Chinese always seem to have an obsession with age. 'I ought to get married by this age' ' I ought to be a millionaire by this age' But when it comes to traditional customs, the times of respecting our elders and indeed anything of an older culture seems to be slowly vanishing.
In China this can apply to the huge aging population in China in 'opposition' to the huge younger ( 10-30 )population that may in advertantly be responsible for China's current but inevitably slow 'westernisation' ( read increased materialistic values)
Then back to our British Born Chinese culture, having scoured the posts of British Chinese Online and have come across viewpoints that our elders are a burden, and anyone over the age of so and so is seemed as 'invalid'
So with the kind of modernist attitude that one treats a fellow Chinese in the same way that one may also view an out of date PC hardware, have the younger made more progress when it comes to a BBC political movement or is the big fuss about being young in Britain just mean 'survival' in an economic recession?
The following assumptions about British Born Chinese in the UK based on a middle class mindset and being British Born Chinese, and I have also used the following westernised generation terminology z, y and x , to categorize.
- Under 20s-early 20s. Gen z. Still learning about life, mature mindset for a young age, possibly easier circumstances and experiences with a stronger base and lots of British Born Chinese/Chinese friends, with extreme swings of being serious minded about career to those who still finding their way and enjoying life and not so serious about developing a political identity. Big family support. The most time. Quick adapters and learners but also growing up in the worst of economic times.
- Early 20s-early 30s. For whatever reason I call this the transition group, also known as Gen Y. with the economic period, probably struggling more with economic issues than cultural/political issues. Again some are more successful than others, id say either falling into high paid jobs, out of work, in between jobs. Still supported by family in some cases. Less free time.
- Mid 30s to early 40s. This is the gen x group. Career established, some maybe still job-hopping. Mostly have sold out to the white-assimilation mindset and settled down, some with kids. Many still single, typically in high paying jobs, or at least in a relationship of some kind. Probably some family support. Hardly any time.
- Mid 40s+ settled down, not interested in activist / bbc identity issues or if are, probably in a vocal minority with academic / career links to such issues/interests. Well established career, if single, then quite happy, if with family, than also quite happy. This generation coming of age in the 90s have seen the most opportunity, and taken advantage of it. Little family support, typically supporting parents, rather than other way around. If happy settled, and comfortable ots of time, if not, then little time because too busy juggling kids and work.
So what is my point with the above assumptions?
Well, firstly I wanted to distinguish us from the immigrant Chinese, or first gen, who also obviously fall into the above categories
Secondly, as can be seen from the above list, age already determines the interest/ impetus to follow up issues whether as an artist, or sharing opinions in a considered manner.
Of course, it's easy to say that the younger generation ( late teens – early 20s) are the future and any older too old, but too old for what?
It's been interesting to hear feedback from one younger reader who corrected my article, that indeed, younger BBCS are much more integrated in British schools, although she did mention that maybe her school was possibly a one-off.
The question that i'm wondering the most here is – does your age affect your ability to develop your British Chinese identity ? Do you have friends of a certain age , who because of falling into the above categories, have little time for certain things as thinking about political issues or a British Chinese community...because of their age? Do you agree that age determines your lifestyle/mindset? And obviously from personal experience, what your thoughts are on this, maybe referring to other people as examples if you don't want to talk about yourself.
One obvious advantage of youth is to challenge authority and create new ways. So if that is the case....where are the up and coming new voices for our British Born Chinese cultural change?