Tuesday, November 30, 2010

YOUTH IN REVOLT



Over the past few days, a couple of food-related news items arose from the PRC, both slightly obvious but a good indication of the times.

In a country where protests aren't undertaken lightly, a group of high school students in the Guizhou province (southeast of Sichuan) trashed their cafeteria when meal prices increased to 0.7 yuan, approximately 7 cents USD. While that might not seem like a lot, particularly when the meal comes with meat, veggies and rice, that's a 250% increase in one of the poorest provinces of the country. The WSJ had this tidbit:

"With the prices going up again and again, it has thoroughly enraged us,” one unnamed student wrote in comments about the incident on the popular Netease web portal compiled by the blog ChinaSmack. “It wasn’t easy for our parents to earn that money!”

An estimated 10 to 20 students started the rampage, said an AFP report citing the school’s principal, while more than a thousand others cheered them on, looting bottles of Coke and packages of ramen noodles. The students resorted to rioting after complaining several times to the Liupanshui No.2 High School’s administration, according to one student’s comments on Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like microblogging service.
That's all in the context of surging inflation in the PRC, with some vegetable prices rising more than 60% in the last year. The private company that ran the cafeteria had done so for close to three decades, and tried to pass off some of its costs. And the kids ain't alright.

In other Chinese-youth related news, the 15 to 29 year olds in Shanghai have started to be pickier about the work they're getting, leaving some restaurants in the lurch in terms of finding staff. As the Economist notes, that demographic group will be significantly lower in numbers after next year: perhaps the kids are taking note of this and flexing their collective muscle. Or maybe they just hate shitty jobs. All that said, there's still a huge number of older folks to take'em, giving 30 and 40 somethings yet another reason to complain about those younger than them.

Joe.
the clutterer Web Developer

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