Sorry folks, I’ve neglected this blog over the last six months or more. I’ve moved back West for a bit, studying for a master’s in London. Once I wrap this up, I plan on continuing this blog. Until then…
Every once in a while you’re number gets called. Today was that day for me.
The ol’ demo. Nobody likes to do it– nobody normal, at least. But every blue moon, you get called to the front of the stage and you gotta shake that money-maker. You gotta dance, monkey, dance!
After all, these schools don’t pay you to teach. They pay you to be white, and young, and energetic. They pay you for your profitability, your ability to be sold to the public. You’re a gimmick, a marketing tool.
And if Ramses doesn’t like you, you’re in trouble.
So dance, monkey, dance!
Someone dies from overwork in Taiwan nearly once a week, according to lawmakers quoted by the Taipei Times today. The story reads:
Labor statistics are alarming, with the average wages of Taiwanese workers on the same level they were in 1999 and two workers dying from overwork every 15 days on average, DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) told a press conference.
If this is indeed true, which I have no reason to believe it is not, the fact that someone would literally work themself to death is just beyond me.
A light has got to go off in your head. You must think to yourself, “Jesus, I am exhausted.” The only logical thought to follow would be, “Screw this job. I’m going home.” Right?
How exactly do you work so hard that you actually drop dead? Is it bad that I don’t know this? Not to make light of these tragedies, but should I be ashamed that I don’t work this hard? I feel like I have worked pretty hard at times.
I suppose I am lucky to have never had things go so awfully awry in my life that I was forced into the realization that I either work until I die or die anyway from not working. That is some serious shit, right there.
But I have to say this. Again, not to to sound callous in light of this terrible statistic, but some of this comes from a legitimate lack of backbone over here. I’ve mentioned it before, but to repeat: Chinese/Taiwanese bosses treat employees like possessions to maximize and then dispose of.
There’s no two ways around that.
Did it surprise me when more than 70% of business owners said they would not raise wages to help with inflation? No. It surprised me that 30% said they might.
As a teacher here, I’ve long gotten used to being treated like a circus attraction… “Quick! Here come the parents… DANCE, WHITEY, DANCE!”
But I don’t even want to talk about “teaching” in Taiwan. This is something that extends across all jobs: people allowing bosses treat them like shit.
I used to know a girl who worked the front desk at some beauty salon. Her male boss used to call her up at all hours of the night, drunk, harassing her for dates. Did she quit? No.
I knew another girl working a similar job whose boss used to tell her she had to come on golf outings with him so he could impress his friends. Did she quit? No.
In Shanghai, I once worked 10-12 hour shifts for more than a month straight. Every day. No days off. The company didn’t give me jack for pay or any type of bonus. I could have made more that month working at a McDonald’s. Did I quit? Well, sort of– haha. I didn’t resign the following month.
So, if you’re planning on working in Asia, expect to be working plenty of unpaid overtime. Saturday mornings. Evenings. Your wedding day. Whenever. If your boss wants you there, you better make it snappy.
I’m not trying to sound lazy. I don’t mind working overtime. I don’t even mind working unpaid overtime. But here’s the deal: I need to feel like my effort is being recognized and respected. If you ask me to come into work two hours early, work through my lunch break, but then refuse to let me leave ten minutes before I am supposed to normally clock out? Well, in my book, that makes you an asshole, boss.
And to be honest, the rest of the statistics in this morbid article don’t get much better for us working class Wangs.
Ever-eager to rattle the anti-China saber, The Economist has a new article outlining ”a deep flaw in China’s model”– demographic aging.
Of all the more challenging demographic issues China faces, the article goes so far as to call a shrinking population the country’s “Achilles’ heel.” (Hearing that, I wonder what Deng Xiaoping would think all these years later.)
If you’ve read my blog before, you know, specifically in relation to Taiwan and Japan, I find this entire ageist school of thought to be utterly useless.
For one, I believe a shrinking population to be a boon to the strain’s on the world’s resources. I also believe more intelligent uses of those resources and more cooperation among nations on issues like immigration and health care will eradicate the basis of these ageist doomsday predictions.
In specific regard to China, I find this article to be inaccurate and poorly researched.
Long have the naysayers decried China for its population policies. So The Economist’s latest call to do away with the one-child policy is far from surprising. Nevermind that the “Family Planning” policy has prevented the strain of an extra 400 million citizens in China since 1979, or that the policy now only pertains to around one-third of the population.
Over the years, we’ve heard plenty of the alleged nightmare scenarios: family planning as a human right, rises in abortions, an all-male youth, an angry/unemployed male youth, etc.
According to The Economist, the real problem is a shrinking work force and surging pool of pensioners that will “have profound financial and social consequences” and, in turn, spells “the end of China as the world’s factory.”
This is just absurd. It fails to take into account a huge number of “financial and social” realities.
Primarily, Chinese families do the one thing that American families have forgotten– save. While the average American is now in debt, the opposite is true of Chinese.
It is not only socially acceptable, but often preferred, for Chinese to live with their families until marriage– and even afterwards. Young adults live rent free. That money is put away, mostly going towards an apartment after marriage.
Some of these trends are changing. The CCP’s hopes for more domestic spending are encouraging less fiscal frugality at home. And some wealthier upper-middle class Chinese are bucking the traditional trends of living at home.
But, as costs may get squeezed, the Chinese are much more adept at caring for their elderly.
Beyond the realities of the Chinese family unit, to assume that the CCP will not dole out some of its vast foreign reserves to ease the strains of its very modest pension system seems shortsighted. After constantly decrying how paranoid Beijing is of losing its base support, I would imagine the politburo would be able to formulate a modest investment in pensions. Not to mention, solving any restructuring of the system would be relatively painless– especially in comparison to the political deadlock of American politics.
If anything, I would say the Chinese are far better prepared to deal with an aging and shrinking population than the US is prepared to deal with 30% population growth by 2050.
Daisy dukes. Booty shorts. “热裤” (literally hot pants). Call ‘em what you will, but the administration of one Taiwanese university just can’t handle the island’s most notorious national treasure any longer and is cutting off cut-offs.
That’s right. Wen Zao College in Kaohsiung has decided to tap into it’s Puritan roots by banning short-shorts, flip-flops, and tank tops on campus.
All I can say is, it’s about time.
I mean, granted these students are all adults. But who are we to assume they are mentally capable of dressing themselves?
Young Taiwanese chicks in short-shorts are a hazard.
Personally, I count myself lucky to have not been involved in more scooter accidents occurring as a result of these hedonist vixens distracting me while driving.
These young sirens have a history of drawing many a lonely soul to this desolate pirate island. Hypnotized, many fail to ever leave.
And I am sure this is exactly what was going on at Wen Zao– just a whole bunch of hot young college chicks tramping all around campus flaunting their good genes right in the admin’s face.
Clearly, it was distracting and needed to be stopped.
Now we need to take this movement further! No more high heels, no more fishnet and lace! No more nightmarkets! No more chicks sitting on the back of scooters! No more pop stars or TV shows! No more billboard ads for DVD porn shops! No more sidewalks or 7-11s or teenagers!
Fight on, brave sirs, fight on.