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The war between the 80s and the 90s
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"I worry more about the 1990s, because kids from the 1980s, although naughty and rebellious, would still listen to teachers, if not fear teachers. They have different opinions and would argue with me, but there was still respect."

Kids today are different, says Wang. "They know your salary, they know that you won't criticize them and many of them don't respect us anymore."

Leslie Song, a consultant in the Education Commission of Pudong District, agrees. "Teachers cannot criticize kids today as they did with the 1980s generation. The education bureau suggests teachers be nice to the students, especially those who don't do well in school, telling them they are smart and just need a little more time and effort."

The online conflict began some four months ago, the response to two self-recorded video clips posted at vastly popular site. It was launched by a Strawberry who denounced the Jellies. Then came the Jelly rejoinder.

The war was on. There was a brief respite when the earthquake struck on May 12.

Since the earthquake, commentators in newspapers and on TV have shown a greater appreciation of the 1980s generation. The views can be summed up this way: "We used to feel disappointed about the 1980s, but they showed unbelievable courage and energy after the earthquake and proved they are patriotic and responsible enough to support this nation."

And on the 1990s: "This generation is listless. They don't know what they want because they have everything. They don't care about anything else except themselves."

Opening salvo

The Strawberry salvo was 15 minutes, titled "On the Non-Mainstream" by a "professor." It was a clever satire based on CCTV's evening news program.

The masked guest, the "professor" himself, used the TV news format to discuss the "problem" of the "non-mainstream generation."

The clip showed typical 1990s clothing and fashion, Webpage design and writing styles. It criticized them as "stupid."

It set off a firestorm. There were thousands of visits and a blizzard of comments in just a few days.

Then came a 10-minute clip titled "Response from a Non-Mainstream Beauty." A young woman in flashy clothes and heavy eye makeup delivered an aggressive speech while pretending to play a pink portable PlayStation. She was later revealed to be 20 years old.

She criticized the 1980s for blaming the 1990s "for no reason but jealousy because we enjoy a more comfortable life." She boasted that her friends have big houses and drive Hummers and luxury SUVs.

"We will become the elite and majority of the new century soon, so you only have a few years to claim the right to speak - be careful and shut your mouth," she says.

"You're old, out of date, cowardly, silly and jealous," she concluded.

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