Last Days in Shaoxing
The party is over
Not that there is a party - or has been a lot of parties, but my time in China is quickly coming to an end. This time next week I will be back in Australia again.
I hate saying goodbye and have found the farewells to individual students so difficult. On more than one occasion my eyes have filled with tears and I feel quite embarrassed. I always find farewells tinged with sadness.
Still, I have had a wonderful opportunity to see something of China. Just a tiny part. It is such a huge country with so much to see. So much to do. So many places to visit.
I'd love to see China in five years time. Will they have made a positive step in managing the vast quantities of rubbish that are around. (In some places rubbish piles high in the streets - until the rubbish carriers take it away. There one minute - gone the next, but it is an awful sight!)
Will there be any workplace health and safety as we know it in the west? I see where an Australian group looking for low cost manufacturing is reporting on the "Sweat shops" in China, with lack of safety gear for workers etc. It is a reality that here workers work in horrendous conditions, but they are better off than a few years ago. The increased manufacturing in China has improved the conditions for many here - but it certainly has a long way to go to reach the high standards of Australia. In fact that is one of the problems in Australia, that our costs of providing good conditions for Australian workers meant the loss of so many jobs to China where the costs are so low. It is a "catch 22."
We have limited manufacturing now because everyone wants to buy the best product for the lowest price - so often manufacturing in Australia is not cost effective.
There are clearly a lot of opportunities to improve the life of people in China, but I see tremendous changes for the better. In the three years since I first came, I can see so many changes.
In a few years there will be more changes. In education there will have to be some changes. To see what things are like in the near future will interest me.
I have a couple of days left and today I am going to Xiaoshan to see a former student. Tomorrow I expect to see the Wine Museum in Shaoxing.
By Tuesday night I will be packed and ready for an early departure on Wednesday mornign.