Category Archives: Notes

On leaving the country and sweatshops

So the obvious has happened. I was offered a job as an english tutor in Tokyo; truly, it was never in doubt. My bags aren’t packed, my visa not ready, but my ticket is booked for the 23 August.

I’ve been here for far too long. People are getting old. If I don’t leave now I will never leave. I feel like, finally, this is my own story, being written, lived, by me. Not my father’s story, not my mother’s. Though I will, in time, write their stories.

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I don’t want to exult too much (because it’s no big deal get in a job teaching your native language). And, further, I’m currently watching a short documentary on sweatshops on Saipan (American Territory). A painful reminder that the clothes I love so much, are made in the same conditions I try to avoid in my own life, repetitive work, hard work, the selling of time, indentured labour, physical labour, slavery, chains. 8 -16 hours a day, for the princely sum of some $7000 a year. Hourly wage of $3.5 USD. Poor ladies getting exploited.

Many of these ladies are promised a better life in the USA and so they fork over a year or two’s chinese wages just to go to Saipan – which they are told is a part of the Great US of A with all its laws, rights, and freedoms. But they are greatly mistaken when they arrived and are carted in worn old buses and crammed into barracks that are guarded all day and all night. They are given quotas that are increased when reached but without reward, yet if they do not reach their quotas they are threatened with dismissal, and what of the debt they incurred to their paymaster’s then? These women must stay, pay off their debt which they incurred in going to Saipan with their first year’s salary, and then spend a few more years hoping to earn some money for themselves and their families in China. An alarming fact raised in the program is that the corporations can deduct up to 200 USD per month for living expenses and board, whereas the average monthly salary is about 500 USD. Scant reward for their labour. Yet, that the women do not rebel, means this is the true state of the world labour market. People are willing to work for a couple of dollars an hour, doing mind-numbing labour. The masses, truly are the masses for a reason. They may all be slightly brutish by our standards, but that is only because they were never given the same opportunities we were, so before we condemn them as beasts, let us not forget that we are merely beasts who have no need to give up our manners and humanist tendencies (usually) in the thinly veiled fight for survival that is, and always will be, life.

Blogging surely is one of those privileges, as is Burberry clothing.

My questions ~ Who will take up the sword? But will these cause my garment prices to rise? What will I wear then? Is this hypocrisy? Is it the nature of humanity to continually exploit everything around us. I doubt I could stop wearing nice clothes. I doubt it. Shit!

In the end, I think this is a real problem with modern life. Do we care more about the welfare of a human stranger? Or do we care more about the value of our purchasing power. If there were no sweat shops, our clothes might cost twice to three times as much or even more. How do you make such a decision when you can’t even feel the pain of another… can’t even feel pain ourselves…

The link is here… http://www.smh.com.au/tv/Fashion/Behind-the-Labels-4272008.html

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The last weblog

I always think of things to write when I am not writing. I always want to start blogs but neither finish nor continue them. I never seem to know how much of the real person to put in a blog. It’s a diary and it is meant to be truthful, but it is also public, and a face one shows to the public should not be too truthful – for reason you well know.

Even this strand of thinking is dangerous, too truthful. You, the reader are too smart for your own good. You should be shot. I allow you three questions only, of my true nature, my genesis, my character – if you will. And I will choose those questions.

Of what state are you?

Of shanghai, when it was poor. No longer the whore of the orient (of the whores I know little), but more the richest cousin from a poorer district. The berlin wall had not yet fallen, but after old Mao had assumed the form of paraffin.

Your calling?

I will eat and drink and shit and dream of women (young ones) and stories and a place that is anywhere but here. I will write the phantasms down and call it a story and try to peddle it to needed parasites. If I cannot eat (and as a consequence cannot shit) then I will be a parasite myself, but what of it?

Your Modus Operandi?

Is that latin? Tempted to write: As above; but to give a more verbose answer my MO, if I may call it that, is no more than to live like a spoilt white child of my generation. I know well I am yellow, but I think like a white man with a paint brush after a sleepless night under the stars (drugged). The white man hath taken me into his bosom and his woman hath shared with me his milk, partly mixed with the historical death of yellow black red and coffee coloured men. So much for colonialism. So much for history. Unfortunately I had no hand in it as it was then, but I only have a hand in what is now.

For those of you who would think I am adopted I ask you to be more metaphorical. No, it’s bullshit. I wasn’t adopted. I’m an immigrant, but just read Dickens and Dostoevski at a young age, and I haven’t read the Romance of the three kingdoms even until now. I admit I did read Mishima when I was a teenager, but, as they say, first cut is the deepest. I still have no idea what’s going on in Romance of the Three Kingdoms and a chinaman at once looks familiar to me, yet at once if he should open his mouth he is distant. I can scrawl the writing (poorly) and hear the intonations of different regions almost like a native but when I am drugged and write I prefer nothing more than the Queen’s tongue and when I read like I am drugged I prefer nothing more than an American Novel. Yes sometimes it is neither here nor there, and I might ask am I some hobgoblin? I wonder if it were better for my sake that mirrors never existed, for then I would not know my form, but sooner or later the self-realisation will get to one and if it does not kill you then I can’t really say it makes you stronger. Ignorance is strength, dumb brute strength; if only the knowers of knowledge did not cut themselves down with the clear forethought of the banal futility of all their actions!

I don’t think I have answered your question good lady/sir. Modus operandi. Try hard, try very very hard. You can do anything. Is that out of place in this world? Does that make me a try hard? No. Because I’m not trying that hard yet. But piss on that because you can’t really care what people think.

Put that through a blender, and tada you will have your answer. If you can’t do that then you can do doodley-squat.

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Fuck. I really do go on.

So much for that. This is my last blog. I keep starting blogs and not finishing them. I will be both real and fictional. Pinch of salt, ladies and gentleman.

I might mention, I am embarking on a writing career, if you didn’t catch that already.

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