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Archive for January, 2009

Year of the Ox!

Happy New Year everyone! 

Yep, it is the Year of the Ox.  If you’re born in year of the Ox, here’s what the Chinese Zodiac has to say about you:

Those born in the Year of the Ox are patient, speak little, and inspire confidence in others.
If you need honest, steady and unbiased advice, call on the Ox.
The downside is they can have fierce tempers and although they speak little, when they do they are quite eloquent.
Ox people are generally easy-going, but they can be very stubborn, and hate to fail or be opposed.
Oxen don’t care to be pushed, especially since they think they’re the good guys of the Chinese zodiac.
There is some truth to that theory, since the Ox is smart, trustworthy, caring and honourable.

Of the people I know, this seems to bear some truth.  But then, everyone born during year of the Ox will have to have the same traits!   In any case, one thing is for sure: If you’re an Ox, you will be turning either 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 84, 96… and if you’re very lucky, 108 in 2009.

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I am half-way through Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China, a new book by Leslie Chang.  Leslie was a Beijing correspondent for the WSJ.   It came recommended by a colleague who told me that this book made him view China differently than before – not only in regards to factory workers, but also our Chinese business partners.

It is difficult for me to evaluate a book like this.  On one hand, it does describe vividly the thinking of these young factory girls.  It also gives us a sense of how rough and harsh it is to surive and prosper in an ultra-competitive environment.  Yet, at the same time, there is a sense of hope – everything is achievable if you work hard enough.  Leslie provides a lot of interesting tidbits, thought-provoking stories.  It is a glimpse into the lives of Chinese migrant female workers – and they do live interesting lives.

My reservations is that this book is based on a very small number of anecdotal information.  The author traces the lives of several girls in Dongguan, and relies on voluntary information provided by those girls.  The book, thus should not be read as a sociological study of the greater Chinese population.

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