Wednesday, 10 November 2004

The Real Toy Story

This is a story about an exhibition at John Batten Gallery, Hongkong from November 2-27, 2004 by a photographer Michael Wolf.

As a surprise for my son Jasper, I bought a sack (app. 600) of second hand toys at the local goodwill store and distributed them on every available surface in his room - surprise! The effect was stunning.

As we examined the toys closer we made a discovery – every single one was made in China.

Jasper observed: “I thought Santa and his helpers made toys!” It was then the idea came to me: what if I was to make an installation and cover an entire wall with toys “made in China” and juxtapose them with portraits of Chinese toy-factory workers?

The emphasis is mine.


I was concerned with the future of the job market, see What will her future be? back on September 26, 2004. My speculation was:

In 2020, all physical production will be outsourced to developing or underdeveloped countries, like China and India.

This is a vivid example. Today, China is almost the world's factory, at least the 16,000 toys used in the exhibition are all made in China. This will only continue because we are only utilizing a small fraction of the China work force. Today's factories in China are mostly located in the eastern provinces. There are still huge amount of poor, hard-working work force in the rest of country waiting eager to work.

For people in the developed countries, the overall job market in 2020 is definitely different from today. How should we prepare our children is a big question I am interested in, but feel helpless to ponder. Michelle Strbich suggested that I should, and my daughter as well, read the books by Robert Kiyosaki, such as "Rich Kid, Smart Kid", "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" & "Rich Dad's Guide to Investing" ...

Accumulating wealth and make use of the wealth to generate more income is a good suggestion. That might be a solution for me, but the question is still here - what the overall job market will look like, and hence how should the education system adapt to meet the new challenge?

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