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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    1. I like this post very very much.

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

      1. Author

        Thanks Tristan. I am trying to be open and unbiased when I write…but I hope not to offend anyone!

        Since my first trip to China in 2007, I saw the energy in the people. Very hard work ethic…relentless energy.

        but of course, every country has its good and its bad. But I am confident China will continue to grow positively, the people just won’t stop working!

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

    3. 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.

      1. Author

        thanks for your words of wisdom Tayan.

        Yea, I guess it is a state of mind…..but as the world gets smaller, won’t more and more people realize the opportunities outside of their community?

        Always wonder if its fate that brings us where we are.

    4. 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.

      1. 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 ,

        1. 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. 🙂

    5. Author

      yes, God bless the chinese farmer. God bless any kind hearted, hard working person on this earth….they are what keep the world going round.

      I hope I don’t offend people with my posts, I do this to get conversation started…and of course I fully respect those born as a chinese farmer.

      But Danny, I think your parents are proud of you, and you work hard in your daily life because of the hard work they did to give you chance in life.

    6. 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 own right choices. Some will be followers and others leaders.
      I am a first generation American and my parents made sure my brother and I had a good education and immersed us in living the Amercian life. They spoke English at home and made sure we were well rounded. They sacrificed alot for us and I am grateful. We were not well off by any means but, their families back home always expected them to send the USD back to their homeland.
      Sometimes I wished they would have taught me their native language but, I think it would have altered the way I think (like trying to translate from one language to another).
      It doesn’t matter if you are a farmer, business man, or housewife, if you have a good heart and treat your neighbors well – you are ahead of the game.

    7. Author

      hey NORN!

      great to see you here…true, I guess we cannot feel guilty….but seeing a chinese farmer wearing ripped clothes, riding a 20 year old moped bike carrying scrap metal….makes me think about life and the reason we end up where we are. And the reason people are where they are, is it ability, but then, its not just ability, its been in the right place to seize that opportunity…..

      Yea, the Phillippines is still a very poor country…..sad thing is, I see many beautiful Filipina girls clutching to old white guys in hopes of a better life.

      I even see it as bad as a girl who has been crying, verbally abused by their live-in boyfriend….saying they have no choice because they dont have money to go back to the phillippines from China…and I have heard this a few times…

      But then, I am told, this is maybe a lie in itself, as the girl may be saying this to get to me, to move from her current boyfriend to me?

      Its just a crazy world….I guess I’m in a bit of a bad mood today….but I’m getting a thicker skin being exposed to certain situations.

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