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Did The Chinese Dream Die?

Did The Chinese Dream Die?

Society

My 10-year China dream has officially come to an end in 2022.

Although I try to be a modest person and not boast about myself, I need to speak openly here.

This was the most time and dedication I ever put into anything in my life. I started learning Chinese alone in my bedroom in 2011 but never imagined that in 2012 this hobby would become my personal dream and career goal of being an engineer in China.

I spent hours every day learning Mandarin.

Learned to write Chinese calligraphy, learned classical Chinese literature 文言文,learned technical manufacturing vocabulary in Mandarin, learned to sing and memorize Chinese songs (even though I cannot sing well), and even learned Cantonese and Shanghainese dialect. I dedicated the last 10 years of my life to accomplish my dream.

However, throughout my time in China, I faced major racism from managers in my company, was directly told by colleagues that my culture is “nothing” and Chinese culture is the “only true culture in the world”, was told by people in my company that they will “gladly kill me once China and the USA go to war”, was almost arrested by Chinese police for simply singing harmless Chinese songs on the street in Shanghai, etc.

Even though I worked a high amount of overtime and was often the last engineer to leave the factory, I was told that I “didn’t work hard enough” and was once even told “we could replace you with 2 Chinese engineers”. Wait, what does it mean if you need 2 local engineers to replace 1 Erik? (We had the same base salary of $25k USD per year).

The people who took this dream away from me may never understand how much damage it has done to me. My dream meant everything to me and defined a major part of me as a person – as Erik 艾祥龍。

In my lowest and saddest times in Shanghai, I asked others for help but was told: “Your resume numbers are fake”, “There is no way someone at 24 years old could have achieved so much in just 2 years in the USA – a young engineer cannot save $50k+ USD in one year”, “You are just in Shanghai to have fun with your band”, “Even though you work 13 hours every day, your workload is still considered as “low” in China”, etc.

I love Chinese culture and the Chinese languages so much. 95% of my friends around the world are Chinese. My heart will forever be Chinese, and I will always love sharing the positive aspects of China with others. However, it brings me much sadness to announce the following:

If you are thinking about creating a future career in China, please think twice.

I dedicated everything I could, yet my dream failed. I arrived in China able to speak fluent technical vocabulary and had an understanding of the culture – yet I still failed. 十年寒窗还是失败了。If I can help even one person change their mind and prevent them from suffering what I did, then this post will be worth it to me.

If China can destroy the dreams of a person who dedicated everything for 10 years, then imagine what China could do to people who are less prepared than me.

Written by Erik Stewart(艾祥龍)

Society
Did The Chinese Dream Die?