XU HAI YUAN: This is the most impressive dream I’ve ever had. I had it at the beginning of this year, when I came back from my hometown after the vacations. I dreamed that I earned a lot of money through my work, and then my life got much, much better. That night, in the dream, I felt very happy, as if I had wings and could fly. When I woke up, the dream disappeared and the sensation faded away. But really, I’ve never felt as happy as in that dream. I think it made me happy because it was about me and my family having a good life.
    I’m from Shaoguan in the province of Guangdong. Where I come from, people are very poor. Only those who work very, very hard can improve their life a little bit. In my hometown, the people still do the farm work the same way as in the old days, so their lives are full of hardship. My parents have a very hard life. That’s why I dream of having lots of money. If I had money, I could help my parents have a better life. In my hometown many people grow tobacco, yellow tobacco, it’s very common there. But it’s not easy to cultivate the plants throughout the whole year. My parents worked very hard to maintain our family. It wasn’t easy for them with three daughters. I’ve never seen other people work as hard as my parents. My dream is to earn lots of money so I can help my parents have a better life.
    I came here in 1994 to work at the jewellery factory and I’ve been working there ever since. During my first month there, they paid me no more than 24 Yuan. Luckily I have some relatives here and they helped me a lot. During my second month, I got 90 Yuan. The third month, I remember they paid me nothing; in fact I owed the boss 5 Yuan because one day I forgot to clock in. The problem was that I didn’t have any experience in jewellery when I started working at the factory. The manufacturer had decided that new workers didn’t get a salary during the first three months. I had no choice so I agreed. That was a very hard time for me.