Mr. Qian Xuejian is responsible for the catering services of a leisure center in Nanjing, the “Smile Culture Club”. The club is the Nanjing branch of a Beijing entertainment company, Smile. According to Mr. Qian, Beijing Smile, established in 1992, has earned a good reputation in the Chinese entertainment industry. It is famous for its organization of the annual lobster festival and all kinds of carnivals as well as its ability of inviting superstars to its performances.
This club not only functions as the branch company which organizes performances, but also provides catering and leisure services to performers who come to Nanjing. However, in order to make more money, it is open to all the consumers now. The average consumption per customer at the club ranges from 40 RMB to 100 RMB.
Mr. Qian asks us to guess his age. “Most of the people who are asked to guess my age think I am in my forties, but in fact I am already 59 years old and will retire next year ”, he smiles and says he is proud of his young appearance.
Mr. Qian had three totally different jobs in his life. At the age of 18, he joined the army to become a solider. For the next 21 years he remained in the army and was promoted to a lieutenant. As a cadre of the Communist Party, he says, he had to be transferred to different positions or locations every few years as a result of a policy to prevent corruption of officers who stay in one position for too long.
He did not like the frequent changes in jobs and locations and, almost forty, he left the army and began to work as a supervisor in the shipping industry. His main duty was to supervise sailors’ obedience to laws, rules and regulations. One focus was on sailors who revealed state and trade secrets. Mr. Qian was in charge of identifying the obstructions and to enforce disciplinary actions. The business of shipping iron, steel and other materials took him to the coasts of Australia, Korea, Russia, Taiwan and numerous other faraway places. He loved this job most. He did what is many people’s dream today: travel around the world.
Ten years later, he started his third career as a manager of a three-star hotel in Sanya, Hainan. He enjoyed this job as well, as it allowed him to communicate with guests from all around the world, to help solve their troubles and to try providing them with the best services.
Currently Mr. Qian is helping out a relative as a catering manager in the Smile Culture Club. Next year, when retired, he hopes to start traveling the world again. His pension, which he expects to be between 4000 and 6000 RMB per month, would allow him to do so.
He shows us pictures of his granddaughter. He enjoys making photos and suggests exchanging images via QQ, a Chinese instant messaging service. He explains that he chose a poetic QQ name that translates into in English in: seaman sailing on the foggy ocean …