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China’s peak season for plastic surgery after gaokao

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It is peak season for plastic surgery in one of the world's oldest continuous civilisations. In China, nose and eye jobs are among the most popular graduation presents for high-school students who survive the gaokao university entrance examinations. Parents see it as an investment: piano lessons, mathematics tutoring, double eyelid surgery. Tiger Mum knows best.  
在世界文明古国之一的中国,整形手术正值旺季。眼下,隆鼻和眼睑整形手术是送给经历了高考折磨的高中毕业生最时兴的毕业礼物之一。家长将整容费用视作一笔投资,给孩子做双眼皮手术,就像送他们去上钢琴课和数学补习班一样。“虎妈”最懂孩子的需要。  

Studying for the gaokao is enough to make anyone’s eyelids droop, but these kids are not getting their lids lifted, they are getting new ones installed. Western plastic surgeons are asked to shrink noses and eyelids, but their Chinese counterparts have the opposite job: build an eyelid fold where none went before and give that flat nose a hump and some height.  
为高考而苦读已足以让任何人眼皮低垂。但这些孩子不是要让自己的眼皮抬起来,而是要安一对新的眼皮。在西方,人们整容的目的是缩小鼻子和收窄眼睑,但在中国,人们整容的目的恰恰相反,他们要把单眼皮做成双眼皮,让鼻子变得更加隆起、更加笔挺。  

To each their own corporeal obsessions: Michelle Obama’s admirably firm upper arms apparently helped spark a 4,000 per cent increase in elective arm surgery over the past 12 years, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. And although the plastic surgery history of Peng Liyuan, China’s first lady, is hardly a matter of public record, her plump ear lobes have been singled out for favourable comment in the blogosphere, since substantial lobes are apparently a guarantee of lifetime financial security. (Her nose and chin shape are, it seems, good for her husband’s career, her mouth and teeth indicate she’s no gossip, and her oval facial shape is also a good omen.)  
每个人都有自己的关于身体的执念。美国整形外科医师协会(American Society of Plastic Surgeons)表示,手臂整形手术数量在过去12年里增加了40倍,显然跟米歇尔•奥巴马(Michelle Obama)拥有一对令人羡慕的紧实上臂不无关系。而尽管公众很难知道中国第一夫人彭丽媛是否做过整形手术,但博客圈对彭丽媛饱满的耳垂大加赞赏,因为耳垂大显然是一辈子衣食无忧的保证。(她的鼻子和下巴的形状看上去是旺夫之相,她的嘴巴和牙齿显示她不是爱嚼舌的人,她的鹅蛋脸型也是有福之相。)  

But in today's China, all this is about jobs. Ask the 15 university students who came to the Shanghai Time Plastic Surgery Hospital last month to attend a seminar on physiognomic enhancement. They weren’t warbling on about Ms Peng's ear lobes or Ms Obama’s upper arms – they were talking salary.  
但在今日中国,整形主要是为了工作。15名大学生近日参加了上海时光整形外科医院举办的有关改善相貌的研讨班。学生们谈论的不是彭丽媛的耳垂或奥巴马夫人的胳膊,而是薪水。  
 

Gu Xiaopu is 23 years old, slender, poised and pretty – but she thinks her chance of beating this year’s 7m Chinese graduates to a job could come down to her eyelids (double eyelid surgery, the most popular form of plastic surgery for grads, involves inserting an extra crease in the lid to make the eyes appear larger – and, according to Chinese culture, more energetic). Ms Gu thinks an extra lid might also help in the boyfriend market.  

23岁的顾潇璞(音译)苗条、自信、漂亮。但她认为,今年能否在700万毕业生中脱颖而出、找到一份工作,就靠一对双眼皮了(重睑手术是毕业生做得最多的整形手术。手术目的是把单眼皮变成双眼皮,让眼睛显得更大。中国人认为,眼睛大显得人精神)。顾潇璞认为,双眼皮也有助于她在求偶市场上取得佳绩。  
        

Since she is no fuerdai – second-generation rich kid – she says she needs to do what is most cost effective to launch herself into the world. With her student card, she can get a 20 per cent discount at Shanghai Time on the normal cost of Rmb2,000-4,500 ($324-$728) for eyelid surgery. Personally, I’d advise her to lose the dirty high-top shoes before she starts adding body parts. (A new pair of fake Converse will cost $10.)  
顾潇璞说,因为自己不是富二代,所以必须在踏入社会时以最实惠的方法武装自己。在上海时光整形医院,她凭学生卡做重睑手术可打八折。该手术原价为2000至4500元人民币(合324至728美元)。我个人会建议她别着急在自己身上动刀子,先把那双脏兮兮的高帮鞋换掉再说。(一双新的假匡威(Converse)鞋也就10美元。)  
        

Another gangly participant, sporting yellow eyeglass frames and a spiky haircut, says he has failed to get a job from his first few interviews, so he wants a longer nose (though his is already prominent by Chinese standards). And a striking 22 year old with pink skin-tight jeans, and a decidedly evasive glance, says she wants the job opportunities that an extra eyelid can bring. Speaking as someone who occasionally hires young staff in China, I think she lacks more in the way of charisma than eyefolds.  

研讨班上还有一名身材颀长的年轻人,戴一副明黄色镜框的眼镜,头发剪成莫西干头型。他说自己面试了几次都不成功,所以想把鼻梁垫高一点(尽管以中国人的标准来看,他的鼻梁已经算挺了。)班上还有一名22岁、容貌出众、身着粉色紧身牛仔裤的姑娘。她说话时眼神躲闪,她告诉笔者,她想做双眼皮是为了好找工作。作为一个有过几次在中国招聘年轻人经验的人,我认为她欠缺的是气场,而不是双眼皮。  
 

Shanghai Time officials point out that students (not to mention parents) often have unrealistic expectations of how physiognomy pays off in the workplace. They set up the seminar last month to damp down graduate expectations, and brought along a careers adviser from Shanghai Jiaotong University to underline the risk of investing in a new nose rather than clean plimsolls.  

上海时光整形医院的工作人员指出,学生(更不用说他们的家长)往往对相貌在职场中的作用抱有不切实际的期望。他们近日开办这个研讨班,是为了打消毕业生不切实际的期望。他们还从上海交通大学(Shanghai Jiaotong University)请来了职业顾问,向学生们强调投资于鼻部整形(而不是一双干净的帆布鞋)的风险。  

Which is not to say that rhinoplasty never gets the job done: Sophia Wang of the university’s student careers centre says some jobs in China do have a “hidden appearance policy” – but she advises physiognomic help only after preparing for the workforce in more conventional ways, such as getting communication skills up to scratch.  

这并不是说隆鼻在任何情况下都不起作用。上海交大学生就业中心的Sophia Wang说,在中国,一些工作确实存在“隐形的相貌要求”。但她的建议是,先用一些常规方法为进入职场做好准备,比如练好沟通技能,然后再考虑在相貌上做文章。  

And there is some data to suggest that “lookism” is alive, well and overt in China: two academics from Wuhan’s Huazhong University of Science and Technology School of Management have calculated that females can earn 1.5-2 per cent more for every extra centimetre of height. They gave no statistics for pay rise per eyelid.  

一些数据显示,在中国,“容貌歧视”非常普遍、盛行、公开化。武汉华中科技大学管理学院的两名学者测算出,女性身高每高1厘米,收入增加1.5%至2%。但他们没有提供关于双眼皮与薪水关系的统计数据。  

 

Meanwhile, over at the People's Liberation Army 455 Hospital, one of the Shanghai market leaders for plastic surgery, students can get rhinoplasty for a special school-holiday price of Rmb1,999, down from Rmb3,000 normally. The publicity-shy might want to opt for surgery done by the PLA: at least they know a thing about secrecy.  

中国人民解放军第455医院是上海主要整形医院之一,学生在这里做隆鼻手术可享受1999元人民币的暑期特价,该手术原价3000元。对注重隐私的人而言,选择在解放军医院做整形手术或许是明智之举,因为至少解放军懂得什么叫保密。 

2016-06-24

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