“It’s your right to arrange Chen Xiao’s life, and it’s my obligation to serve you…”.
Chen Xiao has had a tough year. Blizzards covered her home town in China, her area was devastated by an earthquake. Her best friends divorced and her clothing store failed. What’s an entrepreneur to do? Rent your life to the Internet.
“Every time I had a plan for what I wanted my life to be like, nothing would come of it. It was very disappointing. I figured if other people came up with things for me to do, I might stumble upon something new and better,” she told CNN.
So she put her life online and offered it to China’s netizens for $3/hour. She won’t do anything illegal, immoral or violent, but she will deliver humble service. And she will memorialize it in photos, so other viewers can see what she’s done.
Tasks including delivering pet food, say hello to you on a subway platform, and performing charitable works, such as delivering food to the needy. Holding up signs at netizens lovers is her most frequent request, but she’s also attended babies’ births as a photographer, and welcomed travelers home.
What Do You Make of This?
First, CNN and other US sites have failed to actually link to Chen Xiao’s site in their reporting. To be charitable, this may be because the site is in a foreign language, so even though it’s the topic of the article, the news sources don’t imagine readers would be interested. To be uncharitable, how can you write about a website and not link to it?
Second, the framing of a new “right” to control Chen Xiao’s life seems particularly Chinese. The idea of being directed by a mass, or announcing a new right, seems fitting in a nation like China, where rights, both personal and property, are changing so quickly.