Wo Shi Laowai – Wo Pa Shui

This Blog was Invented in Xi'an 5,000 Years Ago

This Is Your Life, Wang XianSheng. Part 1.

Posted by MyLaowai on Thursday, June 28, 2007

This is Wang. The result of an indiscretion between his mother and one of her ‘friends’, he is still in the womb. Not yet born, much of his life has already been mapped out for him. He will not ever have a true friend, will never know trust. He will not marry for love, nor even understand the concept. Though he may travel to other countries, he will never understand anything about the people who live there. He will never think thoughts that are truly his own. He will never appreciate art or poetry, will never understand philosophy, will never read a book for pleasure. And though he will spend virtually all of his life in the company of others, he will live out his existence completely alone.

Wang is not unusual, there are nearly a billion and a half other people just like him. He is a product of his society, and this is his life…

Wang is born in a hospital. Though he doesn’t realise it, this is the greatest triumph he will ever experience. Just to get to this point, his mother has had to lie about his conception to her husband, the man whom he will soon be calling “baba”. He will, of course, never know the identity of his biological father. Wang is also fortunate in that his parents don’t already have a child, so his birth was merely a matter of getting Party approval, and he can expect to be taken home rather than being abandoned in a public washroom on the way home.

Wang’s parents are not rich, but neither are they paupers, and Wang will never want for anything that money can buy. He will also have plenty of attention: parents, grandparents, uncles and aunties, will all devote themselves to him. He will seldom be scolded, no matter the misdeed, and he will grow up knowing he is the centre of the universe. For now, though, he is struggling to learn who his parents are. His grandparents have taken control of his life, have selected his name, and are making the decisions. His mother will soon stop feeding him and then his life will be in the hands of the people who make the milk powder. This is a dangerous time for him – many babies have died from the lack of nutrition – but with luck he will make it to solid food.

Wang is never required to move. Indeed, he is unable to do so. Swaddled in numerous blankets and always hot, his arms are pinned to his sides and only his genitals and face see the light. For the next few years, he will not need to learn to walk, and will be carried everywhere by his grandmother.

Three years old, Wang attends kindergarten. Wang is a clever boy, and curious about the world. This does not endear him to his teachers, who frequently shout at him or hit him on the back of the head. At least once a week, he is locked inside a closet and at sleep time, he is tied to his cot so that he will not play with the toys. His parents never ask him about his day, and although they give him expensive toys to play with at home, they don’t take the time to play with him themselves. Wang is starting to learn how to be a ‘good’ boy.

Seven years old now, Wang is at primary school. A quick learner, he does well at political theory and can recite all the Dynasty’s of China. He is aware that there are other countries in the world, but has never been taught their names, only that they are against China. Wang has also learned how to lie, and does so whenever there is a chance to get a classmate into trouble. He feels justified in this, because many of them lie to get him into trouble, too. He does not enjoy sports, but he is learning the violin at his mother’s insistence. Wang’s teachers have noted in his file that he has great potential, partly because he does, and partly because his father was generous with the money at Spring Festival.

At the age of twelve, Wang has a major argument with his father, who refuses to buy him a new bicycle. Wang tells his teacher that his father is against the Party, and the School Party Secretary notes this in his file. Wang is made Class Captain, and his father does not receive an expected promotion. His fathers’ mistress leaves him in disgust, and his wife makes his life a living hell. Despite the abusive atmosphere inside the home, however, appearances are kept up in public, and Wang remains the centre of the universe.

Eighteen years of age and Wang is accepted into university. He does well in the mandatory Political Theory, but his other grades are not so good. He wants to study Marketing, but his father wants him to be an Engineer, so engineering it is. He really doesn’t understand much of it, but there’s no question of failing to leave university with a BSc, as long as his father keeps making donations to his professors.

In his second year of university, Wang meets a foreign student named Sarah. She is the most beautiful woman Wang has ever seen, she actually seems to like him too, and he is determined to marry her. When he announces his plan to his parents, however, the gloves come off. How dare he disgrace his family like that? Does he not care about his family’s face? Does he not know that foreigner girls are immoral and have AIDS? Wang is shattered, but his family are right. Wang stops seeing Sarah, and his family starts looking for a more suitable girl.

Twenty four years old, having graduated university with a BSc, Wang is working for a State-owned company. His work is not demanding, and he has plenty of opportunities for graft. He is also getting married to a girl his parents have found for him. Her family have some influence and he has them to thank for his new job. The girl in question is not attracted to him, nor he to her, but both sets of parents are in favour, so that is that. After they get married, she will live with Wang, his parents, and his grandmother.

Twenty five now, and Wang is told by his mother that it is time he had a son. Wang doesn’t want a child, but duty is duty. The only problem is, Wang is still a virgin. His wife displays all the enthusiasm of a dead cod, and he has only the vaguest notion of what is involved. Wang purchases a ‘yellow’ DVD and watches it for clues, and that night he and his wife finally consummate their marriage. It’s not particularly satisfying for either of them, but Wang has lost his virginity now and feels on top of the world. His wife, who lost her virginity many years ago, at least has her other lover to entertain her.

Twenty six and Wang’s wife is pregnant. Unfortunately, the doctor says it could be a girl. It’s an easy decision to make, so they opt for an abortion and try again. Later the same year, they are rewarded with good news, and this time it’s probably a boy.

Wang’s wife has become very loving – her lover left her when she became pregnant and now she needs to do her part in her husbands’ bed. For her, though, there is some good news – Wang’s grandmother has finally died, so not only has the amount of housework been reduced, she also gets a morning off work to attend the funeral.

Twenty seven and Wang Junior is born. Wang is at a KTV at the time. He has been spending a lot of time at this particular KTV lately, because one of the girls who works there is in love with him. Well, she says that she is, anyway. Wang buys her many presents and he hopes one day she will have sex with him. For now, though, it’s enough that she plays dice games with him and pours his drinks. Yes, she really is special.

To be continued…

*** Part 2 *** Part 3 ***

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11 Responses to “This Is Your Life, Wang XianSheng. Part 1.”

  1. madne0 said

    Bleak. With a capital B.

  2. It is a bleak outlook indeed, but it is rather the norm I would say. From my own experiences here, and through a lot of relatives and friends of my wife, I have seen numerous ‘lives’like this. The lack of one culture has been replaced by the lack of another one. Actually this whole country is a sad story, and it is changing fast. For the worse.

  3. Caroline said

    I really enjoyed your story (stories). You are a great writer!
    Keep up the good work.

  4. MyLaowai said

    Thank you Caroline. Whilst I wouldn’t put myself in the league of great writers, it certainly is encouraging to have other people say it. I just write what is in my head, what I see and experience.

    Again, many thanks.

  5. […] on the life of Wang XianSheng, an ordinary citizen of the People’s Republic of China. *** Part 1 can be read here […]

  6. […] in China, Wang XianSheng at 10:39 am by MyLaowai Part 3 of a 3 part story. *** Part 1 *** Part 2 […]

  7. […] my imagination was going wild for a moment: if a German (overseas or not) paper wrote that Wang Xiansheng was firmly on the side of, say, America or Japan, how would patriotic Chinese students and […]

  8. 0112337 said

    You are a genius! I really liked this thing you wrote. Have you thought about expanding it and writing a book?

    http://www.thechinabeat.org/?tag=michael-meyer

    This guy can be inspirational.

    Good Luck!

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