Millionaire Cleans Streets to Set Example for Her Children

Yu Youzhen is picking up trash from the street.

From NetEase:

Millionaire Woman Works as Sanitation Worker for 14 Years, Just to Set an Example for Her Children

In the 1980s, Yu Youzhen was merely an ordinary vegetable farmer in Wuhan City Hongshan District Donghu Village Huojiawa who, after years of building and additions, came to possess three 5-storey private buildings, most of which were rented out. In 2008, Yu Youzhen chanced upon [government policies for] the requisition, demolition, and redevelopment of land [mostly takes place in rural areas, where when a peasant’s land is expropriated by the government and the peasant is compensated for it with new houses or apartments in other locations] and was successively given 21 apartments [for her previous property]. Yu Youzhen personally witnessed some of her fellow villagers not engaging themselves in decent activities after being compensated with multiple apartments, falling into gambling, and even drug use. In order to set a good example for her children, from 1998 onwards, the now landless Yu Youzhen went to Wuchang District Chengguan Bureau to work as a sanitation worker, with a 1,420 yuan monthly salary, only one day off each week, and having to arrive for work 3 every morning.

[Above] Yu Youzhen is a contract worker for the Wuchang District Chengguan Bureau Cleaning Team, with a 1,420 yuan monthly wage. Her household had 21 apartments in total but later successively sold 4 of them, with 17 left. Calculated according to market prices, she is literally a “millionaire woman”. This picture is of January 2, in Wuhan, of “rich woman” sanitation worker Mrs. Yu cleaning the street.

Yu Youzhen is scrubbing trashcans.

Yu Youzhen is responsible for the sanitation of an approximately 3,000-meter long stretch of road, sweeping along its length back and forth 6 hours every day, wiping and washing 8 trashcans. Since it’s cold outside, a thin layer of ice forms on the surface of the trashcan that as Yu Youzhen just bent down to wipe with a wet rag.

Yu Youzhen is buying newspapers.

In the 1980s, Yu Youzhen was a vegetable grower in Hongshan District Donghu Village Huojiawan. She and her husband worked from dawn to night to make and save money, becoming the first family to build a 3-storey private house in Huojiawan. With more and more people coming to work in Wuhan from out of town, Yu Youzhen used the spare rooms for rental. By the early 1990s, each room could bring in 50 yuan each month. After saving this money, she built more buildings and added more floors, and over several years, she had three 5-storey buildings, most of which used for rentals. She said that during those years, the regulations on constructing buildings in rural areas were loose, and everyone built houses. What she didn’t expect was that in 2008, the [policies of] requisitioning and redevelopment of land began, and she was successively given 21 apartments [as compensation for her requisitioned and redeveloped buildings]. Later on, she sold 4 of them.

Yu Youzheng and her bicycle.

From 1998 onwards, the now landless Yu Youzhen went to the Wuchang District Chengguan Bureau to work as a sanitation worker, with only one day off each week, and having to arrive for work at 3 in the morning. Although later she became a “rich woman”, she still hasn’t put down her broom. In her work, people often give her cold looks, but she still loves what she does. Many of her co-workers in the cleaning team don’t understand: “Mrs. Yu’s family is so rich, yet still she comes to put up with this suffering!” To this, Yu Youzhen has her own explanation: “I want to set an example for my son and daughter, a person can’t just sit at home and ‘eat away’ a whole fortune.”

Yu Youzhen is sweeping the street.

Yu Youzhen witnessed with her own eyes some of her fellow villagers getting up to no good after getting multiple apartments from their land being requisitioned [by the government], indulging themselves in gambling, even drug use. She has already put the word out to her son and daughter: “If you don’t work, I’ll donate the apartments to the country.”

Yu Youzhen.

Now, her son works as a driver in the Donghu Scenic Area, making an over 2,000 yuan monthly salary. Her daughter too is an office worker, with an over 3,000 yuan monthly salary.

Comments from NetEase:

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芙小小仙 [网易四川省网友]:

Chinese Sanitation worker Yu Youzhen, although born in poverty, but her simple way of thinking is far better than those self-proclaimed nobility like government officials and certain elites in China. I salute this kind of simple person, her spirit is incomparably rich.

操场哥 [网易浙江省杭州市网友]:

She has already put the word out to her son and daughter: “If you don’t work, I’ll donate the apartments to the country.” PS: Ma’am, I’d rather you burn them down than give them to the government.

我养的猪快出栏挨刀了 [网易天津市网友]:

People who make a living with their own two hands are deserving of respect.

月河边 [网易山西省太原市网友]:

She’s a real multi-millionaire and doesn’t even use a mosaic to cover her face, whereas those who win a lottery ticket for several million always wear masks [to hide their identities]. Is it really necessary?

迭殤 [网易四川省成都市网友]:

Ding, the simplicity and honesty of humanity!!

Comments from QQ:

腾讯网友 尤加撇:

Strongly support, it’s not good for the body to be idle.

腾讯网友 Dragon.Z…:

As a member of the post-80s generation, I feel “immense pressure”. Relying on a monthly salary of 2,000-3,000 yuan, it’s difficult to even think about finding a wife, not to mention buying an apartment. This aunt is so lucky, having seized the opportunity to become rich, and even though she’s sitting on millions of assets, is relatively enviable, she refuses to be idle, using herself to set an example for her children at every moment! Support!

腾讯泉州市网友 微笑:

Drivers, beware, maybe the sanitation worker you hit turns out to be a millionaire, so don’t think so highly of yourselves simply for having a car.

腾讯网友 9o.後ˉ莪帥:

If everybody in China were like this, there woudl be hope of the highest level of socialism being realized ahead of schedule. Honestly speaking, this big mama’s thinking and consciousness is very remarkable.

腾讯网友 Bystander:

If you leave your child a pile of money, there will always be a day when it’s been squandered all away. If you leave your child a life skill, he will have enough money for a lifetime. This mother is great, having taught rich people how to educate/raise their own children.

腾讯西安市网友 -z:

A man’s soul mustn’t feel empty, he must do something.
Strongly support “setting an example for one’s children”. Nowadays, just how many parents can really set an example for their children with themselves?
A child’s family education/upbringing comes first!

腾讯淄博市网友 leon:

Everybody has their own pursuits and their own way of life, as long as it contributes to society. She didn’t become one of the heartless rich, and is worth respecting.

腾讯东莞市网友 浅蓝ㄟ初夏:

[She] was given 21 apartments?!?!?!

腾讯网友 手心里的温柔:

Rich second generation and official second generation [the children of government officials] should really learn from this.

腾讯石家庄市网友 某 人:

Now this is a person who can resist temptation.

What do you think? Have your parents set good examples for you? What do you hope your children will learn from you?

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  • she’s a millionaire and working !! others are poor but lying in bed the whole day !!
    ..she really deserve the highest respect she deserve and she’s a good mother..educating her children in life.

    • Super Bunny

      why you try to dress like snow white??for some party???

      • yeah,,we had a fairytale theme for culmination night..

        • mr.wiener

          culmination night?

          • It’s the night that you’ve been saving yourself up for.

          • yes.

          • vincent

            I think it’s another word for prom night? :P

  • She can clean my sofa. I do however applaud her for trying to teach her kids the basic value of money as well as the value of work.

    • Germandude

      That’s sofa king nice of you!

  • Germandude

    In all seriousness, there is only 1 word to say: Respect!

    • vincent

      Ditto this woman definitely deserves it!

      • Gay Azn Boi

        OMG Vincent you’re back :D

        • Germandude

          Let me guess, his picture makes you hard?

          • Anonymal

            more like LOOSE! he luv takin’it

            he is aight lil annoying but aight

            who we gonna downvote if he gone!

            no one yo! no one! dang we need gabby gab

            to downvote.

          • Gay Azn Boi


          • starsky

            you r either a race traitor from your comments or a ticking time bomb for the non-chinese folks in canada

        • vincent

          It’s good to be back GAB, didn’t realize I was missed :D

          • Gay Azn Boi

            Where have you been? What did you do for new years?

          • vincent

            For New Years nothing much really, I’m always far too busy with work to have fun but I was around, there weren’t really any new articles to comment on so I was basically lurking for a while lol, what about you GAB?

          • Gay Azn Boi

            Aww so you don’t get a break or anything? What do you like to do for fun? I didn’t do much either. I slept in and that was it. I wanted to take a few more days off but my boss wanted me to come in to work. Ugh I hate this job!

          • vincent

            Nah no breaks, for fun well I have a bundle of joy that’s almost 3 years old now and he takes up most of my time so between my family and work there isn’t much time for fun :|

            Work isn’t fun but if I could get a nickel for everytime I’ve heard that people hate their jobs I’d be swimming in cash haha, if you don’t like your job you should look towards getting one you like who knows you may get lucky :)

          • Gay Azn Boi

            Awwww you have a kid? You look really young to be a dad haha. So happy for you :)

            As much as I hate my job, I can’t really leave. It took me a while to find this one. And as much as I hate my boss sometimes, he does treat me well for the most part. The last one was so homophobic I quit after 2 months.

          • vincent

            Thanks I guess I’m lucky I don’t look old yet but I hope it doesn’t suddenly smack me in the face one day haha, hmm it’s hard to find a decent boss these days so hopefully something better opens up for you in the future where you have a good boss and the job is one that you enjoy, good luck!

          • Gay Azn Boi

            Awwwww thanks Vincent. Why can’t the others on here be as nice as you?! haha

          • vincent

            Ur welcome, I think the others are just as nice as I am well save for a few special cases, online personas don’t necessarily reflect people in real life, you know they say you can be anyone you want online, you take it easy GAB :)

          • Gay Azn Boi

            Yeah I guess you’re right, though that Hitler dude has really been getting on my nerves..

          • your aww gets bigger and bigger, when will you confess your love? do tell, we love scandal.

          • Gay Azn Boi


            Dude don’t be ridiculous. Vincent is married and has a kid.

          • thisguy

            you would actually be swimming in coins… nickels to be precise….

          • vincent

            lol the word ‘cash’ just refers to the physical form of currency so it could either be coins or notes therefore I would still be swimming in cash and to be more precise nickels as you said :)

      • Anonymal

        run fo yo life!

        • Gay Azn Boi

          Don’t be a jerk.

    • linette lee

      What a woman. I love her. China please don’t throw garbage on the street anymore. Respect and keep your country keep.

      • China employs so many street cleaners because people litter.

        • K

          Litterers create jobs

          • Yes. The world needs more problems, otherwise there’s nothing to fix.

    • the ace of books

      Oh yes.

      It irritates me that people (of any country!) give “cold looks” to sanitation workers. Dudes, those guys are doing monotonous fucking work, cleaning up streets that everybody, rich poor, whatever, walks on! Blah blah the Ace rants, but it’s just a point that’s always irritated the shit out of me.

      • Germandude

        I clearly remember when I was about 5 years old, I walked down the road with my mom, eating an ice cream, throwing the wooden stick on the sidewalk. My mom directly stopped and said: “Pick it up son. If you one day should be the road cleaner, you don’t want others to throw their garbage on the area that you just cleaned just because someone was too lazy to bring it to the rubbish bin 20 meters ahead, do you? If I see you doing that again, you will be cleaning the sidewalk for 1 week to understand what I mean.”
        Needless to say that I am not littering up to this day.

        • Smart mom.

        • the ace of books

          Excellent. Hell yes that mom.

    • anon


      But I want to be a millionaire before I do that! Maaybe sweep more streets…

  • Witchyqueen

    I respect her, and her attitude on working other than living a luxuriant life to becoming a heartless moron. But I’m not fond of her behavior and such deeds. It doesn’t seem like she had done a great deal of wonderful things to help people around, let alone the community or the country. All she care for is her own family. She planned to leave all the money to her own children, which is reasonable and fine, but I don’t see any great merits from what I had read. She is quite smart knowing she can’t just do nothing and spent all the money, otherwise one day she’d go back to the poverty again, and she doesn’t look quite educated, then she might only have ended up being a sanitation worker or perhaps waitress in the restaurant. Either way, she is a brilliant lady, after all, it’s a tough job, she might have found a job without going through all suffering, but I just won’t be so touched by the story itself. If I’d try to set an good example to my own kids, I’d rather be a volunteer, helping people in need, maybe money, or knowledge. I don’t want to show them being a callous bastard who only care for myself, and my own family. What’s the point that we are living in the world anyway? Maybe that explains why there are a huge population in China who lives a shitty life, and why the country is still underdevelopment when it comes to the sense of moral and education…

    • mr.wiener

      She’s not a saint, just a normal decent person apparently, and the world needs more of them, not saints and certainly not “look at me I’m giving away red envelopes and smashing electric bikes” fuck-knuckle billionaires.

      • linette lee


        • Super Bunny

          change your photo, you look like sister feng now!

          • linette lee

   are funny. Gravatar is slow and gets stuck. They don’t change in my other forum when I chat.

    • Yesway

      “I’d rather be a volunteer, helping people in need, maybe money, or knowledge. ”

      So why aren’t you now? hmmm.

      Setting a good example for your kids is more than what many people do all over the world. And yes, the way in which she’s doing it is more extraordinary than what most parents are willing to do all over the world.

  • Brett

    If this is true and not just for publicity, its awesome. What a good mom!

    • Nothing charitable happens in China without a camera taking a picture of it. How else is everyone else supposed to know?

      • the ace of books

        This comment is amusing and basted in cynicism but holds true for more than just China, I think.

        Actually, a friend and I were discussing charity and culture the other day, and she was talking about how in ancient Rome, charity had no moral value, but was rather a civic duty – Those Who Had would give to temple sacrifices, and the distributions would go to Those Who Had Not. Given the study that’s come out, I’m curious how charitibility is viewed in China – it’s clearly not a public duty, and it clearly is given high moral value …. but it is also often rewarded with – or rather punished by – neglect, indifference, and suspicion. Why?

        • Here’s how it works:

          You work and toil your whole life until you reach a position of influence. Then, you exploit this position for all the corruption you can take with two hands grabbing. Then after that before you die, you give as much to charity as you can as a way to bribe the gods to let you into heaven.

          Thus: neglect, indifference, suspicion.

  • A guy

    I can’t help but feel really sad upon seeing this. I know it’s wrong, but I see myself in this woman and all I can feel is this dread that one day I will look back at my life of self sacrifice and only be able to say ” I hope I can be an example to my children”. I know that moderation is key, but I fear that the fire that burns in my gut for freedom, pleasure, excitement, and all the things I have done without will turn to bitterness or resignation. I fear on that when it does I also will sweep the streets with mountains of money, regrets, and only moral superiority to show.

    I respect her a-lot, but it still fills me with fear.

    • 顶 Don’t see poetry here often

      • A guy

        Hey Terrior, Can I ask a favor of you or really anybody else with good grammar/writing ability here? I want to get better at writing and would like to have people point out stylistic and grammatical problems with my writing. You can get the added joy of being as mean as possible when doing it as long as it’s accurate. You don’t have to read my boring posts all the time, just if you see something wrong with it let me know. Grammar Nazis I am calling you out!!!!

  • Getting away from the whole “model citizen” hype, this woman is too dumb to become corrupt but also too dumb to know any better.

    It’s no use denying she’s a good person, but she has completely squandered an opportunity to benefit her family and society at large – the way it’s going, that money will never amount to anything except the fear of temptation.

    When confronted with the specter of becoming corrupt, she instead rejects everything to show that she can’t deal with it. She falls in line with her peers and does the same work to show that she can’t handle the responsibility of fabulousness and the threat of becoming something far greater than her humble self can ever accept.

    Lady, you need to be told what to do because you can’t do it on your own. This is the reason why China will always be in need of foreigners to work in management.

    • YourSupremeCommander

      What a dumb comment. Who would want to be in management when you can be the owner or the boss? Yes they will keep hiring foreigners (aka losers of their own respective countries) to work for them in management.

      • Your quote missed a sentence. It’s the one that has my point in it. Take five minutes, have a smoke, and you can come back any time to have another crack at it.

        If I am relegated to using your logic, then feast upon this: she is the boss of no one.

        For the first time, your screen name has more to say about the topic at hand than your actual comment.

    • linette lee

      what are you talking about? She was a farmer. She is middle age and probably won’t be going back to university to study to become a lawyer or politician or doctor. What greatness can she achieve other then raising good kids and teaching them good value? She is a landlord. She is collecting rents. That is pretty dame great already. Sanitation workers are important too and contribute to the society too. Especially in China, China needs to learn how to not litter and keep their environment clean. Environmental pollution is a very serious concern in China.

      • “She is a landlord. She is collecting rents. That is pretty dame great already.”

        Not gonna add anything. I’m just going to quote you and let that air out a bit.

        • yesway

          It says a lot that you did not quote the rest of what she said.

          Let’s air that out a bit too.

          • yeswaytoosoon,

            As far I can see, the comment is still there. It may even be there tomorrow. Febreeze, now!

            lintee makes the common Chinese mistake of trying to win an argument by throwing absolutely everything at the wall to see if it would stick. In my pullquote, she’s trying to say that she is rich and it is glorious – this is contrary to all the opinions on here, and also not what I am trying to say.

            Want an example? Idealistic kid on his summer vacation comes to china to do charity work on no budget, becomes “foreign Lei Feng”. This woman lives a true and honest life (I guess), makes it big, has no imagination what to do with it, doesn’t have the capacity to stop being a small-minded farmer who only knows hardship and modesty, will let nothing become of her assets.

            “Keep digging your own hole, rabbit! Dig, dig, dig!”

            If you support her, you’re basically saying rich Chinese are either corrupt and decadent or need to disavow it completely like she has done.

            Cue airing of pullquote.


          • Germandude

            Ok, I think I get your meaning. But I have to disagree. While many of the rich (no matter if worked for, corruption or a lottery win), tend to do the typical show-off-I-am-better-than-you lifestyle, this woman shows the other “hardcore” extreme.

            I mean, look at all those spoiled kids of rich families that were thrown powder at the ass for the whole life. Getting piano classes and a horse to find out what’s the kids hobby. Getting an iPhone at the age of 5 to be “up-to-date”, getting good grades at school due to private teachers, an envelope to a teacher or just because of parent’s connections. These kids are growing up without fear because they know they fall soft. For the rich parents, their wealth is the excuse to raise their kids in a materialistic world rather than teaching them values. In fact, the kids reflect the low character of the parents.

            Now you have this lady on the other hand. She made it from relative poverty to a multiple apartment owner. She comes from the botton to the/her top. She has not forgotten where she is coming from and tries to teach her kids this lesson: no pain, no gain. Now what’s wrong with that?
            In fact, I would even support the idea of her making sure that each kid gets enough of a heads-up to start an own small business, or each gets 2 houses. Why making it too easy for the kids? You don’t actually help them.

            I respect rich parents that raise their kids properly and not on “planet above the peasants”.

          • Anonymal

            You made a good point, ‘diamond in a rough’, though Terroir made a good point too. She may do more by taking up the mantle. There are not many with potentials. The question is whether she can pull it off or we are expecting too much from her

          • You talk a good show. Your points are reasonable, and your reasons are pointy.

            But. Whether true or false, in becoming a news story, this woman’s life has become a tool of the state. She has been raised up as a model citizen for others – hey, you one billion readers, read this? Modern type Lei Feng! Rejection of money! Because to be rich is glorious, errr, and corruptive!

            If someone else is out there having a good life and being a good parent, terroir doesn’t have any qualms with you. Honestly. You, John Q Public, reading this comment, having a good and morally upstanding life – be not afraid of terroir’s disapproval of you. Go about your business, citizen.

            What is completely nerds is her repurposing as a puff piece for others to emulate. Because that’s her role here – whether true or false, she’s here as a media story to make Chinese go, “Oh, a role model! Like Lei Feng.” But she is setting an example as a woman with no imagination, no ambition, no desire to take the lead and do something – anything – with the assets afforded to her.

            Her kids could have gone to school abroad. But they are a bus driver and an office worker, respectiviely. They are living the meek life and what I’m railing about is the lack of diversity in the thinking of Chinese. Everything is either this or that, all extremes – you’re either rich and corrupt, or disavow all your millions because that money stuff is crank, yo!

            As a role model (to her kids and now all of China), she is leading by following -that is not the same as a leader who follows.

          • Germandude

            Yes, good points. I understand your meaning but I think it’s a bit far off. To be honest, I don’t think the readers of her story will fall for the government propaganda. Because I think they are too busy to make some bucks.

            Besides, do you think that poor people will follow what the government is saying should they become rich? I doubt that.

            On the other hand, if this woman could just bring one rich guy to change his mind and actually start/increase his help for others, be it through cleaning the road, donating money or founding a fund-raising company. I think we can agree that the outcome was good then.

          • There’s no moderation in Chinese culture, even though people always stress it. Go drink, get wasted; get into a fight, be a complete ass; get rich – become corrupt or disavow all your own money.

            The idea that this story can bring about change in others is not worth the tipping over of a society that has trouble maintaining its own equilibrium.

          • Kai

            Dude, I thought you were trying to overcome the misunderstanding between China and the West. A lot of your comments approach topics from angles that the average person wouldn’t readily see, and that’s good, but I feel like a lot of them seem to contribute to greater misunderstanding.

            Anyway, your point is interesting but you’re ultimately criticizing her for not having the ambition to do something “greater” with her money and for simply having been noticed by the media, all for living her life as she sees fit for herself and her children. She’s been working as a cleaner for like 14 years. It seems a bit of a stretch to put so much emphasis bemoaning this human interest story as nothing more than propaganda that serves the ends of the government. Couldn’t the government have done that years ago?

            Her story isn’t in a vacuum. There are a lot of other media stories of rich people aspiring to do more and to give back to society with their wealth. This diversity of stories reflects reality, not necessarily some government repurposing of her as a puff piece. As much as there is propaganda in China’s media, most of the time, its honestly just ordinary reporters and editors thinking “hm, this is interesting, let’s publish this” because they think it’ll resonate with their audiences. Suggesting that there is something more nefarious here is interesting as far as challenging people to look closer but I agree with Germandude here, sometimes it’s just be a stretch.

            Finally, she apparently worked hard to earn and save her money, made profitable decisions on what to do with it, was lucky to get compensated for her investments, seemingly sold enough to live on while not diversifying by keeping the rest in illiquid real estate, and decided it’s enough for her to live an honest life to avoid squandering her wealth and teaching her kids the wrong values towards money. If her kids fail to learn the lesson, she seems keen to donate her wealth to the government which, while we have our doubts, is arguably tied to a belief that it’d be better used there than left in the hands of her children.

            I suppose if you view the world as those who are wealthy inherently owing society and thus must do something more than just being decent people themselves, then I guess you can damn her as being too dumb and incompetent to do what you think she should. But if you view the world as having some measure of self-determination and liberty, she can do whatever she wants and we have little to complain about it unless we have reason to think she actively screwed others over. I think its okay that you think and wish she could do more, but I think you’re still being a little needlessly harsh with your characterization of her. You do say she’s a good person and humble but was it really necessary to cast her as too dumb, incompetent, and merely a tool for the government? Seems a bit extreme to me.

          • Oh hai kai,

            I read your comment. All of it. Yes, I do want to promote greater understanding between East and west, and since you bring it up, I do that in spectacular fashion on my own website which is the internet equivalent of intravenously shooting up a correct Wikipedia entry with proper citations spoken by some ex-gf from the Chive and has been re-edited as a Cracked article, but funny.

            I do understand. But this isn’t my website (dot dot dot), this is my opinion, and I am saying it.

            If I may paraphrase your entire comment to me as “You so harsh, terroir, aren’t you a hippie?”, then I’ll start by saying that I have no compunctions against her private life. As much as I want to, I can’t crawl through the screen and tell her “That wasn’t what Confucious meant!” (that’s Web

          • Kai

            Yes, I understand you’re voicing an opinion, and as I wrote in a later comment below, I get that you’re judging her and I’m just judging your judgement.

            I addressed the rest of your comment in subsequent comments which you’ll probably have seen by now. I just find it ironic that you’re using a black and white filter to label her a black and white moral for Chinese society.

          • But I’m not judging her. I’m judging the system. And she has become the system/Matrix/black and white morality system by becoming a role model for it, and I’m judging the way it can not handle the strain of a new modern society that has (I’ll say it) too many rich people.

            As you’ve chased me across these comments I don’t remember whre you said this, but to call her meek and “default” mode isn’t a slight upon her. It’s everything she and the system want for herself.

            Go ahead and judge me. Just please don’t make me read another long comment.

          • Kai

            Uh, you said:

            People’s lives are their own, but when something like this becomes news in which her story is trumpeted as a paragon of virtue and told to a billion people, well then yes: I will judge her. I will pass judgement upon her. She didn’t have to become meat for my fodder, but there she is.

            If you want to say you’re judging the system through her, that’s fine, I still think the argument isn’t wielded well. She’ll definitely be seen as a role model, but she’s hardly the only role model that is promoted in this system, which is what your argument depends on for greater persuasiveness. She’s only one role model, and Chinese people aren’t idiots, they can discern that there are examples for not squandering and examples for improving greater society with your money and blessings. I think this case is first and foremost an example of not squandering one’s wealth and setting an example for one’s children that one shouldn’t do so and should work in life. She may not be an example for using one’s riches to make major societal changes, but why does she have to be?

            I’m not chasing you across the comments. I read the comments from top to bottom and responded as to you and others when I felt like something was interesting to discuss. Now I’m just reacting to the little orange box that says I have responses. Stop suggesting a measure of persecution. That’s dishonest of you.

            I interpreted your tone and use of “meek” and “default” combined with everything else you’ve been arguing as being critical of her. I suppose the only time I hear “meek” being used in a positive connotation is in the context of Christian sermons.

            I’m trying to discuss your arguments. You seem intent on trying to dissuade me with ad hominem attacks on the length of my comments. Can we drop the meta discussion?

          • oh hai kai

            Don’t take this personally, but you are really thin-skinned. Obviously this means you will take it personally. I don’t mean this as any insult. Some of my very best friends are thin-skinned, I pride myself as an individual who accepts people of all degrees of skin thickness.

            The only reason – ONLY – I would ever bring this up and talk about your character is that everytime we talk, it always comes to this. “But my feelings! Ow-y!” I don’t want to talk about your feelings, but here goes:

            I made a funny about your chasing me. It had to do with the lavish attention you are giving me. I specifically used the phrase “varsity jacket” – it means we are going steady. It does not have to do with a “persecution complex” (though yes, some boyfriend-girlfriend relationship are like that).

            People can have perfectly normal conversations here. It can happen. But this is the warzone that is the cS comments. Everyone here knows that every comment can lead to a flare up of flames. We all love it because of the risk. When we talk here, we use all of our internet ninja skills to keep us alive. For you to just ignore all of that for you to not see cS as we do.

            Yes, you’re a mod, you do deserve some respect for running the zoo. But if you’re going to come down and talk to us and join in the conversation [and not like the passive-aggressive “Notes from Fauna”], well then we’re going to talk to you right back.

            I talk to you like I talk to anyone else here. Sometimes I’m sugar, sometimes I’m vinegar. But I’m always me (meaning awesomesauce). While giving you your due, should I treat you differently because of the immense power you hold upon these boards?

            I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. You’re a great gai, kai. I remember way back when you’d do your kai thing in amongst the most terrible of trolls years ago here on cS. You’ve done lots in the China web culture. But for you to construe my normal way of talking as a personal attack of the ad hominem variety is wrong.

            I want to talk to you. But I can’t if this is always brought up when I’m just being the same terroir as before in the same environment as before.

            I’m not even gonna talk about today’s thread anymore. Good, bad, propaganda, Kai’s feelings… I’m not going to risk offending you.

          • Kai

            I was discussing the subject of this post with you, specifically your judgment of her person and role in Chinese society, which is the purpose of the comment section, until you started deflecting with irrelevant rejoinders about comment length and me “chasing” you…after my first comments here.

            I don’t know what you’re talking about with “internet ninja skills”. I’m guessing you’re vaguely trying to explain your responses to me. As much as internet discussions can flare up into flames, it’s also entirely possible and preferable for people to engage in a discussion where they can acknowledge each others’ points or agree to disagree without resorting to “internet ninja skills” like deflection and ad hominem. Am I naive for thinking I can have a reasonable and straightforward discussion with you?

            I expect you guys to talk to me right back within the constraints of our comment policy. I don’t expect you to treat me differently. It’s dishonest for you to make that insinuation without basis. I do consider that offensive to me. When you boil your responses to remarking about comment length, chasing you, and me being thin-skinned, you’ve directed the conversation towards talking about me instead of the woman and your initial comments about that woman. If you feel I was the one who changed the subject, feel free to point out where and we’ll discuss further. Otherwise, I’m content to dropping the meta discussion and going back to discussing how she could be viewed.

            P.S. – I don’t know what your beef is with Fauna but in her defense, she (and others) inserted clearly indicated notes in other people’s comments because she didn’t want to inflate the comment counts. She doesn’t strike me as passive aggressive in my experience and is rather blunt with what she thinks.

          • oh hai kai

            I have not violated the terms of the comment policy; if I did, you would act as a the mod and say, “You, stop that!” So who are you when you talk to me? Kai the commentator or Kai the mod. Because you can’t be both.

            There is no use discussing anything with you until we settle this out. And it won’t work out.

            I wasn’t going to talk about it, but you banned Little Wolf. I asked you about it and you’ve ignored me. I guess you’ve settled that. But what happened there is relevant to this discussion in which you, the mod, get into discussions with us plebians.

            You said I mounted a personal attack on you, something I deny (with the proof above). If you continue to think that I am attacking you by my treating you the same as everyone else (something that you say you want), I run the risk of offending your sensibilities. Because you think I am attacking you, personally.

            What this amounts to is getting into a fight with someone who’s packing heat. Am I going to win this argument? When do you decide that enough is enough and draw the line? Because you have the power of the hammer.

            cS is a free-for-all zone where anything goes, body checking from behind is allowed. You are the ref, and yet a player — a star player not unlike Wayne Gretzky with a eye protector that means no one can punch him in the face (this is a metaphor, do not construct as a literal reality) whereas the rest of us don’t.

            I worded a nicely direct letter to you in the comment before this. And I got flamed for it. I don’t want to get flamed. So you’re asking us acquiesce to your demands of “no personal attacks” and the such, and this isn’t preferential treatment?

            This is why mods in other forums don’t often get involved. Yes, like Fauna’s approach. Some places are very civil and everyone is nice. cS isn’t that place. No one comes here for the stories or the comments (sorry Peter Barefoot; good work nonetheless): no they come here for the pit fight. An established code of ethics has been established here where two extremes meet.

            There is no law here, but your law. If you say that I am personally attacking you and you believe it, what can I do?

            This is why I can never talk to you again. Not as another commentator, not on these boards. If you’ve got something to say as the mod, great, I’ll listen to you. But I won’t ever share my opinion with you directly here on cS. Because at some point – whether it be Little Wolf, me or the next guy – you’ll get offended.

            I’ll talk to you outside these forums, in real life, hey, on my site. Sure. You love my geeky humor. But there’s no way I’ll risk getting banned for just being myself here on these boards.

            One more thing: I do mean it when I say that I respect you. I don’t think you believe me. If we meet in real life I’ll tell you again. I’ll tell you everything I think because I can’t do it here. With you.

          • Kai

            I commented on your site and emailed you prior to reading this comment you left 3 days ago (I haven’t checked the comments over the past few days) so it is in that context that I’ll respond to you now, largely paragraph by paragraph.

            I believe the record supports my objection to you using ad hominem attacks about the length of my comments. Note that I didn’t respond to it the first time you alluded to it in your initial response to me and only brought it up after you did it again in a subsequent comment. I gave you the benefit of the doubt the first time around but it you insisted on using it as a rhetorical deflection. That’s when I objected. Please look over the conversation and let me know if I am not being fair in my representation of what happened.

            When did you ask me about Little Wolf? Was it in this discussion or a previous one? Either way, I’ve already emailed you regarding Little Wolf because of the discussion on your website about it.

            I don’t understand why you’re worried about whether or not you’re talking to me as a commenter or moderator. I don’t think I’ve blurred the lines, and surely asking you to be civil and reasonable in a discussion is not me wearing my moderator hat? I hope for civility and reason in any discussion I have with anyone.

            I take my role as a moderator seriously, and I wouldn’t have been given the powers I have if Fauna didn’t have confidence in me not abusing my powers over online arguments. Of course, those who have been banned or moderated rarely ever think they are at fault. We still have limits and have to make sometimes unpopular decisions that people will not appreciate for what we can only hope to be the greater good. I’ve been a moderator for various sites since my college days. I don’t think I’ve ever betrayed the trust placed in me.

            I objected to you using ad hominem attacks to deflect away from the actual issues in discussion. What does the length of my comment or your comment have anything to do with what is being discussed? Look up the definition of ad hominem. “Personal attack” is definition number 2. Definition number 1 is a logical fallacy where someone appeals to a characteristic of the other person instead of addressing the substance of the argument. Repeatedly alluding to the length of my comments is doing just that. Again, I ignored it the first time but objected the second time.

            I found your denials to be dishonest, as well as your characterization of me “chasing you” when all I did was respond to different things you said under the different comments you made. Are you honestly unable to see how that can be interpreted as dishonest? If you did the same thing I did (which you have plenty before), and I accused you of merely chasing me around, how would you think?

            When you say a mod is “angry” with you, I find that melodramatic. I’ve repeatedly explained what I find objectionable about your behavior in this discussion, specifically the off-topic remarks about comment length and “chasing” you. Just because I object to how someone participates in a discussion doesn’t mean I’m going to ban them. There is no history of me doing that. You may not know if you don’t know me well enough, but I had hoped you had more confidence in me not abusing my powers out of pettiness.

            When I said you’re not clear, I do mean I feel you obfuscate what you’re trying to say with what you consider to be witty rejoinders and digressions. If you don’t feel you’ve said anything that is offensive, then why would being more direct and clear be interpreted as a personal attack? I don’t understand your logic here.

            The irony of this situation is that you think I’m egging you on when I feel you egged me on first with the remarks about comment length, which yet again I remind you I initially completely ignored. Give me credit where it is due. Wouldn’t you feel I was egging you on if my very first reply to you made snide remarks about your writing style instead of directly addressing the substance of what you’re saying?

            There shouldn’t be a “winning” or “losing” at all on anyone’s turf. I was just trying to have a civil discussion with you and of course I’m going to object when I think you’re not responding in the same manner. I wanted you to treat me as I treated you. That’s not me flexing my moderator muscles, that’s just me being a participant in a discussion. I see now that you confused it as me threatening you, but no, I was imploring you, myself confused as to why you were being so combative.

            How can you characterize your previous comment calling me “thin-skinned” as a “nicely worded letter”? I said your argument wasn’t wielded well, you turn around and call me “thin-skinned?” Are you serious?

            My experience is that moderators and especially bloggers often get involved in their comments section, moderators because they’re often selected from the forum’s members. Fauna gets involved too, but not as often as me. She has her own level of interest in the comments and discussion. Surely you’ve seen her get into arguments with commenters before and had complaints about how she shouldn’t get involved either. So, we’re not going to apologize for commenting ourselves. It’s just unreasonable.

            I get now that you think the cS comments is a “pit fight” but have you considered that not everyone thinks the same thing and we may not want it to be like that? That we might aspire for it to be better? You must’ve seen the online petition by some of our readers calling for a more civil commenting section, right? Just because you’ve concluded the comments section is one thing doesn’t mean we all must acquiesce to it. Commenters fight to shape a community to what what they want. Moderators have the obligation to keep it open according to policies set so other commenters are bullied or alienated. This is incredibly hard to do but we try really damn hard.The only established code of ethics here is our comment policy. You can’t argue that you’ve concluded that there is a code of ethics and the rest of us have to abide by it and then accuse us of being in violation when we disagree with your behavior under your supposed code of ethics. We made the policy, you’re supposed to hold us against that, not against your code of ethics that you created.

            I’ve been attacked and criticized plenty of times by plenty of people. I’ve never personally banned anyone for that on cS. In fact, I’ve never banned anyone for simply criticizing me unless they go on to engage in trolling or other comment policy violations. Never.

            Thinking you’re engaging in dishonest argumentation is not me being offended as a moderator, but me reacting as another commenter in a discussion. Don’t confuse this. No one, least of me, is discouraging you from sharing your opinion. I get offended all the time, but I don’t ban people on that basis alone. If that were the case, and you know what I believe, wouldn’t the comment section here have a LOT less stupid and inflammatory comments?

            I’ve repeatedly tried to reiterate that I see eye-to-eye with you on a lot of things and enjoy your geeky humor. That’s partly why I don’t understand why this discussion evolved the way it did. I have repeatedly tried to civil and express my respect to you, only to be called “thin-skinned”. You admitted yourself on your blog that your terroir persona is combative, that you see the comments section here as a place where rational discussion cannot take place. You applied that worldview to my responses to you and reacted according to your terroir persona. I do believe the real you gives me the benefit of the doubt and a measure of respect, but do you really think your terroir persona reacted to me with the same sincerity and civility I extended to you when I responded to you wanting to discuss your views about this post?

            Have some confidence in your behavior and whether or not it violates our comment policy. You heard one person’s accusations and speculation without asking us for our side. That’s not fair, and you know where the contact form is and you also have our personal email addresses.

          • Wick

            “Comment Policy
            We welcome our readers to discuss our articles and particularly
            encourage commenters to contribute constructively by posting additional
            information or insights related to the article’s subject matter.”

            Sorry, I’m bored and trolling… Have at it, idea ninja swappers!

          • Kai

            I do welcome terroir to discuss our articles and encourage him to contribute constructively by posting additional information or insights related to the article’s subject matter.

          • Wick

            I’m a new commenter but a long time reader here. If you ask me, which you didn’t, BUT…if you ask me, maybe you shouldn’t descend from the CeleStial heavens so often and interfere with the affairs of mortals, unless of course they are breaking one of the site’s policies. If you want to join in the conversations, it might be better to use an alias.

            Just my two cents.

          • Kai

            Yeah, I definitely understand this is now way off the original topic. It’s certanly a meta discussion where we’re both just defending our characters from each others’ accusations.

            I don’t see myself as “descending from the celestial heavens” or “interfering with the affairs of mortals”. I don’t consider myself above you guys or you guys below me. Is it really that odd for bloggers or the people operating a site to participate in the discussions on their own sites? The whole idea of blogging and comment sections was for the bloggers to interact and have conversations with readers.

            Moreover, part of the reason I was made a moderator was because of my commenting history here, to explicitly participate in discussions, to respond to questions and address people’s concerns, to do what little I can to address concerns about the accessibility of the comments section. Other moderators were and may also be selected from the commenters.

            I understand some people feel wary about disagreeing with a “moderator” because a “moderator” is ostensibly an “authority” and people in general fear “authority”. However, nothing bad has ever happened to anyone who disagrees with us in a reasonable fashion and has not violated our comment policy consistently in other ways. Most of us are Westerners, right? We’re supposed to be comfortable challenging authority and appealing to the rule of law (comment policy), especially in instances of abuse of power. Why the sudden fear of moderators if you have a clear conscience?

            Thank you for your two cents. I hope you find my response reasonable.

          • Wick

            Don’t get me wrong man, I think you’re doing a great job here. It’s like what you said, “I understand some people feel wary about disagreeing with a “moderator”
            because a “moderator” is ostensibly an “authority” and people in general
            fear “authority”. The responses you get will be muddled by this idea.

            “I don’t consider myself above you guys or you guys below me.” I never meant my previous comment in that regard. I was merely comparing it to moderators/commenters. I apologize for the confusion.

          • Kai

            Cool, cheers.

          • Straight Wyt Grl

            Wow how do you do the pot calling kettle thing with a straight face? Your comments are often just as long and your blog posts even longer. And you include a bunch of pretentious references trying to show everyone how smart or cultured you are but only makes it extra hard for people to figure out what you’re saying. You write like those people who are trying way too hard to sound clever like only you see something others don’t. Get over yourself.

          • Straight wyt Grl: What are you wearing right now?

            How do you feel about the thick-skinned?

          • starsky

            “What are you wearing right now?”terroir

            Don’t sexualy harass the Straight wyt girl

          • Weird, Gay Azn Boy loves it when I shower attention upon him.

            Don’t know if he’s into thick or thin-skinned, but I hope I’ll make the cut.

          • lonetrey / Dan

            I don’t think they get the fact that _everyone_ here is simultaneously right and wrong.

            You’re all wrong. And all of you are right.

            Yes, she could have capitalized on her windfall of fortune.
            Yes, she doesn’t _have_ to, nor is she obligated to.
            No, it doesn’t make her a wrong person, no matter the outcome Hindsight 20/20.
            No, thinking she/the system is a wrong person/system doesn’t make terroir a wrong person either.

            Some assume a “forget it, it’s all wrong” approach when there’s a circular argument brewing. I prefer the “Screw it, it’s all correct and incorrect” viewpoint.

          • vincent

            You do bring up a very interesting point of view.

          • I’m not willing to get banned for it. Discussion over.

          • vincent

            Oh well, the point you made was a good one though, I do however understand your trepidation to continue the discussion.

          • Really? Because I don’t make good arguments with sound reasoning just to have everyone misunderstand me and then back off because of fear. It’s low of me, I’ve made repsonses to the many comments to me, and now I’m finished with arguing my (correct) opinion.

            The worst part of this is that at the end there I was fighting for my life to stay on these boards, and people yet downvote me for having an unpopular opinion. Oh wells. I lived in GAB’s fabulous shoes for a day.

          • vincent

            Maybe some people are having a hard time wrapping their heads around it? People tend to be scared of concepts or ideas they don’t understand hence the downvotes :P Anyway there will be plenty of articles in the future to argue your unique (correct) views.

          • No no no! You’re not supposed to agree with me at first! We must hash it out back and forth until we reach a mutually agreeable consensus that as a compromise means nothing!

          • vincent

            Whoops. My bad =.=” Will keep that in mind for future discussions :P

          • that is passionate and rare… a heated argument back and forth that burn the cheeks and flutter the heart and the mind with illogical anger and confusion, which then illogically push the lips of you and your opponent close. Yes… that is how a debate should be. But this, may also cause a ban. heh heh heh.

          • Debate? I just lost big time. It was a “shellacking” (sic)

          • El Puma R.

            “But she is setting an example as a woman with no imagination, no ambition, no desire to take the lead and do something – anything – with the assets afforded to her.”

            I am pretty sure this lady knows that if she engages in “doing something” she will have to do lots of deals with the chinese gvt (’cause youc an’t do anything in China without the consent and satisfaction of the CCP and it’s officials) therefore be corrupt just like most of them.

            I agree with you but she’s got nothing to do with role models from que government.
            PS: Lei Feng did help some people one day and when he left he got rolled over by a truck. nowadays many waidiren (chinese from the mainland provinces) cross the street without looking.. good job lei feng and CCP, the role model you posted was just some short sighted kid with a little bit of food to spare.

            China is finally starting to change in some aspects and that makes me sigh in relief.

          • cS don’t see it as that. They see it as “hey good news for once” and poo-poo on those who won’t allow for it.

            It made me realize: I prefer bad news in China over good news. I wrote a piece on my thing-or-another. Won’t leave a link so as not to offend anyone.

          • mcc.pj

            “Her kids could have gone to school abroad. But they are a bus driver and an office worker, respectiviely.”

            To be honest, that sounds like a pretty elitist judgment of those kids’ lives. If their parents were broke-ass farmers and one generation later, they’re working in an office and driving a bus and making solid wages in a big city–that’s a pretty big leap for a family to make in one generation. True, they might never achieve the rags-to-riches billionaire bedtime story (that the US in particular creams its jeans over). But judging them for falling somewhere in the middle actually seems to be more rooted in the extreme, all-or-nothing thinking criticised in your post. Moreover, people born poor don’t grow up with the luxury of navel-gazing about whether their success makes them ‘a tool of the system’ or ‘co-opted by the man’. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, I’d say this woman deserves credit where it’s due.

          • I said she’s a symbol. She’s part of the machine. To extol her virtues is to subscribe to the simplistic moral idea that there is only black and white: that rich people are all corrupt, or have rejected money all together.

            I’m saying that there’s another way. I’m criticizing the fact that there’s only two modes of thought where there can be more. I’m not saying she a bad person (pretty sure I said that in the beginning), I saying that she/her story is just part of the noise now.

            And yet look what happens. People here read in black and white as well. Maybe I shouldn’t have said the words “judge her”, but in the heat of the moment I did.

          • mcc.pj

            Nah I get where you’re coming from. I just mean that people brought up in societies with next to no social mobility, who probably grew up wondering where their next meal would come from, shouldn’t be held to the same standards of pondering the philosophical ramifications of becoming successful as people who have the luxuries of free time and resources to do so. Historically, it seems like most of the people who have written and theorised and debated about wealth and ethics and social contracts could well afford to do so–and those who fell ass-backwards into money were more likely to stay in the poverty mindset and a) save like crazy, and b) make sure their kids didn’t blow it for fear of running out of money again, like this lady.

          • Anonymous netizen, thank you for your time and concern to leave a comment. However, this thread of commentary is closed for me now, reasons are written down as specified upon the page in question.

            Neither validated nor rebuffed, your comment will continue to give others pause upon others who take the time to read it. You have made a noteworthy contribution to this page, an act of communal sharing that you should be proud of. Perhaps this act can serve as an anecdote in your following day’s verbal correspondence with fellow family or work units. Take the time to re-read your magnificent writing; this is what you think!

            Please do not loiter; be care not to litter or step on the grass.

          • AGREED!


          • yesway

            That woman is better than most people out there, no matter how you desperately try to twist her actions into something negative.

            It makes you uncomfortable that there are people like her, since they set a standard you have trouble reaching. So instead of trying to get up to that standard, you try to pull her down with vileness.

            But even pushing HER down, will never make YOU great.

          • Stop making yourself a victim. If you or anyone else is insulted, it’s because you allow yourself to be insulted.

            You are basically saying this: money is evil, rich people are all corrupt or like this lady. So good ahead, rationalize that you bad-mouther of Deng Xiaoping.

            I’m going to tell on you.

    • Kate

      You know maybe she likes living simply. Not everyone wants the BS that comes with responsibilty. Would you say the same if she were a rich westener?

      • “Not everyone wants the BS that comes with responsibilty. ”

        Are you talking about a child or an adult?

        • Kate

          I’m talking about people who have no desire to meddle their lives up by trying to take on responsibility more then they need to. Some people like to live very simple, cleaning the street is probably relaxing as it doesn’t take much thinking to do, there is no boss chewing you out, no dead lines, no sales, and some people enjoy that kind of work. You shouldn’t put her down for that. Not everyone wants to live a high paced, stressed out life style that managers and CEOs and those kinds of jobs bring. Just because she isn’t doing what you think she should do, doesn’t mean what she is doing is wrong. It’s her life, she obviously enjoys it or she wouldn’t be doing it. And it’s not necessary to quote me, I can scroll up just fine ^_^

          • Dear Kate, I was in the habit of quoting today, sorry.

            This is what I’m talking about: the reigning in of the expectations and dreams of Chinese that starts from childhood in picture books and even that cute McDull movie (My life as a bun).

            Say: if normal Chinese can’t, and if Chinese who have the ability to do something about whatever don’t do it, who takes the lead in China? Foreigners, who get clocked as a “Foreign Lei Feng” just because Chinese can’t think outside their own self-imposed cages.

            People’s lives are their own, but when something like this becomes news in which her story is trumpeted as a paragon of virtue and told to a billion people, well then yes: I will judge her. I will pass judgement upon her. She didn’t have to become meat for my fodder, but there she is.

            FAKE EDIT: Boy, the way that you describe it, maybe she should think about retiring.

          • starsky

            bullshit chinese always direct themselves. foreigners come to teach english(rather poorly). higher ranking foreigners like soviets are more useful


          • Soviets? Not only is your English poor, but you’re stuck in the 80’s. Cowabunga, dude!

          • Kai

            Yes, you can judge her as we can’t avoid being judged, but I suppose we’re judging you as judging her too harshly?

            The other problem with your defense here is that there are a lot of examples of Chinese people who have the ability to do something about whatever and actually do it. You make it sound as if there aren’t, exaggerating the stereotypical notion that dreams, greatness, creativity, thinking outside of the box, trying to change the world, and doing more than just keeping your head down are all uniformly and completely squashed out of Chinese people from childhood. You’re exaggerating the old Western “Asian conformity” stereotype, and while the stereotype does reflect aspects of Chinese history and societal norms, it’s not very helpful as it is wielded here.

          • Fine. Bring up all those other cases where Chinese have bucked the trend. Dom Pereignon all around.

            I’m talking about a story that’s on this page. If my argument rocks your world so hard that you see the world in terroir-colored glasses, what am I going to do?

          • Kai

            Google search “Chinese philanthropy”. First result:

            Try it in Chinese on Baidu.

            Even Chen Guangbiao, a favorite whipping boy for expats and Chinese alike that has been covered on cS multiple times, is a Chinese person who has done things with his money to change things he believes needs changing. Are you seriously unable to think of any Chinese people who have bucked the stereotype you’re painting them with?

            You’re talking about a story on this page but you’re trying to judge the story by employing a backdrop that is not on this page. What does this story being on this page have anything to do with discussing your opinion and arguments?

          • Because I’m awesome enough to bend a perspective my way in the face of “oh hey, finally a nice cS human interest story that doesn’t have to do with sex or death or scandal”.

            I also got you to chase me up and down this board. Should I now put my sexual preference in my screen name?

          • El Puma R.


            There ARE lots of people doing some real stuff, just like you said, however as foreigners in China (dunno about you) the vision of hope and the feeling of enchantment towards foreign cultures is often distorted by the same foreign people once we go to their countries… sometimes is the opposite, we get much more than we expected, so here you see us foreigners living in China bitching about every matter as if it was something general, (i.e. Chinese are selfish, dirty, materialistic, etc.) I do agree with you, but in a country that works under a system that needs stereotypical and negligent people to keep it going it is really hard for us to find “the other kind” Like the woman in question.. you know, every time we go out we know we will see that ignorant douchebag who didn’t see he had the red light honking from his Mercedes Benz because we are crossing the street. I wish I could run across more of these 阿姨 for every day I have left in China.

          • Kai

            No, I get that. I’m not arguing against generalizations in general (ha), I’m just saying terroir is depending too heavily on it in order to explain his judgement of her. I simply felt he didn’t wield the argument persuasively. When he challenged me to show examples of other rich people who do things for society more than this woman as if I wouldn’t be able to do so, and when he himself is smart enough to know that there are many, that only looks like a disingenuous way to discuss things. It’s like someone who argues there are no racists in America and then challenges the person who disagrees with him to give him examples.

            I have no problem with people becoming disenchanted with a foreign country and its people once they’ve arrived and it turns out different from what they imagined. I understand culture shock and being subjected to different norms than one is accustomed to. We all have our bad days, but I do more or less expect people who consider themselves educated and enlightened to at least be reasonable. I’m sure you can agree with that.

            Both terroir and I are ethnic Chinese but effectively Western expats in China for the record.

    • Gay Azn Boi

      Hmm. This reminds me of how the vast majority of senior management in all the companies I’ve worked at have been Caucasians. And this is in Toronto, one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Don’t get me wrong. Certain minorities, in particular Chinese, can be very smart and highly educated; they can be team leaders or managers, but very rarely making it to director or VP. The truth is most are better workers than leaders.

      On a personal note, I’ve always hated working for Chinese bosses. Most have been rude and arrogant. I prefer to work for/with Caucasians. Now call me a racist.

      • By all rights, the foreign language that Chinese should be learning is “German” so that they can speak to all the engineers and managers coming over.

        To reply, what don’t you like to do with Caucasians? Or rather, what “AZN-y” stuff do you do?

        • Gay Azn Boi

          Are you referring to the workplace or my personal/social life?

          • I don’t know. It’s you who keeps talking about your life.

          • Gay Azn Boi

            OMG….ok you guys always set me up for it and you complain that I talk about my private life? Jerks.

            Okay now your question is weird…I’m around people of all races/backgrounds all the time (like it’s not only Caucasians), so I’m not sure how to answer that. Did you mean what kind of Caucasians I don’t like?? In the workplace, no complaints. I’ll occasionally run into people I can’t stand, but they can be any race. In my personal life, there have been a handful of occasions where I’ve hooked up or dated White guys that didn’t see me as a person but as an object, or stereotyped me right away (e.g. A slightly older guy I’ve dated thought I was another one of the “asian money boys” he’s dated, even though I have a job and don’t need anyone to support me). But overall that’s rare so I can’t really complain.

            As for what “AZN-y” stuff I do, uhmm…Idk…I’m geeky, I like to read and play video games?

          • Germandude

            Nobody really asks about your private life specifically. And even if so, it is YOUR choice to make it public or not. However, you provide a lot of information about your work, preferences and so forth.

            Just in case that it makes you feel better: I don’t give a shit, but must warn you that I might pick on some of the details in the future if I feel forced to.

          • Gay Azn Boi

            Be my guest.

          • Gay Azn Boi

            There are others on here who post photos of their BABIES which has absolutely nothing to do with the article itself. I don’t see anybody picking on them. Oh right…because they’re straight and I’m gay. Do you see the inequality?

          • Germandude

            bla bla bla bla bla… First of all, the baby didn’t chose to have its pic been shown. Second, proud parents presenting pics of their kids is not a problem considering that nobody would pick on the kid, right? Plus, etiquette and education forbid to insult family members, especially kids, that are the weakest and innocent.

            You think I would insult Kate’s baby (sorry to use you as an example here Kate, I hope you don’t mind) because I am disagreeing with a post of her on chinaSmack?

            You, GAB, however are a caricature of a faggot that even most gays that I know would despise and would make fun of because you are giving gays a bad name. You know, those guys that are gay because that’s simply what they are, not insecure childish schnooks that go posting online shouting: “…you pick me out just because I am gay” while posting the most ridiculous comments. This kind of discussing, people should actually get over with right after primary school.

            Sorry for being that harsh, but in my eyes you are more and more mutating to a running gag.

          • Gay Azn Boi


          • linette lee

            oh gay azn boi, Everybody have their own opinion. You express yours that’s fine. I do admit sometimes your opinion is outrageous.

            All the baby photos posted here they are all adorable. They are beautiful babies. I haven’t seen one ugly baby in my whole life. God made them so cute…..They are angels. .

          • Gay Azn Boi

            Lol. So by your logic, if someone were to post an ugly baby, you’d take issue with that?

          • Brett

            The difference: people ask about our babies and our lives because we have developed enough relationships within the chinaSMACK community that people are genuinelyinterested. You pour yours life out like this is the Jerry Springer show.

          • Kai

            Brett doesn’t post a picture of his baby and then say “I prefer Caucasian babies over Chinese babies” (as far as I’ve noticed).

          • Kate

            I share pictures with Brett because him and I have a lot of similarities. We are both married to a Korean, have half Korean babies, and lived there. The message boards are also a community and him and I contribute more about the actual written articles more often then naught and occassionally share pictures to show off how our babes are growing. I personally don’t care what you write on here, if I don’t want to read ill keep on scrolling. But don’t make this about “if someone doesn’t like what I write its because I’m gay!” No its probably because they just don’t like what you write. Brett and I have both been subjected to rude comments before too but its just an asshole being an asshole, not because of our gender or sexual preferences. You take it far too personally.

          • I wasn’t trying to delve into your private life. (video games? really? XBox Live?) I was trying to say that you prefer Caucasian over Asian, but then that other guy came along and did it all for me. Now there’s a whole discussion that doesn’t involve me.

        • A guy

          He sets aside an hour everyday to press chrysanthemums, do caligraphy, fun with an abacus, and forcing children to play the piano.

      • A guy

        Just a thought or two on the reasons for the phenomena that you just mentioned.

        I have been told by many a Chinese person that Asia makes fewer managers, because of the traditional methods of schooling in Asia. Chinese schools focus on rote memorization and strong fundamentals, but not many real world skills. While American schools are horrible at fundamentals and memorization they are very good at teaching students critical thinking, taking initiative, being creative, and developing & maintaining interpersonal relationships to acheive goals. That is why Chinese expats do great in highly technical feilds as engineers but fail to reach higher echelons of administration. The lack of learning interpersonal skills for the workplace coupled with the rigid higherachy of Chinese culture probably makes for shitty bosses.

        If you look at ABC populations they probably have higher percentages in management because of the change in education and culture.

        • the ace of books

          Thanks. This, about the education system, was basically what I was going to say. (though I might leave off the last sentence of the paragraph.)


          I’ve heard that many times and I agree for the most part. I also think there is a “glass ceiling” in Western countries that discourage minorities from reaching upper management. That said, I think the bigger problem for Asians wishing to reach management positions are what you just described.

        • Anonymal

          yes, so does this call for a change in education system in Asia? what factors should be considered when it comes to education system? should the student’s total score still be the benchmark in which we determine whether one student is favorable than the other?

          • A guy

            I don’t claim to have the answer to that. It is a complex situation and I was just noting one side effect. There are many positives to China’s system as well. I don’t know the answer, but I feel that America and China both need to learn from each other a little here. America is having problems creating kids who have good grammar ,math ability, and work ethic and China seems to do a great job there.

          • A guy

            I don’t have the answer for that. Both the American and Chinese systems have advantages. I personally feel that they should learn a bit from each other.

        • Gay Azn Boi

          Yeah I guess you’re right.

      • x1sfg

        I’d say it’s more of a glass ceiling thing. You don’t find many non-Caucasian executives outside Europe or North America. Look at the NFL and the NBA, how many black coaches? A handful. How many black owners?

        There are many companies in Silicon Valley that have Asian executives, mainly because they started the company. You also can’t forget the huge Korean and Japanese conglomerates like Samsung and Mitsubishi, who make everything from TV’s to engines to even defense systems.

        You’re not racist, just ignorant and self-hating. If flaunting your sexual preference compensates for it, then go for it.

        • Germandude

          well said, well said +1

        • A guy

          This issue is way more complex than that and ignoring the educational, cultural, factors etc… in favor of the good old it’s just a bunch of racism line is a gross oversimplification and misscharacterization of the issue.

          While I agree that GAB’s post was a even greater oversimplification and misscharacterization it doesn’t make it smart to lay into him.

          • A guy

            Upon reading his statement again, maybe he does deserve it a little.

        • Gay Azn Boi

          Where exactly in my post did I mention my sexual preference? -__-

          • Anonymal

            in yo name boi!

          • A guy

            What he seems to be saying is that your homosexuality makes you the target of prejudice and that makes you less likely to be viewed as bigoted, and he thinks that you hide behind that when you say inflammatory things. I think that it is an unfair characterization but that is why he brings it up even when you didn’t mention it.

          • Gay Azn Boi

            You know, it’s ironic that the same people on here disgusted by the Chinese’s lack of openness are the same ones who complain about my homosexuality – something that is widely accepted in the West.

          • Was that the only thing he got wrong? Because the rest of it was pretty spot on.

      • Daniel Tynan

        GAB, I’m also living in Toronto. I don’t think these caucasion CEO’s are “better” for the job than a Chinese or other nationality person. Canada it and will long be an “old white boys” club at the very top echelons of power. CEO’s are selected by senior white board members who feel most comfortable choosing “one of their own”. I’m speaking this as a white Canadian born here.

        Though my experiences of working for chinese bosses in China were not good. have to agree on that point. However that’s just a reflection of overall Chinese management style that does not place high value on the workers.

        • Gay Azn Boi

          Cool. What do you do in Toronto?

          • Daniel Tynan

            work in the TV and film industry. On a contract basis.

      • El Puma R.

        Not Racist man, You said Chinese, not asian. If I say I don’t like Americans doesn’t mean I hate all white people. I’d rather go back to work for my caucasian boss before I stay working for my chinese boss. Actually I finished my contract last week. I am so happy) however I am sure there are a few nice chinese bosses around here..whom neither me nor my friends have ever met… Hm…


      Sadly I agree. She could be so much more. She could get an education or pursue social causes or go into business for herself. Money allows one to take more risks that you normally wouldn’t want to take. I understand the reasoning of doing manual labor even though you are rich to show others your work ethic but to me it’s kind of a waste to just be a sanitation worker when you could do something more productive.

      • The US has guns, China only has money. This woman hit upon the one equalizer that change a Chinese person’s life. And she meekly sticks in default mode.

        That saying, “Careful what you wish for” applies here as well as “The price of getting what you want is getting what you once wanted” (Sandman – Gaiman).

        • Kai

          That Sandman quote is great but I think its presumptuous to say she “meekly sticks to default mode”. Why are her choices necessarily “meek”? Why are her choices “default”? She seems to be happy living the life she is living. Aren’t you projecting your values onto her? At what point does that go too far?

          • oh hai kai,

            You’re chasing me up and down this entire board. Do you want to wear my varsity jacket? My answer to you is the one above (geez, I recycled Neil Gaiman twice in the same comments).

  • Irvin

    Soon a bunch of sanitary workers gonna get kidnap and the streets will be filthy again.

    • linette lee

      hahahah…that’s a good one.

  • Johnny_Basic

    If she will insist on eking out the rest of her days in such an utterly joyless fashion, there are ample outdoor activities which she could be occupying her time with instead – walking backwards while clapping arrhythmically, slapping trees, walking a rat-like poodle with tiny shoes on, the list goes on – which wouldn’t lead to her denying employment to someone who actually *needs* this job.

    • linette lee

      Everybody should work rich or poor. Work hard and play hard. Even billionaires don’t stop working. They work very hard too. Look at bill gate and donald trump and steve jobs.

      • Man, Steve Jobs should stop working so hard and start thinking about the future.

  • dim mak

    Wow, 3 in the morning
    Hope her kids are watching

  • Cleo

    she has no leverage against her so she can work freely and happily unlike her coworkers who actually need the worker – I wonder if anyone resents her for taking up a position that an unemployed person could have instead

    • Germandude

      Everyone has the right to work. No matter if rich or poor. So no, I don’t have a problem with her taking a position that is unlikely to be a favorite among unemployed people in the first place.

  • Justin

    China, as a nation of 1.3 billion people, has all kinds, both good and bad. Hope all the haters think about this the next time they try to paint the Chinese with a broad brush

  • Daniel Tynan

    That’s cool, if a bit nutty. But she should have used that money and warning to make her son get a good education. Being a hired driver in China is hardly a great career.

    • Kai

      I think the big payday was in 2008 so her kids may have already grown up by then. If she started building up her rental business in the 80s and 90s, I’m guessing she was making enough to at least give her kids an education but maybe not a fancy one that her current wealth might suggest she could afford. 2008 was just four years ago, so I think her kids were past tracking them into really good/connected education. Or her kids may just not have done well in school or sought better jobs. Her wealth came from hard work, some wise decisions, and a stroke of luck/timing. It’s not like she made her wealth through brilliance and her kids seem woefully unlike their mother in the intelligence and career department. Shrug.

      • A guy

        I will not try to impose my opinions on this woman’s life more than we all have already, but there is another possibility as to why her kids are not impressive.

        One of the reasons poor people stay poor is the poor parents inability to spend time with their children because they are waking up at 0300 to clean the streets and can’t spend time that the wealthy can with their kids.

        There are so many other possibilities, but that is sadly one of them. In my opinion if you have the freedom to you should show your kids all the potential they have. Maybe the example she set in the end was mediocrity. If she wanted to help the world she could of pushed her children to be doctors, scientists, inventors, anything that could contribute to the advancement of humanity.

        I admit it is harsh and I still applaud her effort and restraint, but I think her strategy may have been flawed.

        • Kai

          That’s an interesting argument. It’s definitely true that poor people can, by virtue of working all the time, not be there to raise their children. I suppose I’m used to the stereotype of rich people spoiling their children materially but not actually being there to raise them.

          The article says she cleans that street for 6 hours. I’m thinking her shift starts at 3 and ends by midday so she may be present for her kids at other times?

          You’re right that there are other possibilities. I was just offering one I think likely given the information I know in response to what Daniel Tynan brought up.

          She could’ve been Tiger Mom, yes, but I just don’t think her kids growing up to be a blue-collar driver and a white-collar office worker is that damning of her child rearing history or skills. She herself is not “impressive”. She was a vegetable farmer. She simply made some good decisions about saving money and investing it in building rental units before government policy brought her a windfall that she is seemingly being a decent steward of (at least not squandering it). I guess I just don’t feel there’s reason to expect her kids to be more impressive given the timeline and circumstances of how she became a “rich woman”.

          It’s kinda harsh to damn any parent whose children don’t go on to make major contributions to the advancement of humanity. I also don’t think her “strategy” throughout all this was to make her children doctors, scientists, and inventors. I think her strategy of working, saving, building, and then not squandering was just to make the best of what hand she was dealt and live a decent life rearing decent children who don’t become gambling and druggie degenerates. “Strategy” sounds like she intended something but failed. What if she succeeded in her strategy wildly beyond her dreams and is now trying to make sure that success doesn’t go to her childrens’ heads as it did her fellow villagers?

          • A guy

            Like I said it is just one more possibility. I guess I am a little down so all I can see lately is the down side to things.

        • elizabeth

          And maybe she just doesn’t have the intelligent/education to enable her to think big like you do. This might be the best she knew how to.

          Or it could have been the hukou system that prevented her children to advance in life.

          Sincerely, no sarcasm intended.

  • peye

    Yes respect for the lady and her philosophy of life. People like her are the “Salt of the earth”.

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  • I really don’t see the nobility in this at all. “You came into a boatload of money. Congratulations for not becoming a complete asshole.” That’s like, “thanks for feeding your children” and “thanks for not ever murdering anyone.” Its just stuff normal human beings are expected to do.

    Why is she more respectable than ANY street cleaner? Or anyone who does their job? Because she doesn’t have to?

    Does doing shit like a normal human being become noble when that person doesn’t HAVE to do it?

    • Kai

      It strikes me as similar to how people remark about the kind of house Warren Buffet lives in and that he’s generally not very ostentatious (though there have been notable exceptions). People in general have certain preconceptions of the rich and those who don’t fit their expectations are seemingly remarkable. I’m not surprised by the responses to this story really.

      • I’m not surprised either, I know where people are coming from with their praise. I just think its wrong.

        That said, if the report is accurate, she does seem to be a very sensible woman. I don’t mean to denigrate her at all. I just don’t think she’s special.

        • Kai

          Yeah, I get it. There’s something inherently demoralizing when someone doing something as simple as working an honest job to set an example for her children gets so much praise. Makes you wonder how bad the rest of society must be for this to be so remarkable. Rock on.

          • I think this is the most honest, civil exchange I’ve ever read or experienced on Chinasmack. So, you rock on, sir or ma’am.

  • elizabeth

    To her credit, she is a rare gem in a society (or world) so obsessed with material things and is a good example of how to handle wealth. However, what she is doing is not that exceptional or noteworthy as to gain that much recognition. She is not doing anything charitable or selfless (like the boss who lost his life), for instance.

    She might have worked hard (kudos to her) to raise her children but her wealth was the result of a windfall from the government that made her and many others like her rich. The only difference is that she did not squander the money away but remained humble. The attention she is getting might be a reflection of the standards of modern society. A few decades back, this would probably have been commonplace.

    • Kai

      I agree, the attention and response says something about the standards of modern (Chinese?) society. I think that’s interesting in of itself.

  • booooooo

    with millions she could have been doing something else more meaningful than working as a sanitation worker if just to ‘set an example’ for her children. after all being a sanitation worker is not the best choice for the children even if they want to be independent and live on their own.

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  • thisguy

    this woman is driven. i mean she does her job for fun basically. that’s awesome, she better at least remember to take a nice vacation put her feet up nothing wrong with doing that after how hard she’s worked.

  • tt_tiara

    What clean streets! Good work!

  • savyna

    i think she’s awesome.

  • DJ

    love reading the comment from the chinese up top..
    then comes the ones below….

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