No Effort Goes Unrewarded
Imet Wu the year I moved to Beijing.
An Unconventional Existence
As I walked out of the subway exit every night after work, I would pass a vibrant night market buzzing with hustle and bustle. I enjoyed watching the street vendors—there was an elderly woman selling special delicacies by the roadside, a man named Zhang drumming up business for designer discount clothes, a boy with cropped hair sitting behind a small blackboard peddling cellphone screen protectors, and my favorite girl who sold different flowers with the change of seasons.
You can only see those people outside the Fifth Ring Road in Beijing.
A man named Wu, who left an indelible impression in my mind always read books while waiting for customers. From his beige van overflowing with CDs on a mounted rack, the music he played to attract customers was far different from what the middle-aged women use for square dancing that emanates throughout the streets and alleys every evening, which is why it drilled itself so deep in my memory.
Wu’s CD player meted out medleys of mellifluous music, lively American country music on sunny days and soft music on cloudy days. I can’t recall the names exactly, but those beautiful strains could really brighten up an otherwise dreary day of gray skies whose melancholy hues could penetrate a person right down to the soul.
One day, a sudden gust of wind sent the dust on the ground billowing in the air causing the pedestrians to scurry away. Knowing the drill, the majority of the vendors gathered their wares lickety-split, ready to head back home. Surprisingly, a potent tune drifted along with the dust-filled wind, coming from Wu’s stand. The song was “Ten Thousand Hippies” by renowned Chinese rock band, Omnipotent Youth Society (OYS). As an expression