Cup Noodle Education

Yesterday I watched the two first episodes of a new Chinese TV series called Small Daddy 小爸爸. As I was watching it and later discussed it with my boyfriend, I started to think of the rapid transformation young Chinese adults have to go through when graduating from university.

For my Finnish point of view, Chinese youngsters live quite a controlled life until right up to their university education. They will live in dorms that separates girls and boys, they might have curfews and lights go out at eleven. The campus becomes their second home and the staff their second parents.

In Finland we live on our own when we go to university, we don’t even have dormitories! Our parents don’t give us permissions anymore and we often don’t listen to them even when it would be wise to do so. We do what we want and learn to be adults by experimenting the real life.

But Chinese young adults are very guarded until their graduation and what happens after that? They need to find a good job, a good husband or wife and start a family! In Finland we usually have time to live our independent adult life before settling down, but in China it happens much faster. From a kid to a parent transformation seems to be much more abrupt.

I asked my boyfriend how Chinese young adults are supposed to learn to live their lives if they can’t open their wings first and try it out. How can you be a parent when you haven’t learned to take care of your self first?

This actually applies to my boyfriend as well, he’s been living with the parents since graduation. His mom is cooking for him and washing his clothes and at the same time pushing him to grow up. My boyfriend calls this Cup Noodle Education. In his opinion Chinese parents pour the hot water over their kids and require them to get ready for life in three minutes.

It seems that because kids have huge pressure to excel in school, in order to get into good schools and universities, hoping it to lead to successful life, they necessarily don’t have to worry about anything else. My boyfriend’s dad had said how my boyfriend and his little sister didn’t have to do much around home when they were kids, they could fully concentrate on their education. But how do you learn to take care of your self if there’s no actual need to do that?

As a Chinese young adult I would be really lost, perhaps I wouldn’t be able to cope it all, for example when as a student you shouldn’t date as it interferes with you studies, but after graduation you have to marry as soon as possible. I’m wondering how they do it.

I have to say I’m grateful for my mother for teaching me to be independent and letting go when the time came. Always encouraging me, but also giving intelligent advice. If Chinese receive cup noodle parenting, then I’m more like the Finnish Christmas pork that has to be in the oven whole night.