Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cosmetic Reward

The National College Entrance Exam is finished in China. It's a period of time that is full of stress for millions of Chinese students hoping to earn a place in a decent university. Unlike the SATs in the US, the Chinese students only get one shot at their test. They also have to cover more than just language and math--there's plenty of Communist philosophy and history that they need to write about. This exam causes so much stress that local governments have put together stress-relief programs for students to prevent suicides that have been fairly common in the past.

I may have not been under nearly as much stress as Chinese students preparing for the national exam, but my parents also didn't feel the need to reward me for doing well (they did, however, pay for my undergraduate degree--thanks, Mom and Dad). I had two classmates in high school who scored 1600 on the SATs, and their parents gave them nothing for their achievement. 

So, what do Chinese parents do for their children who score high marks on this exam? According to the Shenzhen Daily, they pay for cosmetic surgery. And it's not just the girls who want to look more attractive; plenty of boys are opting for liposuction (and yes, I do recall seeing many overweight students in Shenzhen).

Fortunately, there is some sense being spoken in China about teenagers seeking plastic surgery. There is a discussion in the article about psychological effects and consultations before committing to the procedures. My favorite quote from a doctor was this: "Blindly imitating a celebrity can only harm yourself." More people need to heed this advice, and not just in the case of cosmetic surgery.

No comments: