Charles Frith In China: Chasing Chip
On the right is one of those huge posters depicting a non existant idylic rural scene such as smoky waterfalls, that are so popular right across Asia.
There are two types of coal used in these parts and this is the lumpy stuff that gets broken down to feed the oven. Behind me is the local coal dealers stock pile.
This Gentleman was the happiest and simplest guy I’ve met in ages. Only recently married his house was decked out with all new mod cons including the winter bed behind him which is harder than the summer bed because of a thinner mattres to allow the heat from the oven outside to permeate through. When oil reaches three hundred dollars a barrel maybe we’ll all be a bit more frugal with how we use energy with ideas like this. It was also interesting figuring out why he’d switched from three consecutive international mobile phone brands to his intention to buy a local brand next. Initially his reasoning was that all technology is the same so why pay a premium but with some thoughtful probing it turned out his new wife was now in charge of the purse strings. Fair play to him I thought. Women make for great houshold finance directors, although I’d be inclined to communicate that those local brands are in fact a false economy.
Those ovens do require feeding with some decent kindle to get that coal going, and this 53 year old woman seemed to be making reasonably light work of the load needed for her household. All in all it was a fascinating day but I got the feeling that I’d like to have done a couple of nights braving the winter chill and getting into the routines of their lives to really understand what it means to sell a liberating and democratising piece of technology such as a mobile phone to these folks.
Previously published on Punk Planning