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“?
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!
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!