MM- What about the agricultural project you have in mind?
As I said before, at the moment I am trying to study, travelling and learning as much as I can. This is not for a professional career or with the goal of finding a “good job” for the future, but simply to realize some kind of social project with other people (no matter where in the world) who share with me the same ideas and passions. One of the project is to “go back to the countryside”. In Italy, as in China and in many other parts of the world, our grandparents were farmers and were living in the countryside. In the last half of the century, a great part of the globe population left the countryside seeking better life conditions in cities, creating the phenomenon we call “urbanization”. To live in an urban environment has many advantages but many problems as well (just think about pollution, cracking pace of life, social injustice, discrimination, criminality, food quality and so on). Cities are basically place to consume your life rapidly seeking something you will never obtain: peace and tranquillity. I am not saying that the countryside is such a bucolic and ideal place to live, but I would just like to try to experiment the peasants’ life, working as a farmer but at the same time creating a new social and cultural reality which actually is not present in the countryside, such as cultural centres, home-made cinemas and theatres, libraries, dance and language classes and so on. To do this we need more “technicians” than “intellectuals”, but I think we can at least just try to do that, looking for a cheap land to rent, farming, cooperating with local peasants and avoiding the stress and “producing-consuming” view of capitalist society. Not exactly a commune, but something along those lines. Of course by now it is just a draft, but it is also a project me and other friends in Italy are seriously thinking about.
This project is inspired to several social experiments realized in different ages and in different places around the world. Someone tried and some of them succeeded. Why cannot we at least try?
MM- Can you please give me some considerations and ideas on being an international student in Beijing, today? I know the city too, and I think it’s one of the most fast-changing, evolving and revolting places I’ve ever visited in the world.
It is. As a foreign student in Beijing, I have been interviewed two times by two different Chinese reviews and by an Italian student for his thesis in anthropology. At the moment being, China is hosting an ever growing number of international students. There are several reasons for this, reasons that are connected with the economic development of China and its empowerment in the world system. Beijing in particular is the best place to study, because it is the cultural and political capitol city of China, and because it has the best universities and research centres, let alone the fact that the language here is really close to the official Chinese (Mandarin). Foreign students in Beijing live a really stimulating and amazing international atmosphere, staying in contact with Chinese students, they are definitely enhanced in their cultural life (concerts, museums, exhibitions, travelling, …), have contacts with international schools, organizations and embassies. And, last but not least, the life in Beijing is much cheaper that in Hong Kong, London, Paris or New York.
MM- Always on young female migrant workers, a very interesting topic, can you describe somehow the underbelly of the Chinese prostitution world? I think it’s a very interesting and complex one, and I’d like to have the opinions of an almost “Doctor of Philosophy” on the matter.
The topic of prostitution in China is definitely a very interesting matter. I have been lucky because in my university there’s the best institute in China regarding sex studies. And one of my professors, Mr. Pan Suiming, is one of the first and most famous scholar on prostitution in China.
First of all, let’s say that, a part from moral or law considerations, prostitution here is (like everywhere) a huge business. “Sex industry” in China involve a unbelievable number of people, including workers, politicians, businessmen and, of course, prostitutes.
As far as my experience in massage centers, karaoke bars or hotels where most of the prostitutes work and on the base of my conversations with them, I could say that those are pretty young ladies, coming from any part of China. Basically they emigrate to find a good job but soon realize that the best way to earn fast cash is working on the field of sex services. This does not necessarily mean that they must have a complete intercourse with their customer (customers could be high officials as well as foreign tourists or construction workers), but basically they have to stay with them, making them relax, singing for them, drinking with them, doing massages or oral sex. Only sometimes “visiting prostitutes” means to have sex with them. A sort of so called “escort”, hot issue that is coming out even on Italian media regarding famous politicians. Do not forget that there is also Chinese prostitution in Italy that involves, for example, Chinese female students or young ladies in hard economic situations.
TO BE CONTINUED