Sunday October 28, 2012
Posing nude at 84 – at least he is doing an honest job
WE have all read about the 84-year-old man in China, Wang Xuzhong, who was disowned by his children because of his part-time job as a nude model.
I have read the story in full through China Daily, and also seen the accompanying photo, and I must say that this very old man is quite a work of art.
With his distinguished grey hair, and a rather large pot-belly, I doubt if he will get the young art students excited over his body.
To him, it is simply an honest day's wage for an honest day's work.
According to the report, Wang's wife died 15 years ago, and lost his youngest son in 2007.
His oldest son visits him once a week, bringing clean clothes and some food, while his two daughters see him once a month.
But following the exposure about his job, they do not want to have anything to do with their father anymore.
Wang lives alone on a monthly pension of 800 yuan (RM400).
His new job requires him to hold a pose, naked, for 45 minutes in front of students, for which he is paid 60 to 100 yuan (RM29 to 48) an hour. He earns about 1,400 yuan (RM676) a month.
“Now, I am modelling for art, and it brings more happiness than ever. It's a career deserving respect,” he told China Daily.
There are, apparently, many senior citizens in China who have taken up nude modelling, though it is not something they would share with the family.
So why are Wang's children so upset that they have to disown him?
I suppose our job is meant to also identify us with our status in society.
So, it is always safer to have a job that fits into some common and respectable category.
Just as it is difficult for parents to talk about their children's uncommon jobs, I reckon children will also find it embarrassing to talk about parents who choose the road less travelled.
I recall how my mother just couldn't understand why I left the workforce to stay at home and take care of my boys.
She really had a hard time explaining to the neighbours initially and she told very creative stories to justify my presence at home.
But she warmed up to my decision eventually and was able to understand that being a homemaker is real work, even if there is no income. But she still felt better when my wife took on the role of homemaker.
Today, she can see for herself that my being a full-time father has reaped rich dividends in building relationships with loved ones, especially my sons.
In many different career talks I have attended, and sometimes moderated, one thing that strikes me is that many parents, whether they want to admit it or not, are living out their own dreams through their children.
Thus, when it comes to the choice of study, and the job they should take, the parents not only have a say, but in many instances have the veto.
Young adults are spoilt for choice when it comes to courses and vocations, but many are still being driven to do what their parents want.
I remember a young engineering graduate, after his convocation, handing the degree to his father, and saying, “Here, dad, this is your degree.”
He never worked as an engineer but found his real passion in a far more interesting job which took him places.
As far as really tough jobs go, I recall the night-soil carriers in my growing-up years.
A bit queasy, maybe, but disgusting, surely not.
It is an honest job, and certainly far better than being involved in illegal activities.
Even old man Wang is doing an honest job, don't you think?
> Deputy executive editor Soo Ewe Jin wonders what all the old people will do when Malaysia officially becomes an aging society in 2020, when the proportion of our population aged 65 and above is projected to reach 7.1%.