The first time

The first time my sister and I went to China was 1983 or so. China was still in the depths of the Mao philosophy. Everyone rode bikes and wore dull, grey or dark green Mao pajama outfits.

Of all the things that I remember from that trip, one of the things that has always stayed with me was our official Chinese guide’s description of employment in China. He said there was no such thing as unemployment there. There was only “job waiting”.

Some years later when we went to Tibet, we were made to take an official Chinese guide with us. The lady called herself Mary. She wanted to be a doctor. But until such time as she could get into medical school, the government deemed her a guide because she could speak English. This was whether she wanted to or not. And as nice as she was to us, she was clearly not into this guide stuff.

Yep, welcome to job waiting.