Another Reality Check

The other day I caught the tail end of a program about China on the Discovery Channel. Many of the images were familiar and I felt happy to recognize places, foods and customs. What shocked me was seeing an extended Chinese family celebrating because they had saved, over one year’s time, enough money for something very important. (I missed the part where they said what that important thing was, but it could have been school tuition, travel money, etc.) What was so shocking about this? They had saved about 1000 Yuan ($120 or 100 €). I made 5 times that amount each month, and the DH about 20 times that amount. We could have easily spent that amount on a weekend in Beijing. But more than that, the family pictured in the documentary could have been any one of our neighbors. It is one thing to see it on TV, and another to live among that kind of poverty.

They say sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees, and I think that after a while of living among China’s rural poor, we grew a bit complacent. Seeing this program brought it all back to me.

Could you live on 100 Yuan a month? 200? (100 Yuan ~ $12)


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