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    The night before I was heading for Scotland, I was invited to host the final of “China’s Got Talent” show in Shanghai with the 80,000 live audience in the stadium. Guess who was the performing guest? Susan Boyle. And I told her, “I’m going to Scotland the next day.” She sang beautifully, and she even managed to say a few words in Chinese. [Chinese] So it’s not like “hello” or “thank you,” that ordinary stuff. It means “green onion for free.” Why did she say that? Because it was a line from our Chinese parallel Susan Boyle — a 50-some year-old woman, a vegetable vendor in Shanghai, who loves singing Western opera, but she didn’t understand any English or French or Italian, so she managed to fill in the lyrics with vegetable names in Chinese. (Laughter) And the last sentence of Nessun Dorma that she was singing in the stadium was “green onion for free.” So [as] Susan Boyle was saying that, 80,000 live audience sang together. That was hilarious.   
    So I guess both Susan Boyle and this vegetable vendor in Shanghai belonged to otherness. They were the least expected to be successful in the business called entertainment, yet their courage and talent brought them through. And a show and a platform gave them the stage to realize their dreams. Well, being different is not that difficult. We are all different from different perspectives. But I think being different is good, because you present a different point of view. You may have the chance to make a difference.   
    My generation has been very fortunate to witness and participate in the historic transformation of China that has made so many changes in the past 20, 30 years. I remember that in the year of 1990, when I was graduating from college, I was applying for a job in the sales department of the first five-star hotel in Beijing, Great Wall Sheraton — it’s still there. So after being interrogated by this Japanese manager for a half an hour, he finally said, “So, Miss Yang, do you have any questions to ask me?” I summoned my courage and poise and said, “Yes, but could you let me know, what actually do you sell?” I didn’t have a clue what a sales department was about in a five-star hotel. That was the first day I set my foot in a five-star hotel. 
    Around the same time, I was going through an audition — the first ever open audition by national television in China — with another thousand college girls. The producer told us they were looking for some sweet, innocent and beautiful fresh face. So when it was my turn, I stood up and said, “Why [do] women’s personalities on television always have to be beautiful, sweet, innocent and, you know, supportive? Why can’t they have their own ideas and their own voice?” I thought I kind of offended them. But actually, they were impressed by my words. And so I was in the second round of competition, and then the third and the fourth. After seven rounds of competition, I was the last one to survive it. So I was on a national television prime-time show. And believe it or not, that was the first show on Chinese television that allowed its hosts to speak out of their own minds without reading an approved script. (Applause) And my weekly audience at that time was between 200 to 300 million people.  
    Well after a few years, I decided to go to the U.S. and Columbia University to pursue my postgraduate studies, and then started my own media company, which was unthought of during the years that I started my career. So we do a lot of things. I’ve interviewed more than a thousand people in the past. And sometimes I have young people approaching me say, “Lan, you changed my life,” and I feel proud of that. But then we are also so fortunate to witness the transformation of the whole country. I was in Beijing’s bidding for the Olympic Games. I was representing the Shanghai Expo. I saw China embracing the world and vice versa. But then sometimes I’m thinking, what are today’s young generation up to? How are they different, and what are the differences they are going to make to shape the future of China, or at large, the world?   
    So today I want to talk about young people through the platform of social media. First of all, who are they? [What] do they look like? Well this is a girl called Guo Meimei — 20 years old, beautiful. She showed off her expensive bags, clothes and car on her microblog, which is the Chinese version of Twitter. And she claimed to be the general manager of Red Cross at the Chamber of Commerce. She didn’t realize that she stepped on a sensitive nerve and aroused national questioning, almost a turmoil, against the credibility of Red Cross. The controversy was so heated that the Red Cross had to open a press conference to clarify it, and the investigation is going on.   So far, as of today, we know that she herself made up that title — probably because she feels proud to be associated with charity. All those expensive items were given to her as gifts by her boyfriend, who used to be a board member in a subdivision of Red Cross at Chamber of Commerce. It’s very complicated to explain. But anyway, the public still doesn’t buy it. It is still boiling. It shows us a general mistrust of government or government-backed institutions, which lacked transparency in the past. And also it showed us the power and the impact of social media as microblog.   ——楊瀾ted英文演講稿
    Microblog boomed in the year of 2010, with visitors doubled and time spent on it tripled. Sina.com, a major news portal, alone has more than 140 million microbloggers. On Tencent, 200 million. The most popular blogger — it’s not me — it’s a movie star, and she has more than 9.5 million followers, or fans. About 80 percent of those microbloggers are young people, under 30 years old. And because, as you know, the traditional media is still heavily controlled by the government, social media offers an opening to let the steam out a little bit. But because you don’t have many other openings, the heat coming out of this opening is sometimes very strong, active and even violent.   
    So through microblogging, we are able to understand Chinese youth even better. So how are they different? First of all, most of them were born in the 80s and 90s, under the one-child policy. And because of selected abortion by families who favored boys to girls, now we have ended up with 30 million more young men than women. That could pose a potential danger to the society, but who knows; we’re in a globalized world, so they can look for girlfriends from other countries. Most of them have fairly good education. The illiteracy rate in China among this generation is under one percent. In cities, 80 percent of kids go to college. But they are facing an aging China with a population above 65 years old coming up with seven-point-some percent this year, and about to be 15 percent by the year of 2030. And you know we have the tradition that younger generations support the elders financially, and taking care of them when they’re sick. So it means young couples will have to support four parents who have a life expectancy of 73 years old.   
    So making a living is not that easy for young people. College graduates are not in short supply. In urban areas, college graduates find the starting salary is about 400 U.S. dollars a month, while the average rent is above $500. So what do they do? They have to share space — squeezed in very limited space to save money — and they call themselves “tribe of ants.” And for those who are ready to get married and buy their apartment, they figured out they have to work for 30 to 40 years to afford their first apartment. That ratio in America would only cost a couple five years to earn, but in China it’s 30 to 40 years with the skyrocketing real estate price.  
    Among the 200 million migrant workers, 60 percent of them are young people. They find themselves sort of sandwiched between the urban areas and the rural areas. Most of them don’t want to go back to the countryside, but they don’t have the sense of belonging. They work for longer hours with less income, less social welfare. And they’re more vulnerable to job losses, subject to inflation, tightening loans from banks, appreciation of the renminbi, or decline of demand from Europe or America for the products they produce. Last year, though, an appalling incident in a southern OEM manufacturing compound in China: 13 young workers in their late teens and early 20s committed suicide, just one by one like causing a contagious disease. But theydied because of all different personal reasons. But this whole incident aroused a huge outcry from society about the isolation, both physical and mental, of these migrant workers.    ——楊瀾ted英文演講稿
    For those who do return back to the countryside, they find themselves very welcome locally, because with the knowledge, skills and networks they have learned in the cities, with the assistance of the Internet, they’re able to create more jobs, upgrade local agriculture and create new business in the less developed market. So for the past few years, the coastal areas, they found themselves in a shortage of labor. 
    These diagrams show a more general social background. The first one is the Engels coefficient, which explains that the cost of daily necessities has dropped its percentage all through the past decade, in terms of family income, to about 37-some percent. But then in the last two years, it goes up again to 39 percent, indicating a rising living cost. The Gini coefficient has already passed the dangerous line of 0.4. Now it’s 0.5 — even worse than that in America — showing us the income inequality. And so you see this whole society getting frustrated about losing some of its mobility. And also, the bitterness and even resentment towards the rich and the powerful is quite widespread. So any accusations of corruption or backdoor dealings between authorities or business would arouse a social outcry or even unrest.   
    So through some of the hottest topics on microblogging, we can see what young people care most about. Social justice and government accountability runs the first in what they demand. For the past decade or so, a massive urbanization and development have let us witness a lot of reports on the forced demolition of private property. And it has aroused huge anger and frustration among our young generation. Sometimes people get killed, and sometimes people set themselves on fire to protest. So when these incidents are reported more and more frequently on the Internet, people crfor the government to take actions to stop this.   
    So the good news is that earlier this year, the state council passed a new regulation on house requisition and demolition and passed the right to order forced demolition from local governments to the court. Similarly, many other issues concerning public safety is a hot topic on the Internet. We heard about polluted air, polluted water, poisoned food. And guess what, we have faked beef. They have sorts of ingredients that you brush on a piece of chicken or fish, and it turns it to look like beef. And then lately, people are very concerned about cooking oil, because thousands of people have been found [refining] cooking oil from restaurant slop. So all these things have aroused a huge outcry from the Internet. And fortunately, we have seen the government responding more timely and also more frequently to the public concerns.   
    While young people seem to be very sure about their participation in public policy-making, but sometimes they’re a little bit lost in terms of what they want for their personal life. China is soon to pass the U.S. as the number one market for luxury brands — that’s not including the Chinese expenditures in Europe and elsewhere. But you know what, half of those consumers are earning a salary below 2,000 U.S. dollars. They’re not rich at all. They’re taking those bags and clothes as a sense of identity and social status. And this is a girl explicitly saying on a TV dating show that she would rather cry in a BMW than smile on a bicycle. But of course, we do have young people who would still prefer to smile, whether in a BMW or [on] a bicycle.  
    So in the next picture, you see a very popular phenomenon called “naked” wedding, or “naked” marriage. It does not mean they will wear nothing in the wedding, but it shows that these young couples are ready to get married without a house, without a car, without a diamond ring and without a wedding banquet, to show their commitment to true love. And also, people are doing good through social media. And the first picture showed us that a truck caging 500 homeless and kidnapped dogs for food processing was spotted and stopped on the highway with the whole country watching through microblogging. People were donating money, dog food and offering volunteer work to stop that truck. And after hours of negotiation, 500 dogs were rescued. And here also people are helping to find missing children. A father posted his son’s picture onto the Internet. After thousands of [unclear], the child was found, and we witnessed the reunion of the family through microblogging.   
    So happiness is the most popular word we have heard through the past two years. Happiness is not only related to personal experiences and personal values, but also, it’s about the environment. People are thinking about the following questions: Are we going to sacrifice our environment further to produce higher GDP? How are we going to perform our social and political reform to keep pace with economic growth, to keep sustainability and stability? And also, how capable is the system of self-correctness to keep more people content with all sorts of friction going on at the same time? I guess these are the questions people are going to answer. And our younger generation are going to transform this country while at the same time being transformed themselves.  Thank you very much. 
    來蘇格蘭(做TED講演)的前夜,我被邀請去上海做”中國達人秀“決賽的評委。在裝有八萬現場觀眾的演播廳里,在臺上的表演嘉賓居然是(來自蘇格蘭的,因參加英國達人秀走紅的)蘇珊大媽(Susan Boyle)。我告訴她,“我明天就要啟程去蘇格蘭。” 她唱得很動聽,還對觀眾說了幾句中文,她并沒有說簡單的”你好“或者”謝謝“,她說的是——“送你蔥”(Song Ni Cong)。為什么?這句話其實來源于中國版的“蘇珊大媽”——一位五十歲的以賣菜為生,卻對西方歌劇有出奇愛好的上海中年婦女(蔡洪平)。這位中國的蘇珊大媽并不懂英文,法語或意大利文,所以她將歌劇中的詞匯都換做中文中的蔬菜名,并且演唱出來。在她口中,歌劇《圖蘭朵》的最后一句便是“Song Ni Cong”。當真正的英國蘇珊大媽唱出這一句“中文的”《圖蘭朵》時,全場的八萬觀眾也一起高聲歌唱,場面的確有些滑稽(hilarious)。   
    我想Susan Boyle和這位上海的賣菜農婦的確屬于人群中的少數。她們是最不可能在演藝界成功的,而她們的勇氣和才華讓她們成功了,這個節目和舞臺給予了她們一個實現個人夢想的機會。這樣看來,與眾不同好像沒有那么難。從不同的方面審視,我們每個人都是不同的。但是我想,與眾不同是一件好事,因為你代表了不一樣的觀點,你擁有了做改變的機會。  
    我這一代中國人很幸運的目睹并且參與了中國在過去二三十年中經歷的巨變。我記得1990年,當我剛大學畢業時,我申請了當時北京的第一家五星級酒店——長城喜來登酒店的銷售部門的工作。這家酒店現在仍在北京。當我被一位日本籍經理面試了一個半小時之后,他問到,“楊小姐,你有什么想問我的嗎?”,我屏住呼吸,問道“是的,你能告訴我,具體我需要銷售些什么嗎?” 當時的我,對五星級酒店的銷售部門沒有任何概念,事實上,那是我第一次進到一家五星級酒店。 
    我想通過社交媒體來談一談中國的年輕人們。首先,他們是誰,他們是什么樣子?這是一位叫郭美美的女孩兒,20歲,年輕漂亮。她在中國版的Twitter上——新浪微博上,炫耀她所擁有的奢侈品,衣服,包和車。她甚至宣稱她是中國紅十字會的工作人員。她沒有意識到她的行為觸及了中國民眾極為敏感的神經,這引發了一場全民大討論,民眾開始質疑紅十字會的公信力。中國紅十字會為了平息這場爭議甚至舉辦了一場記者會來澄清,直至今日,對于”郭美美事件“的調查仍在繼續,但我們所知道的事實是,她謊報了她的頭銜,可能是因為她的虛榮心,希望把自己和慈善機構聯系起來。所有那些奢侈品都是她的男朋友給她買的,而那位”男朋友“的確曾經是紅十字會的工作人員。這解釋起來很復雜,總之,公眾對他們的解釋仍然不滿意,這仍然是在風口浪尖的一件事。這件事體現出(中國社會)對長期不透明的政府機關的不信任,同時也表現出社交媒體(微博)巨大的社會影響力。  ——楊瀾ted中文演講稿
    所以對于年輕人而言,生活并不是容易。本科畢業生也不在是緊缺資源。在城市中,本科生的月起薪通常是400美元(2500人民幣),而公寓的平均月租金卻是500美元。所以他們的解決方式是合租——擠在有限的空間中以節省開支,他們叫自己”蟻族。“ 對于那些準備好結婚并希望購買一套公寓的中國年輕夫婦而言,他們發現他們必須要不間斷的工作30到40年才可以負擔得起一套公寓。對于同樣的美國年輕夫婦而言,他們只需要五年時間。 
    對于那些回到農村的年輕人,他們所經歷的城市生活,所學到的知識,技巧和建立的社會網絡,讓他們通常更受歡迎。特別是在互聯網的幫助下,他們更有可能獲得工作,提升農村的農業水平和發展新的商業機會。在過去的一些年中,一些沿海的城鎮甚至出現了勞動力短缺。   ——楊瀾ted中文演講稿
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