译者 imzero

As costs soar in the cities, more couples in China are opting for ‘naked marriages’ – those without the once-required trappings of a house, a car, and other goods.

一些中国的城市生活成本急涨,越来越多的年轻人开始选择“裸婚”——不一次性的要求房子,车子和其他物品。

文中出现的姓名均为音译。

BEIJING — Even to the most modern of young Beijing couples, some traditions are sacred: Real estate consultant Zhu Heng and his lawyer bride, Jia Zhiwei, are postponing their wedding banquet until Mr. Zhu’s parents’ feng shui adviser chooses an auspicious date for it.

北京——即使对最现代化的北京的年轻夫妇来说,有些中国的传统仍让他们恐惧——不动产咨询师朱恒和他律师女友贾志伟正计划推迟他们的婚宴,等着朱恒父母请的风水大师再次给他们挑选一个良辰佳节。

But helpless in the face of astronomical housing prices in the capital, Zhu had to marry the woman he loves without being able to offer her a home of their own – a standard requirement of Chinese brides down the ages.

但是,面对首都天文数字般的房价而无能为力,朱恒在不能买房子的情况下,不得不娶他爱着的女人——而买房是从古至今中国新娘的标准要求。

“I feel pretty guilty about it, but it’s a question of reality,” says Zhu, shrugging his shoulders. “A lot of my generation understands that it’s just not possible.”

“对此,我只能感到非常内疚,但这是个很现实的问题,”朱恒表示,“我这一代的很多人都理解买房是件不可能的事情。”

In China’s most prosperous cities, time-honored truths are losing their luster for young adults coping with a very different world from the one their forebears knew.

在中国最繁华的城市,久经实践的传统正在失去往日的光辉,如今的青年们所面对的世界和他们的先辈所认知的已大大不同。

Wang Yu, a secretary, and her husband, Wang Lue, a sales engineer for an electronics company in Beijing, were both born after China introduced its one-child policy in 1979. Like couples almost everywhere in the country made up of only-children, they are eligible to have two kids. But they are not going to.

王玉,职业是秘书,而她丈夫王略,在北京一家电子公司的做销售工程师,他们都是在中国自1979年开始实行一胎化的政策之后出生的人。就像这个国家所有独生子女组建的家庭一样,他们可以合法的生2个孩子,但是,他们并不这么打算。

“Their thinking is not like their parents’,” says Feng Xiaotian, head of the sociology department at Nanjing University, who studies young couples made up of only-children. “They have the choice but they are just like their whole generation. Sixty percent of them want only one child.”

专门研究那些由独生子女组建家庭的南京大学社会学系主任冯晓天表示,“他们的想法和他们的父辈的不同,他们本可以选择生2个孩子的,但是他们和他们整整一代人一样,60%的独生子女的家庭也只准备要一个孩子。”

For a start, they say, having one child is normal to them, since they were brought up alone. But more important, says Ms. Wang, “more children mean more pressure.” She adds, “It’s very expensive to raise a child here.”

他们表示,因为一开始生一个孩子对他们来说太过正常,因为他们也是一个人长大。但更重要的是,王女士说,“生多个孩子意味着更大的压力。现在抚养一个孩子的花费太大。”

The cost of feeding and clothing a child is nothing compared with the cost of educating him or her in a competitive city like Beijing. Parents know that the road to the best universities begins with the best primary schools, and getting your child into one of those takes connections or money.

像北京这样竞争如此激烈的城市,在孩子身上对于食品和衣服的花费和在他们身上的教育支出比起来,简直是小巫见大巫。父母们知道要想孩子进入最好的大学就必须从最好的小学开始读书,而如果让小孩进入最好的小学读书必须要靠关系或者拼钱。

“I want us to focus on Yoyo and give her the best we can,” says Ms. Wang. “If we had another child we’d have to cut everything we give her in half, and that would not be best for her.”

王女士这样说:“我希望我们夫妻俩能把所有的精力都放在Yoyo一个人身上,尽我们最大的能力给她提供最好的条件,如果我们再生一个孩子的话,那么给Yoyo的就要减半,就不能给他最好的条件了。”

Once, Chinese children were their parents’ safety net, home-grown pension plans. But Mr. Wang is confident they’ll be able to look after themselves. “I plan to earn enough money before I retire to take care of things,” he says.

曾经,中国的小孩是他们父母的安全保障——养儿防老。但是王先生有信心他们有能力在将来照顾他们自己。他说,“我计划在退休之前挣足够的钱来为将来的一切做好准备。”

Depending on children in old age “was the way our grandmothers thought,” scoffs Zhang Hong, a computer programmer who is also entitled to two children, but who has decided with his wife, Cao Ling, a TV reporter, to stop with their 2-year-old girl.”Today, bringing up a child means a lot of trouble,” he adds.

到了老年依靠孩子这种思维“是属于我们奶奶那一代人的想法”,张宏冷笑道,他是一名计算机程序员,他也可以要2个孩子,但是他和他的妻子还是决定专心抚养他们2岁的女儿。他还说,现在,抚养一个孩子意味着一大推的麻烦事儿。

His parents, who never had a choice, might have liked more grandchildren. But in fact “they are happy we’ve had a child at all,” laughs Ms. Cao. “A lot of our friends don’t want any children.”

他的父母,在那时候别无选择,只能生一个孩子,但他们现在可能想再要个孙子。但事实上,曹女士笑着说,“我们有一个孩子他们也非常高兴,因为我的很多朋友都不愿生孩子了。”

Different priorities in 21st-century China

21世纪的中国不同的优先权

Young urban parents born after 1980 pay more attention to their own well-being than earlier generations did, suggests Professor Feng. “They think that a kid’s life occupies a large part of family life, so if they have two their own quality of life will go down.” Their generation is more than twice as likely as the average Chinese to want only one child, Feng has found.

冯教授表示, 80后的年轻的城市父母们比上一辈人更加注重他们自己的生活水平,他们认为一个孩子的生活就占据了大量的家庭时间,所以如果他们要2个孩子,生活的质量就会下降。冯教授还发现,他们这代人中只要一个孩子的比例可能是多数中国人的2倍。

Zhu and Ms. Jia say they are not yet ready to have children, though they had been engaged for six years before they finally tied the knot last month.

朱先生和贾女士说他们还没有准备要孩子,尽管他们已经订婚6年,在上个月刚刚喜结连理。

The trouble was that not long after proposing in 2005, Zhu fell ill. By the time he recovered six months later, the price of housing in Beijing had rocketed beyond his reach. “We just couldn’t afford to buy an apartment,” he recalls. An average Beijing apartment costs 32 times the annual salary of an average middle-class employee.

这种麻烦在2005年前还不是那么明显,朱先生那年病了一场。半年之后,他大病初愈,北京的房价已经如火箭一般的上窜到他不可能买的起的地步。朱先生回忆说,“那时我们只是买不起一套公寓。”现在,北京公寓的平均价格是一个中产阶级职工平均年收入的32倍。

In Chinese tradition a groom would bring his bride to his family home, where she would eventually become matriarch. In modern cities, that tradition has morphed into an expectation that the man will buy his own home – often with his parents’ help – to share with his wife.

在中国传统中,新郎应该接着新娘到自己家生活,最终新娘也会熬成婆。而在现在的城市中,这种传统已经演变成一种期望,男人应该买一套自己的房子——当然一般都在他父母的帮助下——然后和他的妻子共同所有这套房子。

After years of waiting fruitlessly for the housing market to cool, Zhu and Jia decided to get married this year, prodded by their friends and parents and conscious of passing time.

经过数年对于房地产市场降温的徒劳等待之后,在双方父母和朋友们的敦促下,同时也意识到时光流逝,朱和贾决定在今年结婚,。

The couple dispensed not only with the house and car that would normally come with a wedding but with the traditional ceremony, too. They paid just 9 renminbi ($1.50) for a marriage license, got their papers together, and went to the registry office. “Every girl wants a romantic wedding, but happiness is more important than anything else,” says Jia. “I just want the two of us to be together.”

这对夫妻不仅没有购置举行婚礼必备的房和车,甚至连传统的婚礼仪式也免了。他们仅仅是去民政局花了9元钱拿到了结婚证,结为法律上的夫妻。“每个女孩都希望有个浪漫的婚礼,但是幸福比其他一切都重要,我只想我们2个能在一起。”贾女士说。

‘It even has a name — naked marriage’

甚至有个代名词——裸婚

“More and more people are getting married without a car or a house,” adds Zhu. “There are so many doing it; it even has a name – ‘naked marriage.’ “

越来越多的人结婚的时候既没房也没车,很多人还准备这样结婚,这甚至有个词来形容——裸婚。朱先生接着说道。

Naked marriage is a rising phenomenon, especially in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai where property prices have risen nearly fivefold in the past decade.

裸婚是种逐渐兴起的现象,尤其是在像北京上海这样的大城市里,在过去的10年中,北京上海的房价已经翻了5翻。

“A house and a ceremony are very important,” acknowledges Li Xin, a 20-something customer service agent who married her husband, Li Lian, without either earlier this year. “But when he first said he loved me he told me all about himself, including how much he earned. I could do the [math]. I knew he would not be able to afford an apartment.”

20多岁的客服代表李歆承认,“房子和婚礼仪式都非常重要”,但和她男友在年初结婚时也是没房没车。“但是,当他第一次说爱我,把他的一切家当都告诉我时,包括他的收入,我大概的算一下,我知道,他没有能力负担的起一套房子。”

Mr. Li, a software engineer, says that like Zhu he feels guilty at not being in a position to meet his traditional obligations.

李先生,软件工程师,说像朱先生一样,他对自己没有尽到传统的义务而感到内疚。

His wife, though, is matter-of-fact. “My parents could not help us buy in Beijing, neither could his parents, and we do not earn enough,” she says bluntly.

他的妻子直率的表示,“我的父母不能帮助我们在北京买套房子,他的父母也帮不起,我们自己也挣不够足够的钱来买。”

“We solved the problem with a naked marriage. We accepted reality. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

“我们通过裸婚解决了这个问题,我们接受了现实,这本身没有什么错。”

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