--- SEARCH ---
Chinese Women
Film in China
War on Poverty
Learning Chinese
Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes
Exchange Rates
Hotel Service
China Calendar
Telephone and
Postal Codes

Hot Links
China Development Gateway
Chinese Embassies
China Knowledge

Dong Mingxia: 'Miserable Spiritual Traveler'

Working odd jobs in Beijing is not just a way to pay the bills for Dong Mingxia. Her work as a housemaid, restaurant handy helper and unprofessional actress is motivated not by the paycheck, but for the experience.

Dong, a female author from central China's Hubei Province, gets her writing inspiration first hand. Her new novel, to be titled City Forest, is about a female college graduate who lives on a meager income gleaned from various low-paying jobs.

To better understand her character, 35-year-old Dong came to Beijing about a month ago with only 600 yuan (US$74) in her pocket.

"But I want to experience a hard life in awkward situation this time. I have to work this time for my first-hand experience, which is so important to me for my story," Dong told the Beijing News Daily in an interview last week.

"Without the experiences, I just cannot write anything concrete."

She is now living in a temporary bedroom of a housekeeping company in Chaoyang District which requires a rent of 200 yuan (US$25) a month -- and works as a housemaid in a nearby neighborhood.

"I love Beijing. Here, there are so many migrant workers, who have their own ideas and stories to tell. In meeting with them, I could have some sparks in thought," she said.

Her job is to accompany the woman master who has difficulty in walk to go for a walk as exercises, cook meals and do cleaning work. Back home, Dong seldom cooks or does chores.

"I am lucky as I can now master my own fate, and enter into all walks of life I have in my mind for a story," she said.

"When I am back in my own bedroom at night, close the door, and bring out my computer to pen a few line, I feel free to do what I really like."

Dong is best known for winning a top prize in a Web contest last year with Love Doudou.

The novel, about a love affair in Beijing between an orphan Xu Doudou and online confidant Ant, won the Second Chinese Original Literature Competition of Sina.com, a forerunner news portal, with a cash prize of 50,000 yuan (US$6,165). It later came out in book form in January this year at the Beijing Publishing House.

In writing Love Doudou, Dong came to Beijing in September 2004 from her hometown of Wuhan, Hubei's provincial capital, and stayed in the capital for three months to collect material for her story by meeting with various types of people.

"I always long for social progress, and have been thinking of a harmonious society in which everyone has something to eat and is free to express one's thoughts," Dong said. "I am longing for a heart-shaking piece."

Besides Love Doudou, Dong also finished two other novels Futures Love and Safe Exit last year. The former high school teacher said she began to publish prose and poems in 1987.

Her earlier experiences made her think, she said. "For one thing, high-rises accompany luxurious recreation sites in Beijing, while in the other, there are people struggling under the poverty line. This made me think that we have an urgent need to create an atmosphere of social harmony."

This time around, Dong has come to see some people's sorrows while doing her fieldwork and has experienced some personal growth.

"Frankly speaking, I am a miserable spiritual traveler, who wants to explore social progress. Through my contacts with temporary workers and housemaids in Beijing, I have become serious with my life," she said.

(China Daily January 4, 2006)

Sun Shuyun, An Adventurer, a Writer and a Director
Campus Writers Meet Critics
Writer Bi Shumin
Writer Yi Shu
From Writer to Car Racer
Tie Ning
Print This Page
Email This Page
About Us SiteMap Feedback
Copyright © China Internet Information Center. All Rights Reserved
E-mail: webmaster@china.org.cn Tel: 86-10-88828000