Saturday, January 31, 2009
There's a lot to think about in Manila, between the scores of slums, shanty towns, and the numerous Beverley Hills style shopping centres. It's a city w/ an oceanic disparity between the haves and the nots. It's a city which is embarrassingly 3rd world considering that there was a time when everyone was debating whether Japan or the Philippines would become the asian super power.
It's a city where Chinese people are 1/3 of the population, but handling 80% of its commerce (don't quote me on that stat). And my family is proof of the statistic, since i have many relatives who are business owners and entrepreneurs, doctors and dentists.
Here, my family lives in the roughest,slummiest part of town, where they've been for generations. it's far from posh, but big enough for 4 bedrooms, and with enough garage/parking space to accommodate the three shiny SUVs.
Meeting family members and friends who are business people, i am reminded that business people are often focused on making money, and statusq's disapproval of the money scheme surely shouldn't enter the equation.
for example: the bakery has signed lucrative contracts baking buns for Jollibee hamburger chain, Burger King, AND McDonalds. My family runs a pig farm. I met people who have just opened a chinese car dealership. I got to know a friend who works promoting chicken sales (and i couldn't keep my mouth shut about factory farmed chicken conditions). i spoke with a friend who was stoked on her relatively new job with Nestle, and who had never heard of Nestle's deplorable and lethal promotion of their milk formula in Africa.
The last woman asked me about my own employment, which i answered and added that in fact i don't particularly support private education, but it's the best way for me to be in China now.
i acknowledged that particularly in the Philippines, it could be harder to find ethical jobs. Then i reflected on the kinds of things me and my friends do to earn some coin, and came up with the following:
artists, writers, photographers, musicians,
computer programmers/technicians (some helping promote open source, others focussed on NGOs).
working for the NDP
SelfDesign learning consultants
drug counselors, career counselors, at-risk youth counselors
organic food entrepreneurs
environmental scientists (inevitably working for oil companies, haha)
Anyhow, it got me thinking about what a rad gang of people i know. Good to know you all (even if yr career didn't hit the list, sorry 'bout that). Who knows what life would be like if all my buds were working for Nike or Walmart or Phillip Morris.