RAN LIANG: Before 1986, this factory had been making leather out of pigskin. There were more than 600 people working in the factory, and the production was mainly for export. In 1999, there was a problem with the production for Korea and Russia, something was wrong with the quality, so all the orders were cancelled and the factory had to close down. All the workers were laid off. I was just an ordinary worker with a normal contract.
I worked in the factory for more than seventeen years, then I was laid off because of the quality problem. I stayed at home for more than a year before I started my own business. My economic situation was not good while I was working in the factory, my salary was only 600 RMB per month. Now my business is going all right. I have a son, he needs to go to school. When I was working in the factory, each morning I had a half-hour bus ride to the factory and another half-hour in the evening back home. Later I opened my own small shop, but I was still thinking a lot about my time at the factory. I always dreamt about mixing the dyes for colouring the leather, that used to be my job at the factory and all I wanted was to finish my work on time and get back home. I dreamt about this almost every day.