43. No more business as usual

After cruising around for a bit, we finally found the farm. We were well on time for the appointment. No worries. We entered the lion’s den with the consultant. The king of the animals was nowhere to be found. How unfortunate. He didn’t show up, not even after waiting for a while. So out of sheer necessity, his son handled this one. The crown prince was clearly not in the mood for explanations, casual chats or a tour. Business is sacred. Instead of talking to us, he asked all sorts of questions about us… to the consultant. There I stood in disbelief. What a joke. Behold the sale of two obedient workhorses. Behold the horse breeder who skillfully marketed our experience and availability. Then there’s the keen farmer who examined us closely. He was silently assessing us whether we could win the race on his behalf. Whether we would allow ourselves to be tamed and branded with no resistance. The lousy first impression got on my nerves. Goddamn. Rearing and trampling horses are not welcome here. Obey and order!

The blunt prince silently looked at me with widened pupils. After a brief silence, he half-heartedly answered my questions. A visible thought bubble appeared above his head. How… how dare he? Ten others are waiting in the stable to take his place. Come on man. Crack the whip and leg it. I patiently waited for the negotiations to end. This isn’t going anywhere. Close the book and move on, one might say. Nah. My girlfriend at the time appeared to be keen as we drove home. It provides savings, visa extensions and an escape from the Chinese state. I understood her reasoning to some extent. Australian wages and working conditions are much better in comparison to her situation back home. I didn’t want to do this though, it just didn’t feel right. But I still considered making an instinctively bad choice to please her. That’s right. Love blinds and makes people speak with their dicks. All is love. Yeah, sure. My dad once joked that a pussy pulls harder than ten horses. What wisdom. Fucking cunts ay!

Deep down, we know it all too well. Bullshit is everywhere. Bullshit comes in all sounds, tones and mother tongues. It’s obvious or concealed, plain or complicated, indirect or straightforward. It keeps on circulating like a persistent STD. Everyone has to deal with it for the better or worse. Us included. We were there because our previous flex-job suddenly ended. The remainder of our duties was taken over by third-rate migrants. Those who do the dirty work without causing any fuss. It’s those who fill all the cracks and holes of the global labor market for cheap-cheap-cheap – somebody got to do it. Unfair contracts, scandalous inequality, evaporating pensions, broken election promises and torn safety nets are borderless. The same goes for misleading terms and concealing jargon, false appearances and misinformation, legalized poverty and shameless crookery. I heard the sell-out of the minimum wage over and over again. Time after time, I witnessed the trickery of tax and law evasion. I gradually felt societal divisions widening and deepening. Money, abuse and short-sighted delusion are in charge. Watching it ain’t pretty.

Beware. Don’t jump out of the fire and into the frying pan. I had a heart-to-heart with my ex after supper to avoid that fate. She recognized my feelings. And yet, she wanted to give it a go. I don’t understand why anyone would willfully step into a clear bear trap. Not even after some conversations. Babe, please, look them up on Chinese social media. I’m sure we won’t be the only ones, surely you’ll find something interesting. Bingo! He called everyone brother or sister: names are too personal. Anyone who doesn’t sweat or sigh is a suspect. Keep the pressure on and show no mercy. His staff turned out to be partly legal – the majority was badly underpaid and illegal. So the gut feeling was right after all. Still want to give it a shot? No? Well, what a surprise. Not to be a moral trouble maker, but keep looking for a more respectful environment. Look for something more appropriate and with more dignity. It’s really worth it.

I was cracking some bad jokes about farmers like him. They are all so poor and sad. Many were losing crops due to dire labor shortages. And many, like that guy, carried on with their inhumane throwaway attitude and squeeze-it-all-out behavior. They were still blinded by the pandemic turning everyone’s little worlds upside down. The shit-show unfolded, even in relatively corona-free Australia. It was still child’s play compared to other countries, yet the atmosphere of hysteric fear was nonetheless there. Unreal. I saw unprecedented possibilities once the period of disbelief passed. The pause button of the system was finally pressed. Wow. I never thought I would live to see it happening. What an opportunity to come clean. To prune into ingrained beliefs, power structures, resource usage and many other ‘normalities’. To reduce the everyday hectic, excess and oversensitivity. Focus on techniques, knowledge, collaborations and behavioral changes that move us forward instead of pinning us down. Big changes are clearly coming. Hopefully, thousands of sorts of bloody malpractices will be phased out. I applaud it wholeheartedly. Whether the coin will fall the right side remains to be seen. Dreaming of a future with more balance, equality, biodiversity, justice and compassion is fine. Time will tell if it made any sense. Or if those maddening wet dreams will simply fade into oblivion.

Conflicting interests are as old as the hills, but a great reset in our ways isn’t such a bad idea.

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