Wednesday, May 19, 2010

introducing, my friend.

today i feature guest blogger, brenda!!
..well, mostly because she is in china and does not have access to her blogger account >_< if you do not yet know brenda, she is pretty amazing, wants to revolutionize the way we expend our natural resources, and can dance better than yo momma. please leave any comments for her here = ]

Greetings from Guangzhou, China. In my first few days in China, I've both been surprised and unsurprised at what I've seen so far. Surprised that people seem pretty content where they are...or at least seem to be content on the outside, despite their working conditions. Surprised that there are so many luxury vehicles on the road. Surprised, yet unexpected, that the environment is so dirty here: roads, walls, buildings, the air, the vehicles, most people not wearing helmets, people always jay-walking across busy 10-lane street (mom and I even did this today with our guides..not my choice).

Well, I guess there's a lot more to say about what I'm surprised about or didn't expect about China, from my two days in Guangzhou. One thing for sure is that everything is bigger. More people. HUGE malls for one niche market (like jewelry). Huge streets. Tons of E-bikes (makes me excited as a transportation major to see them first-hand). But one of the things that comes with “big” is the devaluing of the individual, just like a single item in a Wal-Mart store. People aren't as polite. They don't say “excuse me” or “sorry” if they bump into you while walking. Of course, that's the case with strangers anyway. The bosses at the factory here that we're visiting are nice, humble people. In fact, one of them is even a believer! PTL!

Today while at the factory office, looking through some inventory, the younger boss said to the older one, who is a believer, “So this cross is the symbol of you Chr1st1ans.” The older quickly replied, “Actually, this cr0ss represents how JCee died. He died for our s1ns. Just like yours and mine. S1ns separate humans from the Big man, so JCee died to bridge the gap.” Basically shared the g0spel in front of the whole office (~5 people including my mom). Amazing! ….(and honestly, I was ashamed of myself....for many reasons)

Speaking of which, this is my first time experiencing being on the China-side of the internet. It feels a little like playing taboo and speaking in passive voice...haha. I felt a litte paranoid these two days about having read my email from the Acacia list or blogs that I subscribe to (blogspot only works via google reader) that have lots of content they might not condone. (I'm actually kinda prnoid of whether this blog will even go through. o_O) Hopefully, I can make it to SH without having to pull a James Bond. (ok..I admit it, I'm paran01d...but that's because I've never been here before!)

...Well, anyway, back to my impressions. China, or at least Guangzhou, is full of old among new and new among old, both environmentally and mentally. I even got to experience a swe4t-sh0p. The conditions, to us, would seem below standard...(Disclaimer: I'm not generalizing all factories here) ..dirty walls, ripped carpet, dirty windows, cigarette filled air, dangerously sharp objects on the floor, yet they still need the internet to function properly. At least most of the workers are over 18, that means they had a high school education. (G0v Funding is only available UP TO highschool.) Mentally, people are knowledgeable about technology, but are behind in first-world etiquette. Lowered individual value, along with lack of education, results in an apathetic satisfaction with how things are.. work hard, get some money, eat, live, maybe move up or get more education. But what am I saying...if they're not where they're at, how can the rest of the world afford low labor costs only found here? At the same time, education shouldn't be limited or discouraged in a totally academic sense. I mean if everyone in the world had great education, maybe we'd have enough ingenuity to make robots that did all the labor or have the underprivileged, economically disadvantaged, or industry apprentices do it.

Despite the conditions, perhaps bearable for them since they are used to the hot-humid weather, it seems the camaraderie among the workers is strong. A few take classes after work, such as for accounting or other extended learning opportunities. At 5:30pm, outside the 10 story building, it looks like school has just gotten out since most of the workers are in their late teens/early twenties, with a majority wearing like blue button-ups and blue slacks..girls walking in groups chattering away, each wearing a different bright colored accessory, glittery shoes, or the latest hairstyle..a few motorcycles slowly rumble past the walking (maybe one with a helmet on)... I asked the younger boss how old most of them were. “18 to 30”, he said. “What happens after you're 30?” I asked. “You become a boss,” he said with a grin. The younger boss is 32.

While my observations are certainly not representative of all of Ch1na, I'm glad I have the opportunity to come here and see everything I've heard about this place first-hand. It's certainly eye-opening, yet wonderful. Again, I'm amazed by the human race...and of course it's Creat0r. Cultures are so different, expectations different, yet I can see that we all desire improvement.

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