Will young people find consumerism or freedom more appealing, keeping in mind the economy slowed down in 2015 and the stock market and currency was precarious? The novel China Rich Girlfriend (2016) describes the wealthy elite in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Indonesia who look down on Mainland Chinese as lacking in style. A character named Eddie says, “Typical mainlanders! They lavished every penny on their Little Emperor and suffered in silence.”[i] These rich families value conspicuous display of their wealth in their homes, cars, jewelry, expensive brand-name clothes, and art purchases. Some of the young adult characters are less materialistic than their parents, but most of them feel great pressure from their parents to marry other wealthy and respected people. An only child named Colette explained to her friend that her parents gave her the best of everything, including yearly plastic surgery when she was a teen to look prettier, in order to attract a “crown prince.”[i] Like Russian youth, will nationalism and materialism prevail over democracy? (More on censorship on the book webpage.)[ii]
[i] Kevin Kwan. China Rich Girlfriend. Anchor Books, 2016, p. 466.
[i] Kevin Kwan. China Rich Girlfriend. Anchor Books, 2016, p.5.