I'll share my perspective on this because I have been passionate about this for several years, and personally I had to bail from Malaysia and return for one final hurrah to Australia.
Malaysia is considered a developing country, somewhere in the "2nd world". GDP and growth look good on paper. It is considered not "as bad" as China, even the ethnic Malaysian Chinese say they wouldn't want to work in China... My childhood friend has worked in Shanghai for about 10 years on insanely good pay but in the end she had enough.
You must understand that in Asia, yes, people want to work as much as possible to pay for the things "Westerners" take for granted, such as affordable housing, healthcare, cars, technology and travel. But because of purchasing power as well, money is "never enough".
The real issue is efficiency. In Malaysia and China, due to rampant corruption, lack of rule of law in many circumstances, and no real job or government security, as well as outright institutionalised racism (eg. in Malaysia only ethnic Malays or Muslims can receive a ton of government benefits)... People are always trying to get more money, but in a very chaotic way. There are many enterprises by people or groups of people that are not only unethical, but basically criminal by modern standards. My dad, being semi-retired does some "freelance" work for doctors in private practices that want to take time off. Even in the esteemed medical profession there has been one or two doctors that tried to rip him off by saying he didn't do x hours, thereby not paying him adequately and then not responding to phone calls or texts.
There is the slippery-slope argument which can get old, but another indicator is this: in Malaysia, no one uses voicemail. It is very rare to encounter anyone using voice mail, and most people use mobile phones, and a lot of people use two mobile phones ~ mobile penetration is around 100% in a lot of Asian countries because of this. Why you ask? Because in Malaysia and many Asian countries, people do not pick up their phone unless they really need to talk to you or it is deemed "genuinely quite urgent"... It works like this. If you have 1-2 missed calls, ah, you'll call them back some time. If you have 5 missed calls, OK, looks urgent, I'll try to pick up next time. If you have 10 missed calls, then it's usually a family emergency of sort, or you're in fairly deep sh*t with your boss. Not to mention tons of texting, not related to teenage social maladies.
The written word is also generally taboo in Asian countries and Facebook and its equivalent is preferred for social discussions, as opposed to email, which is considered more formal by younger people, and is considered "highly legal" especially in ethnic Chinese "workplace getthoes". Let's look at this briefly. In Kuala Lumpur, workplaces tend to be fairly segregated. You have vast amounts of ethnic Malay-Muslim in private and public workplaces. The minority is filled by mixed-race workplaces and a lot of ethnic Chinese-dominated workplaces. In such workplaces, you have a few different types of Chinese. English-speaking and highly-educated, increasingly rare, make up business owners or managers. Middle managers and white collar working-class is made up of two kinds of Chinese: Cantonese-speaking and Mandarin-speaking. Here's the problem... English written communication is almost non-existent because Cantonese and Mandarin speakers tend to do poorly at English subjects in school. Malay (related but somewhat different to Indonesian) is the national medium, but this also cannot be used because non-Malays do not consider it a relevant language in non-Malay or companies with an international outlook. Chinese also cannot really be used, because Cantonese-speakers do not usually do Mandarin written classes in school, that tends to be more towards Mandarin-speakers who go to Mandarin-language schools where they have more rigorous education. So the end result is written English is used very sparingly, only for "serious matters", is usually tragically half-assed like the nonsense language of the Proview emails, and is usually meaningless because verbal communication is preferred because that allows for more unethical and criminal behaviour.
It seems hilarious, but you do need to spend a good few years in Asia to soak it all in, and realise how f*cked up everything is if you have been brought up in a colonial or 1st world country. Last year I spoke to some tourists who were French but working in a Chinese city for Michelin. They said they spoke to some Chinese women that told them, "don't tell anyone I smoke, they'll think I'm a prostitute". It's this kind of survival-based, repressed but chaotic social system that pervades most of Asian society.
It's a cliched stereotype but most young Asian women will be thrilled to hook up with a caucasian male ~ because there is a high chance they are more educated and wealthy, more ethical than local men, and there is a real opportunity for such Asian women to move to developed countries with their male partner. Caucasian men may or may not be as reliable as local men but they are considered better lovers than Asian men because they are deemed to be less inhibited and better communicators. It rarely works the other way, most young Asian men do not hook up with caucasian females, for reasons I won't really explore here.
As an ethnic Chinese-Indian mix, though I was born in Malaysia and am a fully-fledged legitimate citizen, as an Australian "green card" (PR visa) holder, or even when I was a USA H1B visa holder, I had more rights and privileges compared to the majority than I ever had in Malaysia, and more than I would ever hope to have in Malaysia. This is one of the reasons why Asians in Western countries tend to perform well, because they represent some of the best talent that would otherwise rot away in their home countries.
Anyway, the point is that in Malaysia for example, there are the "Chinaman companies" (not racist, that's literally what locals call it, including local ethnic Chinese), and then there are the "MNCs" (multinational corporations). The MNCs are generally known to have better working conditions, better pay, and better efficiency compared to Chinaman companies.
Perhaps in the 80s and early 90s there was rampant labour exploitation by Western countries, and perhaps it still does occur a lot. But in Malaysia, Singapore and even China (I have friends who have worked there for MNCs) ... there is a trend whereby Western countries do take care of their employees better than local businesses of any size chasing endless growth in a scatterbrain way.
Take this example ~ local companies even in Malaysia regularly push office workers to do 8am to 7pm stints for 5 days, with bosses requiring Saturday and Sunday work. That's over 60 hours a week. Retail is open 10am to 10pm 7 days a week. Some retail staff are required to do five, sometimes seven days IN A ROW of 10am to 10pm... That's 9am to 11pm six days in a row = 84 hours
. Even a local conglomerate requires employees to manage social media from 8pm to 12 midnight so some colleagues of mine, besides 8am to 7pm Mon-Fri, had to stick to their smartphones for another five hours after work, plus weekends, to tweet and Facebook for the company.
The amount of hours worked in Asia is literally unfathomable to Westerners. And I would assert that it is the Asian governments that have given up on their people, assuming pace of life and GDP growth and "hard work" is par for the course, while only enriching the very, very few. In most urban Asian areas, quality of life by global standards is improving in some ways, but also very, very poor in terms of overall mental and physical health. Due to traditionally rich local cuisine, diabetes and cholesterol, as well as smoking, are now the major killers, instead of contagious diseases or hygiene-related diseases. Some local cuisine has a lot of health benefits and is very tasty, but in urban areas the local cuisine is rich in sugar, oil, cholesterol, saturated fat, meat and so on due to cost-cutting, and giving busy urbanites their "fix" several times a day. Even a lot of office workers also prefer such food because they tend to be cheaper compared to healthier restaurants.
Labour laws in Asia are generally a "laughable suggestion". Unions are rare in most workplaces, wages are low due to uncontrolled unskilled migration from places like India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and who knows where else. Education of whatever workplace laws that exist is minimal, and even then enforcement is paltry. There are many Chinese nationals in Malaysia, especially young women, who are known for mostly being prostitutes that work in a "spa" aka whorehouse.
This sounds derogatory but if you are a caucasian or well-educated male of non-controversial ethnicity in Asia that generally treats women with respect, have a reputable job and don't scam people a lot, you're considered a very good catch and most Asian women will treat you in a semi-prostitute way ~ ie. if you take care of them they will be loyal, and while some women don't outright ask for money for each sexual encounter, generally if you provide for their housing, car, and meet their parents and show you're interested in marriage, and converting to Islam in some cases, you've pretty much got sex for money for however long you want. A Dutch DJ was providing a "stipend" for a local acquaintance of mine while she was having sex with other men. Even through all this, he actually wrote a pretty good Trance song named after her.
Australians are usually called racist and lazy in Asia. This is incorrect. Australians and Americans tend to be more efficient, productive, and have a balance in life that ensures this. Government structures and rule of law also helps efficiency because (A) the value of your money isn't rubbish and (B) everyone isn't rushing around like there's no tomorrow.
I recently watched the movie "In Time", which is not bad for sci-fi pundits. One of the concepts is that the rich "rush around" less because they have money/time, while the poor are always "going too fast". This is very, very close to what happens in Asia... I have tons of friends that not only work 8am-7pm, but also try to do an MBA at night, plus a lot of people have businesses on the side as well. Whenever I told them I was working part-time, I almost always got asked, "so what's you're full-time job?" ~ it never occurred to them that part-time meant part-time, not part-time on top of full-time.
This is highly pertinent today because the world in 2020 to 2050 will probably fall into three areas:
Established Western countries [such as USA, Canada, Western Europe (not really UK), Australia, New Zealand] that are undergoing a division in society but also a renaissance of sorts ~ whereby at least the left half of the population moves towards better living conditions even in light of global economic apocalypse. The fact is that in established Western countries that haven't been overrun by low-skilled immigrants (such as the UK), "rich white people, and educated native-born ethnicities" will be able to make the most of Asian and Latin American growth without compromising their quality of life by too much. As such I think Apple is doing the right thing.
Developing (2nd/3rd world) countries that will make up the bulk of economic growth at least until 2050, whereby tremendous opportunities exist but quality of life for most will continue to be mediocre and at Western 1900s' levels for most people.
Africa and Middle East and some "rogue states" where they are pretty much either going to get their act together or are just going to continue to skim at the bottom of human existence for the most part ~ not saying that these races/nationalities are inferior in any way, just that the governance of which is sub human if you really know the truth.
Originally Posted by Maestro64
Not sure anyone said this, I highly doubt since most people here have no clue how this stuff works in China.
Just to educated people, unlike the US when a company in china who manufactures product for western companies are found to be in violation of the labor laws in china, it is not the government who comes in and fines them or fixes the situation. What happens is the government notifies the western company that their manufacturer is in violation of the labor laws and they are required to fix the issue with that manufacturer.
Interesting how that works, in stead of the government coming and being the heavy to make sure labor abuse does not happen they force companies to be the heavy. The reason being, if the western company want the government off their back they usually have to pay more to the manufacturing company so they can hire more people of fix the issue that are causing the problem. That is what Apple did that got Fox to give the workers a raise and in turn you know Apple paid more.
China likes this since they do not have to be the heavy on their companies and usually it means more workers making more money which is all good for China.
Indeed. Asian countries try to double-dip into the situation ~ have Western companies as some sort of better enterprise, leaving them to improve working conditions, while letting the local companies "rape" the population.
Originally Posted by seanie248
America, F$ck Yeah!
Media get a few workers to say how bad things are for a few dollars of bribery.
Team AmericFLA fly in, nuke the place, shoot all around them, claim a victory over bad standards and leave.
People left looking horrified, wondering WTF? and then go back to the Media and say how bad things are now, they cant afford to live.
But, hey, WE know whats best for them, because , look, the Western Culture has SOOO got it right. No Problems over here. Our 'do-godders' havent ruined things and we have no problems. Crime is virtually eliminated. So they REALLY should do things OUR way.
Like F$ck !!
China, close up the borders again and boot foreigners out. You'll be better off in the long run.
If Western countries pull out of Asia, conditions will be far, far worse. You wouldn't even imagine. I'm not talking about military intervention, I'm talking here about general foreign investment in non-war, non-espionage situations, such as in semi-dictatorship South East Asian countries (Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam), India and China.
Originally Posted by cameronj
There's also such a thing as starving to death, and if you don't think people in China understand the trade-off between RSI (talk about rich people problems, sheesh) and their family back in the village starving to death, you're nuts. With that much less overtime there's that much less money to send back home and how many children will die as a result of that? It's more than zero, 100% guarantee.
Forcing an employee not to do what they want to do is always making that person worse off. Grow and yourself.
Not really. An employee working well beyond modern human conditions benefits no one. Eventually they will not be able to pay for the things they are working so hard for because of rising costs, rising personal needs, as well as more family obligations. If you have social and government structures in place such as Western nations, most Asians working 45, 55 hours tops a week is enough.
Westerners assume 60 hours or 80 hours is great if you can pull it off. But you're thinking of 40 hours of decent basic pay, 20 hours of decent overtime pay, like a "mom holding down two jobs to pay for the kids because of a deadbeat husband". This is not the case in Asia. For most companies, you're working 60 hours a week for basic salary and basic obligations to the "Chinaman" company, 20 hours overtime is unregulated and usually required for rising up the ladder, and here's the crux:
~The Western mom with two jobs doesn't have to worry as much about the deadbeat husband hiring criminals to get more money from her (if he isn't a criminal himself)
~The Western mom doesn't have to worry as much about the company not paying her basic wages, overtime, let alone compulsory 401(k) equivalent
~The Western mom can get some childcare and unemployment benefits
~The Western mom can more easily get health insurance [in Malaysia I am uninsurable because of a mental condition... it is a growing problem in the US but not as bad in Canada, Australia, Europe ex. UK]
~The Western mom in most cities can take the train to work and not have to sit in traffic for hours in crowded urban hellholes
~The Western mom can buy a car with appropriate child seats other than leave her kids with her parents while she rides a very basic motorcycle to her job(s)
~The Western mom is less likely to have 3 or more children from various fathers, or have them due to rape which she has to bear for the rest of the life due to sub human implementations of Islam or Catholicism.
Originally Posted by Ronbo
While everyone is so busy trying to decide how to help with poor Foxconn workers, has no one bothered to ask them what *THEY* want?
Yes, Foxconn workers should be consulted, but I think in any case you might find that they'll agree with what I'm saying above. But good point, we need more of their perspective. Though, Westerners may not like to hear the ugly truth. That Asian governments are neanderthal and Western countries actually can help, not by simply cutting hours and increasing wages.