“Stick-man” and White Jacket- Chong Qing, China

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It's a Hard Life

Picture of a “Stick-man” looking at discarded furniture in Chong Qing with a jacket hanging in the background

Because of its undulating terrain, Chong Qing has a lot of charming alleyways with old houses built onto the hills. Sadly, a lot of these old houses are being torn down to make way for megamalls, office buildings and condominiums.

This photo was taken in an old alley that was marked for demolition.

“Stick-man” is a name for labourers in Chong Qing city who uses a stick to help carry loads for the people of Chong Qing. It is the simplest form of device, just a bamboo with strings attached on both ends to tie and balance any loads. Because of its rocky terrain, Chong Qing residents need these stickmen to help them move around the numerous steps and stairs of all the up and down alleyways of the city. A typical fee for a short journey is about 5 Yuan or S$1. It is very hard work.

I took the picture because I was struck by the beautiful white jacket that was hanging out to dry in the hard scrabble neighbourhood. Appearance counts (and all the more in cosmopolitan China). No matter how poor you may be or how difficult your circumstances are, nothing like a beautiful white jacket to lift you up to another world.

Photographer: SJ

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