Chinese Terminology: Elderly-gnawing Adult Children
By Guan Chao, Sun Zhifu
We see squirrels gnawing on nuts to stuff their belly or mice gnaw on walls to make a den. But did you know some people "gnaw" on their parents to get by in life? Creepy as that sounds, it's actually a term used to describe healthy young adults who still live off their parents' income – the elderly-gnawing adult children.
The phenomenon became common in China in the early 2000s, as the country's single-child generation gradually came of age. While society blamed the younger generations for being petulant and not trying hard enough, the reasons for elderly-gnawing adults are varied.
True, there are some big babies, possibly due to parents' overindulgence of their only child. Some don't work or study and prefer to completely rely on their parents, or they earn a meager income that barely supports their irrational spending.
But for most elderly-gnawers, the parents are their last resort. Due to fierce competition, many young people have been left out of the labor market. That pressure is being multiplied exponentially by millions of college graduates being pumped into the job market every year.
Life is indeed difficult. But that's no excuse to stay idle. For those entering gap years, many of them choose to further their studies or to start their own businesses -- all for the wish that one day they may not only avoid being labeled an elderly-gnawing adult but also to help their parents lead a better life in retirement.
CGTN's special series “Chinese Terminology”, which was launched on November 26, marks the 40-year anniversary of the country's reform and opening-up program. The episodes, hosted by CGTN anchors Jeff Moody and Jonathan Betz, are being aired every day at 20:15, 12:00 and 16:00 BJT.