18 Oct 2011

Why 'employment opportunity' is an oxymoron

One thing I need to clear at the outset is that 'being employed' is different from pursuing a gratifying and/or rewarding activity.

'Employment' is quite possibly the worst use of a human life.

So why do we think of 'employment' or 'good job' as an end in itself? Why do we believe 'employment' is actually a human right?

If you answered: "For the money", then it is time you realise that there really is no such thing. 'Money' is simply a notion that converts someone's "promise to pay" into a piece of printed paper or pixels on an ATM screen.

It is belief - and that alone - that gives 'money' value. For instance, have you tried buying a bus ticket in India with the equivalent in another currency?

'Employment', 'money' and 'lifestyle' are all mere concepts that exsit only in your mind.

Now watch... A sad, beautiful, and somewhat universal, story about 'employment opportunities'.

Film: Last Train Home (China, 2009)
Type: Documentary (Chinese, with English subtitles)
Director: Lixin Fan
Duration: 85 mins (6 parts)

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Changhua Zhang and Suqin Chen are a couple from a rural village in China's Sichuan province. Frustrated with their lack of employment opportunities, they traveled to the industrial city of Guangdong and took jobs with a large textile firm, making clothing for export. However, Changhua and Suqin were not able to bring their two children with them, and since then the kids have been raised by their grandparents, with their mother and father staying in touch though occasional telephone calls.

The only time they have a chance to see their now-teenage children is during China's annual New Year's celebration; they are among the 130 million Chinese whose work keeps them away from their families and make the trip home during the holiday, resulting in an overcrowded rail system as the trains struggle to keep up with the rush.

Filmmaker Lixin Fan follows Changhua and Suqin over the course of several years in the documentary Last Train Home, as the couple makes the long journey home (over a thousand miles) only to find that their family is slowly falling apart - 16-year-old Qin and her younger brother, Yang, are all but strangers now to their parents, and the youngsters have come to resent their parents, while Qin considers leaving school to move to the city on her own and get a job.

No comments: