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Teens in Shanghai ambitious, worry about careers
( 2004-01-02 13:48) (eastday.com)

Shanghai teenagers are more ambitious and spend more time worrying about their future careers than their French peers, who are more concerned about setting up a happy family than them, according to a recent survey.

Two magazines - Shanghai-based "Attraction" and French publication "Science & Vie Junior" - recently surveyed 3,700 Shanghai children aged 12 to 18 and 400 youngsters in Paris about their ambitions for the future. The results were published yesterday.

The survey found that most of Shanghai youngsters worry most about their future careers while the Paris teenagers care more about having a stable life and happy family.

The differences are caused by the different education they receive and different social values they hold, said local sociologists.

When asked what a successful life means to you, 53 percent of the surveyed Shanghai children said it involves having an interesting career. But more than half of the French respondents said setting up a family is the key to success, which may be surprising to most Shanghai residents.

"In France where the divorce rate is always high and unhappy marriages instead of everlasting love are often seen due to open sexual ideas, children admire a happy marriage and a complete family," explained Jiang Xiaoyuan, a humanities professor at Jiao Tong University. "While in Chinese people's opinion, a successful career will bring you everything, including fame, love and family."

The survey also suggests local youngsters worship billionaires while Paris children admire Nobel Prize winning scientists.

"The results indicate local youngsters are eager for quick success and instant benefits. They have become ambitious because our media and advertisers appeal to people to compare their fortunes with others," said Yang Xiong, director of the Institute for Youth Research under the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. "By contrast, French people don't pay much attention to wealth because their society is a mature, well-off society."

However, Shanghai and Paris youth have a few things in common.

Nearly half of the respondents in both cities said they would establish a nature preserve to protect endangered species if they owned a 10,000-square-kilometer swatch of land.

"The concept of environmental protection, only mentioned sometimes by adults, has been well-accepted by young people, which gives us much hope," said Yu Hai, a sociology professor at Fudan University.

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