Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wo Ju – Snail Space 蜗居, Episode 10

Haiping is talking about how everything is for the child. "We are not peasants. We graduated from university. We are city people. City people should live by city. You can ensure a little more bitterness, a little more exhaustion, in order to provide things for the child." Haiping says that marriage is a tomb, and the longer it goes on the more you dig. But she will not divorce Su Chun, because she can't. She has nowhere to live. Even with more arguments, more cursing, more hitting, she can't divorce with no place to live. If, one day, she makes it, she will leave him in less than a minute.

Su Chun arrives at Haizao's apartment as Haiping decides to go home.

Haizao runs back to her apartment. She tells Young Bei that she wants his money to pay back the loan. Young Bei sits down, with the doll given to Haizao from Secretary Song noticeable on the table behind him. Young Bei refuses to give the money. Haizao is upset, and wants to leave. Young Bei races after her and forcibly grabs her, not allowing her to leave. She thinks, "He is right. Where can I go in the city?"

Haizao goes to Secretary Song's office. She asks Song to borrow money, and feels ashamed since she stood defiantly only a short time before and paid money back, and now is begging for it again. Song’s only demand is that she tell him why she needs the money. Song holds Haizao's hand as she cries.

They go to a private club, where someone named Mr. Liang has left word to treat Song well. Haizao explains the situation. She talks about how Haiping, 7 years older than her, always taken care of her. She brings up the "tomb". Song asks her what Haiping's tomb is. Haizao responds that her tomb is her apartment. Song smiles. After a discussion about family values and the importance of money, Song is astonished to learn that Haizao only need 60,000. He promises to lend it to her whenever she wants it.

On the ride back to Song's office, Song suggests that Haiping teach Chinese to Song's foreign friend. Haizao says that Haiping has forgotten all her English. If they are together, it will be like "a chicken talking to a duck" (鸡同鸭讲, implying incommensurability). They laugh.

Haizao goes to Haiping's apartment to ask her about being a Chinese teacher. Haizao overhears a massive argument about Su Chun losing 1 yuan because of a machine malfunction at the market. Su Chun says "I want to divorce you!" and storms out. Haizao comforts Haiping, who agrees to be a Chinese teacher for foreigner.

Haizao returns home and Young Bei comes home after her to celebrate. He brings a reed that only cost 1 yuan. Haizao thinks about the significance of 1 yuan in life. Young Bei says, "Come eat, little piggy. There is meat". Narrator: "This is Haizao's future. There will be meat".

Young Bei was happy with meat. Haizao wanted more. A happy life is: one mu of land, two heads of cattle, and the wife and kids in a warm bed (a saying: 一亩土地,两头牛,老婆,孩子,热炕头). But you first have to have land and cattle, then you get a wife, then you have children. No one says: the wife and kids in a warm bed, then one mu of land and two heads of cattle. Even old peasants know this. Haizao laughs at herself in thinking of this after only seeing the beef that Young Bei brought home.