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"A penny for your thoughts"

Friday, January 23, 2009

Chinese woman rediscovered her optimism online.

Her business failed.
Her friends divorced.
Her country suffered repeated misfortune.
Chen Xiao, 26, found she no longer knew what to do with herself.

Miss Chen, a fashion college graduate, was forced to close down her clothes shop as customers dried up before the Olympics and during the subsequent downturn. Late one night in early December 2008, she went to, a popular discussion forum, posted her identity card number online as proof of her sincerity, and asked for suggestions.

She then took up their suggestions for free, but then - at their suggestion - she began charging small sums to perform any tasks they might ask of her, so long as they were decent and uplifting.

In a month and a half she has accompanied a stranger to the birth of his baby, collected smiley faces on the Great Wall of China, had lunch with a beggar, and put scores of photographs of herself online holding up greetings directed at the lovers, parents and friends of her clients.

She has also earned £300(416.28 U.S. dollars) - a respectable income in today's China. She said people use her as a medium to spread their joy.

Her fees are low so that everybody can take part, charging the equivalent of 80 pence for eight minutes, £2(2.7752 U.S. dollars) an hour or £10(13.87600 U.S. dollars) a day. But she charges more for special dates, and her most lucrative assignment came on New Year's Day. VIA

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