Zhang Jie Yu 张建宇 is a 43 year old taxi driver from Beijing who has worked as a driver his whole adult life, having been interested in cars since he was a child. Here is his life on the road:
What is your solution to heavy traffic in Beijing?
All drivers need to calm down, stay in their traffic lanes, and obey traffic rules. If all drivers followed the rules, the traffic wouldn’t be so bad.
Who owns the taxi that you drive?
It belongs to a taxi company that I lease the car from. Every month, I must pay the company 6,500 RMB ($1,060). I also have to pay for fuel and maintenance, so the total cost is about 12,000 RMB ($1,960) per month.
Do you mind if I ask how much you earn each month?
My net income is between 3,000 and 5,000 RMB ($490-$815) per month.
Do you receive tips?
Sometimes, foreign passengers will tip me 5 RMB for good service and because I know a little English. The biggest tip I have received is 10 RMB ($1.60).
What happens to phones that are left in your taxi?
One night eight years ago, four phones from four different passengers were left in my taxi in one night. I called each passenger back and returned their phones. Some of them paid the cab fare for me to return their phone, while some did not. Nobody has left their phone in my taxi since.
Lu Kong is a 24 year old Chinese teacher who teaches Chinese in India. While at university, she studied how to teach Chinese as a foreign language and has been working in Mumbai, India’s largest city, for the last six months. She previously taught Chinese in Bali, Indonesia. Passionate about travel and cultural exchange, she represents a new generation of educated Chinese youths who seek to explore and make their mark abroad.
How did you find your job?
I joined an organization that operates Chinese culture/language programs for overseas Chinese communities. They send teachers to provide Mandarin Chinese lessons to local Chinese children. First, I spent a year teaching Chinese to Indonesian Chinese children in Bali, then I moved to India. Now I work for an institute that promotes cross cultural exchange, including language programs.
What made you move to India?
While in university in 2010, I spent a month in northern India, visiting historical sites and trying new things. I found the country to be really interesting. India is a country that is charming to travelers and it’s near to China. Also, it was not a problem for me to get an Indian visa, as a Chinese citizen. I saw all these different people and lifestyles in India, which were completely different than those in China.
Who do you teach in India?
I work with various age groups. They are mostly beginners. Some of the children are as young as five, some are teenagers and some are adults. Some of the adult students work at Indian companies and are interested in learning Chinese in order to do business with China.
Do your students have a specific interest in China beyond economic gain?
Yu Jing is the 26 year old Artistic Director for Egg Gallery in Caochangdi Village, Beijing. In addition to his gallery duties, he produces his own iconoclastic artwork, employing an eclectic variety of media to showcase his flippancy toward artistic and societal establishments.
A sampling of his works and related comments follow, along with an interview.
The rules to Yu Jing’s game of hide and seek
Game of hide and seek
Artist comment: I created an activity modeled after a children’s game which involves chasing and finding other players. For this activity, I created an agreement which stated the terms of the chase – one person would attempt to escape from the other, who would follow in pursuit. If the pursuer still had the other in their sight after one hour, the pursuer would be awarded 100 RMB ($15).
Su Yong 苏 勇 is a 32 year old chef from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in China. He has been featured on several television cooking shows, has 2,000 followers on Weibo (the Chinese Twitter) and recently opened a new Sichuan restaurant in Beijing. Sichuan cuisine is notable for its use of mouth numbing spices and is quite popular within China and abroad. Here are his thoughts on cooking, cuisine and Sichuan women.
When you were a child, what did you like to eat most?
Liang ban ji 凉拌鸡. It’s a cold dish, with boiled chicken and peppers in vinegar. I ate this frequently as a child. It was the first dish I ever prepared by myself – when I cooked it for my father, he said it was better than his own.
Guanqiao Fan is a 22 year old film student at Beijing Film Academy. He is currently in the process of editing his fourth short film 南方 (The South), which he wrote, directed and starred in. The film explores a love triangle in a coastal Chinese town set against the rising tide of materialism.
We sat down with him in his dorm room to learn about his interest in film and what he hopes to accomplish. The trailer for his short film can be found at the end of this article, which also includes a number of stills from the film.
Film student Guanqiao Fan in his dorm room
Tell me about your childhood.
I was born in a small fishing village near Zhuhai, in Guangdong province. The village I am from has only one street and is surrounded by two big mountains. I had an idyllic childhood – no worries. There wasn’t much to do, so I played soccer. I was quite happy when a typhoon would pass, because I could climb into the mountains and catch tadpoles in the pools of water left behind by the storm.
What do your parents do?
They own a steel parts factory.
Do you remember the first movie you ever saw?
Yes, it was the Hong Kong film 大話西遊, starring Steven Chow (this film is commonly known as “The Monkey King” in English).