Hard-working ayi has existential moment of doubt


Domestic Correspondent

Lu Qin is usually blissfully happy scrubbing floors and ironing

BEIJING (China Daily Show) — In a moment of existential anxiety that occurred yesterday afternoon around two o’ clock, a middle-aged woman, who toils as a cook, cleaner and nanny for a variety of clients in Beijing, briefly wondered to herself why most of them seemed to be feckless layabouts.

Lu Qin, 56, works from 8am to 7pm most days, doing everything from walking owners’ pets to washing the dishes and preparing their children’s meals. Yet despite being a model worker, citizen and mother-of-two, Lu has occasionally noted to herself  that the same cannot always  be said of her employers.

Answering the door blinking in their robes, looking puzzled to see her arrive, smelling strongly of “aftershave” and spending large sections of their day online, battling hordes of the undead, are four indicators Lu said have aroused her doubts.

“It’s almost as if a lot of them are lazy and sort-of pointless,” she told China Daily Show. “But they all seem to be quite well-off and have lots of girlfriends, so that can’t be right.”

Lu said the majority of her work involves carrying empty beer bottles to the recycling center, scrubbing down encrusted traces of dried ketchup and informing her dazed clients that it’s 11 0’clock on a Tuesday morning.

Stooping to lift a crumpled hamburger wrapper and give a puzzled glance at the rumpled nurse’s uniform lying on the floor, Lu said this foreigner’s bedroom was a typical workplace for her.

“This morning, though, I spent three hours cleaning for a Chinese client, who told me he was working from home. But I later heard the sounds of an intense gunfight, followed by a prolonged car chase, coming from the bedroom,” recalled a puzzled Lu.

Despite her moments of self-doubt, however, Lu says she appreciated the cultural exchange and fresh perspective that mixing with foreigners has given her.

“I have learnt that the English like to drink plenty of beer,  Germans are keen animal lovers and Americans rarely use condoms.”

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