This is part 3 of 4 of a conversation with a 17-year old girl working at the hairdresser’s doing massages. Click here if you’ve missed part 1 (“Do you have brothers and sisters?”) and here for part 2 (“How much do you earn?”). Stay tuned for part 4 (“Is your hair dyed or is this your real color?”).
After having talked about family and work, our conversation takes another turn:
I: “When did you move to Shenzhen?”
She: “I moved here just 2 months ago. I’m not familiar with this city yet. I went to Mangrove Forrest twice, but everytime I got lost and could not find the way to the next public transport station, so I had to take a cab back home. I’ll never ever go there again.”
I: “Have you finished secondary school just before you came here?”
She: “I haven’t. I went to school until I was 13. After that I started working. Going to school isn’t for me. I prefer to work.”
I: “You have started working at a really early age. In Austria you can only start working legally when you’re 15.”
She: “In China, noone really cares about your age.
Actually I dropped out of school. I was quite good at primary school, but in middle school I was a really naughty kid. My teachers all didn’t know what to do with me. Once, I wanted to go to the restrooms during class but my teacher wouldn’t let me. So I just kept being loud and disrupting class. In the end, my teacher let me go to the restrooms. I went there but didn’t go back to class afterwards, I was really mad at my teacher.
I liked to get into fights with other kids. And not just with kids. There was one teacher who treated me unfair, so me and some friends beat her up together. Before they could throw me out of school, I left on my own. I never went back to school afterwards.
My mother was very unhappy and often told me that I lack intelligence. But luckily, I’m not as stupid anymore now as I grow older. I have the heart of a boy and I met the wrong kids when I was younger.”
Has anyone ever told you a similar story? I’d love to read your comments.