Note: This is the response to people’s comment on my last article: Life in a Low Cost Labor World to clarify the reason I wrote it.
There are very serious problems in the way we treat people without a city Hukou here. As everyone here mentioned, they don’t have medical insurance; they don’t have much protection by the society; not many people care about their lives; and they are leading the miserable life. That is the dark side under the sunlight of the city.
However, if donation can solve the problem, we all donate. But it does not, Kevin. Let me tell you why.
If you go out and see the long line outside any Ayi service broker these days, and look at the faces of them, you’ll know personal donation cannot help them all. Even if there is enough donation, you can help them today but not tomorrow, not to mention their lives in the long run.
I talked with an Ayi with surname Zhang when I went to hospital the other day. She wait at the gate of a service broker at Hua Shan Road (near Huai Hai Road). She has been there waiting for someone to hire her since the 4th day of the Spring Festival. More than two weeks past and she still didn’t get a job. She worried a lot about her future. She may not survive in the city. She has child with her and they were feeling hungry. She refused to go back to the village she came from because she don’t have much money to pay the train ticket.
Well. At that time, I thought of some ways to help. To give money to her is one choice, but not the best choice. If I did help by giving money, well, look at the other 30 people in line – how can you help. Even you can help them all that day, but how about their lives tomorrow, and the next year?
So I thought of promoting the service of Ayi. I have made up the mind that if I have any chance to tell people, I will convince people to hire some one who badly needs help so they can make a living. The world is harsh for them, and what we can do it to help them to survive in Shanghai. I know there are some readers of my blog, and I want to say: If you have anything you do traditionally, like my scanning job, instead of paying more for equipments, give the business to those poor people so they can find the job. Post Spring Festival is a hard period of time for most of them because most of them are returning to the city and to find job is not easy.
OK. There may be better solution to this, like remove the Hukou system, or increase the basic salary of Ayi. But I don’t like to just talk about something without action. You may find it out in my previous blog entries. I know what we are proposing is more complicated than what I think. What I CAN do is, give more business to either Ayi or Kuai Di or those who need help. Remember, they are not beggar. They don’t want your easy money. They just want a chance to work so they can raise their child. The solution I am proposing is, visit a Ayi Service broker, call them – I have some phone numbers – and hire an Ayi. Giving them more business and mean time, you also save time and money – that is a win-win situation. It helps them today, and help them to build a future.
I talked about the great contribution of Ayi, Expressman and other people who come to Shanghai to help build the city in this article: http://home.wangjianshuo.com/archives/20050130_picture_news_of_shanghai_2005.htm when they leave the city to go back home. You don’t need to worry that I have the feeling to be the RICH and look down upon them. I am more concerned with the status of this unique group of people that the lives of so-called white collar (which I am part of). That is the reason I talk with them, and I write about them. The first step to help is get people’s attention to them, I believe.
I am sorry I have to say I feel bad when people think I am happy about hire some one for a very cheap price. I enjoy the fact that I can create a job opportunity for someone better. If we go to gym, the 100 RMB per entrance is not so critical for the business owner of the Gym. But if you call an Ayi and say, help me on this and I pay 7 RMB for you. That 7 RMB means a lot. Is there anyone here proposing me to call an Ayi everyday and say, “Come here and I give you 7 RMB for free”, I believe it is insulting them and I refuse to do it. You may feel comfortable to do it, I don’t.
When I helped those five cats in my garden, and people criticized me “Hey! Why help those cats! I’d rather help more human being”. When I am working on the personal funding proposal to personally donate money to the fund every month from my salary, someone argued: “Why help those people who are rich enough to go to college? Many people in China villages are starving now.” Well. It seems whatever I do, someone will guide me to do some more meaningful things. So I learnt that no matter how small the good deed is, just do it. One personal cannot make an impact to the world, but at least can help one or two other people. Help people one by one.
Of cause the reason I didn’t put the reason behind this in the article directly is, we cannot ask people to do something only to HELP others. It is not the way the world works. We need to explain it in a way that people find it beneficial for themselves. So I used the relaxing tone and samples to tell people – Hire an Ayi, hire an express man – it costs little but help YOU a lot. Does it make sense?