In the past 2 weeks, I travelled between 6 cities / towns in China by plane, rail, road, except sea.
Although I’ve been to China more than 20 times now in the past 10 years, what I see and hear on the highway still never fails to amaze me.
In one of my past trips, while on the train journey, I was over-hearing this rather distasteful conversation of a Taiwanese businessman boasting to his chinese counterpart of his 2 wives (one in Taiwan and one in China) and how he manages. He was talking so loudly most of us in the cabin could hear him, yet he was unabashed.
This time, on a 3-hour bus ride, I was kept awake by this lady talking to her boyfriend over the phone, in between tears, laughter, and hysteria. Some extracts (translated in my own words) of what I heard
“I love you… please don’t leave me”
“f**k your mother, I have so much money now that I don’t need you, there are tons of men waiting for me coz I’m rich now”
“yes I admit I stole your bank ATM card but it only had 1,000RMB inside, you stole my card which had more than 10,000RMB inside. Don’t deny it!”
“you wanna settle scores? How about the many months I slept with you? Even if it’s just 100RMB a night, that’d easily amount to 10s of thousands of dollars by now”
“I don’t need you, many men are waiting for me”
“Return me the mobile phone I bought you!!!”
“My mother always told me never to trust you, I should have believed her”
“Being in the trade that I’m in, do you think I care?”
“I have money, I don’t need you.”
“Fine, leave me now, don’t come begging to me for money later.”
“I’m on my way to find you now, please wait for me..”
And obviously a lot more was said in 3 hours, from screaming @ the top of her lungs to weeping, but every word clearly heard by the highly amused 30-odd passengers on the coach.
All amused except me, I guess.
It was clear to us from her dressing and the lurid details of her conversations that she works in the sex trade. Although other passengers in the coach were chuckling away, high bemused, I was kept awake the whole journey, highly disturbed by what I’ve heard.
She was my co-sojourner for 3 hours, whore none-withstanding.
That she doesn’t care what others think of her and the explicit details that she announces to 30-odd strangers of her personal life is new to me, but not on a typical highway journey in China I guess.
I guess words fail me here; it’s hard to describe the compassion that wells up in me for this gal.
To me, she’s more like a victim of China’s economic growth monster, where a poor farmer’s daughter can scarce find survival. And that she’s looking for true love too, but can she really?
Of course, there’s scarcely any excuse to be working in the sex trade… still somehow, my heart grieves for her.
WeI always write off prostitutes, outcasts and rejects of our society, till this experience caused me to see a totally different side of things.
Through this strange yet simple encounter, I kinda appreciate better why Christ reached out to the prostitutes of his time and why there was a prophet Hosea who married a prostitute.
For me, the experiences of this Taiwan businessman and this prostitute, both told so unabashedly in public, gives me a rather graphic picture of the true social state of affairs in China.
For those with a good command of chinese, you should go on some of these highway journeys in China and hear some of these conversations for yourself, so telling of the social ills resulting from the Chinese super economic growth engine.