48 hrs in Shenzhen

The Past 48 hours within Shenzhen here a couple of things I’ve noticed.
    I  just saw a young, attractive mom drive by with not one, but  2 kids on her scooter.   She had the young one…maybe 2 years old, in the front, and was holding her newly born child, (maybe 3 months?) in the crook of one arm as she steered with the other.   Incredible.

Nevermind the street was without Q a semi busy street requiring lots of weaving, and skill, but it was simply a scooter.  I had a scooter in college and actually laid it down once on some post Winter sand still in the street.   Those things are easy to put down.   Looked like she had a 60 cc scooter, top speed 35 mph.

I’m growing increasingly nervous abt simple things like crossing the street here.   It’s not the cars that bother me anymore, because their easy to see and spot…and avoid.  Rather, it’s the silent killers.  The electric bikes or scooters that go the wrong way on the street.  One’s life on a dark street, is literally in their hands.   And if your street is lined with shrubs, and thus hiding the scooter from view, it’s even more “exciting”.

But China isn’t gonna ban these things until either someone important or symbolic is killed, ie the child of a gov’t official, or maybe a laowai.

 Mom with infant child in her arms while riding the back seat of a motorcycle taxi….putting her child’s life at risk, basically to save on taxi fare.  Granted, this is an extremely common occurrence within China.  Minimal fare is 7 yuan where I am, in the industrial district of Shenzhen, amidst all the factories.  That’s $1.15…..I can only assume she saved .50 cents on the transaction.   Now let’s take this to the next level. 

If a mom isn’t gonna think much abt the safety of her child, in order to save .50 cents,  what does that tell you abt the ordinary Chinese boss and how he treats his workers?   You think he’ll treat them any better?

I mean, if her own baby isn’t worth an extra .50 cents, than how much do you think she’s gonna value her workers?

I’m sure I told you the story of the factory owner that had installed a ventilation system on his assy line in order to impress his Western customers, but promptly turned it off as soon as they left.   Why?  中国有人。。。that’s why.

On a national level, how can the West compete?  Seriously, how can a Western company compete against a culture that sees nothing wrong with putting a baby on the back of a motorcycle to save .50 cents?

Do you think the driver had insurance?   You think he’s taking responsibility  if something happens?  Sure, I noticed he was careful while driving, but.....defensive driving just doesn't exist here.

 Dumb driver.  Dumb mom.  Child is caught in the middle.

       50+ lady and her probable husband installing a stone sidewalk.  His chief tool?  A mallet hammer.  She was busy using mortar to fill in the cracks….she had a sun darkened face and no, she didn’t look the part of a Master Mason, and she sure as hell didn’t belong to a Union.  

Passing them over the course of 2 days, one can learn a bit how stone sidewalks are put down.  While the husband was busy with his mallet, she was busy spreading sand over the previous days work to soak up the moisture….or something like that.

It’s pretty easy to build things in China when the labor is plentiful and cheap, and all power is in the hands of the builder, ie your salary, job security, etc.

So this is who we’re up against.  Our people with all their certificates and insurance,  Unions and overtime, with plenty of rules thrown in to insure the playing field between the Boss and the Worker is more level than it’s ever been.    Meanwhile our competition is building things via methods we banned a 100 years ago, hiring people whose chief qualification is the willingness to “learn on the job”, or be gone tomorrow.

We can't compete.

It’s still a great time to be a Lao Da in China.


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