Feb
22

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posted on February 22nd 2015 in with 0 Comments

Beijing/RatTribe/2014/pictures by Sim Chi Yin / VII / story by Ian Johnson/ Xu Junping, 46, sells buddhist trinkets, from Shanxi. Her husband Zhou Hailin, 48, security guard. Her younger son Zhou Zhengdi, 17, learning to repair computers. / / Xu Junping, Zhou Hailin, Zhou Zhengdi: the simpler life For Xu Junping, both Beijing and her temporary basement home are sanctuaries of sorts. The 46-year-old who came to Beijing from Shanxi eight years ago, likes the quiet of the underground and the simpler life in Beijing. By day, she sells Buddhist devotionalia in a crowded market. At night, the underground basement is her refuge. ìIím so used to life in Beijing I donít want to go home! When weíre out here, if weíre hungry we just get something to eat. There are not so many complicated things. Living in the village it means helping out with this family and that neighbor’s family. Weíre busy all day, doing this and that. Now, Iím used to the peace and quiet here. Xu, who has been a live-in nanny and domestic worker for most of her time in the capital, had rented rooms in basements near her workplaces on her rest days, to sleep or just have her own space. She has been living in this room in east Beijing for the past two months, sharing it with her 18-year-old son Zhou Zhengdi, a 17-year-old who had dropped out of school back home but is learning to repair computers in Beijingís high-tech district. Their older son works in Nanjing. Her husband, Zhou Hailin, 48, is a security guard working and living at a bathhouse in another part of Beijing, comes to visit her as he does occasionally, bringing her food. When he visits, the three of them share the bed ñ which is larger than a single bed but smaller than a queen size. Xu says with a laugh: ìWe squeeze in and sleep here, feet to face — two peopleís heads face that way and one personís head face this way. Thatís the only way we can sleep. If three of us faced the same way, it would be impossible. Goo

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