Zhai Nan and Zhai Nv are two Chinese words which have become very popular in Chinese websites in recent years. The literal meaning of zhai is “home” and as you can guess, Zhai Nan and Zhai Nv are those boys and girls who stay at home all the time. China’s netizens have taken to calling themselves “Zhai Nan” or “Zhai Nv.”
Chinese kids tend to live lonely lives with enormous amounts of homework and very little time to go out and play. As more and more kids choose to stay at home with their TVs and computers, Chinese parents are getting happier and happier with the fact that their kids can stay focused on their homework for a long time. But then they are facing another problem: “How do you deal with these zhaiwa’r when they are on holidays?”
Ma Peigui from Shenzhen Special Zone Daily interviewed two mothers, Mrs. Li and Mrs. Zhang, and expert Yan Jiamu to discuss this phenomenon. (See the source here [http://bbs.ecust.edu.cn/viewthread.php?tid=304656])
Two hours of homework in the morning, cartoons before lunch, two hours of homework in the afternoon, computer games and dinner, TV or computer for the night, that’s the everyday life of Mrs. Li’s son in the summer vacation. Her son is an elementary school student. Mr.s Zhang’s daughter is in the 2nd grade in junior high school. Reading, sleeping, eating and chatting online is her daughter’s daily routine. Yan Jiamu said there are many reasons for this phenomenon, and parents are the main cause of it.
Journalist Jiang Peng from Wen Hui Bao also had an interview with Professor Zhong Xuhong. Zhong Xuhong is the headmaster of East China University of Science and Technology. (See the original Chinese article here [http://news.sznews.com/content/2010-08/23/content_4856937.htm])
Zhong Xuhong thinks parents and schools are making “nerds” together. Students have lost interests in their lives, how can they make a better future? Parents are doing their kids favors in every way, kids are so bad at taking care of themselves now. Even when an university wanted to dismiss 100 students for plagiarizing, they had to dismiss only 10 students at a time or they will get too many begging parents in front of the school.
Wang Jingzhan is an educational specialist and he also wrote an article about this phenomenon on his blog. (See the original Chinese blog here [http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_4b22408e010181c0.html?tj=1])
Many parents have told me they are worried their kids will become a “Zhai Nan.” The teenage period is a very important stage for kids to develop psychologically, if they only stay in the web-based world and isolate themselves from society, there will be more and more problems when they grow up.
The Zhai phenomenon is an unavoidable situation under the Chinese education system. Parents are not only looking at how they may be contributing to the problem, but are also looking forward to big changes in China’s education system.