Money talks? Nouveau riche escort children on mansion visit to “build dreams”


While many Chinese parents chose to take their children to parks or museums to mark yesterday’s annual Children’s Day celebrations, one group of youngsters in south China was treated to a tour of multi-million-yuan mansions in the hopes that they would aspire to live in one.
On Sunday, a day before Children’s Day, more than 50 parents took their children to visit large estates worth 4 million yuan (USD653,600) located at a spa resort in Qingyuan City, Guangdong Province.
The weekend tour aimed to help the children “build dreams” by allowing them to witness luxurious settings at the vacation getaway, according to a report that appeared in the China Youth Daily newspaper.
The article said staff overheard parents telling their children that “fortune represents social status” and “only when you aspire to make a fortune can you possibly buy a mansion worth millions of dollars.”
Many of the visitors were rich locals. Some parents were wearing large rings and gold necklaces, symbols usually associated with the nouveau riche, a staff member told the paper.
“It’s a frequent occurrence,” the resort worker, who requested anonymity, said.
“Each weekend, we receive more than 50 such families, and this weekend more than 300 families have visited with their children because of Children’s Day.”
Xinhua reporters found the tour was independently organized by parents.
The phenomenon sparked questions about the education methods of rich parents on the Internet, although many web users remain divided on the issue.
On the Sina Weibo microblogging service, a post about the tour was forwarded more than 2,100 times and commented on 2,300 times as of noon yesterday.
“How shallow is their concept of education!” read one comment by a Weibo user with the screen-name “Yongyongxiaoyu”.
Others argued that there is nothing wrong with teaching children to pursue a fortune in a realistic world where money does make a difference.
China’s super-rich population is rising, with the number of individuals with a net worth of at least USD1 billion currently at 430.
The mansion visit might sound like money worship, but the parents themselves argue differently.
Ma Renwen, who took his child to the resort on Sunday, told China Youth Daily that the visit is practical.
“Money might not be everything, but it certainly means something in this realistic world,” said Ma, who successfully operates more than 30 chain stores selling high-end fabric across the country.
He said as a businessman, it is important to teach his child the concepts of business and fortune, so that when he grows up, he can take over the family business.
“I think that such visits can motivate children’s passion and conviction,” he said.
Lan Xianming, who visited the resort with his 16-year-old son, agrees.
“When my older son was 10, I would take him to high-end property projects and auto shows,” said Lan, who runs an office furniture business. “Now he is in charge of a factory on his own.”
“That’s why I took my younger son here.”
But some parents and experts have expressed concern over such education methods.
Ms. Wang, a Beijing-based editor, said the parents’ intention might be good, but they went about it the wrong way.
“I don’t think visiting mansions can help ‘build dreams’ for young children,” said Wang, mother of a two-­year-old girl. “Instead, it will fuel a sense of vanity and make them feel that being rich is simply about living in fancy houses.”
Social media users agreed.
“Happiness, rather than money, is the most important,” said Weibo user “Xiangechangyou.” “If you are not happy, what’s the use of money anyway?” Xinhua

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