If I were born a chinese farmer

In china business by Michael Michelini12 Comments

Being in Shenzhen, China, I am exposed to a diverse community of people – rich Chinese businessman, adventurous young aspiring entrepreneurs, cheaters, beggers, and a lot of farmers!

Now, it is easy to joke about a struggling Chinese farmer….they are low educated and will do almost anything to earn money to feed themselves and their families. You will see them on 3 wheel mopeds (motorcycles) carrying tons of recyclable cardboard, plastic, bottles. Also will go into your home to remove old equipment. you can jump on a motorcycle taxi for 3 yuan to get from the bus stop to your final destination. They are the grease in the wheels that make the city go around. And as much as the “upper class” chuckles at them, I think we all respect how hard working they are to make an honest living.

So oftentimes I look at one’s situation and compare it to my own. Should I feel guilty being born in a middle class family in USA? Or should I feel as if it is my right to be born that way, and I deserve it, looking down at those who may have been put in a more difficult situation in life. But if anything, I try to respect every human being and encourage everyone to aspire to be who they want to be.

Then, after I start thinking about how fortunate I am, I think….”what would I do if I were born as a Chinese Farmer“?

  • a) Work as hard as I can in a factory / common job, save my money, and hope to give my children / family a better life when they grow up. I think this is the traditional rationale. The farmer realizes he has no education to get a higher paying job to increase his wage. But they have made it to the city, and will work as hard as they can, day and night, to feed and cloth their family. Teaching their children what its like to earn money and respect the opportunity they have to get an education. I think this is most common thought the farmer living in a city has.

    BUT – if I am a lucky farmer that has some land in a highly desirable area, I would have been paid a lot of money for it, and could retire!

  • b) Cheat, gamble, and steal – This is a tempting one…because anyone born in a low income situation may be bitter to the community they are surrounded with. They will feel its justified to take money from those more fortunate. Unfortunately for a cheater in China, if caught, they won’t give you a fair and just court trial….you are pretty much banished (I am not exactly clear what happens here to be honest)
  • c) be a massage girl / boy – I think many woman are tempted to work in massage because its indoors, more service oriented, and can pay well. Of course, there can be questionable activities that you won’t read about in the newspapers, but those extra jobs will earn quick money. After a few years of this, you will be too old to continue, but hoped to have saved enough, return to your home town to open a store and live an above average life in the hometown / village you came from.
  • d) open a shop – maybe after 15 years of working at a factory, one could open a small convenient store. But they would work long hours, and have their family involved to contribute. The take-home on this would be decent, but not enough to get rich.

    Faced with those choices, I am not sure the choice I would make….I never wanted to lead a “common” path, but then again, I am blessed with more options. I think my personality would try to get out of the day-to-day factory life. I would look to find a way out. But not being in that situation, and I am not really exposed to the day to day of it, it is hard for me to realize if there is a “exit”.

    Its sad, to think the position in which we are born really sets the path of how we grow up. Yet, I think the US system is better built to reward those who work hard. I think it is harder for the average Chinese citizen to move up the social ladder, whether they work hard or not. But I have a feeling this is changing every day in this quickly growing country called china!

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    Guangyao
    Guest

    I like this post very very much.

    I really want to know what are u thinking about this country.

    dswei
    Guest

    NEVER STOP THINKING, NEVER STOP WORKING, HAHA

    dswei
    Guest

    hey, del the thank me later plugin likes below the submit button, every pages got a links out

    tayan
    Guest
    tayan

    Happiness is a state of Mind. I could be just as happy as a Chinese farmer as I am being a professional in the States. Each with their own pros and cons.

    Danny Lee
    Guest
    Danny Lee

    I was born in a farmer family, even now my parent are still living in the village. but I never blame of poor situation of born, instead I appreciate my parent trying their best to educate me.

    Actually in China farmer family, most of them living very hard, especially for the childen’s education such like(spend almost their life saving on it)

    Hope Chinese farmer can improve their life quickly. god bless them.

    Julian XuYang
    Guest
    Julian XuYang

    i was born in big city in china,i totaly unknow about farmer hard situation before i met my aunt ,she is a political woman,both of us sympathy poor farmer,but she can keep her temper in giant complicated situation and to help one by one when she still alive ,but i just i was so rash,that the different between us ,

    Michael Michelini
    Guest

    Yes… Keeping our patience is something i think people from the city are weaker at than those from rural areas….

    Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

    Norn
    Guest
    Norn

    Mike – sorry for the late response but, I just read your blog… My first thought was “Fiddler on the Roof” and the song ” If I were a rich man” and substituted “If I were a chinese farmer”… As for feeling guilty for being born in a middle class family in the states – don’t…I believe we are born to contribute to society in some shape way or form. We all can’t be upper class or middle class or lower class. We are given opportunities to achieve these goals for ourselves and it’s up to us to make our… Read more »