Thursday, October 7, 2010

Made in China

Many, many things here are made in China. Much of it is garbage, but I have come to realize that China is a powerful position to make things that are very useful to people in Ukenzagapia. Like Ukenzagapia, China has millions of people living in rural areas with poor roads and limited electricity. As a result, they have made many products to serve that market. Or should I say they copied many products?
Chinese manufacturers seem to be adept at recognizing a good thing when they see it. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, right? They copied old English bicycles that are simple, sturdy, and survive the rough roads. They only have one gear (as far as I can tell), so you just push them up hill- but they do last longer than the "mountain bikes".

They copied the Honda CG125- a small, popular motorcycle. They copied it so exactly that when you put them next to each other they look identical- except for the names molded onto the engine. However, they did it with inferior materials so they could sell them for less.

My personal favorite Chinese knockoff is the pedal foot sewing machine. I saw so many of these sewing machines here that I thought that every single old sewing machine Singer ever made must have ended up here in Ukenzagapia. Upon closer inspection, I realized that not all of the sewing machines were 100 years old. In fact, most of them were new. The Chinese just took a pedal foot Singer sewing machine, copied the design, and even painted the darn things black with gold stenciling.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with "Made in China" because on the one hand, they make some very useful things (sewing machines that don't require electricity being very high on the list), but on the other hand they make some things that are so poor in quality that I am ashamed to have contributed the waste of resources to make a useless piece of junk. For example, light bulbs that only last 2 days, or a spoon that bends when you try to scoop jam. JAM.

I hope that Ukenzagapia is able to develop more of its own industries (ideally sustainable ones), but in the meantime, it's MADE IN CHINA.

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