Story of the Post-80s in the Mainland
|Alice Poon||Feb 25, 2010|
The passage in classical Chinese:-
“夫80後者, 初從文, 未及義務教育之免費, 不逮高等學校之分配, 適值擴招, 過五關, 斬六將, 碩博相繼, 數年乃成, 負債十萬. 覓生計, 十年無休, 披星戴月, 秉燭達旦, 蓄十萬. 樓市暴漲, 不足購房, 遂投股市, 翌年縮至萬餘, 抑鬱成疾. 入院一週, 傾其所有, 病無果, 因欠費被逐院門. 醫保曰, 不符大病之條例, 拒賠. 友憐之, 賒三鹿一包, 沖而飲, 卒.”
Here is my translation:-
“This is a broadbrush description of the life of a typical post-80 youth. He is someone who was educated in the Arts. He was unlucky enough to have been born too early to benefit from the free college and university education program (which was implemented after the state started the open and reform policy). Also, he missed the chance of benefiting from the state-facilitated job placement program after university graduation and was forced to look for a job on his own. Then he had the misfortune of encountering the expansion of university degree programs which caused the number of graduates to surge exponentially. He had no alternative but to go on with further studies to get his master’s and doctor’s degree. After several years of struggling with his studies, he found himself indebted on student loans to the tune of a hundred thousand dollars.
In order to make a living, he toiled non-stop in a job for ten years, laboring day and night and sweating out overtime work. Finally he managed to save up a hundred thousand. But alas, at that time the property market was shooting through the roof, and with his meager savings he knew he could not expect to become a property owner. So he decided to invest his money in the stock market. The next year his investments devalued to about ten thousand dollars. As a result, he suffered from manic depression and was admitted to a hospital. After being hospitalized for a week, he spent the last cent he had on paying hospital bills but his sickness was still not cured. Nonetheless, as he was behind in his payment of bills, he was thrown out of the hospital. According to the terms of his medical insurance policy, no compensation would be paid on any illness that is not in the category of serious sickness, and his illness was not considered serious.
A friend of his, after finding out what had happened to him, was deeply sympathetic towards him. The friend brought a packet of Sanlu melamine-tainted milk powder to him. He stirred the milk powder in water, drank it and died.”
Blogger and columnist Tsui Sioming (崔少明) remarked in his blog that the mismatch between the number of university graduates and the number of available jobs is much more devastating in the mainland than in Hong Kong. According to him, the number of college graduates has soared from 1.07 million in 2000 to over 6 million in 2009.
In the concluding paragraph of a long article in Southern Metropolis Weekly’s People Magazine, several post-80s youngsters summarized their different views on the overall situation they find themselves in:-
“Jiang said before he can put his trust in something, he is already starting to be untrusting. Fan said perhaps it’s not as bad as a dream being broken, but at the end of the day there need to be changes. Chen said we are afraid of making mistakes, of being marginalized, of losing, of being belittled; and our love (of things) is so blind, so hypocritical, so lack of depth and vulnerable to agitation; and this can all be attributed to our historical situation and our present situation. Zhao said this is the best of times, because there are simply too many opportunities – all doors are wide open; this is the worst of times, because few doors would let you in to have a good look at the scenery inside.”