Nieuws - 19 januari 2011

A Nine to Seven Job

I found a job notice in a QQ* group called 'Chinese in Wageningen'. Four girls were wanted to work on Saturday. Black labor?! That was the first phrase that came into my mind at that moment. What a big chance to take a close look at it! 'I can't miss it', I told myself.

What you see is just half of the warehouse.
Ignoring the gender restriction, I replied to that contact person to take a chance. To my surprise, actually she is my classmate. Thanks to the GUANXI*, now I got it!
The rendezvous was Ede-Wageningen Station at 8.30. The bosses turned out to be a Chinese couple, not Dutch like I thought previously. They said they had been in Holland over 15 years. But I was confused why they couldn't speak Dutch. Strange, isn't it? They took me with the other five fellows (two men and four girls) to their warehouse in Nieuwegein (Ironically, google tells me it means 'new fun'). At 9.00, we kicked off to work.
It's a wholesale warehouse of apparel accessories. There were five more people who worked with me. Our job was simple and clear: price-tagging. But, it's such a big house with an area of over 500 m 2 , endless amounts of scarves and necklaces were waiting for us. OMG...
I don't know how many of you got such a kind of experience: repeating a mechanical movement for five consecutive hours (thanks to the lunch time, I could take a midway break). The only thing I was concerned with during those hours was when I would put the last tag on that shitty stuff. At the moment I just looked like a Chinese Sisyphus. I deeply sympathized with the victims in the serial 13-suicides event of a Taiwanese sweatshop Foxconn last year. One day like this was enough to drive me crazy, let alone the endless days and nights they went through. I thought  I was lucky because it was just an experience to me,  and at least compared to them, my pay was not bad.
I didn't know whether any fellow went there with the same reason as me. I guessed I was the exception since I was the only one who ever tried to bargain with the boss for more pay. My fellows seemed satisfied with the money they got, which made me a bit disappointed. Yan, from Arnhem, hasn't finished his bachelor of logistics for over 6 years. Ting, a second-year bachelor, somehow has suspended his studies for the following year. Hua, a first-year master student, who came to Holland half a year ago, was content with the job of waitress she got before, which she could earn 110 euro by working for around 36 hours in 2.5 days' time. That was what I knew about them. It was not easy to have an open-hearted talk with them, just like most of Chinese I met before. It is the puzzle of which I've determined to find out the answer some day.
I fell asleep as soon as I got on the car back home. What a tough day! However, it was a meaningful day to me. I earned much more than those four notes of 10 euro. How will I deal with the money? It's a secret I will tell you later. ^_^
*QQ, similar to MSN or Skype, is a kind of chat software in China. Different from MSN or Skype, users can set up their own group for better communication among their friends. Our Chinese students in Wageningen also have our own QQ group for contacts.