Monday, June 04, 2018

Making bricks in Myanmar

When I post these type of YouTube videos -- walking in a city, manufacturing processes, etc. -- I look for a particular type of video: one not too long or short, with decent camera work and natural sounds without music as the soundtrack. It means I often have to watch a lot of videos to find one that works for me.

While going through brick factory videos, mixed in with the usual promotional videos, there were a number of clips that focused on the exploitation of child labor in the brick factories. The featured dirty and tired looking kids describing truly horrific working conditions.

This video starts with shots of a couple of young children hauling baskets of clay out of a pit. However, the longer you watch the less it seems they are exploited little urchins. Along with several adults, only two of them are hauling the clay. The adults are smiling and seem amused by it, as if they kids are just showing off for the camera. Furthermore, in the background there are a couple of other kids sitting on the edge of the pit just watching.

I got the impression that the brick factory was probably a family operation and the kids were just there with their families. Perhaps closer to an 19th century farming family than a Dickensian sweat shop. Then again, who knows? A video can be edited to tell a story from most any slant.

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