The Real Toy Story

“Made in China” – words that we’re all too familiar with. Most of the time, the only reason that detracts us from purchase after seeing that label is worrying about the poor quality, and that our shiny new purchase will fall apart after three uses. Perhaps there is another (much better) reason to consider…

Hong Kong-based photographer Michael Wolf’s photo series “The Real Toy Story” is a photo series from 2006 that features images of Chinese toy factory workers and their working environment. With all the toys being purchased especially during the Christmas season surrounded by bright lights and jolly music, it’s hard to think about all those people in the factories with their minimal pay, insanely long hours, and sometimes toxic conditions. These images shed some light on that.

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It really is quite surprising, although I do have to throw it out there – those images that they’re taking naps; they haven’t actually passed out from exhaustion. That’s what I thought whenever I walked past workers during lunchtimes here in Shanghai, but after a while here you realise that it’s common practice even within a regular office. They just don’t have Google nap pods to do it in, that’s all.

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So much for “Do what you love, and love what you do!” (words that I admittedly go by). After a while, you realise that those are just words of the privileged. Welcome to The Real Toy Story.

via Laughing Squid

4 thoughts on “The Real Toy Story

  1. It’s not just about quality, there are serious safety issues with anything made in China. Defective drywall has caused hundreds of millions of dollars of losses in the US. Aston Martin had to issue a recall because of parts that were not made out of the specified plastic and when it comes to food, remember the milk that was no good?

    I feel sorry for the workers, but Chinese business ethics need a lot of improvement,

    1. Agreed, Chinese business ethics definitely has a long way to go; some of the stories you hear over here are rather shocking. Don’t even get me started about food…

      The health and safety standards are already rather terrible in many places in Shanghai – wouldn’t even be able to imagine what it’s like in second and third tier cities. Let alone the ‘cheaper’ countries of manufacturing now such as India & Vietnam. But then I guess that’s what you get with the rise of consumerism; there wouldn’t be a need for supply without our insane levels of demand these days.

      China’s great though and it’s grown tremendously, that’s no doubt – it just needs some serious reforms within certain areas.

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