2011-11-21 20:41:00 本文行家:于佳鑫

ThenightbeforeIwasheadingfor Scotland,Iwasinvitedtohostthefinalof"China'sGotTalent" showinShanghaiwiththe80,000liveaudienceinthestadium.Guesswhowastheperformingguest?SusanBoyle.AndItoldher,"I'mgo


The night before I was heading for Scotland,I was invited to host the finalof "China's Got Talent" show in Shanghaiwith the 80,000 live audience in the stadium.Guess who was the performing guest?Susan Boyle.And I told her, "I'm going to Scotland the next day."She sang beautifully,and she even managed to say a few words in Chinese.[Chinese]So it's not like "hello" or "thank you,"that ordinary stuff.It means "green onion for free."Why did she say that?Because it was a linefrom our Chinese parallel Susan Boyle --a 50-some year-old woman,a vegetable vendor in Shanghai,who loves singing Western opera,but she didn't understandany English or French or Italian,so she managed to fill in the lyricswith vegetable names in Chinese.(Laughter)And the last sentence of Nessun Dormathat she was singing in the stadiumwas "green onion for free."So [as] Susan Boyle was saying that,80,000 live audience sang together.That was hilarious.

So I guess both Susan Boyleand this vegetable vendor in Shanghaibelonged to otherness.They were the least expected to be successfulin the business called entertainment,yet their courage and talent brought them through.And a show and a platformgave them the stageto realize their dreams.Well, being different is not that difficult.We are all differentfrom different perspectives.But I think being different is good,because you present a different point of view.You may have the chance to make a difference.

My generation has been very fortunateto witness and participatein the historic transformation of Chinathat has made so many changesin the past 20, 30 years.I remember that in the year of 1990,when I was graduating from college,I was applying for a job in the sales departmentof the first five-star hotel in Beijing,Great Wall Sheraton -- it's still there.So after being interrogatedby this Japanese manager for a half an hour,he finally said,"So, Miss Yang,do you have any questions to ask me?"I summoned my courage and poise and said,"Yes, but could you let me know,what actually do you sell?"I didn't have a clue what a sales department was aboutin a five-star hotel.That was the first day I set my footin a five-star hotel.

Around the same time,I was going through an audition --the first ever open auditionby national television in China --with another thousand college girls.The producer told usthey were looking for some sweet, innocentand beautiful fresh face.So when it was my turn, I stood up and said,"Why [do] women's personalities on televisionalways have to be beautiful, sweet, innocentand, you know, supportive?Why can't they have their own ideasand their own voice?"I thought I kind of offended them.But actually, they were impressed by my words.And so I was in the second round of competition,and then the third and the fourth.After seven rounds of competition,I was the last one to survive it.So I was on a national television prime-time show.And believe it or not,that was the first show on Chinese televisionthat allowed its hoststo speak out of their own mindswithout reading an approved script.(Applause)And my weekly audience at that timewas between 200 to 300 million people.

Well after a few years,I decided to go to the U.S. and Columbia Universityto pursue my postgraduate studies,and then started my own media company,which was unthought ofduring the years that I started my career.So we do a lot of things.I've interviewed more than a thousand people in the past.And sometimes I have young people approaching mesay, "Lan, you changed my life,"and I feel proud of that.But then we are also so fortunateto witness the transformation of the whole country.I was in Beijing's bidding for the Olympic Games.I was representing the Shanghai Expo.I saw China embracing the worldand vice versa.But then sometimes I'm thinking,what are today's young generation up to?How are they different,and what are the differences they are going to maketo shape the future of China,or at large, the world?

So today I want to talk about young peoplethrough the platform of social media.First of all, who are they? [What] do they look like?Well this is a girl called Guo Meimei --20 years old, beautiful.She showed off her expensive bags,clothes and caron her microblog,which is the Chinese version of Twitter.And she claimed to be the general manager of Red Crossat the Chamber of Commerce.She didn't realizethat she stepped on a sensitive nerveand aroused national questioning,almost a turmoil,against the credibility of Red Cross.The controversy was so heatedthat the Red Cross had to open a press conferenceto clarify it,and the investigation is going on.

So far, as of today,we know that she herself made up that title --probably because she feels proud to be associated with charity.All those expensive itemswere given to her as giftsby her boyfriend,who used to be a board memberin a subdivision of Red Cross at Chamber of Commerce.It's very complicated to explain.But anyway, the public still doesn't buy it.It is still boiling.It shows us a general mistrustof government or government-backed institutions,which lacked transparency in the past.And also it showed usthe power and the impact of social mediaas microblog.

Microblog boomed in the year of 2010,with visitors doubledand time spent on it, a major news portal,alone has more than 140 million microbloggers.On Tencent, 200 million.The most popular blogger --it's not me --it's a movie star,and she has more than 9.5 million followers, or fans.About 80 percent of those microbloggers are young people,under 30 years old.And because, as you know,the traditional media is still heavily controlled by the government,social media offers an openingto let the steam out a little bit.But because you don't have many other openings,the heat coming out of this openingis sometimes very strong, activeand even violent.

So through microblogging,we are able to understand Chinese youth even better.So how are they different?First of all, most of them were bornin the 80s and 90s,under the one-child policy.And because of selected abortionby families who favored boys to girls,now we have ended upwith 30 million more young men than women.That could posea potential danger to the society,but who knows;we're in a globalized world,so they can look for girlfriends from other countries.Most of them have fairly good education.The illiteracy rate in China among this generationis under one percent.In cities, 80 percent of kids go to college.But they are facing an aging Chinawith a population above 65 years oldcoming up with seven-point-some percent this year,and about to be 15 percentby the year of 2030.And you know we have the traditionthat younger generations support the elders financially,and taking care of them when they're sick.So it means young coupleswill have to support four parentswho have a life expectancy of 73 years old.

So making a living is not that easyfor young people.College graduates are not in short supply.In urban areas,college graduates find the starting salaryis about 400 U.S. dollars a month,while the average rentis above $500.So what do they do? They have to share space --squeezed in very limited spaceto save money --and they call themselves "tribe of ants."And for those who are ready to get marriedand buy their apartment,they figured out they have to workfor 30 to 40 yearsto afford their first apartment.That ratio in Americawould only cost a couple five years to earn,but in China it's 30 to 40 yearswith the skyrocketing real estate price.

Among the 200 million migrant workers,60 percent of them are young people.They find themselves sort of sandwichedbetween the urban areas and the rural areas.Most of them don't want to go back to the countryside,but they don't have the sense of belonging.They work for longer hourswith less income, less social welfare.And they're more vulnerableto job losses,subject to inflation,tightening loans from banks,appreciation of the renminbi,or decline of demandfrom Europe or Americafor the products they produce.Last year, though,an appalling incidentin a southern OEM manufacturing compound in China:13 young workersin their late teens and early 20scommitted suicide,just one by one like causing a contagious disease.But they died because of all different personal reasons.But this whole incidentaroused a huge outcry from societyabout the isolation,both physical and mental,of these migrant workers.

For those who do return back to the countryside,they find themselves very welcome locally,because with the knowledge, skills and networksthey have learned in the cities,with the assistance of the Internet,they're able to create more jobs,upgrade local agriculture and create new businessin the less developed market.So for the past few years, the coastal areas,they found themselves in a shortage of labor.

These diagrams showa more general social background.The first one is the Engels coefficient,which explains that the cost of daily necessitieshas dropped its percentageall through the past decade,in terms of family income,to about 37-some percent.But then in the last two years,it goes up again to 39 percent,indicating a rising living cost.The Gini coefficienthas already passed the dangerous line of 0.4.Now it's 0.5 --even worse than that in America --showing us the income inequality.And so you see this whole societygetting frustratedabout losing some of its mobility.And also, the bitterness and even resentmenttowards the rich and the powerfulis quite widespread.So any accusations of corruptionor backdoor dealings between authorities or businesswould arouse a social outcryor even unrest.

So through some of the hottest topics on microblogging,we can see what young people care most about.Social justice and government accountabilityruns the first in what they demand.For the past decade or so,a massive urbanization and developmenthave let us witness a lot of reportson the forced demolitionof private property.And it has aroused huge anger and frustrationamong our young generation.Sometimes people get killed,and sometimes people set themselves on fire to protest.So when these incidents are reportedmore and more frequently on the Internet,people cry for the government to take actions to stop this.

So the good news is that earlier this year,the state council passed a new regulationon house requisition and demolitionand passed the rightto order forced demolition from local governmentsto the court.Similarly, many other issues concerning public safetyis a hot topic on the Internet.We heard about polluted air,polluted water, poisoned food.And guess what, we have faked beef.They have sorts of ingredientsthat you brush on a piece of chicken or fish,and it turns it to look like beef.And then lately,people are very concerned about cooking oil,because thousands of people have been found[refining] cooking oilfrom restaurant slop.So all these thingshave aroused a huge outcry from the Internet.And fortunately,we have seen the governmentresponding more timely and also more frequentlyto the public concerns.

While young people seem to be very sureabout their participationin public policy-making,but sometimes they're a little bit lostin terms of what they want for their personal life.China is soon to pass the the number one marketfor luxury brands --that's not including the Chinese expendituresin Europe and elsewhere.But you know what, half of those consumersare earning a salary below 2,000 U.S. dollars.They're not rich at all.They're taking those bags and clothesas a sense of identity and social status.And this is a girl explicitly sayingon a TV dating showthat she would rather cry in a BMWthan smile on a bicycle.But of course, we do have young peoplewho would still prefer to smile,whether in a BMW or [on] a bicycle.

So in the next picture, you see a very popular phenomenoncalled "naked" wedding, or "naked" marriage.It does not mean they will wear nothing in the wedding,but it shows that these young couples are ready to get marriedwithout a house, without a car, without a diamond ringand without a wedding banquet,to show their commitment to true love.And also, people are doing good through social media.And the first picture showed usthat a truck caging 500 homeless and kidnapped dogsfor food processingwas spotted and stopped on the highwaywith the whole country watchingthrough microblogging.People were donating money, dog foodand offering volunteer work to stop that truck.And after hours of negotiation,500 dogs were rescued.And here also people are helping to find missing children.A father posted his son's picture onto the Internet.After thousands of [unclear],the child was found,and we witnessed the reunion of the familythrough microblogging.

So happiness is the most popular wordwe have heard through the past two years.Happiness is not only relatedto personal experiences and personal values,but also, it's about the environment.People are thinking about the following questions:Are we going to sacrifice our environment furtherto produce higher GDP?How are we going to perform our social and political reformto keep pace with economic growth,to keep sustainability and stability?And also, how capable is the systemof self-correctnessto keep more people contentwith all sorts of friction going on at the same time?I guess these are the questions people are going to answer.And our younger generationare going to transform this countrywhile at the same time being transformed themselves.

Thank you very much.




于佳鑫曾先后任某国际培训学校、托福教师、英语教学督导。曾任济南新东方、宁波新东方学校英语教师、国内外考试部负责人。 我的微博