The iPhone girl

This is an interesting piece of news on the net: apparently one of the female workers at the production line of iPhones took a test phone of herself with a brand new iPhone and later forgot to delete it. The photo turned out on many iPhones’ startup scene (at least that’s my understanding, never owned or even touched one myself). Oh, I forgot to say that iPhones are made in China.

So there is this fuss on the net: she is cute, and people like her. No one knows her identity. The company in China confirmed that she is an migrant worker from Hunan province, the birth place of Mao Zedong, also one of the poorest provinces in China. The company confirmed that she was not fired, saying it’s just a “beautiful mistake.” (She’s cute, of course. Did I say that before?)

The problem I saw in that photo is her gesture. She leaned her face to the iPhone and made a “V” sign. Now, I saw people doing that before: those who stayed overnight in the line in order to buy the damn phone just a few hours before anyone else; those who did the similar thing with their newly acquired Wii, PS3, Metal Gear Solid 4, Halo 3 and what ever. I also saw photos like that with, e.g. a nicely done French dish that one normally does not get every day. But I am pretty sure that not too many people would have a photo like that if the “thing” they are taking the photo with is worthless or common, e.g. a bunch of keys, an ordinary trash can, or a rock. One normally does that with something either they adore or, most often that not, they do not or cannot own. And I bet that she cannot afford that iPhone.

I am not concluding that there does not exist a single migrant worker who can afford an iPhone. But my life in China told me that it’s a safer bet than betting on the weather in Seattle during the rainy seasons. This reminds me of a PBS documentary called China Blue, which is about the life of migrant workers in jeans facotry. The last scene of that film was a cargo ship passing the Golden Gate, and a blond American girl in the store opened a box full of jeans made by teenage (or college aged) female migrant workers who live on the site of the factory and do not get paid much. It’s a sad scene.

Sometimes I do wonder who actually assembled my Macbook, iPod, and Playstation. It’s a complicated feeling. I wonder when people are cheering in the “Bird Nest” or “Water Cube”, how many of them actually thought about the people who built them.

When the gap between the rich and the poor is so gigantic, does China really deserve a big “V” sign?


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