A Piece of Social News
Note: The following words are all taken from an item of social news entitled “On the Great Goose Pagoda Plaza in Xi’an Prostitutes of 40 to 50 Years Old Solicit Openly.” Except for versifying the text, the author alters almost nothing. My translation tries to be as faithful to the original words as possible, to the point that some of them do not read very idiomatic in English.
Xi’an. Aug. 8, 2007. Around 4pm., our correspondent
Came to The Great Goose Pagoda Plaza, where there are
Many people hanging around in the northern part.
It was burning hot, and people sat on chairs in the park
In the arbors, among whom there are several middle-aged women
Who were looking around all the time. Whenever there appeared
Single men, they would sneaked behind them to where
there were fewer people. The women would accost the men.
Our correspondent sneaked near the chair and sat
On a nearby stone for no more than five minutes
When a woman around 40 came by and patted on his shoulder
Saying “Hi, Young brother, alone?” and picked up a chat.
After an initial small talk, she elbowed our journalist
With such suggestive words: In such a hot day, what’s the point
In dry gossip? Don’t you want to play with an elder sister like me
Who can surely make you happy?” Our correspondent pretended
Innocence by asking “To play what?” and the woman whispered
To his ear in a mystical air: “What can a man and a woman play?
I see you are young and I only ask for 30 yuan. How about that?”
After a pretended bargain, our correspondent followed the woman
To a peasant’s house at Kuanyin Village. The house is small and dim
as a shed, with a double bed, an old TV set and an electric fan.
Upon entering, the woman started undressing, and our journalist
Saw on the bed stains of semen. He immediately stepped out, saying
He was going to pee and messaging his colleague to call back.
Therefore, our correspondent escaped upon his wife’s phone call.
A few days later, our correspondent came to the Greater Pagoda
And did an investigation there. No sooner did he take his feet
When getting off a bus than he was surrounded by a circle of women
Who asked in low voices: "Hi, Young man, play or not? 30 yuan only."
They were all around 30 to 40 of age, standing by the bus stops.
Whenever a lone man gets off or passes by, they approached.
Our correspondent pretended to be interested and picked up
A chat with a woman, and they sat on a step and talked.
This woman told him that she was from a Li family, coming
To Xi’an from the southern part of the province, "to make money."
They all rented small houses in the ghettos in the downtown,
And she has also a kid at her care. Puzzled, our journalist asked:
"With a kid, how can you do business with a guest?" She smiled:
"That’s easy! When a guest comes, the kid is asked to go away."
"Are you not afraid that your business will make your kid learn the bad?"
"What else to do? My family is poor, and his dad is out to do odd jobs;
The kid is too young, and no one would take care of him at home."
"How much could you make in a month, with each business of 30 yuan?"
"For a woman of my age which is a little old, 30 yuan is quite reasonable;
The monthly net income may be a little over 2000, rent and food paid.
I am more than satisfied, as this sum is much bigger than I can get
Through laboring at home. You know, I do all this for our kid."
After a few days’ observation around the Greater Pagoda area,
Our correspondent found the prostitutes usually target at men
Who are in the middle age or over and appear to be alone.
According to investigations, the reason for them to seek business there is
that the men found there are usually those spending their spare time.
About this phenomenon, many citizens frequenting there feel disgusted;
They think that the Greater Pagoda Plaza is a "Cultural Spectacle"
And "Image" of the Province, and those who dare to procure sexual business
So openly on the most majestic fountain and waterscape plaza in Asia
Are really a pollution to the harmonic graceful environment of our society.
A Mister Liu, who is a retired cadre, lives near the Xian Film Studio Road.
He said that he liked going there, not only often doing morning exercise there,
But also taking his grandson with him when he took a walk after dinner.
"Never did I think that once a woman approached me and asked 'do you want
To play, at only 30 yuan, and I will make you really comfortable…'
And to think that my grandson is at my side! And he kept asking later
What the auntie wanted me to play. Can you tell me what I should answer?"
Mister Liu was really angry: "The government has put in a lot for the renovation
Of the Greater Pagoda Plaza and made it especially attractive.
It has become the Business Card of Xi’an Image. But see how shameless
These people are, so brazenly open! The relevant departments of government
Should make great efforts to administer and control, to drive them away
And wipe them out. Otherwise, this city will be really blemished."
P.S. by me: This piece of "news" is more than a fly in my dish. It is not the prostitution that makes me sick, as poverty-stricken farmers had nothing left to sell. What really rapes my mind is the way the news is written. Damned are the correspondents who are too shit-minded not to investigate the reasons behind the prostitution.