I Worked as a Delivery Person for a Year
With the help of this labor protest, Fung Ming Sum hopes to challenge the traditional concept of “well-equal-matches” that social demands in intimate relationships - the concept not only exists in marriage concerning identity and wealth, but also in love concerning body and appearance, which can affects our lifestyle and self-worth.
Although society is constantly promoting “free love” currently, in the face of criticism in reality, I have realised that once there is a difference in body and appearance in a relationship, this freedom will collapse and be replaced by exclusion and discrimination. “Individuals” are still the battlefield of the society, especially now that “body” and “appearance” have become powerful capital forces. And based on the fact that women are still the main ones being watched, the problem is even more severe in intimate relationships between two women.
Riding a bike to lose weight is a compromise to society's expectations, but it is also a protection of love. The artist hopes this protest not solely raises peoples’ awareness of labor rights, but draws attention to the oppression and unfairness in intimate relationships at the same time.
I fell in love with a beautiful girl, J.
I remember when J introduced me to a friend, the friend couldn't help but say, “She's not pretty, is she?” J used to be overweight as well, so she didn't know how to protect me.
Later on, she had tried adding more elements of overweight girls to her magazine, posting some of her overweight photos actively, and even learned from a lesbian couple consisting of a “thin beauty” and a "funny fat person".
I started to think that this was my job too, afterwards, so I became a delivery person. Starting from June 22, 2021, for a year, I worked about 6 days a week, and rode a bike for 1 to 8 hours each day.
We are used to saying “you have no right” or “you are not worthy”.
The delivery company told me, because I had signed a cooperation agreement, I had no right to refuse an order whose delivery location had already been changed twice, otherwise my work would be suspended. Due to programming problems, we did not have the right to obtain working fees for redeliveries caused by changing locations, so we needed to be considerate. We had no right to refuse extra work beyond the agreed working hours – even if it was 7°C at 2:00 am, we still had to obey, otherwise our work performance would be deducted.
According to the agreement, I only agreed to deliver each order to one location within working hours, and other extra work was not included in the contract. "If the public knows that the company is cheating and exploiting delivery people, I believe they will provide support.” I said to the company. Unfortunately, I only received replies saying "we will study it” and nothing happened subsequently.
A labor demonstration, then, was held over salary issues, and made headlines. In order to avoid further criticism, the company quietly changed some previously 'unchangeable' arrangements, and met several long-term demands of other delivery people.
The company’s pressure was heavy. However, our own thoughts seemed more influential.
Before the demonstration, some colleagues would say, “If we encounter such problems, just regard it as unlucky and redeliver.” Some would even say, “If you have complaints, don't be a delivery person anymore.” After the demonstration, similar comments continued to appear. I also once questioned the company directly in frustration, “Did you unilaterally modify the cooperation agreement, and reduce order income?” and was worried my contract would be suspended. All kinds of unworthiness - even I agreed sometimes.
During this year, I gained about 5 kg (muscle weighs twice as much as fat).
And during this year, I successfully fought for compensations from the company totalling HK$54.45.
A colleague once made a bold statement, “What practical plans do you have to protect our rights? If feasible, the 700 people in our group will support you.” But in fact, I didn't have to do anything. As long as everyone knows their own rights and values, and continues to voice and fight for them, it will be enough.
Another colleague sighed, “If delivery people could find a girlfriend, it could be turned into a movie.” I said, we were very much like falling in love this year.