And on the other hand...

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Gosh, ten days go by, and it's almost July. I think I said the same thing just a year ago.

My brain is a little full and fuzzy (blame the Spam?), still in some kind of recovery from China, a couple weeks at home alone, and now a new job in a new milieu.

It took the new personnel department to point out that my driver's license was six months overdue for renewal and insist that I update it if I want to park my car on campus. Actually I knew it, but that's the sort of thing you can ignore...or I can...and anyway, I've been carrying my passport with its interesting China visas to prove my identity. I'd been putting off the delayed renewal because I didn't want to take a test, written or on-the-road. And as it turned out, I didn't have to. I just had to pay 20 bucks extra "for being so punctual," as the license clerk put it. (Amortized over seven years, the extra $20 on top of the $24 renewal doesn't seem so bad; the license would have expired on the same date even if I renewed it on time six months ago.)

I was a little shamed because I'd just read an item about women in Saudi Arabia for whom driving is something of a revolutionary act, a symbol of freedom. (A burqa-clad woman carries basic toiletries and a prayer rug with her in case she is caught and incarcerated for being behind the wheel of her SUV.) I was willing to risk being pulled over with an expired license; these women are risking being pulled over simply for DRIVING. I was looking at a fine; they are looking at serious jail time. But now, I'm street-legal until December 2018, by which time it is conceivable that I will make that 286,000 fly-me-to-the-moon milestone with TAO 61.

And in other women-and-work news, I noticed after reading Factory Girls, about female migrant workers in China, that the new trend is for the factories to relocate in the interior provinces like Sichuan, the source of many migrants...because labor is cheaper there. And China is outsourcing for the same reason, to Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and India. Just when you think you have figured out China politics and economics, it all changes by the time the book goes to paperback. In time, in some kind of economic taiji turn, I expect labor to become cheaper in the U.S. ...when some Laotian entrepreneur decides to set up a factory in Arkansas.


sybil law said...

It's so hard to figure out where anything is made anymore. However, I definitely thank the little sweatshop workers anytime I purchase anything way underpriced.

baroness radon said...

And they thank you too.