05
Nov
2010

The Most Stressful Cities For China’s White Collars

China’s growing group of fatigued, white-collar workers (Plasticine men or 橡皮人, a term popularized by novelist Wang Shuo) have money to spend but most of them have really no time for relaxation, according to this Chinese internet meme we found.

Hong Kong

Review: In HK, when you do not have a job, you can’t eat so to speak (手停口就停). Everyone is into investing. Artists need to work, and do not dare fall in love nor take a rest. Moonlighting is very common. Fast news or tabloids sell.

TV: A lot of housewives spend their time watching television. ATV (Asian Television Limited) and TVB (Television Broadcasts Limited) are favorite channels. But everyone is so busy that they only have time to listen to the radio. Because of this, this city has only up to 13 channels.

Fast foods: Hong Kong is the Chinese city with the widest variety of Western fast foods. McDonald’s advertises throughout the year.

Walking speed: The city is not called a dynamic city for nothing. At the turn of the green light, one can immediately hear the surge of motorists. And at every intersection, there is always a group of people waiting to charge.

Alcohol consumption: Besides Lan Kwai Fong, the tables in Hong Kong do not really have alcohol. It’s actually more of malt.


Hong Kong

Daily schedule: Work hours are from 9am to 5pm, but OT is a favorite mantra among the Hongkongese. There are 2.3M passengers using the subway daily from 6am to midnight. At this rate, the night club is also crowded.

What are the streets like during work time: Hong Kong ranks second in Asia as the most work-efficient city with little or no workers leisurely strolling the streets during work time. Majority of those who shop are actually mainland tourists. During this year’s Chinese New Year Festival, the mainland tourists alone brought RMB 270,000,000 income.

Job-hopping frequency: The civil servants do not quit their jobs. As for the private citizens, they change careers anytime due to the economic boom, job layoffs, and salary issues. Around 30% youngsters (aged 18 to 24) become entrepreneurs at those ages.

Fitness: They rarely exercise with more and more having eye and digestive system problems.

Telephone: When they do have time to chat, they talk more or less about work every time.

Love: The number of couples getting married is getting lower. The divorce rate is getting higher. The number of single parents have increased by 7% as compared to ten years ago. The trend is that the women wants to live in together with their partners. The guys want to get married. Go-Con is very popular. It’s a Japanese dating culture where men and women mingle in single parties.

Suzhou

Review: First in the country to attract foreign investors–through its number of human capital. It is also becoming the world’s factory shaking the positions of Dongguan and Shenzhen. Suzhou is also a tourist destination. It is because of the people working that the city is developing. Many of the workers are paid using piece-rate wages.

TV: People here watch a lot of TV. It’s like their emotional nourishment.

Fast foods: A lot. But there are more factory canteens.

Walking speed: Some people say that Suzhou is like a frame on wheels. There are two kinds of Suzhou: the industrial Suzhou and the classical Suzhou. The former is in a hurry, while the latter is graceful.

Alcohol consumption: Low. Shiquan Street‘s wine is no match for Suzhou’s (水天堂) tea.

Suzhou

Daily schedule: Conservative time-table. Model for proper rest and work time. Their policy is to have enough rest to go back to work.

What are the streets like during work time: Many people are concentrated on Guanqian Street and Renmin Road. They are mostly tourists from Hong Kong. The locals do not wish to be 168 (The laid-off workers in Suzhou are given renumeration wages of RMB 168, but it has since increased.).

Job-hopping frequency: Generally because Suzhou has an export-oriented economy, business is more or less good. No reason for workers to change jobs.

Fitness: There is still room for exercise. Some buy gym memberships, while others treat their manual labor as exercise already.

Telephone: Busy. They use the telephone for entertainment and as a way to interact with each other.

Love: The business of matchmaking is good here. The wedding photography industry is also developed. Marriage is busy. Either they get married and start a career or start a career and get married.

Shenzhen

Review: People are getting busier and busier. Quite a lot of people choose to open their own shop, company, or studio.

TV: Not a lot, because of the abundant night life. For those who still want to watch television, they have one channel that talks about business and investments, two channels if you want to learn Cantonese, and finally three channels for simply relaxation.

Fast foods: There seems to be a fast food “invasion”. There is even a fast food internet network in Shenzhen.

Walking speed: Before, it was fast. But now it is considered slow due to the crowded streets. People are impatient–cannot tolerate those walking slowly.

Alcohol consumption: High. Shenzhen is where the Northerners and Southerners converge. The Northerners can drink. The Southerners dare to drink.

Shenzhen

Daily schedule: Similar to Hong Kong. But the night life takes a lot of sleeping time. In fact, the people in this city lack sleep.

What are the streets like during work time: Populated, because work is everywhere.

Job-hopping frequency: High, because there are a lot of work opportunities.

Fitness: The use of a private car to go everywhere has increased. Concern for individual fitness has become sparse.

Telephone: Talking on the phone is a common sighting in the streets. It has become a necessary channel especially for work.

Taipei

Review: During the height of the economic boom, everyone is suddenly eager to look for work. The working class feels a lot of pressure. Travel is considered a form of escape.

TV: Many Taipei locals love watching television, maybe it is because there are a lot of entertainment gossip. They enjoy watching the antics of the indispensable variety show hosts Chang Hsiao-yen, Chang Fei, Hu Kua, and Jacky Wu.

Fast foods: Many but most are considered “slow” foods or the everyday type of meals. The ones sold in the night market are notable also.

Walking speed: Generally fast paced. An analysis of the people using the Taipei metro daily says that on average, 60 to 80 people walk past the ticket gate per minute.

Alcohol consumption: High.

Taipei

Daily schedule: Half of the population works from 9am to 5pm. The other half works from 5am to 9pm.

What are the streets like during work time: Taipei is always very populated.

Job-hopping frequency: High. Whenever there is a new book released on motivation and the workplace, there seems to be a spike on people looking for jobs.

Fitness: Not so much. Because work and play really stresses out the body.

Telephone: It’s stuck to their ears for 24 hours. Using the telephone equates to socializing.

Love: Falling in love is treated seriously, whereas marriage is treated lightly. It’s more of looking for romance and a new kind of feeling and experience.

Guangzhou

Review: Changes bring more jobs in Guangzhou. Property prices are so high, oftentimes you have to “tiptoe” to reach it (form of expression to mean really, really high). You feel free, no one cares about your personal affairs, each person’s life is very busy. When you don’t feel free, because you worry about going to work and the traffic jam, you think about being your own boss.

TV: Not so much, because many people have to work overtime. But Guangzhou is developed when it comes to print media. So there are lots of newspapers to read everyday.

Fast foods: Many. These basically cater to two extremes, the shantytown crowd and the white-collar workers.

Walking speed: Slow, because there is no good walking space. Most take the taxi or metro.

Alcohol consumption: Low

Guangzhou

Daily schedule: Conservative schedule, but fairly diversified. In fact, many sleep and wake up late.

What are the streets like during work time: Busy. Most of the idlers are SOHO (small office home office), students, or those who have no work and/or looking for work.

Job-hopping frequency: High. Because there are always new companies recruiting people. Jobs are oftentimes better-paying.

Fitness: Lessened. This is a city which has no time for exercise. But those exercising near the Pearl River are mostly the elderly.

Telephone: Used for working and making appointments.

Shanghai

Review: The catchphrase of this city is internationalism. Many go to Shanghai to work and “pan for gold”. Working is number 1, whereas spending is number 2. The people of this city are smart when it comes to making investments and buying luxury goods. But when it comes to buying property, their money seems to flow like water.

TV: Not so much, even the use of  internet and making phone calls. They read more newspapers and enjoy watching the world pass by.

Fast foods: A lot. The number of convenience stores is proportional to the growth of the city.

Walking speed: Fast. There are almost no idle people in the city. Mostly tourists and passersby.

Alcohol consumption: Low. The pursuit of this city is elegance rather than intoxication. Also, the hottest night spot is Xintiandi. The wine there is all foreign-flavored.

Shanghai

Schedule: They have a conservative time table. Work is considered important.

What are the streets like during work time: Populated. Except for Pudong, everywhere is a working area. The crowd in Nanjing Road would only disappear if there is torrential rain or a SARS epidemic.

Job-hopping frequency: High. The Shanghainese are always looking for something better.

Fitness: Not so much. Shanghai has never been an exercise-kind of city. Much worse than Dongbei.

Telephone: Used for work and making appointments with people. Most of the time, email is used.

Love: They consider a lot of factors when it comes to marriage like the person’s hukou and background. Expectations are high. For example, their concept of a good man is if the man goes to the market at 4am to buy food.

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