Opinion / 首页Blog

Hey Chinese, what's your hobby?

By 橙丫头say ( Updated: 2014-10-21 17:42

I had always wanted to write on this topic but never did - until yesterday, when a phone call to my mother triggered my desire to finally embark on this article.

Every time I ask mama what she is doing at home, her answer is always the same: “Well, I’m cleaning the house. What else can I do?” Yesterday was the weekend, but she threw me this answer again. I suggested she put the housework aside and shoot the breeze with some outdoor activities. Since autumn is a golden time for an excursion, why not go for a mountain climb or a picnic with other family members, I suggested.

She grumbled that she was occupied with housework and found no time to enjoy life. What amuses me is that it is the same excuse I have heard countless times, preventing her from enjoying a colorful life. Oh dear readers, don’t accuse me of “easier said than done”, nor accuse me of talking big and acting little. If only I could study in my home town, I’d be happy to help her clean the house so that she can be free from these petty concerns and enjoy her life. I bet the problem isn’t so much the lack of time, but rather her inveterate attitude to life. Even when mama has free time, I’m sure she chooses to do the chores again to kill time rather than read a book or listen to music.

I have no clear idea of the drastic differences between Chinese life attitudes and Western ones, but from a general perspective, what I can be sure of is that Chinese people are in desperate need of a spiritual life. Pondering over our Chinese mainstream hobbies, what do the majority of Chinese do in their spare time? Reading? Painting? No, for modern Chinese, these pursuits are no longer appealing. However, it’s not startling to see people addicted to playing Mahjong(a board game)in a smoky and noise-ridden room. It’s also not a wonder that people usually engage in social intercourse at a table, making a toast while doing business. Compared with Western people’s elegant preferences of art and literature, don’t we have to reflect upon our growing spiritual desertification?

Why don’t most Chinese have a decent hobby as our spiritual pastime? It must be the guilt of our rigid and dogmatic education system. Since ancient China, we have been sticking to the principle that “all the other occupations are base, only book learning is exalted”. And obtaining high marks in exams is the only criteria to judge a student’s capacity. Though the government calls for all-around development, it’s late-appearing and merely a pretty slogan. Being the victims of the education system, we gradually give in to the exploration of our natural craving. Under the heavy pressure of constant exams, a hobby seems to be a time-consuming luxury, gleaming at the bottom of our heart and dying away in the grip of the mighty reality. So every time I recall the moment I skipped class for an art exhibition in junior school, a hearty smile crosses my face before I know it.

Besides education, economic factors and spending habits also influence our investment in a hobby. With an imperfect social welfare system, people are accustomed to saving money for rainy days or to purchase houses and cars in the future. As a member of the post-90s generation, I found an insurmountable chasm between my parents’ old-fashioned ideology and my new visions. I’m fed up with the stable and monotonous lifestyle they lead. Instead of sitting in an office every day without any changes, I fancy a mobile lifestyle, say, a gap year. Though risky, it must be splendid enough to broaden my horizons and enrich my experience. As opposed to my inclination to invest money on traveling around the world, they’d rather splurge the money on a house or a limo as most traditional Chinese do. Sometimes, I really can’t figure out why Chinese people show such a strong appetite for material luxuries rather than spiritual edification. Even worse, many people lose themselves in the notion that advocates "crying in a BMW weighs much better than laughing on a bike". Money worshipping has somehow distorted our values and poisoned our humanity! 

Thinking too much and feeling too little, we are stuck in a contemporary psychological disease. Depressed and anxious, we cry out for a thunderstorm in our spiritual world.    

Hey Chinese, what’s your hobby? When you run so fast, please notice your soul is left behind.

PS: To foreign friends: Since there are many foreign friends on this blog forum, please be aware that I don't mean to leave you a bad impression of Chinese. What I mean is a profound consideration and introspection for a better China and Chinese lifestyle. And every country has its own social problems, right? If we don't dare to face them, how can we change them? Thanks for reading, and you are welcome to share the hobbies that people like to engage in in your country!

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