April 27th, 2020

mom walk

i messed up. i admit it.

Yesterday, when i was doing groceries, playing computer games and writing a LiveJournal entry... i was supposed to be at work.

It seems that the government decided to do one of their Golden Week switcheroos and shuffle around some weekdays and weekends so that the Labor Day holiday is going to end up being a 5 day weekend instead of a 3 day weekend. Sunday i was supposed to work, and two weeks from now we all have to work Saturday too.

The reasoning for the extended long weekend is apparently to kickstart the economy. They've presented it in the classic CPC fashion. On one hand, they are encouraging people to go out and spend money. On the other hand, they are telling people to be careful about traveling. This way, if there is a sudden outbreak of the coronavirus, the government can say they were right and people should've been more careful. If there is no outbreak but also no economic boost, the government can still say they were right and that more people should've heeded their advice to go out and spend money. Best case scenario, there is no outbreak and the economy is kickstarted. No matter what, the government remains infallible.

Monday mornings are bad enough as it is, so coming into work only to find out i had disappointed my team and screwed up our planning really upset me. I complained to HR that this is extremely inconvenient because we only just started getting people in the office again and establishing a good cadence. Now the schedule will be totally messed up for the next two weeks. Not to mention making people work on the weekends means we can't collaborate with our colleagues overseas, so it's another typically insular move by the CPC.

"Well, in China not everyone gets as much annual leave as you foreigners do, so they don't have the chance to travel home and see their families multiple times a year..." HOLY FUCK. Did the HR rep really just try to Party Line me? You bet she did.

It's fucking Labor Day, literally the most Communist holiday of the whole year, and China's Communist-in-name-only Party is trying to sell the idea that by making laborers work weekends, they are actually doing laborers a favor. The Party giving the proletariat the generous gift of 5 consecutive days off work. I mean. God forbid the government increase the minimum annual leave in China from 5 days a year. Aside from the US, which is an embarrassment when it comes to workers' rights, pretty much every other country in the world requires employers to give their workers at least 10 days.

Then, somehow, i let slip that getting 5 days off doesn't mean much if we can't even travel freely. "There's no travel restrictions in China, everything is opened up." I mean, what? I literally got blocked from going through a checkpoint within the past week, the fuck are you saying there are no travel restrictions in China? "No, definitely there are no travel restrictions, none at all, the whole country is opened up."

So i told her my story about not being able to get into urban villages all over Shenzhen. "Well it's only in the high risk places where they are still being strict. Definitely most places are totally opened up." Then i told her that my place is the high risk place. The places i want to go eat my lunch, they're the high risk place. Mysteriously, every fucking place i try to go is the high risk place.

"Well, then it is definitely just a language barrier, the police don't let you in because they can't speak English so they don't know how to explain the requirements." EXCUSE ME. I can speak Chinese well enough to talk to a guard and flash my green health status. She knows this, and i said as much.

"Well, then it's just a rude guard. Actually guards in every country are rude, it's not just in China." What? Who was talking about other countries? I wasn't talking about other countries. But now we are talking about other countries, which other fucking countries have checkpoints in the middle of the city? Israel? Palestine?! I mean, honestly!

"Well, next time you are not allowed in, just call me and i will make sure you get in." Hello!? Call the HR person from my work, outside of work hours, so that she can talk to a guard to somehow pull some strings to get them to let me in? The fuck!? The most mind-boggling thing is that she didn't even seem to register how utterly crazy that was.

Eventually i convinced her that it wasn't a language barrier and that no, really, some villages still require you to show proof of residence to get in. "Well, next time you want to get food from one of those villages, i'll teach you how to use 美团外卖 so you can order it."

I could not believe the condescension. Like, first i'm just too stupid to speak Chinese, now i'm too stupid to know how to order food on my phone? And what the fuck would the point be of sitting at home ordering food anyway during my "gift" of 5 consecutive days off work? We all just spent two months straight sitting at home ordering food!

Please, am i crazy? Was she just trying to be nice and helpful and i'm reading it all wrong? I mean... i dunno man, but this conversation was so bizarre.

Let's recap.

I am just saying i am frustrated at not being able to travel to the next village over to have a few beers, eat some BBQ... and first i am lying about it being closed, then i am too ignorant to get myself through the checkpoint, then the guard is too mean to let me through, then suddenly all countries around the world are full of mean people, then i should ask a nice person with connections to sort me out, then i should just stop bothering altogether and stay home. I mean, that's how this conversation went, isn't it? Didn't we just go right round in a circle? Why is it so hard to just say "yup, these movement restrictions fuckin suck"?

You all know why. It's the cognitive dissonance. The effect of consuming relentless propaganda. Some people living in this country cannot even allow themselves to admit for one second that the party might be fallible.

And that's why i want to leave. I can't put up with conversations like this any more. It's exhausting.