Each time my boss drives the screw into his employees, he repeats the same thing: "Which pieces of Chinese onion do you think you are? Put a hand on your heart, which one of you dares to tell me he or she is too good to be replaced?
"Remember: There's always another patch of green grass only 10 steps away; doctoral degree holders are all over the place if you open the door! If you fail to achieve, let's 'boil the pork till it burns through the pot' - I'll replace the whole pot of you!"
We trembled like tiny onion seedlings in a thunderstorm. It seemed like a sharp pickaxe was already roaring towards us. We were soon to be uprooted and thrown out into the job market wilderness.
However, the Chinese onions have developed a resistance to the pests of criticism. Now, these loud reprimands are just an autumn breeze that sweeps by the donkeys' ears; the falling Mount Taishan is simply a straw hat on a bald head. As long as the boss doesn't give a name, he isn't talking to anyone in particular in the group.
We have woken up to see the truth. Without our hard work, could our boss be our boss? Which pieces of Chinese onion do you think we are? We are the Chinese onion that is mixed cold with bean curd, fried with eggs, baked with pancake and dipped in sweet sauce.
If you want to replace us, go ahead. Pick out all the pieces of Chinese onion from the dishes favored for centuries by the Chinese, and do please replace us with, say, cabbages.
But the rebellious thoughts have to be contained in our boiling hearts. When the boss has had enough, we have to carry our briefcases and broken egos to begin another day of hard work.
Outside, however, we soon come back to our senses. Except for us, it seems like everyone else is irreplaceable.
My wife recently suffered from an eye disease. The doctor said she needed radiography. But the hospital didn't have the special substance used for radiography. In fact, it cannot be found in any of the country's hospitals.
We asked if the expensive substance could be replaced but the doctor said it couldn't.
A few days ago, we had a plumbing problem and so we called a company dealing with such emergencies. Carelessly, the young lad stuck a metal tube into the sink. In less than a minute, voila! He hooked out a ball of dirt.
For his trouble, he asked for 150 yuan ($20).
My God! Is there any special technology involved in this? The lad said yes, it was simple. "But do you have this tube? Weren't you eager to get the sink working again? There are queues of families waiting for me!"
Fortunately, I have found that there are other ways that I am irreplaceable. Just now, my young son moved his tiny fingers off my keyboard under my solemn stare. Thank God! I am the only Dad in the world for him.
(China Daily 03/05/2008 page20)