go to Singapore or Indonesia…”
      ~>_<~

      • lonetrey

        Out of curiosity, as a half American, half Asian cultured person, why is America not the place for you? You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to… (or if you don’t see this, lol)

        • nn

          It is boring, few entertainment, little sense of belonging. Maybe I stay here for a while, it is hard for me to be excited by a American or European thing. I kinda miss the day wandering with friends at Houhai. Take some beer, eat street food, boat at night, talk to artists, and make a band.

          • whododat

            May be over 46mn Americans are so poor that there are no one on the streets except the bums and homeless people.

          • Foreign Devil

            It’s funny because my Chinese wife will say the same thing. . but for me I was raised in Canada and think it’s more fun than China. .because I can go mountain biking in the forest, windsurfing in the lake, hiking, snowboarding. . everything I could not do in Beijing (except snowboarding) because there are no easily accessable wilderness areas around there. I guess you enjoy the things you are raised to do. Houhai was fun when I was taking dates there. . but otherwise I don’t miss it.

          • Wes

            All those things you want to do you can do in NYC? All my Chinese do those things that you just described.

            They drink beer, snowboard, walk around the city or other places in the state. They meet and talk to people within their own Chinese culture, sometimes others are brave* and try to talk to people outside their culture…

            *Most people from a foreign land rarely branch out their community when they are not forced too, such as they live in an area that their community has a niche.

          • nn

            Agree with other comments. But there are other reasons, difficult to explain. I think it really depends on individuals.

          • Foreign Devil

            Were I live is very small and isolated compared to NYC. .. so I can understand if my wife gets bored here. . especially if she is not an avid outdoors person. I think maybe NN just misses hanging out with her friends in CHina. CHinese young people are sometimes less cynical, jaded and “seen it all done it all” than westerners. .I’ve found. . so it can be more fun to do things with them (sometimes). . and they don’t just want to get high and drunk and sit around and complain. I guess in general they are just more willing to go out to place besides bars and try more things.

  • Chris N.

    “Do not judge China from the media, because the real China is not on the papers.”

    I think this guy is right. Going out and meeting and talking to Chinese people really paints a different picture than just hearing and reading about China’s economy and government and this and that in news articles.

    • Kristine

      So true. And it’s not in the papers because it’ll be censured before going there.

    • jiayi

      IA.

      To outsiders without first hand knowledge of China perhaps some articles featured on Chinasmack can leave one feeling confused, disheartened or disgusted with ‘China’ and it’s modern day ways, perhaps without even having traveled or lived there to see what it is like for themselves. SO it is good to see a more positive, at times poignant post featuring the genuine thoughts and faces of REAL Chinese people representing our nation, not some spoilt, plastic little ernai Princess or corrupt official’s son who wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire, pieces of shit. ^^

    • CQREN

      might not like what you find…

  • SuperHappyCow

    Nofa.

    The three quotes about marriage and children are pretty poignant:

    (My girlfriend won’t marry me unless I have a house; I don’t want children; Why must people to get married?)

    It’s interesting that people are waking up to the social demands that are hoisted upon us all of our lives, and seem to be more interested in pursuing a true idea of manifest destiny.

    On the other hand, could it possibly be true that tossing away all of the things that bind us to our societal neighborhoods, both on a macro and micro scale, be very harmful to societies?

    “After watching television I have many ideas, but am unable to realize them.”

    That made me sad as hell. : \ Reminds me of the scene in Fight where Tyler rants about people waking up to culture, and finding that they’re being prevented from realizing they’re potential.

    “People care about money more than the past.”

    We may soon pay for this. History has it’s scary ways of teaching us, whether we blind ourselves or not.

    “Do whatever you want in your life. Because you might DIE tomorrow.” Hong Kong, Sarah Yup, 22 years old, investment bank receptionist.

    Not much to say ’bout this one. Sarah Yup is delicious.

    • SuperHappyCow

      Hah. I meant manifest destiny as in the realization of it, not Manifest Destiny. : P

    • Noondog

      The first thing I though when I read Sarah Yup’s comment: “Yeah, THAT sounds like a typical Hong Konger”. Live it up, because you might kill yourself tomorrow.

  • lonetrey

    I really enjoyed reading through this article. I hope there are more like this one in the future.

    Some of these are really… I don’t know how to describe it other than that they really do leave quite an impression.

    Thank you Fauna for giving me such a good article to read!

    ~PA,USA college student

  • DRaY

    Best comment,…..
    “People care about money more than the past.”

    i love it!!!!!

  • moodi KHAN

    nothing else just want to spoil the environment and peace of china…….. y these British dont think thereself……

  • Capt. WED

    I can’t stop laughing. People who post on chinasmack are all fucking weird as fuck. Don’t you think?

  • dim mak

    So basically, they’re thinking about a whole lot of nothing.

    The only interesting point is the bit about materialism, that seems to be especially prevalent in China. But hey, you can’t live in a country of 1.3 billion without being pragmatic.

    • Joe

      Many of these are quite thought provoking. Of course all you think about is when you get to blow your next load to porn.

      • dim mak

        That would be a much worthier thought than the generic moralisms seen here.

  • Justin

    I’d like to date the girl who is working at the cell phone store in the day and studying on nights when she’s not working as a professional nightclub dancer…if all of that is true. Of course, she probably doesn’t have time to date me with all that stuff going on.

  • Just John

    Has anyone else noticed that photo series seem to be popular lately?

    Photo series with people’s possessions, photo series of people left behind, and now photo series of people with their thoughts.

    • Tengu

      Easier for us to think this way, segments.

      “What’s Missing from This Yard Sale?”, “Do the Number of Empty Chairs Equal the Number of People Who Left for the City?” and now we have “Frustrated, Confused, Disillusioned Dildo Merchants and UFO Watchers Society” photos.

      Fauna is teaching us subliminally, I’m not sure what, I’m not sure why, but I thought you’d be the first to pick up on it…

      • Reaver

        Wow “Frustrated, Confused, Disillusioned Dildo Merchants and UFO Watchers Society” is a very sad, jaded and small minded summary of those photos.

        • Just John

          Guess you don’t understand a sarcastic joke when it bites you on the left ass cheek.

          The internet is serious business.

          • Tengu

            Hanging in the tubes of the interwebs is not for those with a weak constitution or an ever weaker sense of humor.

            He’s consistent, you have to admire that in a guy!

            Where’s Hooots, he was going to show me that nipple thingy.

          • reaver

            It is not sarcasm, it is being a jaded ass.

          • Tengu

            Jesus John, I guess he told me…I’m wincing from that repartee.

          • Reaver

            Wow Tengu, you are winny too.

          • Tengu

            Reaver, have you actually made any friends out here, just curious.

            Love how you seem to be able to determine someone’s views on life from a few comments, you have a gift, an unknown gift, it’s simply making assumptions about people you ave no clue about.

            I guess I could infer some things from your name, but why bother, it’s simply a name you thought was cool, nothing wring with that.

            BTW – it’s “whiny”…I’m not Japanese.

            I happily accept you as my personal troll, put this chain around your and try not to toss your shit at me when you’re angry, otherwise the choke chain gets tightened and once I tighten, I hate to let go.

      • Just John

        Could be that she is sending a message to us that during the yard sales, someone is buying the people and leaving the chairs, then forcing people to work as UFO watchmen and dildo merchants, or maybe dildo merchants to UFOs.

        Possibly Fauna was purchased, and is currently having to go ship to ship selling dildos to little green men?

        • Tengu

          That would go a long way to explaining the “probing” allegations and the empty chairs.

          Forced into “Dildo Merchant to the Aliens” servitude…I like it.

          You do think outside the box!

          Brings Chan Jie Fang’s desires to a hole other level.

          I’m still loving the kid in Mongolia.

          You know if they did the same thing with in this age group in the USA, they’d be wanting BMW’s big houses and high paying jobs.

          There’s a sincerity in these that I find endearing and comforting, while she may say they are a “lost generation”, in many ways it simply proves it’s not a “lost generation”, it’s a generation trying to navigate its way for the first time.

  • Simon in Shanghai

    Interesting that the two best quotes came from students studying law. And these were comments that I totally agree with.
    They’re using English because they’re under some misguided impression that the world outside of China uses English as a ‘common language.’ I suppose they used English because it happened to be the journalist’s main language, as well as a language promoted more than any other in China because of its profit potential. Perhaps one day, they will discover only 7-8% of the world’s population will use English as a main language. I hope their their meaningful quotes reach a wider audience.

    • http://www.ethansenglishcafe.com Ethan

      In terms of total speakers English is the second most popular after Mandarin, most popular if you count those who are currently learning it, and if they want to reach an International audience, which from the content of some of these it seems that’s what htey were going for, English is by far the best language to use.

      • http://candosino.wordpress.com terroir

        Yes. China has the most citizen, and Putonghua is the national language.

        But. Putonghua is not spoken by everyone, and to that end it isn’t spoken well by everyone.

        Facepalm on the tourist who winds up in Xinjiang with a Mandarin phrase book. Oh yeah, that will go over well, especially if the first line in the book is “My, your transportation infrastructure is very impressive!”

    • http://thecapitalinthenorth.blogspot.com jixiang

      the Chinese are not the only ones to be under that misguided impression. In most non-English speaking countries, ordinary people are under the impression that most of the rest of the world speaks English, and they are the only ones who don’t. Russians, Italians, Japanese, they all think like that.

    • whododat

      They looking for a westerner in the USA not for a Chinese.

    • Alikese

      English is the lingua franca, so it is almost a de facto common language. When a person from Sweden meets a person from Greece, whether it’s for business or politics or anything else, they don’t speak in Urdu or Quechua they speak English.

      In terms of saying something to the world (like this photo collection seems to be about) there is no better language to communicate in than English.

  • DUXESTLUX

    You can notice the effects of the brainwashing in the past decades, bust still there is some truth indeed: China weather is awful, media don’t represent the reality and ..China girls are materialistic..oh yeah

    • dim mak

      The guy holding the sign about how media doesn’t represent China probably meant FOREIGN media doesn’t portray China accurately.

      And he’s right. Bunch of China-bashing, biased trash they are.

      • MF

        I like China-bashing when it’s being done at the expense of the government. Criticism is good for you, especially when you happen to be a country which persecutes its own countrymen for offering up opinions that run against the status quo.

  • Pingback: Arrested by complexity « Nimpurit()

  • kevinnolongerinpudong

    I also often wonder to myself “why people must to get married?” I also often wonder if all that money I paid to Xindongfang to learn English was really worth it…
    BTW, there’s a picture of me here- “I want to interact with people from other cultures!” Who’s ready?

    • queenkat

      Lol. Obviously me. Hit me up on QQ. lol.

  • Llanero

    “I’d like to see any supernatural thing such as alien, UFO, mysterious thing.” Chan Jie Fang

    I would like see bigfoot riding the Loch Ness Monster while fighting a UFO piloted by the Tooth Fairy!

  • hanyucha

    These guys are just all acting up. Stand in the street in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, wherever and listen to the Chinese people walking down the street…

    Li: What do you want for dinner?
    Wang: I dunno.
    Li: Noodles or rice?
    Wang: I had noodles yesterday.
    Li: What about rice then?
    Wang: I had rice for lunch?
    Li: What then?
    Wang: I dunno, I just want something different.
    Li: Spicy noodles?
    Wang: No, I mean something REALLY different.
    Li: Spicy rice?
    Wang: Nooooooo! I want something… something…
    Li: Ah! You want dumplings!
    Wang: *Sigh* Okay then.

    Aside from the point that Chinese people only ever talk and think about food, they all want something, but they really don’t know what they want. That’s just a symptom of capitalist life, no wonder so many people are disappointed.

    • http://candosino.wordpress.com terroir

      While you offer a sample conversation between two Chinese, I think the more obvious example is the kind of conversation Chinese will have with you, laowai.

      Chinese will not tell you what is directly on their mind, unlike Westerners, because it’s dangerous for them to do so. But that doesn’t mean they think, feel, or express themselves to their closest and most trusted friends.

      Yes. Chinese culture is one way, and to be Chinese means that you are part of that culture. But it’s a complete fallacy to stereotype Chinese and think that they:

      * are brainwashed (nationalism aside, everybody knew about the “censored” “death” of River Flash Peeps
      * are emotionless (hit one with a car and years of pent-up anger and rage will flood out)
      * don’t express themselves – just because you don’t hear it doesn’t mean it’s not spoken

      Alas, on that last one they may need a little help. While something like this is ridiculous in the West, this helps these kids say whatever is on their minds. It may be naive and irrelevant, but these kids are saying it. Maybe they’ll get used to it and say some more.

      • hanyucha

        Alright then, I’ll push the boat out a bit more.

        Tian: What’s wrong, you look so pale.
        Mei: Oh nothing, I’m just feeling a bit uncomfortable.
        Tian: Come on, what’s wrong?
        Mei: Okay, don’t tell anyone, but I had an abortion this morning.
        Tian: Oh, I have some herbal medicine made out of dried donkey skin that can restore your chi.
        Mei: Thanks, but I think I just need a few days rest.
        Tian: Did you ask for a day off?
        Mei: Yeah, but the boss said we are too busy.
        Tian: Well, I am sure you will be alright.
        Mei: Yeah.
        Tian: By the way, where did you get it done?
        Mei: At the hospital over in Haidian District.
        Tian: Which one?
        Mei: You know the one on the TV with the slogan, 不方便的话,给我们打电话。(Knocked up, give us a call).
        Tian: Oh, I know the one, they were giving out free calendars outside Carrefour the other day. How much was it?
        Mei: Well, there are three different ones. The cheapest is two hundred, but I went for the six hundred one.
        Tian: That’s not too bad, just make sure your hubby wears a condom next time.
        Mei: Huh? Fat chance of that. He would prefer that I had an abortion than wear a condom.
        Tian: I know what you mean. It is really tiring fighting off my boyfriend all the time. Sometimes I just give up because I am tired. It only takes five minutes anyway.
        Mei: Just like my abortion – that only took five minutes too.
        Tian: Quick in, quick out – convenience culture I guess. Are you hungry?
        Mei: Yeah.
        Tian: Noodles or rice?
        Mei: I just want something different

        • some_guy

          I’m here in China for a few weeks and I have to say, that’s a pretty poignant description to how people here are. Kudos to you for writing this up.

      • hanyucha

        Oh, by the way, thanks for taking the time to reply.

      • hanyucha

        Just an after thought, you said:

        “While you offer a sample conversation between two Chinese, I think the more obvious example is the kind of conversation Chinese will have with you, laowai.”

        Don’t you think then that a lot of what these guys said to Fisk was for the benefit of him being a laowai. You seem smart enough to know that what young Chinese people say to foreigners is often way off kilter with what they really think.

        Just a thought, not criticising.

    • Justin

      Sometimes I’m astounded by the new heights of ignorance that Chinasmack forum posters can achieve. You can go suck David Sedaris’ neatly manicured and sanitized dick.

      First, you assert that all Chinese people ever talk about is food. Admittedly Chinese people like to talk about food, but who the fuck doesn’t? It’s a big part of their culture. It’s something their proud of. If you came from a country with as rich and diverse of a culinary tradition as they do, you might be inclined to talk more about food, so I’m guessing you either come from the U.S., Canada or England, which have no culinary tradition of their own to speak of besides maybe chili, BBQ and Hamburgers in the case of the U.S., or poutine in Canada and Fish and Chips in England. The rest of it is watered-down, mass-produced bastardizations of food from other cultures’ traditions, including Chinese food.

      Then, you reduce thousands of years of Chinese cooking into the two generic staple foods, while ignoring the vast richness and diversity of Chinese cuisine. You can eat something different every day for a year and still be eating Chinese every day. Malaxiangguo, roast fish, Hot Pot, Chuan’r, Xinjiang Food, Peking Duck, dumplings, steamed buns, xiaolongbao, twice-cooked pork, sausage, jian bing, chou doufu, zongzi, etc. And within all those categories there are thousands of variations according to provinces, regions, ethnic minority styles.

      Even rice and noodles, which you were able to reduce the whole of Chinese cuisine down to, has tons of varieties and permutations. There’s long rice, short rice, glutinous rice, sticky rice, Dongbei rice, and then for noodles: knife-cut noodles, rice noodles, egg noodles, I can’t name all of them but there are dozens of varieties. You can have them in soup or stir-fried; not just “spicy” or normal.

      Lastly, you use this all as some sort of failing attempt to make a satirical generalization as to how dull and robot-like all Chinese people are. It doesn’t make you look clever. It just makes you look like a total ass. China is a large nation with 1.3 billion people who, as shocking as this might sound to you, aren’t all exactly alike and think the exact same thing. China has its artists and its poets and philosophers too and even the average people have a growing consciousness of the world around them, which is something you obviously lack.

      Chinese people have a lot to say despite what you think. When I first arrived in Beijing, my friend and I were looking for a place to eat in a hutong when we came across this Muslim restaurant. We were turned away at the door by the waitstaff because it was a private event. Later a man came running up behind us and panting he explained that they were having a family dinner and invited us to join them. They were a family of Chinese Muslims. We talked history and politics with them. And the head of the family said he felt America’s great contribution to the world was in human rights, while China’s contribution was peace. He was being translated by his 13-year-old granddaughter who spoke perfect English and she told me that she thought a big difference between China and America was that China denies rights to its own people, while America abuses the rights of the citizens of other countries. I couldn’t have said it better myself. And her grandfather is a Party bureaucrat. So, yeah, I would say that Chinese people have something to say.

      The question is: Do you have anything to say?

  • Chad

    ““I don’t want children!” Hong Kong, Wong Jing Yi, 30 years old, works in a sex toys shop.”

    Okay, who else laughed at this?

    • Tengu

      I demand an apology, please do not laugh at my future lovely wife.

      Think of the knowledge she possesses, she’s a dream come true…okay she’s a “6” and the “chastity belt” in the background is a bit disturbing, but she;s better than the bug-eyed alien hunter, the suicidal receptionist, the 40 year old virgin who won’t ever be married or creepy smiling cross culture boy.

      On a more heart warming note, it’s nice to see the “I want to walk my own path”, but even that has pangs of desperation in it. Most seem lost, disillusioned or have a longing inside for something else.

      The kid in Mongolia…hats off to him! He’s off the grid and living his dream.

      • Llanero

        Oh man that’s hilarious, a sex shop that sells chastity belts. Ur doin it rong!

        I know it’s not really a chastity belt, but I don’t care to offer a guess as to what it actually is.

        • Tengu

          Mr Eastwood, there seems to be a preponderance of masks, blindfolds and bondage gear e.g. the “Wild Cat Bondage Kit.”

          Still waters run deep…enjoy your cheroot!

          20RMB to anyone who can tell me what a “Beauty Nipple” is…

          • Just John

            One of two things.

            It is either a pasty to put over the nipple to make it beautiful(like a nipple sticker), or something placed over the nipple so it appears the wearers nipples are erect.

            My bet is number 2.
            http://www.japanator.com/elephant/post.phtml?pk=9233

          • hooots

            I’ll show you but I usually charge at least 40

  • whododat

    “Before I die, I want to see a united China. Both united with itself and with the world.” Great Wall of China, Wendy Xhang, 20 years old, law student studying in Canada.
    ———————————————————————

    So what about Canada?

    Will Canada have to be united to make you feel better?

    There are countries that hates Canada and want to blow it up.

    Stupid monkey girl.

    • Tengu

      Sine when is Canada “fractured?

      Who hates Canada, they never do anything except play hockey or win silver or bronze in Curling?

      Christ they have 5 cities there, you can’t even detonate anything in the winter, you could lay waste to 95% of the country and still have the entire population left.

      Everyone thinks Canadians are pussies, but remember they club the shit out of baby seals just for hats…

      • Reaver

        Ask a Canadian about French Canadian’s of Quebec.

        • Tengu

          You mean dee Quebecois, dey fine pipple, spend time lots wid dem, yes me!

          Montreal is a wonderful city. Formula One race, Comedy festival, Great Jazz Festival, you name it, the women are gorgeous and well dressed.

          You really don’t get sarcasm do you?

    • Tengu

      The only ones capable of blowing Canada up is the US and we like their Maple Syrup. Plus the women in Montreal are world class!

      Think long term….

    • Eva

      Someone hates Canada? Seriously, who in their right mind has a reason to hate Canada? Canadians never done anything… as in, they’ve really never done anything.

      • Tengu

        Who hates Canadians, when we travel American pretend to be Canadians….

      • Justin

        I’m an American and I have to admit that I sometimes fantasize about being a Canadian.

        • Tengu

          I’m hoping it’s a simple:

          “Hmmm, what would it like to be Canadian? How do I look in flannel? I LOVE maple syrup. UGGS are nice.”

          And not:

          You laying back, some candles on, a Li Shuangjiang CD playing, tube of Astro-glide…”I wish I was from Toronto, fapp, fapp, I wish I was from Toronto, fapp, fapp, I wish I was from Toronto, fapp, fapp, fapp, fapp, fapp…”

          • Justin

            No, it’s more like I wish I had free healthcare and I didn’t have to listen to Republicans bitch about class warfare each time someone has the chutzpah to insist that the rich actually pay taxes.

            Also, Canadians are funny. John Candy, Kids in the Hall, Trailer Park Boys, Jim Carrey (or at least he used to be funny.) Celine Dion is also funny though she’s not trying to be.

          • Justin

            also the herb there is supposed to be phenomenal and decriminalized to varying degrees in most places, especially Vancouver. Gotta get me some of that B.C. Kush.

          • Tengu

            Then I fantasize about being Canadian all the time…I have friend in Vancouver…it is AMAZING…the city is nice too…!!!!!!!!!!!

  • whododat

    He who said, “If I have a sister would be better!” for my future, she can sucker a white or black man with sex to take us away to the USA or even better to Canada.

    Too bad for him no white girl sex for him long time.

  • Jent

    Please ban this sofa nonsense. It’s so damn annoying.

  • Foreign Devil

    I feel sorry for the girl with no money who wants to continue studying english but must go work in a factory. . what a dismal future!

  • Dubhops

    Cool, so Chinese 20-30 year olds are just as falsely sentimental as ours (Amur’cans).

  • Matt

    If you check out the photographer’s website, he did the same thing in India as well.

  • diverdude

    What I’m thinking…

    Why do we say something is out of whack? What is a whack?

    Save the whales. Collect the whole set.

    I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.

    42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

    99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

    I feel like I’m diagonally parked in a parallel universe.

    You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you.

    Remember half the people you know are below average.

    Despite the cost of living, have you noticed how popular it remains?

    Nothing is foolproof to a talented fool.

    • diverdude

      kudos to Steven…

  • MF

    When people in China start a sentence by saying, “We Chinese…,” it makes me groan; as if one person could ever sum up the life experiences of the 1.3 billion-plus citizens of a multicultural empire. I see a conspicuous lack of that sort of standard response, and so I say kudos.

    Not even Chinese people seem able of representing China accurately, and we in the West should keep that in consideration. I understand, though, that most Chinese either don’t or won’t talk about themselves openly, especially not with strangers, and one almost never hears a Chinese person ask another, “What are you thinking about?”

    There is a sense in the West that Chinese ideas of self and individuality are vastly different, and that difference must color these responses a great deal, almost as much as what sort of person is speaking (note the dearth of intellectuals among those asked). Media misrepresentation/censorship, a differing sense of the individual…these things are why we’re so curious in the West, looking in from the outside, wondering what the heck is going on in Chinese people’s heads.

  • MonkeyMouth

    Ugly bunch. this photo project needed more hotties. i kinda dig that dildo merchant. bet she could romp well. but in all…..pretty thoroughly disappointed. this geek should try again.

    • SuperHappyCow

      Come oooon! The receptionist was absolutely delicious!

    • JSakamoto

      I know some will disagree with me but I think that chick who wants to see the UFO is sexy and cute.
      That restaurant girl (6th pic) has a cute face, but yea overall thumbs down in the looks department.

    • http://candosino.wordpress.com terroir

      What’s the point? It’s not as if you’re reading what they have to say or are remotely interested in their hopes/fears/dreams.

      Also, signs block previous viewing access to the bewbs.

      • http://candosino.wordpress.com terroir

        “Previous”? I’m meant precious. But I guess any and all bewb-leering is “previous” since we’ve seen your bewbs even before we’ve met you, ladies.

  • Pingback: iSpeak China « Yare Yare!()

  • Robert

    I applaud, this was moving and informative.

  • Robert

    Sofa annoys me too. I’m tired of skipping the first few posts. Get a life!

    • Just John

      So, your definition of having a life is not posting the word sofa?

      How about not posting anything useful, would that also necessitate the need for “a life”?

      If you agree that something relevant should be said, then I guess by that logic, you too need to get a life, because this post of yours has no relevance to this article.

      The internet is serious business.

    • Tengu

      Sofa, sofa, sofa, sofa, sofa, sofa, sofa, sofa, sofa, sofa, sofa….

      So puerile, but so much fun!!!!

      Sofa, sofa, sofa, sofa, sofa, sofa, sofa, sofa, sofa, sofa, sofa, sofa, sofa,

  • RAJ

    lol that chick looks psycho! eattot you want to marry your father ? hmmm… thats just wrong and i believe illegal.

  • Andy

    What’s with the retarded transliteration of the people’s names? Aside from the two or so Hong Kongers (in whose case it is understandable), the rest of them are mainlanders, so why the hell aren’t their names in pinyin?

    • MF

      The majority of the transliterations are based on Hanyu Pinyin (漢語拼音). Granted, the custom for writing individual’s names typically involves combining both parts of the individual name (as opposed to the family name; i.e. Deng Xiaoping instead of Deng Xiao Ping). There are also a few discrepancies (like Chow instead of Chao or Zhou), though I imagine some of the participants may have given him their own transliterations, in which case the customary thing to do is to accept that someone knows how to spell their own name and use what they give you.

      Furthermore, I don’t see exactly how a transliteration can be “retarded,” but all I’ll say on that note to never judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. Seeing as Mr. Fisk traveled 12,500 kilometers for this project (and has done a similar project in India), I’d say you have quite a bit of walking to do.

  • RAJ

    who wants to blow up canada? its the second largest country in the world, you gonna need a lot of explosives. Dont judge a country by its population we may be small in numbers but strong in resources. And plus your bombs will not get past U.S. airspace.

    I like jia jia, why we dont get these kind of immigrants in canada ? She can be a lap dancer and can get her marketing degree faster.

    This photographer is “WHACK” who needs a sex toy in china theres a whole bunch walking around. what the heck was he doing in the sex shop ?

  • Pingback: What are young Chinese thinking about? « Hands Wide Open()

  • Jess

    I know it shouldn’t be surprising, but the farmers from the countryside look so much older than their ages would otherwise indicate.

  • JSakamoto

    Is the second pic a girl or a guy? I can’t tell.
    My favorite ones are:
    “I think it’s time for us to STAND UP FOR OURSELVES & be WHO WE REALLY ARE!”
    “I want to walk my own path, I don’t want other people telling me what to do.”
    “Huge cultural differences exist between the East and the West. Do not tell us what to do.”

    That guy who wants a sister, you better be careful what you wish for. But he seems like he has a good heart.
    That girl who wants to see a UFO is hilarious, I’d like to get to know her better. She’s so cute.
    That girl who’s a nightclub dancer is probably also a prostitute.
    Girl who wants to learn English come stay over at my place, I’ll teach you all the english you want and more.
    Chinese people need to be more assertive and confident and not give a fuck so much what other people think of them. As long as you feel like you are doing what’s right you should have no problem sleeping at night.

    • Llanero

      That UFO chick said she would like to any supernatural or mysterious thing. Is your thing supernatural or mysterious?

      • JSakamoto

        My thing is supernatural and superhuman and would like to explore the mysterious thing between her legs. then we can have supernatural babies.
        Ok in all seriousness she is really cute and sounds like a lot of fun, but maybe not wife material.

  • Kaka Huang

    I’ll be the president of China to make their dreams become true !!!

    • Tengu

      Not with a name that means “shit” in French!

      • whododat

        What’s in a name?

        Even O’bama made it in the Amerikan dream.

        And his name means “fuck the shit out of it” in Afrikan.

        • Tengu

          Hallo! Hoe gaan dit?

          Actually there is no language called “Afrikan”.

          There is “Afrikaans” which has a Dutch/German root, but I’m no linguist; you evidently are, so I will defer to your prodigious display of bêtise.

          • whododat

            What about Amerikan? Is it good for you?

            I only know Amerikan not fucking Afrikan lingo.

          • Tengu

            Actually there is no language called “American ” or “Amerikan”, it’s “English”.

            Unfortunately the origin, usage and ability to express yourself at even the most basic level in the aforementioned language seem to elude you.

            Now let’s assume, for the purposes of this post your word “Amerikan” is a synonym(1) for “English.”

            Your statement, “I only know Amerikan…”, is fallacious since you have absolutely no grasp of the simplest grammatical syntax, you dimwit.

            In the argot/parlance of “whododat” – I’ll except the fact that your Amerikan, but you’re English sucks, cocksucker!

            (1) Synonym – “A word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language.”

          • Anon

            Take it up a notch. there is no country called America either and the language spoken there, the people there are neither White nor Black but Red.

            http://amin210.wikispaces.com/file/view/AmericanIndianTribeMap.jpg/221063006/AmericanIndianTribeMap.jpg

  • Pingback: What Young Chinese Are Thinking About « The Post-Assimilationist()

  • Pingback: What will a Batch of Honor Lead You to? I think therefore I am? | Learner Weblog()

  • Tengu

    Is it me or does the kid, who admirably states “I want to save peoples lives”, look photoshopped?

    • https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/KVAADK Kevin K.

      The blonde kid?

      Photo technology has change a lot in the quarter century since I was a shooter (and I was never of Mr. Fisk’s caliber), but I think what we’re seeing is a fill. A fill is when a white reflective surface (one of those signs everyone’s holding would be perfect) is held as close to the subject as possible without getting in the frame and angled to reflect additional light onto his face.

  • silvia

    Just because the students are using English does not mean they are inferior to whoever can say or write the same thing in any other Chinese dialect. Its one thing to be egotistical, but its another to stereotype and belittle someone else without fully knowing the whole story.
    read a book maybe, learn from that one guy…”i want to walk my own path”.

  • zhouhekngiht

    “Do not judge China from the media, because the real China is not on the papers.
    I like this

  • JM

    Chinese people have interesting and nice thoughts. If they had a Democratic government the US and the EU would like China a lot more! Also, they are a peaceful people who want prosperity.

    You know what the #1 BIGGEST complaint I hear from US people is? CHINESE PEOPLE’S DOLLAR IS TOO WEAK AND THEIR MINIMUM WAGE IS TOO LOW! HA! US people want Chinese people TO MAKE MORE MONEY! (So they can sell stuff to them)

  • Pingback: What are China’s young people thinking about?()

  • Pingback: From Poverty to Power by Duncan Green » Blog Archive » Young Chinese thoughts; Tata triumphant; African activism on famine; Dodd-Frank and Libya; Russian charter cities in DRC; population arguments; saving the earth from space: links I liked()

  • URMOMM

    what a boring idea

    so often used and it shows nothing

    I just like the Pic of the People who wrote nothing that have some truth

Personals @ chinaSMACK - Meet people, make friends, find lovers? Don't be so serious!»