The generation gap in China has become so dramatic that parents who fail to
catch up with the rest of the society could be abandoned by their children.
This was the case with a middle school student who disapproved of her
mother's outfits so much that she hired a "mom" to attend her school's parents
Mrs. Wang and her daughter Pingping live in Dalian of Northeast China's
Liaoning Province. Although Pingping attends school regularly, Wang never
attended any of the parents' meetings because her daughter never told her about
It was only when Wang called the school did she realize she had missed many
Bewildered, Wang asked her daughter about what was going on, but Pingping's
answer astonished her. "You made me lose face," she replied. "I have been asking
a classmate's aunt to take part in it for me, 50 yuan (US$6.4) each time."
Pingping's father is always busy and has no time to attend the parents'
Pingping's first memories of her mother's social missteps was when Pingping
was in the third grade. She ranked first in a mid-term exam and was also the
fastest-improving student in her class at the time.
Her mom was invited up to the podium to tell her experience of bringing up
the fastest-improving student in the class. At first Wang was very hesitant to
speak, and when she finally went to the podium, she began with a strong Dalian
accent and said, "My girl is doing a good job this time. I feel pretty happy."
And after a long pause, Wang didn't have anything else to say.
The teacher encouraged her by asking, "What kind of expectations do you have
for your daughter?"
"Oh, yes," Wang continued. "I would have forgotten if you didn't remind me.
This girl has a lot of shortcomings. For instance, she is outside playing all
the time. She doesn't even wash her own socks at home. She talks back to me
defiantly all the time."
Pingping's mom suddenly had a lot to say, but the teacher had to cut her
short so that other parents could speak as well.
"Do you know what my classmates said about my mom after that?" asked
Pingping. "They wondered if I was adopted because we are so different: one is
eloquent, and the other has problem in public speaking; one is sharp and neat,
and the other looks like just coming out of kitchen to attend the parents'
meeting, with her apron on."
According to Pingping, her mother likes to wear casual clothing, which
outlines her stout figure. Her daughter once suggested her mom should wear more
professional outfits, only to get bitter response from her mom: "You brat!
You're picking on my clothing. Just mind your own business, and leave the rest
for me to worry!"
Since then, the school's regular parents meeting have been a huge concern for
Pingping. Not only did her mother not dress well, but was also nosy, asking
about other parents' salaries and other students' pocket money. And so Pingping
felt her mom was not welcomed both by the students and parents.
Pingping tried very hard to impress other students so that they would forget
about her mom, but the monthly parents' meeting was still unavoidable. She
claimed she had a lot of nightmares about her mom's buffoon acts in parents'
In the summer before Pingping went to middle school, she met her friend
Yingying's aunt who works in a securities company. Pingping thought she had good
taste in dressing and her manners classy.
Then Pingping decided to conjure up a story with Yingying, in which
Pingping's parents were divorced. Her mother had gone abroad, and her father was
too busy to come to the parents' meeting. Pingping was given extra care while
she was in the primary school, but that also made her feel uneasy too. She
wanted to be treated equally, and not get sympathy from others. Pingping longed
for a new start when she entered middle school, wishing for a "mom" to attend
her parents' meeting, too.
Yingying's aunt was moved by Pingping's story, and promised to attend every
parents' meeting for Pingping in middle school. She was so ecstatic that every
time Yingying's aunt attended a meeting, Pingping paid her niece 50 yuan to keep
In a new school with new classmates, Pingping got a new "mom", who also never
failed to appear and impress the Pingping's classmates and their parents.
Fifty yuan is not a small amount of money for Pingping, but she thought a
good "mom" worth it.
Many times Wang asked her daughter why the middle school never held any
parents' meetings. Pingping answered the school decided not to hold parents'
meetings for fear it would put more pressure on the students. Her lie continued
until her mom called the school.
Now that Pingping's mom has learned the truth, Pingping earnestly offered her
a suggestion along with her apologies: Please consider your dress and manners
from now on - it's not only for your own good.