Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Spotting the Income Gap

The Chinese are complaining more and more about the income gap.

It's the usual story -- the rich are getting richer, the poor getting poorer.

And the gap between them is so extreme, it's almost exponential.

It's not too difficult to distinguish who is wealthy and who isn't by what they're wearing. Usually you can separate them by the shoes and handbags for women; the colour of socks and shoes for men.

But the divide seems even more stark in the winter.

Plebians like me take public transit. And as a result we have to stand outside in the cold waiting for the bus.

So to keep warm, not only do we wear long johns, sweaters and scarves, but also long winter coats. They're long ski jackets padded with down feathers. They definitely shield your butt and thighs from the bitter wind.

We look like walking sleeping bags, but our first priority is not to freeze to death, not fashion.

On the other hand, the rich wear thin jackets and coats, stiletto-heeled boots and open-necked shirts. They can afford to do this because they drive everywhere and are only a few seconds away from their cars where they can jack up the heat. They don't have to squish in with other plebs on the bus to generate body heat to keep warm.

So remind me again -- isn't China supposed to be a socialist society? Or perhaps it's evolved into one with Chinese characteristics where rich and poor live together in a quasi socialist setting, but it's the former who have access to the better things in life.

1 comment:

ks said...

with openning up of china in the 80's china has changed to a materialistic and imperialistic country. people are so money driven that they forget there is some thing called moral. thus starting the fake flood. everything is fake fake fake in order to make a quick buck. fake milk powder, eggs, rice,clothing, hand bags you name it. what china needs now is a national purpose and morality. an old saying: ' worry not about poverty, but worry about inequality'.