In 2002, Han Peiyin’s son Shengli was accepted in a university, and arrived to the city of Xi’an from his rural home. To pay for Shengli’s living expense and tuition, the Han sold off all valuable things in his home and came to work in Xi’an to make money. Though a lifetime peasant, Han firmly believed knowledge had the power to change destinies, and expected his son to be successful.
Job for peasant workers was getting harder to find as more and more peasants came to the city. Han could barely make RMB 400 a month, yet Shengli needed RMB 9,000 a year for college. The place Han stayed at cost one RMB a night. At night, he used a brick as his pillow. His son Shengli would think what to eat after class. He saw the bottled water his classmate was holding and could only think of taking the empty bottle and sell it for money.
Graduation was near. A shy youth, Shengli’s job prospect was dim. He felt this city was becoming further away from him. Despite his education, he might end up earning less than his father. For years elder Han carried with him a notebook, in which he entered records of his borrowings. Most of them were small sums of 10 or 20 RMB. He also noted his expectations for his son: “Around the year 2013 or so, that is, roughly in my sixties, Shengli will take our family to Beijing for a sightseeing visit. We will have plenty of money by then…”
Language: Chinese (simplified)
Length: 55 mins
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