The beauty of the world, all from the hands of workers

The screen is full of “working workers”: Good morning, working workers! Are you tired of working? Tired. But I can’t cry because it’s not safe to wipe my tears while riding a battery. /Tired? Tired is right. Comfort is reserved for the rich. /Love is not the whole Life, working is. Good morning, part-Time workers! /If I work hard enough, the boss will live the life he wants! Good morning! Part-time workers! /Working part-time doesn’t earn you much money, but working a few more jobs will give you no time to spend it. Good morning, part-time workers! /For the hundred and first time, I don’t want to go to work! There are no difficult jobs, only brave hitters. / Working part-time may live ten years less, not working you can not live a day. Good morning, hitman! /Dare to go up to the nine heavens to catch the moon, dare to go down to the five oceans to catch the turtle, but do not dare to be late, because the late deduction of money. Good morning, workers! /Your circle of friends has not mentioned the planet, the galaxy, the universe, Dreams, literature for a long time, why, did you go to work like me? Good morning, working man! /The leather factory will collapse, the sister-in-law will run away, only you will work until you are old. Good morning, working man! ……

Some people say this is a “bittersweet experience for young people”, while others say it is Some people say that this is a “bittersweet experience for young people”, others say that this is a “tangle and self-deprecation of contemporary young people”, while others say that “behind the self-deprecation there is also resilience and struggle “. In the opinion of the author, who is also a worker, this orgy of words, which is a competition to create “workers’ quotations”, is more like a This is a short-lived revival of “working-class literature and art”.

The term “part-time work” was first used in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, etc. In 1980, the Beijing Daily published an article about the living conditions of “part-time workers” in Hong Kong. In 1980, Beijing Daily published an article about the living conditions of wage earners in Hong Kong. The Writer, a secondary school teacher, accompanied her husband, an Indonesian Chinese, to Hong Kong for medical treatment and stayed there for seven months. The article used the word “working” in this way.

“In Hong Kong, the daily wage of a ‘part-time worker’ (ordinary worker) is twenty-five to thirty dollars (Hong Kong dollars). …… for a room of ten square meters, the monthly rent is up to five or six hundred dollars. This alone takes up half of a ‘part-time’ worker’s monthly salary. …… I’ve been to one ‘part-time’ worker’s house, …… and one I was told by a part-time worker …… that a part-time worker cannot afford to get sick. …… many ‘working’ people are growing up until they die …… “①

In fact, about the word “part-time”, at that time in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, the more common usage is “I just got paid for my part-time job” ②, “I’ve been working since I was a child ③, no one said “I am a part-time worker”. No one says “I am a part-time worker”. Behind the difference in usage, there was some cultural diaphragm. But soon, with the advent of reform and opening up, the term “part-time worker” came north from Hong Kong and quickly became a new term known to everyone in the country. part-timers”, “working girls”, “wage earners” and The usage of “part-time worker” in the Beijing Daily became a new term. The usage of “part-time” in Beijing Daily became a short-lived phenomenon.

In the 1980s, the term “wage earners” basically referred to the surplus rural laborers who ran to the cities to make a living. With the rhythm of spring planting and autumn harvest, they moved back and forth between the countryside and the city like a tidal wave, engaged in building bridges, carrying bags, building houses, repairing shoes, collecting scraps, guarding stalls and other manual labor that did not require much cultural knowledge. Most of them lack the ability to express themselves due to their literacy level. A 1987 report in the Southern Weekend described the working people in the city of Guangzhou as follows.

“I live in Donghu New Village, one of the civilized residential areas in Guangzhou, but there is a strange phenomenon that has amazed me: every night, there is always a large group of young people crowding in the windows of other people’s homes, ‘borrowing’ to look inside. ‘borrow’ to watch the TV inside. Guangzhou climate is hot, crowded in the windows of others, undoubtedly stuck in the Home through the cool breeze channel, and the window is full of strange eyes, but also some inconvenience. So some people under the ‘eye’ order, to pull up the curtains, but the window ‘borrow’ to see the people will Sighs and cries of protest, as if the TV is theirs. At first I wondered! Guangzhou has the largest number of TV sets in China, how come there are so many people who want to ‘borrow’ other TVs? A inquiry, only to know that those from the countryside into the city ‘wage earners’, no place to watch TV at night, can only borrow the opportunity to look at other homes, by the window neck. “④

In addition to television, in the eighties, workers would occasionally go to book stalls and spend a few cents to read a few martial arts novels by Jin Yong, Gu Long or Jin Yong Xin or Gu You. In 1989, a high percentage of the book stalls in Shanghai were filled with new martial arts novels from Hong Kong and Taiwan, with the remaining twenty to thirty percent divided between romance novels and other best sellers by Karen Sham and Yishu. “Young workers are the patrons of the book rental stalls “5 , followed by secondary school students, and then only by certain working people who can read and write some.

But the inability to express does not mean that there is no desire to express. One of the major reasons why local literary journals such as Foshan Literature and Art and Jiangmen Literature and Art became popular in the 1990s was that they had some columns that fit the desire of the working people to express themselves, or “expressing for them”. The Foshan Literature and Arts

Foshan Wen Yi originally published martial arts novels and romance novels to attract readers, which was quite difficult to maintain, but in 1989, the publication was reformed to reposition its readers as “wage earners In 1989, the publication was reformed to reposition its readers as “wage earners”, specializing in the life, work and emotional problems of the wage earners, and publishing works written by wage earners, so it survived and its circulation soared to 400,000 to 500,000 copies. In 1994, Foshan Literature and Arts became a semi-monthly magazine, and its monthly circulation was once maintained at one million copies per year. The same is true for Jiangmen Wenyi. (6)

Foshan Wenyi (August 1995)

In 1995, there were more than 10 million migrant workers in Guangdong, with as many as 6.5 million in the Pearl River Delta alone. Among them, Shenzhen had more than 1.5 million, Dongguan more than 1.2 million, and Guangzhou and Foshan also had more than 1 million. Unlike the migrant workers of the 1980s, the migrant workers of the 1990s were much larger and more educated, and their ability and desire to express themselves was, naturally, a little stronger.

Wang Xueying, the author of the book of poems “Drifting Season” published in 1994, came to work in Dongguan from his hometown in Jiangxi after graduating from junior high school at the age of 16. Wang Xueying first published her poems in Foshan Literature and Art and Migrant Worker, which were the most popular literary periodicals in the 1990s. In order to publish this book of poems, Wang Xueying spent 7,000 yuan on the printing costs. Then she “sold her book of poems on the street while nursing her baby, trying to recover the cost of publishing the book” (7).

However, it is one thing to have the desire to express oneself, but it is another to be able to accurately express one’s heart flow. It seems that workers in the 1990s were generally unable to do so, and most of the articles they published in the “working-class literary journals” were still Most of the articles they published in “working-class literary journals” were still programmed inspirational works in the style of “the sun always shines after the storm”; they were seldom able to write about their specific living conditions and their specific joys and sorrows. However, these things can be seen in the words of Zheng Xiaoqiong, who was born in the 1980s and became a “Dongguan laborer” after 2,000 years.

The famous article “Part-time work, a word of vicissitudes” describes “part-time work” and “worker” in this way The word “part-time worker” is as follows

“It is impossible for a part-time job to be the whole body. This word is always full of exploitation, just like Xu Gang, who wrote the self-narrative of a white-collar woman, but could not change her identity as a floating weed. Working is a label that allows you to be sold in the market and fed in someone else’s trough. Working part-time, you must wander all year round. Working part-time, you must know some words and events related to it as profoundly as Zhang Shougang, such as work card, punch card, work number, firing, stopping work for material …… you must also use three hundred pounds of rice for the fare out of the countryside, four hundred pounds of wheat for temporary residence permit, health certificate, birth control certificate, unmarried certificate, Mobile population card, work permit, border guard card …… let them press you aging and emaciated. …… once again wrote the word part-time job, tears flowed down. It no longer inhabits the clean poetic earth, nor is it possible for us to write poetry in quiet serenity and silence. To live in this word, you must endure unemployment, pleas for help, running around, evictions, insomnia, and the screams of ‘check out check out’ third night and some humiliating pain. ” (8)

Working, a vicissitudes word” was first published in 2003 in Prose Poetry No. 14. Like Zheng Xiaoqiong, Xu Gang and Zhang Shougang mentioned in the poem are both “wage earners” who are good at using words to express the true flow of their hearts.

Later on, “wage earner” and “wage girl became “migrant workers”, and the expressions of The “Good morning, working man! ” became popular in Chinese social media in October 2020.

Love is not all there is to life, working is. Good morning, worker! “, “For the hundred and tenth time, I don’t want to go to work! There is no difficult job, only brave hit workers.”…… In this self-parody-centered terrier pick-up frenzy, several generations of “In this self-deprecating carnival, the joy, anger, sorrow, uncertainty, loss and hard work of several generations of workers are resonating quietly. The current generation of “working workers” is expressing themselves in a playful way, as well as expressing the feelings of previous generations. This generation of “working workers”, in a playful way, expresses themselves and what previous generations of “working workers” wanted to express but were unable to do so. In the return of words, there are changes and changes in the flow of the heart.

The beauty and goodness of this world are all from the hands of the workers. So, good morning, laborers!


①Lu Fang: “My Seven Months in Hong Kong”, Beijing Daily, May 8, 1980.

②Lin Peifen: “Taipei Style”, (Taipei) Xidai Literary Series, 1980, p. 156.

③ Yin Dong: “Talking to Young Friends about Spiritual Life,” (Singapore) Shanghai Bookstore 1976, p. 352.

④Le Di: “Don’t forget the wage earners”, Southern Weekend, October 16, 1987.

⑤ “Book Stalls for Rent on the Streets of Shanghai,” China Youth Daily, May 21, 1989.

(6) “The Commotion in the Tide: The Tide of Working People, Working People’s Literature and Working People’s Writers,” Tide Voice, No. 5, 1995.

(7) “A Junior High School Graduate and Her Collection of Part-Time Poems,” Shibuya no. 3, 1995. Fang Zhou, “The Mirror of Undertaking: Essays on Dongguan Young Poets,” Popular Literature and Art Publishing House, 2010, p. 317.

⑧ Zheng Xiaoqiong, “Working, a word of vicissitudes”. Included in Selected Contemporary Literature and Art in Dongguan: Literature Volume (below), Lingnan Fine Arts Publishing House, 2007 edition, pp. 439-440.