[Theme music plays]
“Remember. Remember! I remember youuu!
You lift my spirit. With you, high is all I’m feelin’. Remember how we felt like I remember youuu! You make me stronger…l”
[Theme music fades] WINSTON (W): So, C-Milk, what are we talking about today? C-MILK (C): Today we’re talking about China’s “lost generation.” And I think it’s super interesting because there’s very few countries in the world
that have such a massive gap between the parental generation and the children… W: Yeah. C: Because like me and my parents..you know, we- we have our differences. We have generation gap. You know…my parents aren’t super-good with computers W: Sure. C: ..that kind of stuff. But you know, in China, it’s much WIDER gap. It’s huge. It’s massive. And that’s because of something that happened in the 1950s 60s, and 70s, so we’re gonna talk about that. W: Yeah, very recent history. C: Yeah. W: Ok, cool…what do you say we hop on the bikes
and go talk about that. C: Sounds good, I know some cool places to go check out today. W: Awesome. Let’s gooo! [Motorbikes rev up] [C-Milk meows] C: So, “lost generation”…kinda sounds like Star Trek. W: Sounds like the awesome 80’s movies like “The Lost Boys”, ya know C: Oh, I was thinking “The Last Generation”
…wait, is that a Star Trek thing? W: Uh, “The Next Generation.” C: No, “The NEXT Generation.” Sorry
[Winston chuckles] I’m getting mixed up here. Well, we’re talking about China, not Star Trek.
W: Yeah. C: And we’re not talking about “The Lost Boys” and that saxophone guy. [Winston chuckles]
C: That is for sure. W: That is such an awesome scene. C: It is such a NOT-awesome scene and we’re definitely not putting that in the video…anyway…SO… W: –oh yes, we are..
C: …Shit. [Both laugh] C: The “lost generation”…actually, because of the lost generation…actually, we should say what the lost generation is…
it’s ah…how old are the people? W: Well, it’s people that are now currently in their sort of 50s, 60s…that kind of, um, age group. C: That’s right. That’s- that’s what they’ve said… So, basically what that means is that those people didn’t have access to education and it’s clearly changed their attitude towards life. Or –holy shit–
W: Yeah. C: Anyway…um, what- what happened was, Mao Zedong in the 1960s and 70s during the whole “Great Leap Forward” period had this very wise idea to come up with this movement called the “up to the mountains, down to the countryside” movement. W: Yeah. C: You know, what that meant was temporary –I say “temporary” but he wanted it to be a long-term thing– but schools were temporarily shut down and the bourgeois, rich children that were going to school would actually be sent to the countryside, and, ya’know, kind of –how to say, uh– pushed out of the cities and go out to the countryside for a couple years to learn how the farmers do. Right? W: Yeah. C: So in Mao’s Red Book he said “The kings of our country, the most powerful people of our country should be the farmers. So we’re going to send all these useless, kinda, Westernized rich kids out to the country so that they know the struggle. And [so that] they know how to farm for our country so that we can increase our output.” W: So, basically, “It’s cool to be poor,” right? C: “It’s cool to be poor.” That’s exactly what Mao Zedong was talking about. W: It’s the “in” thing. It’s the way it should be. C: That guy just caught a fish, I think. W: Yeah. C: Let’s see his catch. C’mon dude, reel it in! Here it is…here it is! C’mon! Yeah…yeah! W: Let me get a closer look. C: Did he get it? W: That’s it. C: I think he got one. Yeah…nice! C: That’s a BIG one. W: How the hell did he catch that? [The hook] is in its tail! C: Wow! W: That’s, uh, what we call a grass carp, I believe. C: –Yeah..I would never eat there, BUT that’s pretty cool that he caught that. W That’s pretty big. Cool. C: Nice job, Bro…good luck! Nice. W: Nice. I don’t know how he managed to hook it that way… C: –it’s was just lucky, I think. So yeahM, so what this did was put a massive dent in China’s educational progress. And, it was VERY detrimental to the economy as well because instead of people, ya know, pushing for business and pushing for intellectual or white-collar work, it was now all blue-collar and the only thing that was getting compensated or promoted by the government was agriculture and
steel production and manual labor. So you had all these starry-eyed,
young teenagers bein’ like “I’m gonna- I’m gonna to be a doctor! I’m gonna to be a teacher!” Ya’know? W: Yeah. C: “I’m going to be a scientist!” and now they have to go get sent to the countryside in a kind-of gulag, Soviet Union-style effort to promote growth in the country. And it had a massive effect on today’s current population who is now about, like you said, 50 and 60 and 70 years old. C: Um, what i want to ask you –I’m trying to find an alley that we can sneak down– …what I wanted to ask you was what are the, uh, repercussions of this that you can see today in the attitude of people? –and not from OUR perspective but like the young Chinese people– what do they think? W: Well, first thing, you left out a huge part of that whole situation and that is when young- young people were instructed to, basically, attack their teachers and uh, you know, basically destroy the schools and, uh, reject all their learnings
C: –There it is W:–yeah, this is the [alley], I’ll go ahead–
C: –Ok. W: Um, so again, that taught them to defy authority. “You could do what you want. You know, this is your country. You can’t have anyone tell you there’s authority.
It doesn’t mean anything unless, of course, it’s, um, you know, the Communist Party’s authority. You can never say anything to…” –take a left or a right? C: Uh, take a left then go right. W:Ok…uh, and so they basically, this generation became incredibly arrogant and they were like, “You know what? We can just beat you up; burn down the school; do what we want…because we’ve been given permission.” And this…These people are 12, 13, 14 years old, you know, at that rebellious teenage age? And that’s obviously engrained into your, your character then. So you get these people who are now incredibly arrogant, who believe they can do just whatever they want…basically…in- in a very spoiled kinda of a way. C: Ok. W: So it’s like, “I can do what I want because I’ve been given permission.” You know? And it has definitely- it’s spoiled over. You see, that- that generation is the WORST in China, like no- no joke. C:–there’s a reason they are called the “lost generation” W: –and that’s because the will just litter, they will destroy the environment, they’ll take what they want because they just get what they want and they don’t care. So for instance, they’ll “–oh look, there’s an endangered species animal. I’m just going
to eat it because I can.” C:Right. W:You know…or “I don’t care. I’m just going to throw litter over here. I wanna do this…I’ll just do this.” You can see– It’s actually– A very good example of this are those “dancing aunties.” C: Yeah. W: They’re such a menace in China because they’re all of that age. They’re all in that age group. They get together in these huge mobs to go and dance. Now, I thought at first that it was a really awesome thing to see these people dancing. I thought it was wonderful. I thought, “Oh look, they’re getting out and doing something.” But then, what they do is they basically claims a space –if they just suddenly decide, “Oh, I like- I like this street.” They’ll come out here with their little boombox and they’ll start dancing. And the residents can complain as MUCH as they want. They will NOT STOP. In fact, they will… C: –For. Sure.
W: …they will get worse. C: –Take a left.
W: …uh, they’ll basically, uh, bring in more people and make the music louder. And there are a couple of very funny, high profile cases where, uh, residents in nearby buildings have fought back by buying, sort of,
crowd-control speakers C: –Right W: …to, like, BLAST down messages to make it so uncomfortable for these
“dancing aunties” that they have to move. But they refuse. Like, the police will come and try to chase them away and then as soon as the police go away they come back and, you know… C: –That arrogance, ag- again,
I think you’re absolutely correct –Go left– um… W: –Ok.
C: …it comes from… –And then go straight…in this alley–
W: Ok…alright. C: This arrogance actually comes from the absolute disarray and unbelievable anarchy that was happening during that period of the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward. People just kinda got used to scrambling to get what they could get.
You know what I mean? W: Left or right? C: I don’t know. It’s kinda interesting down there.
W: –Let’s go down there. This looks very, very narrow– C: –i figure we’d just check it out.
W: –Yeah, so they are used to just being able to do what they want. And because of that, there’s this very horrible attitude where they have this kinda arrogrant authority over everyone. And of course, their children and grandchildren can’t stand it because constantly being forced to “Eat this!” or “Do this!” or “Do that!” …you know, there’s nothing they can really do about it. C:This is pretty awsome, by the way. W: Yeah, yeah. C: Check out this– check out this building right here. W: Where? C: On the left. Look up.
That looks pretty- pretty cool. Pretty old. W: It just looks like…it looks awful. What are you talkin’ about? You know my– You know my opinion on this stuff. C: Not the cement –ah, nevermind!
[Both chuckle] C: Anyway, this is actually Huizhou’s famous ancient street. You’ve been down here. It’s where they get the seafood? W: Yup…yeah…I recognize it.
It’s so ancient and um,… C: –It is…I will say this:
This street is very ancient. It’s very old. W: Ah-hah. C: But there’s a lot of new buildings up…
W: Uh-hmm. C: –Anyway, long story short, there’s a reason that…
–why is that shop selling magazines from the 1990s? W: I don’t know [chuckles]. C: Well anyway, it’s ancient.
I guess we went back in time. W: Yeah. C: Um, Marty McFly’s ship goin’ on here…
So, uh, there’s a reason that the young generation has now called them the “lost generation.” It’s not our label. Uh, because they are actually really, really frustrated. Now if you want to get a public position and work for the government –which has always been seen as the best thing to do. W: Yes. C: …up until fairly recently. For a young graduate, to get into the party and get a stable “iron rice bowl” job W:Yeah. C: It’s very difficult for them to rise up in the ranks because of the old ideology and mentality that the people have here. Right? So, these, uh, cadres and people high up in the party
are in– are part of “the lost generation.” And –I don’t want to get too–
I don’t want to get too– How to say? W: –political?
C: …I don’t wanna get too political here– but those are the ones that take bribes.
Those are the corrupt ones. Those are the ones that are, you know, kinda unsavory-ly, like, running the country, right? W: Sure C: So, the people that are raised with a[n] international, moral ethic have a very difficult time dealing with people like that
and working with people like that, right? W: Sure. C: So, it’s a massive split to where, like, all the people in the “lost generation” hold all of the power in the country, pretty much…
W: –Yeah. C: …but their mentality is WILDLY different than the kids that grew up with the internet. W Correct. C: And, what is your experience been dealing with younger people as opposed to these, like, –that woman’s generation? C: Well, ok, absolutely…younger people are way more open-minded. C: This is that cafe. W: Oh cool…
Unfortunately, because their grandparents and parents have been drumming all sorts of
nonsense into their heads. –You know, and I’m-
I’m just being completely honest here, I’m not trying to put any political agenda
so I’m not going to go any where near politics. It’s just they’re- they’re basically drummed in
all this absolutely awful, nationalist kinda stuff and it really just does affect them.
I see young people who –Ok, I’m going to give you an example. Ok, and I’m probably going to
make a couple of enemies here but– When I used to train doctors, umm, the last kinda training session I had was wtih these very young, bright group of doctors, right? And during the training I was
preparing them to go overseas. And, um, and i was just basically giving them
a bit of, uh- a catch-up on nationalities. Uh, because, you know, Chinese
–when it comes to nationalities– they’re quite rude. They quite often try to guess your nationality. C: Oh yeah. W: You know, they- they say to me all the time,
“Are you American? Or are you Russian?” C: –Right. It’s just racial profiling. W: –You know, you- you don’t do that because if you go up to an Indian guy and you say, “Hey, are you Pakistani?” C: –You’re going to have some problems.
W: –You’re going to really piss him off. And I-I also get a bit pissed off when people are like
“Are you Russian?” because I am not. Not that i have anything ag– I-I’m not against Russians but it’s like I’m not Russian so don’t say I am. And they’re saying like, “Oh, you’re American.”
No, I’m not, ok? Um, you know it’s- it’s kinda of annoying. So I was just giving them a little lesson on this basically, very light-hearted and part of this lesson was um, I showed a bunch of, um, sort of, brands, international brands. And I was like, “Ok, let’s, um, let’s just, like, identify the nationalities
that are attached to these brands so, you know, it was like Mercedes Benz
and “Where’s that from?” “Ahh…Germany?”
“Ok, so, it’s a German brand.” That kind of thing. C: Yeah. W: So, there’s this one guy — he must be like, I don’t know, 26 or something? He’s not very old…very young, bright,
sort of, very spot-on, uh, kinda guy. Very nice guy. And, um…I said, “What about this? There’s Canon…”
You know, Canon is a Japanese brand. Uhh, and I said, “Where is this from?” And he’s like, “It’s from Japan.” I said, “Oh, that’s cool, do you like, uh,
do you like Canon products?” And he said, “No, I HATE Canon products.
I HATE Japanese. I want to kill them all.” I was like, “What the hell?! Where is this coming from??” C: In class?! W: Yes. “Where is this coming from?” It’s just like, I understand that there are difficulties and massive problems between China and Japan in the past and still now…yes. But to be just be so blatantly, blanket –like, throw out that blanket hate for no reason– and, of course, this is not the first time, it’s quite common I’m sure you’ve come across it. C: –Yeah, all the time. All the time. W: –But, you know, it’s like, that’s just been
ingrained in them from this past generation to not think, to not question,
to not have your own opinion. You know what I mean?
C: RIght, right…Right. W: Uh…and so I’ve seen it, like, I’ve seen the negative effects that’s had and also when you’re raisng a young child, the-the strange beliefs
that the older generation has about… C: Absolutely. W:…what the child should eat… C: Right W: …how the child should dress. They force it to be bloody warm. Like wr- bundle it up in blankets… C: –Until it gets heat stroke. W: Yeah, when it’s like… C: –Take a right. W: …a hundred degrees outside.
You know, that kinda thing? C: Yeah. C: Uh, so there are definitely horrible repercussions um, and I see it having a –only a negative effect on the younger generation. C: Ok, now my –what I wanted to get into
was not a positive affect but the positivities of the younger generation. W:Yes. C:Now, despite all of this, there… –y’know– grandmother’s propoganda
is not as strong as the internet. W: Sure. C: And…with the –more and more young people kinda being more internationally-minded …hopefully it stays like that. W: Check out this cool pagoda… C: That’s awesome. W:Yeah. C: With more and more people being internationally-geared and minded –which is a good thing, I hope that continues in that trajectory– W:Yeah. C: I feel like the young people kinda brush that attitude off and the mistakes and the, kind of, dour attitude of the, uh…y’know,
of the lost generation is slowly dying out. W: Yeah. C: And, I see the young people being much, much more
hard-working; much more kinda clever and asking why instead of just like, ”
Yeah, it’s just-just bad,” you know. W: Yeah. C: LIke that kind of generalization attitude. I see the young people just being better in general
at everything in life and it- it kinda does highlight the fact that the lost generation was, in fact,
a lost generation. It’s difficult to change an entire generation of people that didn’t have access to education and were brain-washed. And, hopefully, everything gets better,
ya’know what I mean? W: Yes, absolutely. W: Oh yeah, I’m going to quickly add to that. Because I used to work –well, not any more –I live in Shenzhen. Through my work and, uh, through my friends I have met so many young, smart, um, people with an incredibly bright future…
C: Yeah. W: …because they’re very well educated, the young-
the younger generation, right? They’ve all- W: They’ve all got, like, masters –especially in Shenzhen, it’s kinda of a prerequisite– masters degrees. They’re all very smart and capable people and, uh, it’s so nice to be able to see so many young people with so much promise. However, whenever i’m out here with you in Huizhou or even in the more rural parts of Shenzhen and I see the- the lost generation, these older folk, just sitting around and I look at them and I see no future. I’m not gonna lie, I just see there’s no chance or no hope for those people forever having anything to contribute to society or to anyone, you know what I mean?
And I- I, yeah, I don’t want to sound so bloody awful, I mean, ‘cuz I think every human being has potential to be something great but- no, when you look at them and they just sit there doing nothing all day kinda spitting- spitting on the floor and just being kinda of a overall rather nasty piece of work, ah, you know? There’s really nothing more that can be said about it, to be honest. C: Yeah. W:But the younger generation…yes, China has a bright future because of them. C: My-my wife always says that the difference between you and your great-grandparents is the difference between me and my parents. W:That makes total sense. C:Yup.
W:That’s-that’s a very good analogy. So yes, I think that’s something people need to be aware of and, for some reason, people seem to think that this, uh, this whole Cultural Revolution, and all this other nonsense that happened in China happed a while ago. C: No, it’s very recent.
W: It’s very, very recent…incredibly recent, you know, like C: –Went- went all the way through into the 70s.
W: Correct. Uh, it was only the 80s when, you know, China actually opened up and started to change and so, before that it was really pretty dismal. So, most of the people
you see walking around were… C: –went through that…
W: …horrible, turbulent times where… C: –North Korea-esque…
W: …yeah, yeah. So yeah, uh, I guess that’s really all we had to say on the subject. Again, we’re not like political commentators or anything we’re just here to tell people what China is like.
C: Right. W: And you can see the constant construction and boom going on around you. Uh, anything you’d like to say to our subscribers before we sign off?
C: Well, I hope you’re not lost, but I hope you’re part of the generation that thinks we’re awesome!
…just like yourselves… W: Haha C: …and, uh, please remember to
like, comment and subscribe. W: Correct. And, oh, I have to also just finish off and say that not all of them are like that. There were plenty who were still very well educated and just managed to secret themselves away and pretend to be stupid, or whatever, during that time. Or just go through the hardships and make it through.
So, you know, you do find civilized people from that…era. C:–Another- another silver lining…
W: Yep…totally. C: My parents-in-law…they met during one of those camps in Hainan when they were on the rubber plantation.
W: Oh wow. C: That ended in- that ended in divorce, but ya know, sometimes you find love through struggle. W: Yeah, exactly. Well, fantastic. –Let’s quickly go up here and, uh, I would like to say to all of our subscribers whether you’ve lost yourself or found yourself or found yourself at a gate that leads to nowhere.. [C-Milk laughs]
W: ..remember, as always, you know the drill… C: [Singing] It’s the end of the road…
W: …stay awesome! [Theme music plays] “When I close my eyes, I can almost see it!
Mmmm…when I take a breath you fill up my lungs! -eAhh…if my mind runs backwards for a minute…