担菜籮 Carrying vegetables baskets with a shoulder pole

Translation

Carrying a load of vegetables with a shoulder pole is strenuous to walk. This way of making a living can only be tolerated by Chinese. It is particularly common to see Chinese in Sydney to undertake this job. If you ask for the reason, their response must be “it’s profitable”. “If it’s profitable, why not purchase a vehicle or a horse to help expand the business?” you may keep asking. Their response will be “the income is very low. Where do we find spare money to purchase those?” You may then be curious, “you toil day after day while no money is put aside except only owning two baskets to deliver the vegetables. Why do you live such a miserable life? There are many workers cutting trees in the mountains who work for eight hours every day, five and half a days each week. Apart from the food supplied, they get more than two pounds each week. This is much better than selling vegetables as hawkers.” They may answer, “even if we are able to afford a vehicle or a horse, carrying a load of vegetables with a shoulder pole would be easier as most westers live on steep mountains. Vehicles and horses can’t reach those places, while shouldering baskets with a pole can.” It sounds reasonable because the westerners used to sell bread and milk by the same means. The vehicles they use to deliver bread and milk now can also be used for sending vegetables. However, it is still not respectable for us Chinese to keep using the shoulder pole to make money by the reason of cleanliness, civilisation, and decency of our nation.

Metadata

Date
1918-10-05
Transcription
菜籮一担。步步艱難。此種生涯。惟華人能受之。亦惟雪梨埠之華人。作此生涯者為最多。試執一担籮之人而問之曰。何以担此。他必曰。有利可圖。又問之曰。既然有利可圖。何不置一車馬。則生意更多。獲利更多。他必曰。所剩無幾。何以有資本以置牛馬。應之曰。既然日日勞苦。除此兩籮之外。並無餘資。人生亦何苦而為此。山上各埠之斬樹掘力樹等工。每日作工八點鐘。每禮拜作工五日半。每禮拜除伙食之外可有工資二磅餘。亦勝過担菜籮多矣。或又曰。即有資本置車馬。而車馬不如菜籮之便。盖西人居家。多在山巌石角之上。車馬不能到者。而担籮可以達上。此說似乎近理。惟試觀西人之牛奶麵包生意。曾亦用兩籮担之乎。山巌石角之上。几牛奶車麵包X可以派到者。即菜車亦能效之。我華人為求財計。為衛生計。為文明計。為國體計。均不宜担此兩籮也。
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The Chinese Australian Herald
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p. 2, article 168567261
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