This evening, I stopped by my favorite Chinese cafe after making a quick swoop through the supermarket. I do this sometimes – finding myself with an arm full of groceries yet too lazy (or to impatient to wait) to cook up a quick dish. For the record, the Chinese carry out tasted wonderful.
The owner/manager’s daughter greeted me. I’ve seen her spend days in there when she was out of school. She gets stuck watching her younger brother as they have to sit quietly for hours at a table while both their parents work the place. For a kid, that has to constitute a form of torture.
The daughter is getting older (as in maybe a teenager) and working in the kitchen. She was dressed in a University t-shirt and her English has become rather good. We exchanged some polite conversation before I placed my order. While waiting on the order, my mind wandered and I made some observations.
After all, this was a day when in New Hampshire, Ron Paul supporters ran a political ad on television mocking Asians and rival Jon Huntsman who was Ambassador to China. When the ad had Huntsman appearing in Mao like stature – Asian features included, that pretty well was a dead giveaway that this was no ordinary political commercial. I talked about the rampant racism in Ron Paul’s beliefs in my last post, so that in itself is no surprise.
I wonder though, if they realize how hard many immigrants, or the economically lower rungs of society, work? I questioned this because literally 80% of his supporters are under 35 and most still in university or just out of it and I suspect a lot have a narrow definition of ‘real work’. The Chinese family works in that shop 12 hours a day most of 7 days a week. It is theirs. They’ve built a great business. They’re proud of it. The girl who took my order will probably get a good college education off it someday.
It wasn’t only the Chinese owners either. The guy standing across from me had a garage uniform on and was covered in black dirt and grease. He hadn’t had a chance to clean up before meeting his family for dinner and was getting one other item to go for someone else who hadn’t gotten off work in time to join them. Yeah, he’d put in his hours.
To often it seems that people carry an attitude of ‘entitlement’. The attitude is that life owes them something although they will struggle to define what it is if you press them. Truth is, life owes us nothing. It is like a farmer’s field. You can own the land but crops won’t grow until you plant a seed, nurture it, and then harvest it. Even then, you may discover you’ve spent your time on a ruined crop due to nature or unforseen circumstance. Until you put your own sweat into life, until you take a risk, it is impossible to appreciate what life will yield. That reminds me, I have a lot of work to do tomorrow.