This post is for everyone who has ever wondered how life of rich kids looks like in China. Warning: it is not as easy as you think it is.
As I started working at the private kindergarten in China I thought that having rich parents, is the best thing that can happen to you, if you were born in China. However, I couldn’t be further from the truth. Although their parents may have their own companies and earn unlimited amount of money, life of those children is not easy.
The kindergarten I worked at is located in Foshan, industrial suburb of Guangzhou – 3rd biggest city in China. It is a private kindergarten, catering to rich parents from nearby residential area. The enrollment fee for one kid per semester equaled roughly 3000 RMB (400 €). The enrolment depended whether the class had an English teacher or not. If the parents wanted their kid to be educated by foreign English teacher, they had to pay even 2-3 times more than an average tuition fee. White English teachers have become status in China and many parents are willing to pay for it. Government-run kindergartens are on the other side much cheaper – 1000 RMB (130€) per semester for a kid, and most of the time they cannot afford a foreign English teacher.
The kids I worked with were not like ordinary kids. Their parents were filthy rich and could afford everything. Most of the mothers were housewives – although they stayed at home all day, they still brought their kid every day to kindergarten to have quality time for themselves. Some of them even paid their relatives to bring their kid to kindergarten and later pick him up.
The kids were always very well-groomed and taken care of. The parents spoilt their kids with most expensive gifts and bought them everything they wanted. The girls wore fanciest dresses and sandals and the boys latest brands of trousers. They changed their outfit for 2 or 3 times per day, so they would look perfect every time of the day. The kids were always under supervision and getting bruises wasn’t acceptable!
As soon as the kids entered educational system they were taught how to be quiet and obedient. Out-of-the box thinking was not encouraged and there was usually just one correct answer, which everybody had to learn by heart. They don’t teach kids how to think, but what to think.
China is the most populated country, so the supply exceeds demand. The competition is fierce among the workforce and there is a lot of pressure on kids already from the early age. Everybody has to study hard to have the best grades and could afford a decent living. Studying at school is never enough, they need to practice at home as well, often times even until the late evening. All the parents want the best for their kid, so they would enroll him to extracurricular activities or even pay private English lessons for him.
Seeing those kids how they fit into one box was sometimes heart-breaking. They haven’t properly started to live, yet they were told what to do. Line up 10.000 times per day, be quiet, sit still, don’t talk, listen, were the most common phrases. Those kids are extremely smart, like every other kid, yet their intelligence is suppressed from early age, in order to serve their own country.