QING SHENG JIANG: It was in 1999. China was putting a lot of energy into developing high technology at that time. Then I had this dream. Two friends of mine and I, we wanted to build a light aircraft so we could fly up in the sky. We used a 3 horsepower diesel engine and alumininum alloys to make the aircraft, and we wrapped it in a fabric that had coloured stripes on it. The engine was at the front of the aircraft. We flew up into the sky but after a while the engine stopped working so we crashed. Then I woke up.
We now have more land than at the beginning of the period of reforms and opening up. My family is quite good at growing crops, we used to grow local crops but later we started growing hybrid rice. The yield of hybrid rice is 50% higher than that of local rice, so our life also got better. We used to live in a very shabby house, but later we could build a brick house. I also earned some money by working in other cities and I used that money to add more floors to our home. Today our life is much better than it was before, that’s a fact.
Today each member of my family can earn 600 RMB per month, much more than before. But my own personal situation is not that good, actually. I still grow crops in my hometown and that’s somewhat tedious because I have to return to my home town every time something needs to be done on the fields, such as seeding, threshing, ploughing or harvesting.
My kids are working in other provinces, they are making their own money, and I earn money for myself and my wife. Every year I need to spend money on seeds, fertilizer and pesticides. I go back to the fields when I need to. I have to continue producing crops. I sell a part of the crops and keep some for my family. After the busy season on the field, I go back to Beibei for my other job, which is to carry and transport heavy things for other people. It’s a tough job but the good thing about it is that I don’t have a boss above me. If nobody asks me to carry anything, I just have time for myself. Now the government is taking less taxes, so I’m thinking of opening a small shop. I’m 52 now, my physical condition is not as good as it used to be, I won’t be able to do this job for the rest of my life.