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I remember when I first learned that I had to work on Saturday in Taiwan. It seemed like a bit much working 6 days a week. I only worked part time - around 12-15 teaching hours a week, but sometimes I still had to do Saturday mornings in my buxiban.


I noticed that the Taiwanese did work hard or at least worked longer than people did in the States. The only time they seemed to take a break was on Chinese New Year. And they really took a break then as most everything was shut down. My neighborhood in Taichung was kinda like a ghost town then. Which was not normal because in Eastern Asia most things such as bars, restaurants, markets, clothing stores and others stay open much later than they do in the States.

In China many people also work six days a week. Even ESL teachers in private schools often have to work six days a week. Although even though they may work 6 days they don't usually work many hours. Often just a few hours a day during the work week and more on the weekend. And from the average Chinese persons perspective lets just say that ESL teachers have it pretty good. They work less and make much more money compared to the average person in China.

According to a poll by the International Labor Organization, 52% of Chinese workers put in more than 40 hours a week. In China people who work for the government tend to have it easier. They are the ones who often work a 40 hour work week. But people who work in the private sector are the ones that work harder and longer. I had a friend in China who worked 7 days a week normally and got 1 or 2 days off a month. She worked for a private company that sold refrigerators and appliances.

I'd also venture to say that Chinese in the lower class work harder and longer for much less. If you look at the video you'll see some workers that were working on a road at 11:30 at night. They were making a cobblestone road on Duolun Lu in Shanghai where I was living at the time. This video also contains a mix of music that I made with my turntables.

Learn more about teaching English in China.


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