How Fragile Life is – 18 Year Old Factory Worker Commits Suicide

In china business by Michael Michelini12 Comments

Chatting to Lammy, she told me another factory suicide at the Foxconn factory (yes, the one who makes your nice apple iphone 4 and ipad) this time it was only an 18 year old intern……not in shenzhen city, but in a city further inland.

I don’t want to go too deep into it, I have been blogging from both sides –

a) from the factory worker side, being pushed too hard, losing face to others in the factory for not being fast enough, factory strikes to pay for the rising costs in China

b) from the businessman side, production managers being pressured to keep costs down and foreign companies getting pressured to increase salaries (like me).

China is going through a very interesting transition. It has to move from “low tech, low value-add” products and manufacturing processes into “high tech, high end-user value” product lines. China Government is trying its best to ease this transition, under pressure to increase its currency from USA and Europe, as well as huge inflation risks with rising costs for food and other raw materials.

But its sad to hear these stories about suicides. This is the ultimate sacrifice… one wants to see this happen. Its an effect of pressure from customers (corporate buyers), investors, and consumers (hey, I don’t wanna pay more for that iphone) that pass down to management, that then go down to the factory workers…who are forced to work overtime, or make more widgets faster….

So Lammy and I kept chatting about this…..

ARE PEOPLE PUT ON THIS EARTH to die, to embetter their family? Wow….Lammy made me really think there……the ultimate sacrifice….you end up dying, the factory pays your family a good payout….and then this factory workers family can afford to send his children to school, pay his brothers and sisters to go to school. Then, this applied to the tipping point theory ….maybe these suicides will do:

a) change the way factories are managed

b) allow those factory worker’s families to a better life, education.

So, hopefully these lost lives aren’t in vein…..

11:52pm Lammy
another summer intern from foxcon jumped the building again

11:45pm Me
o man crazyyy

11:52pm Lammy
yes…a 18 yr old but it’s another company under the same group in fusan

12:00am Me
… life, is scary sometimes

12:01am Lammy
y, their lives r meant to b so short somehow
they might do better in next life
tho commiting suicide is a big sin…which ‘d prob lead them to hell…
argh i dunno. yes it’s scary

sad…not their fault

12:07am Lammy
sometimes some ppl dun live for themselves but their family
they might die to get the money for their families

12:07am Me
true, hope this serves their family

12:07am Lammy
i heard that one of my relative’s relative did that..

12:07am Me
maybe i’ll blog about this topic and this chat

polish my english b4 u post haha

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  1. aa i thought i said jumped down fm the building? anyways ;P

  2. Think a tripling of their salary would help? 😀

    It is truly sad to know that this is a part of the world we live in – but it is – and it’s not going away any time soon. I just hope that no employee or employee of those companies I do business with ever is pressured so far as to commit suicide. I don’t know if I could look myself in the mirror anymore if that ever happened.

  3. Haha, I don’t mean to extend it that far – in that case i should have hung myself long ago :-D. I mean more along the lines of… one of my strategic partners in a far off land has employees blowing their brains out over lost wages. Things and relationships that I have direct control and influence over

    1. Author

      yea…..well I am kinda bitter a bit that Apple stock shares are going up so high…..and so much praise, and on the other side of the world, stories like this keep popping up. So I try to raise some awareness

      a few of my friends back in USA see on their apple iphone backorders that its currently in SHENZHEN in production. So they email me, and then I tell them, ya, thats at the factory where kids jump from buildings….

  4. well, actually we also saw the advertisement of intership of Foxconn, but neither me nor my classmates dared to apply…

    but i can’t accept the idea of using suicide to achieve any goal. though some may face really bad problems and they did that for family’s sake, still that can’t be justified…

    and what do you mean by saying “factory strikes to pay for the rising costs in China”(in paragraph 3)? you want to say why the workers are prssed so hard, right? i just find it a little hard to understand as it seems to belong to the next paragraph…

  5. and one more question…
    what does Lammy mean when she said “tho commiting suicide is a big sin…which ‘d prob lead them to hell…
    argh i dunno”
    does it mean those commiting suicide will be thrown into the hell and nothing can be do about that?

    1. Author

      hi Nigel,

      depending on the religion – but most religions discourage suicides. They say that if you do not cherish your life, and kill yourself, then you are depriving others around you what good deeds you could have done for them.

      Also, it means you are selfish. That there are other reasons in life you are on this earth, and that you need to die the way you were intended, naturally or by others hand, not your own.

      its basically saying you do not have the right to kill yourself, that God has chosen a path for you in life and you need to live up to it, not waste the life you’re given

      is taht clear?

    2. Author

      and for your first question, about “factory strikes to pay for the rising costs…”. yes you follow correctly and the strikes are to get the workers a higher salary in order to pay for their higher living costs….

      hey, i’m not a perfect writer – i took engineering in college! haah

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  7. i see your point
    well, Mike, i think it’s mostly my problem not to be able to understand. english is one reason, and cultural background is another. and it doesn’t matter if you are not a “perfect” writer, what matters is what you are talking about, and that’s the reason i enjoy it.

    i personally object suicides. religon is the first reason. and what’s more, it’s just unfair! today i visted a classmate who got pneumothorax, ie his lung was broken. and he got so miserable with pipe penetrating his body(for treatment, you got what i mean?). it’s just unfair that so many healthy guys just take life for granted while others are desperate for health or even life….

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