The entire country is in a perpetual state of self-improvement so as to reach the next level of the socio-economic ladder.
Since time immemorial, each generation worked to widen the proverbial door for the descendants, they had believed was closed to them. When they tell you Chinese people are hardworking, they didn’t make up that stereotype. It’s true.
As a child in China, one is never free from the clutches of school homework, even on a weekend. If it’s not multiplication tables, it’s copious Chinese text to copy and memorize.
That’s all one ever does. Memorize.
Meanwhile, pencil to paper is all you can do to make the time fly by before playtime, even if all the answers were wrong.
If you’re a more naughty or reckless child, you’d hide the workbooks away and lie about them being completed. Of course, adults always catch on. Who are you kidding? Parents did it growing up too, and rarely succeeded. I believe it was Oscar Wilde who said, “Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes.”
That’s when you hear the parent chasing the child around the room, sometimes wielding a threatening slipper. “Sit down! Stop running! Do your work!” A hard thwack on the bum to set you straight and a firm thump of the table to drive the point home.
Sometimes, you can hear the yelps, laughter and wails of pain from the next alley over.