“Sticking it to the man” – education in China
….In contrast, he argues, Chinese teenagers are never allowed to take risks, which blocks self-understanding and self-reflection. Because Chinese students never confront typical teenage tribulations, they are doomed to live out their teenage years forever.
I am a product of one of these Chinese boarding schools, and a participant in many small acts of teenage rebellion. Yes, we were required to wear uniforms and were not allowed to wear jewelry. But my desk-mate and I had fun sneaking ear studs behind our hair, an act we perceived as extremely defiant. We were not allowed to leave school on weekdays, so we pretended to be sick and obtained special permission from school nurses to leave school for two hours. Then we devoured hamburgers and fries at McDonald’s and came back in time for afternoon classes.
Life as a Chinese student is hard and in some respects unforgiving – one poor performance (especially during the pre-university exam) can cost a young person dearly. The saying that “those who can overcome the highest level of hardship and pain will become the elite in this world” is very powerful, though arguably those that become the elite often start with a leg up over the rest. Still, there’s always hope if you try hard enough.
Read the whole thing.
(Hat tip to Richard at the Peking Duck for finding this.)
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