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After three consecutive days of paying his respects to the leaders Chen Jianhua had almost exhausted an entire lifetime’s worth of courage and emotional intelligence. He finally breathed a sigh of relief on the fifth day of the year.
Today was the day his sisters will come to offer their New Year’s greetings. Of course, he was also happy to wait at home for someone else to visit. It had been a year since he had last seen them, and he had been quite concerned about his two younger sisters who lived in the county town.
However, Wang Juan was not anticipating this visit as much as her husband was. In her eyes, those two little sisters were really, extremely, hateful!
As the old man of the Chen family passed away early, Chen Jianhua had taken on the burden of raising the family at an early age. Thus, he was an elder brother who was like a father. When their middle-aged mother lost her husband, her mentality changed and she took great care of her two daughters, especially her younger daughter, Chen Xiuling, who had only been 11 years old when their father had died.
Chen Xiuling was like a young vegetable sprout, charming and lovely, so she was almost spoiled to the heavens by the whole family. As a result, at the age of 18, the eldest brother went to the city to work and all his wages were used to support the family. But this lass was also a “good” one. At the age of 16, she ran away with a man and almost angered her mother to death. Fortunately, the man could be considered reliable and so although their life after marriage was average, it could still be considered a beautiful ending.
On the contrary, the life of the eldest daughter, Chen Xiuli, was a complete tragedy. She had been cared for by her older brother and had attended a teacher’s college. Later, she found a good job as a teacher at the county elementary school. Additionally, her looks were not bad, so she should have had a good life. However, she was too spineless and married a terrible husband.
After marriage, she only gave birth to a daughter and was made to run around by her mother-in-law and abused by her husband. Don’t speak of helping her family, she couldn’t even contribute a dime when her mother was about to die of illness. She could finally only end up crying over the grave. Later, when her husband started an affair with someone outside the marriage and his mistress came to their home to make a scene, she could only cry and drag her feet because she did not want a divorce. In the end, after the mistress moved into their house with a big belly of several months, she could only helplessly leave the house with her daughter.
These two people; one was weak and easily deceived, the other was arrogant and willful, let alone get along, Wang Juan did not want to see them! However, now that both his father and mother were gone, her husband really only had these two sisters, so he was even more anxious about them. How could she stop him from seeing them?
The good mood from the two previous days were completely gone, and Wang Juan couldn’t even feign a smile. In this matter, Chen Jianhua also knew that he was wrong and that he had been too partial to his siblings, so he did not dare to say anything.
Thus, the atmosphere at home became strange.
Chen Yuanming noticed this and sighed softly. To correct his uncle’s life trajectory, there had fortunately been a way to use subtlety and persuasion, but these two aunts, unless he could fish them out of that county town and change their environment, he could not even begin to reverse their stubborn ways of thought.
The three people in the family each had different thoughts, but the guests did not have to worry about so much. At around noon, the two families finally arrived at the dormitory. At this time, you could only take a small minibus from the county to the city. The road was a not even the concrete road, it was merely a dirt road. Sitting for two or three hours at a stretch could turn your stomach inside out. Thus, the elder aunt appeared nauseated as if she had messily vomited. Even the younger aunt’s vigorous spirit seemed to have been wiped out, she also appeared a little wilted.
When this group of people entered the apartment, the staff dormitory room immediately became cramped and there was almost no space to stand. Yet before anyone could even sit down Chen Xiuling opened her eyes and looked at the big color TV in the house.
“Brother, you have a color TV at home!” The envy in her voice could drip water. Chen Yuanming’s cousin Li Ming was even more straightforward. He directly grabbed the remote control and started messing around.
Wang Juan pursed her lips. How could she not know that this sister-in-law’s family had bought a TV two years ago. Yet, she was currently here pretending like owning a TV was something strange. Turning her head, she looked at Chen Xiuli who still had a pale face and sighed. She took out an apple and handed it over, “Lili, eat an apple first. The sour taste can suppress the nausea. Look at your face, its thin and haggard … … “
Chen Xiuli accepted the apple weakly and flashed a bitter smile. How could she not lose weight? After the divorce, she lived in her family’s ancestral home. Although her work in the elementary school was still stable, the county town was only so large. With her status as a divorced woman she could not lift her head and was looked at weirdly by her colleagues every day. Her daughter was also a firecracker. Chen Xuili had no idea who she took after, but she fought with her classmates every day and was restless.
On the other side, Chen Xiuling sat on the bed, watched her son fiddle with the TV, and asked curiously, “was this all bought with the money Doudou earned from outside? To be able to earn money from working, Sister-in law, you are so blessed to have such a capable son!”
Li Shucai, Chen Xiuling’s husband noticed that his sister-in-law’s expression did not look right, so he grabbed the remote control from his son’s hand, rushed him to eat melon seeds, and sat beside his wife cheerfully. “That is to say, now that the children are all grown up, brother and sister-in-law, you can finally catch your breath. Unlike us in the county town, who can’t do anything we want to do. Our son’s grades are also not good, I’ve really been worried … “
Chen Xiuling immediately said, “That’s right, I see that some people in the County town have gone south to plant tobacco leaves. I hear that the profits of the cigarette factory over the past two years have also been good. Our field is suitable for planting tobacco so Shucai and I have been thinking about this everyday but as you can see the family is poor. Xiao Ming’s grades are not very good. He’s now a sophomore in high school and if he can’t go to college, he would have spent two years in high school in vain… … “
Li Ming shouted from the side, “I’m not going to college! Doudou can make money, I’m only a few months younger than him, and I can also go out to work. Doudou tell your boss and help me get a job, ok! “
At this point, the expressions on the faces of half the people in the room changed. Chen Xiuling slapped her son’s arm. “You are talking nonsense. Is this why you are not studying hard? Do you intend to drive for people for the rest of your life?”
Hearing this, Wang Juan’s expression worsened. What was wrong with her son driving a truck? Can that little whelp earn tens of thousands of yuan by driving?!! And he still even wants Yuanming to take him there? This was a part-time job and not Yuanming’s own business, how he possibly plug people in? How was this paying New Year’s greetings, this was a visit to collect debts!
It had been less than half an hour since the family had sat down but the tense atmosphere had reached its zenith. Chen Jianhua sat on the side and watched his wife’s face darken. He didn’t know what to say. At this time, Chen Yuanming smiled, “Aunt is right. Driving outside is hard, and it is normal to not rest for more than 10 hours at a stretch. When there is an accident, the cost will be deducted from your salary. It is hard, tiring, and not work fit for humans at all. Even if you can make some money now, you can’t drive for others for a lifetime so it is better to study… ”
Chen Xuiling was happy to hear this. She smacked her son again, “See what your brother Doudou is saying. You need to listen well! If you don’t pass this year, you will have to repeat next year. Do you want to be a farmer like your dad all your life?
Li Shucai did not immediately agree, and sighed again sadly, “Look what you are saying. How can it be so easy? If we plant tobacco like we intend to do, we will be spending a lot of money at home. How much will it cost for him to repeat the year. While saying these words, his eyes glanced at Chen Jianhua, who was sitting on the side. The meaning in his gaze couldn’t be clearer.
Chen Jianhua pursed his lips and wanted to say something, but after meeting his wife’s fierce gaze, he swallowed back his words. In fact, to be honest the family had money now and it was ok to help his sister’s family, after all this was simply borrowing money and it would be returned … well, to be honest, he also knew that the money may be gone after lending,… but they were family and he really could not bear it.
Seeing that his father didn’t speak immediately, Chen Yuanming was relieved. As long as his father’s heart was still at home, everything was fine. As for money, was something that could be solved with money still a problem? After thinking about it for a while, Chen Yuanming picked up the conversation.
“If you repeat the year its best to be admitted to a good school, so you cannot go to school in the county town anymore. The quality of teaching there is not high, so it will be a waste of money. If you really have the heart to study, you should go to the first high school in Linxian County for your second year. It’s a closed environment and the teaching there is intensive. It is said that the acceptance rate for their students is higher than that of the first high school in the City. It will not be difficult to gain entry to a better school after repeating one year of study there. “
“First high school in Linxian …” How could Chen Xiuling not know that it was a good high school, but tuition was also expensive. How could her family afford to pay so much money for their son to repeat a year?
Of course, Chen Yuanming was aware of the other side’s concerns and smiled slightly. “In the past, my father was able to support my two aunts to go to school, and now I can also afford to support my younger brothers and sisters. I can pay the cost of repeating, but only for one year. If he can successfully enter a good university, I can also cover the tuition. But if after a year if he’s unable to gain admission it will be better for him to do farm work.”
When these words fell to the ground, the entire room was shocked. Wang Juan was speechless, and she looked at her son in amazement. How could this work? In the end this was not their child, so how could he rely on their home? Even if they had money now, they didn’t have to waste it like this! Ah!
Chen Jianhua’s eyes also widened in shock. Was this not too extravagant?
Chen Xiuling and Li Shucai glanced at each other and couldn’t hide the surprise on their faces. They never even considered such a good thing. They had just wanted to borrow some money from their brother-in-law, but now they could solve the issue of their son’s education in one fell swoop. This was heavenly. What a great deal!
“With Doudou’s words, your aunt will let this little rascal study well!” Chen Xiuling instantly responded in order to knock the nail into the wall.
Wang Juan’s expression was so livid, and she looked like she wanted to say something. Who knew that Chen Yuanming would continue on to speak to Chen Xiuli, “the same applies to second aunt’s family. If Tingting is admitted to a good school, I will pay her tuition. Going to school is important and it shouldn’t be delayed because of money.”
This was an unexpected delight. Chen Xiuli had never considered this. Who knew that in a few words her nephew will also settle her family affairs? She mumbled a few words and tears came to her eyes. Things were so hard for her now so how could she not be happy to receive help.
When Chen Xiuli started to cry, Wang Juan could not speak a word, instead she gave her son a firm look, turned and ran outside to cook. His father didn’t speak much, and his mother was not in the room, naturally, the task of continuing the conversation fell on Chen Yuanming again. After comforting his second aunt with a few words, Chen Yuanming thought things over and suggested, “Anyway, Aunt, you graduated from a teacher’s college and you have a teaching certificate, is it not better for you to leave the County town and find better a job in the city? These days, there are more and more kindergarten and elementary schools in the city. Is it not better to change your environment than staying in the county town?”
Just as Chen Xiuliang was about to make a comment in response, Chen Xuili’s daughter had already answered, “Precisely! What the hell are you waiting for? You just keep crying and crying. What’s the use of that! Have we not continued to live after moving out of that house?”
“But your studies …”
“What school in the county town is worth pining over? I will be entering third grade soon. This time I will get good results and attend high school in the city! You will also be to take care of me nearby, its no different than being in the county town!” The little girl looked at Chen Yuanming stubbornly, “brother, does it matter where I go to high school?”
These words were powerful and compelling, so Chen Yuanming simply nodded, “If you can rank high in the test, you can go where you like.”
This remark immediately aroused Song Tingting’s anger, “Isn’t it just a high school entry exam! Of course, I can pass! Mom, did you hear that? Get me the hell out of that place!”
One was crying while the other was angry. With so much noise Chen Yuanming’s third aunt and uncle could no longer sit still and had to pacify them. By lunch time, the atmosphere was still very tense. Some people were sullen, others ecstatic, anxious, sulking, and preoccupied … in fact no one in the family looked right.
After lunch, they talked for a while without much enthusiasm, and the two families left to take the minibus back to the county town. Holding onto their big red envelopes, which also contained 50 yuan notes, they were filled with new expectations for life and thus seemed more comfortable than when they arrived.
However, after closing the door, Wang Juan could not hold back anymore.
“Doudou, “how could you make such promises? The tuition fee will amount to several thousands of yuan a year. Did our family’s money fall from the sky? How do we pay for all of this?”
“When it’s time to go to school, I’ll pay tuition for not just the families of the two aunts, but also second uncle’s house.” Chen Yuanming replied faintly. “Currently, our family has money, and I will make more money in the future. The cost of tuition is just a small amount. But after going to school, their horizons will be broadened and their view things will naturally change. After all, we are a family, we can’t only consider ourselves, we have to plan for a more distant future. Mom, rest assured, money is really not a problem. Family harmony is the key.”
This remark caused Wang Juan to almost be breathless from being choked up. Thinking about it, her younger brother had also taken care of her, but if this goes on will her family be able to live? Chen Jianhua, who had been sitting down quietly for a long time, finally opened his mouth and uttered a few words.
“Juanzi, our son is really generous. As the eldest family, we can’t just care about ourselves … Don’t worry, my son can make money, and so can I. I will network with the leader and become a cadre. Life at home will be even better. Our family is not heartless. If they can also improve, wouldn’t we be more at ease?”
Looking at the father and son who were unexpectedly showing a unified front, Wang Juan couldn’t speak for a long time. In the end, she nodded her head. “Okay, you made the money, so you have the last word!”
If she can live a good life, why won’t she want to it go smoothly?
Looking at his happy father, and his reluctant, but no longer gloomy mother, Chen Yuanming exhaled softly. This was his plan. A family fund. It may still be academic at the moment, but it will take shape in the future and will cover all aspects of entrepreneurship, marriage, and retirement. He was really not short of money now. If he could use the fund to heal his family’s scars and cultivate an excellent next generation, this family will be truly reborn and become worthy.
It may take a long time to achieve this goal, but the first step had been taken, and it could only get better.
Things were settled one by one and the annual holiday came to an end in an instant. Without agreeing to his mother’s pleas for him to stay, Chen Yuanming set foot on the train to Shanghai.
In his stock market account, there were still large profits to be harvested and even more complex and changing opportunities were waiting for him to explore.
The author has something to say: Well, the family line has come to an end for the time being. In fact, the topic of family is an unavoidable thing. Chinese people pay attention to family affections and blood relationships. This will not disappear completely because of its necessity, so it is better to settle things at home before fighting outside.
The next stage is to enter the real main line of business. Hey, little friends, what are looking forward to most?
Everyone has someone in the family like Chen Xuiling. Always seeking profits. I also have a large extended family and my culture also places importance of family relationships. I will say that Chen Yuanming and I share the family fund dream. If only I could win the lottery, Haha.
Do you agree with Chen Yuanming’s way of handling matters?
 refers to the party and government cadre (ganbu) system. It is the rough equivalent of the civil service system in many other countries… The term cadre refers to a public official holding a responsible or managerial position. See http://countrystudies.us/china/113.htm
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I wish I had a family member like that, thank you for the update!
You are very welcome
I read this in one go, thank you so much for translating! I didn’t think stocks could be this exciting…. I love the main character too!
Right! It’s a difficult novel to translate because of the context but I love it!
I’m hurt at how accurate the Asian family dynamics in here. Like I wanna kill my relatives but they’re not ultimately disgusting scums so yeah, I still like to see them from time to time. The story doesn’t exaggerated the family to make it dog blooded, just enough realism. Also, it’s actually normal for relatives to send their nephews/nieces to school in here. And everyone prefers that as 1) you’re not directly lending money that won’t actually return 2) family put education as priorities. Two of my bff finished their college with the help of their aunt and usually, it’s… Read more »