Living on boat since ancient time, the Tankas People in China believe that they are destined to be born and to die in the water. However, now being forced to move ashore, will they escape their drifting fate?
Ming’s family is part of the Tankas, the last boat dwellers in south China. For thousands of years, the Tankas lived on water, but with China becoming the world’s second largest economy, the modern civilization rapid invaded and took away the tranquility on water. As they face the choices to go ashore or not, the three generations of Ming’s family each have an idea of their own.
In 2010, Ming just turned 18, he refused to learn their traditional craft of fishing and was determined to go ashore. However, misfortune had since seized him. He was constantly on temporary jobs, traveling from one place to another. Later, Ming’ s sister Ting went ashore to get marry at 16. Due to the pollution, his father’s fish yield continued to lessen, which in turn forced his parents to consider moving shore despite of their firm insistence. His grandmother, who had never spent a day on land in her life, was the only one that still believed that the Tankas belonged to water.
In 2016, the government suddenly announced that all the Tankas must abandon their boats and move ashore, Ming’s family was suddenly faced with a turning point of their life. Ming’s father tried his best to bought a small apartment in the town. Because of husband’s domestic violence, Ming’s sister Ting divorced and returned to the boat.
At the end of 2017, everyone came back to the boat and prepared for the moving ceremony. But they just moved something to the apartment and went on to live in the boat for two reasons, one reason was grandma couldn’t get used to the apartment, another reason was Ming’s family needed to depend on fishing for their livelihood. On the contrary, the new generation of Tankas, Ming and Ting were very happy and proud that they could finally live in a real house on ground.
However, is this change what they really want? Can the sacrifice of the hometown and loss of this river achieve their dreams?