-Can you tell me something about how it is to be young in China?
Chen Zhibo: 'Actually I don’t know where to start, because there are so many interesting things that I cherish in my childhood. I always have been a boy with a broad range of hobbies. My family is a very ordinary one in China, and my childhood was like most of the childhoods Chinese kids have. I have learned drawing since I was 6 years old (and I think most of the children learn something as a hobby at that age), and not until Junior 2, when I came to Chongqing to study, did I gave up drawing. I have always been an active boy in my class, and though I was the monitor of our class (I was always in power, and had been appointed and elected for different positions) I may be one of the naughtiest boys. Because most of the kids of our generation are the only child in a family, we don’t have brothers or sisters. Therefore our friends are mostly our classmates, we created a lot of games by ourselves. Study was just as important in my childhood as play was, because for Chinese kids competitions are so serious that we have to keep studying hard all the way until we graduate from university. Being a young guy in China, I’m enjoying my life but at the same time I have to think about my future. But looking back, childhood is still the best time a man can experience.'
-Is there, according to you, a difference between your life, as a young person in China, and the time when your parents were young? How will that be for the next generation?
'Of course there are a lot of differences between my childhood and the childhood of my parents. For one thing, nowadays most Chinese families have only one child (under the policy of planned parenthood), but when our parents were young it was normal for them to have several brothers and sisters who shared the poor possessions a family holds and receive the limited love of their parents. Compared with their childhood, we are living in a paradise, because our parents love is entirely devoted to us and all the possessions are enjoyed by only one child. On the other hand we missed some fun which our parents enjoyed when they were young, for example the relationships between brothers and sisters. Another difference is that China has developed a lot in the recent 30 years under Deng Xiaoping’s theory of Reform and Open Up, people’s mind opened up and our life quality, both spiritual and corporeal, has improved a lot. When our parents were in their childhood it was the hardest time for China. They suffered 3 years of nature disaster and 10 years of spiritual disaster: the Cultural Revolution. So my childhood and my parents childhood are very different indeed.
Right now China is developing fast, it is becoming one of the strongest countries in the world. China has inevitably influenced the whole world in a degree, and is also deeply affected by different thoughts and ideas from all over the world, especially the western world. The whole world is getting smaller and smaller, globalization will come to its peak, and technologies are developed to a predictable level. So for the future generation, the life will surely be entirely different from our life. They will be facing a lot of global problems, the common problems of our human race, and their childhood will be defined by new things we have never heard of. For example, the toys we played with in our childhood may see a transition from muddy toys (parents) to electronic toys (we) to genic toys (the future generation). This is just a prediction, but it’s really unpredictable.'
-When did you take the Gaokao exam and how did it go? Why did you want to take the test?
'I took the Gaokao on the 7th and 8th of June. It’s a national examination which is acknowledged by all the universities in China. On the fixed and holy day, all the senior 3 students in China will take this examination and it may be the judgment day of their life. No one dares to ignore it. Everybody does it with great caution and even a feeling of religiosity. It’s important because it is almost the only way a student can be admitted to an university.'
-What happened with your life after you took the Gaokao exam?
'Because I got a good result in the examination, all I received after the Gaokao were congratulations and praises. My parents are very happy and I am also. And naturally I was admitted by a very good university in China, so now I’m living and studying in a paradise for me and I’m on my way to a prosperous future. The students who didn’t do so well on the exam have to choose between struggling for one more year and retake the exam or to go to a comparatively bad university.'
-How do you see yourself in ten years?
'This is really a hard question, for I have been thinking about this since I entered the university and I am continuously negating my previous thoughts. It’s the most important thing for us undergraduates to think it over in the 4 years of university life, just as important as the Gaokao is. We’ve got a series of successes to make it to the ideal university; we can’t afford it to take a wrong step. So really I have to think it over and over again. My present plan is that I will be studying for the next 4 years and after graduation, my ideal profession is to be a trainer for companies or an educator devoted to Chinese education. This is different from what I told Marije Meerman (the director of I Wanna Be Boss), it’s not that I am cheating with anyone of you, it’s just that I am constantly changing my thoughts. And if you ask me several months later, maybe I will have another answer.'