Friday, April 18, 2008

The Rice Bowl

The majority of my cousins are in privately owned companies - involved in their family businesses, multinational corporations or venturing out on their own. Leaving perhaps only a couple - like me - slogging it out in the public service.

One of my uncles who has a firm of his own always has a smile and some words of advice when I start to gripe about work. Well, you know old Chinese taukehs - somehow they always seem to have an ancient proverb ready for every occasion. Must be a thumb-creased worn phrasebook they pass around during the meetings of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

My wise ( though occasionally wacky ) old uncle likened his sinfully exorbitant wages to that of a precious hand-blown Murano glass bowl while my meagre salary was described as a weather-beaten but sturdy wooden rice bowl. Whether in the best of times or the worst, I'll still have that relatively steady job to fall back on unlike his means of living which could shatter into irretrievable pieces at the slightest hint of global recession.

An exaggeration, I know.

Definitely Maybe
Tied up at work...

Have to admit though I've never been a fan of metaphors. I usually like to tell 'em straight without frills or flowers - despite the occasional overly descriptive phrases I use :) Still I found his phrase particularly illuminating and have repeated it often enough.

Security. Such a favourite word for the conservative Chinese. Reason enough that our wily parents gently nudge us into supposedly stable, risk-free careers in medicine and engineering. Not that I've had much complaint.

Well, not everyday certainly :P

It's only on occasions such as today that I really start to wonder. Been so heavily overworked for the past few weeks that I'm seeing the ward patients more than my own boyfriend. Hell, I've slept in the hospital twice as often as my own bed at home. Not surprising then that hundreds of overworked, underpaid physicians are leaving in droves for the private sector.

With an equal amount of work and sacrifice in both private and public sectors, why wouldn't anyone opt for Lalique glassware instead?

Metaphors.

4 comments:

Cyclohelix said...

Over-worked here as well. Me wants some chill!

daohui said...

I thought u in private?

Quentin X said...

'Have a cup of tea, a bex, and a good lie down' is what the oldies would say in this part of the world. The younger generation would rather pop a chill pill.

savante said...

Definitely taking a break at the end of the month, helix.

Not yet, daohui. Let's see what happens.

Plan to do all that in two weeks. Gonna have a lie down as well, quentin.

Paul