Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Four Big Things

I don't imagine any of us would take the time or have the energy in one day to move everything we owned outside for a photograph, but that's what you're seeing here: four pictures with rural Chines people and EVERYTHING they own. Tese photos are part of a ten-year project by a Chinese photographer Huang Qinjun who sought to chronicle the lives of "ordinary" Chinese people. Obviously, the rural setting was necessary, for even in china, city dwellers have far more possessions than they would be willing to cart outside. Of course, the couple in the bottom photo really didn't have a choice since their house was scheduled to be demolished to make way for a new high-rise.
Qinjun searched through 14 of china's 33 provinces in order to assemble his pictorial. Some people had never before had their pictures novel was the idea. However, even among the least gentrified one can find a satellite dish, a DVD player, and a phone.
The project began when Qinjun wanted to chronicle how modern society had changed the thought patterns of Chinese people. In fact, he noted that, while most of them had no increase in wealth, they DID have a change of ideas.
A term coined in the 1950s was "Four Big Things"...things every Chinese person wanted to have when embarking upon married life. In 1950, the predominant "things" were a sewing machine, a bicycle, a watch, and a radio.
By the 1980s, the four big "things" had changed to include a television, a washing machine, a rice cooker, and a refrigerator. I wonder what they might be today.
Why the progress of ideas? It was mostly due to two factors: the Chinese government building roads (which made everyone and everything more accessible), and electricity...both things we absolutely never think about unless they don't get plowed or the potholes filled...or until the power goes out in the middle of watching television or surfing the 'net.
I have been thinking about this for a day or so, and I would have to list my Four Big Things as the internet, an iPad, a car, and a microwave.
But I have ever so much more, and it would take me more than a day to display it all on the lawn.


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