The Joys and Sorrows of a Professional Mourner
Danwei translates a Beijing News story about professional wailers who perform songs of mourning at funerals:
One can make a decent amount of money being a proxy mourner. The profession recently came to the attention of the public through the character Lu Zhixin, a professional wailer, in the popular TV adaptation of Cell Phone.
Wailers actually belong to an ancient profession that now keeps a low profile thanks to its singular characteristics. In Chongqing and Chengdu, wailers and their special bands have, over the course of more than a decade, developed into a professional, competitive market.
Studies show that wailers are predominantly laid-off workers. To support themselves, they rely on weeping and melancholy songs for their income. They and their bands believe that, like everyone else, they are engaging in a profession and performing a job.