Robin Nagle: What I discovered in New York City trash

Robin Nagle: What I discovered in New York City trash #TED : http://on.ted.com/pqkO

Often when seeing people who come to collect rubbishes from household, or just picking them up in public spaces. I secretly salute to them, I have been in their workplace before. Even stayed very briefly, but it is no doubt not a very easy job.

First you have to have a strong endurance over the smells of the trashes & occasionally the unplesant presentation of their existence. When I was working as a clearner, I often have to dismiss the smell from my mind, so I won’t end up moaning about the bad smells.

Second you will have to control your anger when some people just have a very low consciousness over how they throw the rubbish or where they leave the rubbishes. I have been pretty rigid when seeing rubbish near/within my eyesight, but even worse after working as cleaner. Occasionally I just wanna strangle someone, when seeing them leave rubbish on places instead of taking it to the bin. For example, a gentleman (I presume) left the leftover part of the apple on the bus instead of taking it to the bin – it made me secretly go mad all the way back home!

Finally the stigma from the “upper class” – when I was working as a cleaner, people in offices (especially ones in HK) often look down at me & colleagues as a group of trivial people, precisely an eyesore. In many places, cleaning and sex work are quite similar in job status, as the last ever job on earth you would say yes to. For example, if you don’t have a degree or enough education. Within the workplace I used to work, many of my colleages were people in middle or old ages without much education. Therefore the circulation of their stereotype goes on to the public, which reinforced the idea & make the job further dispicable.

No we should not look down at them, we should thank them as without them & their bravery, we definitely would have to deal with the unplesant views ourselves.

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