When we met at a cafe in Beijing’s business district, it was clear that Jason, whose surname is Zhang, was different from other young Chinese. He had a job, at a media company that produced reality TV shows, but didn’t seem especially busy. He’d studied in the U.S., but at a golf academy in Florida, and he’d dropped out after two years. His father was the head of a major HR company, and his mother was a government official. He wore a $5,500 IWC watch because, he said, he’d lost his expensive one. I asked him how much money he had. “I don’t know,” he said. “More than I can spend.” So this was it: I had found, in the wild, one of the elusive breed known in China as the fuerdai, or “second-generation rich.”Christopher Beam
More growing pains for the Chinese economy and society as a whole: as the wealth of the top class increases, so do the tensions between privileged and the others. Their successors will have to find their own place in this mixed economy and balance their extravagance and social status with the pressing need for meaningful contribution to society.
Also, best use of the Apple Watch I’ve seen so far:
Not everyone has discovered a purpose. Zhang, the Uber driver, said his job at the TV production company is hardly his ideal career. But he’s not sure what is. “As a kid, I had a lot of dreams,” he said when we met up at the cafe near his office. “I wanted to be a golfer or a race car driver or a doctor, something like that… But when you get older, you see more, and you see that some goals are just a dream.” He lit up a cigarette—now illegal indoors in Beijing—barely casting a glance to see if a waiter would stop him. Zhang never had any limitations, which was perhaps itself a limitation. “I don’t really have a plan,” he said. “Probably it’s a sad thing, but it’s the truth.” When I asked him if he’s happy, he said it’s all a question of attitude. “You can find a million reasons to be sad,” he said, “but you only have to find one reason to be happy. Every day I find one.” I asked him what today’s reason was. “Today, I meet you,” he said. “It’s a happy thing.”