Chicken Feathers and Garlic Skin: Diary of a Chinese Garment Factory Girl on Saipan
By Chun Yu Wang as told to Walt F.J. Goodridge
We’ve all read newspaper and magazine reports about how miserable life is for garment workers in Third World sweatshops. But we’ve read very little in the workers’ own words, and that’s what this fascinating book offers. In Chicken Feathers and Garlic Skin, 25-year-old Chun Yu Wang tells of her life as a Chinese emigrant to Saipan, searching for a better life 2,000 miles from her home.
The factory work is indeed miserable: mind and finger-numbing, as she and her co-workers are surrounded by loathsome supervisors with their own unscrupulous agendas. A complaint of mistreatment or a wrong move can get you deported. The author lives in a dormitory, crammed into a room with seven other young women, and eats terrible food in a communal dining hall. The hours are terribly long – but she and her friends actually bribe supervisors to make them even longer, because hours control income, and income is what her journey is all about.
The author’s sad, engaging and often surprising story will win your sympathy and give you a new understanding of globalization and capitalism’s race to the bottom. 180 pages paperback
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