Sunday, 16 September 2012

139: Blessed Wall Builders

“Blessed are the wall builders,” that’s what they say.  It’s the best job to have apparently.  Almost no openings unless you are born into a family of wall builders – or rather of approved wall builders.

That’s what we are.  Family Wang Approved Wall Builders.  My brothers and I were expected to join the family business, no consideration of what we might want.  Father and Grandfather built the business together and now it must carry on into the next generation.  And I’m not even the first-born son either.

My sisters will all make good marriages because we are an esteemed family.  We brothers would have a better choice of girls to choose a wife from, if we were ever to get time off to actually meet a girl.

The work is never-ending.  It will cross so much of China once we finish building it.  Imagine a very long bridge, battered by wind and rain so it loses its colour quickly.  But the bridge must keep its colour so men are put to work recolouring it.  And the bridge is so long that when they finish, they have to return to the beginning and start all over again.  That’s as this job.  Never-ending.

The stones are heavy and awkward.  They cut my knuckles and roughen my palms.  My nails are full of dust and painfully rip off almost daily.  I have scars and lumps covering both hands and my muscles are as developed as a prize fighters’.

We live a rich life but sometimes as I look up at the heavens, I wish I could have a different existence.  I would follow the Monkey King’s journey and travel with Buddha.  I would find immortality.

Inspiration: Building the Great Wall of China

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