❰BOOKS❯ ✮ Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China Author Leslie T. Chang – Dailytradenews.co.uk

Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China summary Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China , series Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China , book Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China , pdf Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China , Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China 3c74c0e341 China Has Than Million Migrant Workers, Which Represents The Largest Migration In Human History But While These Workers, Who Leave Their Rural Towns To Find Jobs In China S Cities, Are The Driving Force Behind China S Growing Economy, Little Is Known About Their Day To Day Lives Or The Sociological Significance Of This Massive Movement In Factory Girls, Leslie T Chang Tells The Story Of These Workers Primarily Through The Lives Of Two Young Women Whom She Follows Over The Course Of Three Years Chang Vividly Portrays A World Where You Can Lose Your Boyfriend And Your Friends With The Loss Of A Cell Phone Where Lying About Your Age, Your Education, And Your Work Experience Is Often A Requisite For Getting Ahead Where A Few Computer Or English Lessons Can Catapult You Into A Completely Different Social Class Throughout This Affecting Portrait Of Migrant Life, Chang Also Interweaves The Story Of Her Own Family S Migrations, Within China And To The West, Providing A Historical Frame Of Reference For Her Investigation At A Time When The Olympics Will Have Shifted The World S Focus To China, Factory Girls Offers A Previously Untold Story About The Immense Population Of Unknown Women Who Work Countless Hours, Often In Hazardous Conditions, To Provide Us With The Material Goods We Take For Granted A Book Of Global Significance, It Demonstrates How The Movement From Rural Villages To Cities Is Remaking Individual Lives And The Fates Of Families, Transforming Our World Much As Immigration To America S Shores Remade Our Own Society A Century Ago


10 thoughts on “Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China

  1. says:

    In the early 2000s, my brother briefly worked as an executive for a Taiwanese owned manufacturing company in China It was a company of truly epic proportions, employing hundreds of thousands in China and abroad, and manufacturing for virtually all the big names in consumer electronics sold all over the world If you use an IPad or any other Apple product, it would have passed through one of its gargantuan production facilities Its campus in Longhua, an industrial suburb of Shenzhen, was practically a city unto itself with massive dormitories, shops, a sports center and a hospital Security was tight, discipline militaristic, living condition Spartan and working hours extremely long Assembly line pay was miniscule by first world standards, but slightly above average for China Worker suicides were not unknown Once in a blue moon, the big boss, a Taiwanese self made billionaire who scoffed at business school grads, would drop by to preach the virtues of hard work and four hours of sleep a day to stadium full of employees On certain auspicious days, everyone had to line up to pay their respect to the Tu Di Gong, the Chinese earth god of wealth, eliciting muffled objections from the Taiwanese Christians and mainlanders brought up as atheists by the Communist state The Taiwanese executives and managers spoke Taiwanese Hokkien among themselves, a language not understood by most of the mainlanders, and looked down on their workers, migrants from the rural interior who formed the backbone of the company s operations.After a while, my brother s functional Mandarin became good enough to talk directly to the workers He was impressed by their capacity for hard work and innate intelligence Considering that these people were probably the first generation ever to leave the farm and were spottily educated in rural schools, it was a revelation to see how quickly they learned how the factory worked and to make hi tech products according to complex instructions After working hours, he wandered around the town, an industrial Wild West full of shops selling cheap and or bootleg goods You could walk into a hole in the wall electronics shop and buy, say, a Sony DVD player for a fraction of the official price Or, if you liked the design of the Sony but preferred the specs of the Phillips mei wenti No problem They could assemble one for you The reputable shops got their wares from the factories that made these brands, so in a sense they were genuine knock offs Everyone was ambitious, inured to working conditions that were unthinkable in developed countries, and had no respect whatsoever for intellectual property The officials expected kickbacks, and practically anything was permissible for the right price Currency manipulation aside, these attitudes seem to be the real cause behind China s spectacular economic rise.This book is a fascinating, occasionally voyeuristic, study of the lives of the assembly line workers who fueled this rise, specifically a couple of factory girls in Dongguan, another industrial town not far from Shenzhen Chang, a second generation Chinese American, followed each of her subjects for years, chronicling their working and private lives, collecting information about their family history and even gaining access to their diaries Daughters, who are less valued under the Confucian system, became the primary breadwinners of the family under the new values of industrialization sons are often required to stay in the village to care for their ancestral farms and many factories prefer young women as they are considered diligent and easier to manage For the first time in history, unmarried, working class women call the shots and they are ambitious enough to make the most of this opportunity A sweatshop job is a stepping stone to a white collar job in the same factory A receptionist with a talent for public speaking can become a successful recruiter for a MLM company Farm girls who never graduated middle school could own export oriented SMEs There is a darker side to all of this, and Chang is never sentimental about her girls she doesn t shy away from writing about the sometimes Machiavellian ethos they employed to get ahead, or about the bogus and criminal enterprises that proliferated to take advantage of ignorant migrant workers Between stories of the factory girls, Chang inserted her own family s history of migration It is decades and continents apart, for the Changs were an educated, upper middle class family that migrated to America after the Communist victory, but it serves as an interesting contrast to the experiences of today s rural migrants.Writing about the rising China is practically a cottage industry of its own, but this book is remarkable for putting a human face on the tide of workers who powers the economic juggernaut It seems to me that this book and both Oracle Bones A Journey Between China s Past and Present and Country Driving A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory by Peter Hessler, who is married to Chang, present the most honest and insightful picture of contemporary China Long after my brother left the company, these tragic incidents became a PR disaster for the company and Apple In response to this problem, the management planned to replace troublesome human workers with automatons.


  2. says:

    Ottimo saggio reportage che fa capire pi della Cina di oggi di tante analisi socio economiche blasonate, Operaie mi ha ricordato assurdamente Dove corri, Sammy , di Budd Schulberg La stessa frenesia disperata di arrivare, di lasciarsi alle spalle condizioni di vita durissime, e di farlo nel pi breve tempo possibile Negli anni 20 era il sogno americano, ora il turno della Cina, in scala 1 1000 La cosa strana che a Est la riscossa ha cambiato di segno Non un problema ma un opportunit , una delle frasi pi irritanti che mi sia mai capitato di sentire, in questo caso almeno vera le figlie femmine, nella Cina rurale, sono considerate acqua sporca dopo aver sciacquato i piatti totalmente inutili alla famiglia, perch si sposeranno e andranno a stare da un altra parte, senza contribuire al mantenimento degli anziani genitori Nessun diritto per loro, nessuna considerazione, nessuna protezione Solo i maschi contano Ebbene, questa totale mancanza di aspettative, di affetti e di doveri nei loro riguardi le rende paradossalmente pi libere di costruirsi una vita migliore nell unico modo per loro possibile oggi facendo un po di soldi Cos migliaia e migliaia di formichine senza n arte n parte, povere, ignorantissime, sole, sorrette solo da una feroce determinazione a far carriera , vengono inghiottite ogni anno dalla fabbrica del mondo, il distretto industriale del Guandong che da solo produce in pratica tutte le merci che consumiamo La giornalista sino americana Leslie Chang ha seguito per anni le vite di queste operaie migranti che popolano fabbriche da settantamila unit , a loro volta spina dorsale di citt da trenta milioni di abitanti che nessuno ha mai sentito nominare su una guida Solo chi ha visto un po di Cina pu immaginare lo squallore disumano di questi non luoghi, la durezza delle condizioni di lavoro, la solitudine spaventosa delle esistenze che qui si consumano Non si sa se provare pi pena o pi ammirazione per queste ragazzine sradicate, che imparano a sedici anni sulla loro pelle quello che molte di noi non introiettano nemmeno a cinquanta Posso contare solo su me stessa Indipendenza, spirito d iniziativa, ambizione quelle sveglie imparano in fretta come gira Obiettivo diventare segretarie, impiegate, venditrici, rappresentanti, addirittura manager per tutte le altre non ci sar via d uscita dall orribile catena di montaggio, dallo sfruttamento senza limiti Nel paese del collettivismo, in cui l iniziativa individuale stata sistematicamente eradicata per secoli, mentre i maschi restano indietro, coccolati stritolati dalle aspettative e dalle tradizioni familiari pesanti almeno quanto quelle nostrane, tutta una generazione di ragazzette senza tetto n legge corre talmente avanti da ritrovarsi poi sola al traguardo Perch anche quelle poche che ce l hanno fatta, che balbettano un po d inglese, che hanno letto i manuali di self help e fatto corsi assurdi di automiglioramento quelle che hanno soldi da mandare a casa, il cellulare, l automobile, il bagno, scoprono troppo tardi di essere ormai anni luce lontane dal nat o borgo selvaggio e comunque troppo consapevoli, troppo adulte, troppo dure, troppo avanti per un uomo cinese medio del loro ceto E dunque l eterna maledizione dell emancipazione femminile, la solitudine, qui non mitigata da alcun sostegno culturale o spirituale, si ripropone intatta nella sua drammatica durezza Puoi contare solo su te stessa , appunto Una lunga digressione sulla famiglia dell autrice, emigrata a Taiwan e poi negli States, se da un lato chiarisce meglio certi aspetti della natura e della societ cinese, finisce per spezzare la tensione narrativa, togliendo un po di slancio e di coerenza a tutta l opera Forse sarebbe stato meglio farne oggetto di un altro libro


  3. says:

    While being able to relate to Chang certainly is not a prereq for enjoying this book, I think I ve had a different experience reading this book than non Chinese Americans may have My mom grew up working in sweatshops and factories in Shanghai and Hong Kong in the 1960s and 1970s, so this book has been really interesting as a look into the generation of girls that came after her She had limited schooling, and worked with her hands her entire life The mentality of moving up and switching jobs and taking computer classes to improve your chances at a better job and husband seems to be what sets this generation of girls and women apart My mother didn t go to work because she wanted to improve her life, she wanted to earn money to improve the lives of her siblings and let them continue schooling She is of the previous generation, just like Chang s father s generation It was really interesting how having wealth changed the migrants roles in their family affairs Chang mentions that for the older generation, it was not the same i.e getting beaten for changing your major without consulting with parents My mother also earned a lot for her parents, not than her father, but it only made a difference when she argued for allowing her younger sisters to continue their education.It is interesting to see how much has changed and how things are continually changing, not necessarily in a good or bad way, but just changing.Some quotes that I liked p 49 We can be ordinary but we must not be vulgar Wu Chunmingp 58 The divide between countryside and city was the only one that mattered Once you crossed that line, you could change your fate You can only rely on your self p 234 Seventy percent of Chinese people are bad Lao Gong, businessmanSome of the reviews talk about how Chang uses a lot of metaphors, or jumps from topic to topic, or delves too deeply into her own family history for the purposes of the story I think to try to understand present modern China, you really do need to understand at least some of the history, and the cultural things that have led up to present day I admit that at some points her narrative is a little weak, but the richness of history makes up for that and the intrigue of the modern girls story holds up well against it.As for the metaphors, that is part of Chinese culture i.e the not talking openly about yourself or feelings or opinions , so if you really don t get the picture or effect she is going for, then you could try just thinking about it for a few minutes That break in space between paragraphs is meant to tell you to take a moment and think before you barrel further into the story This is not like your fictional novel where you just want to see what happens at the end Part of the process is really trying to understand the people and what they are going through in these stories.On a somewhat related note, this is an interesting project scroll down to Apart Together


  4. says:

    There are two great reasons to read this book One, the direct relevance it has to almost everyone alive today who consumes products of any sort shoes, bags, cell phone parts, computer parts made by the intrepid young working ladies of Dongguan in Southern China that the author describes in this book Second, Ms Chang s narrative voice was truly a pleasure to read The material itself is fascinating and up to the minute timely the book details how a huge migration is taking place in China, transforming family life, economic life, and the individual fates of millions of young women and men who leave the countryside to work in cities full of factories, cities which are changing and growing at an insane speed Knowing next to nothing about China, this book opened the door a crack for me to understanding something about the country It was a great introduction, providing a context or anchor for further reading, and sparking my interest in learning Ms Chang was the perfect narrator she wrote in a way that provided an immediately familiar and recognizable narrative voice to an American reader but with her Chinese language skills, family background, open mind, and warm heart she was also able to become close enough with the Chinese women to give us an intimate view of their lives, ambitions, and view of the world.It took me almost a month to read the book Upon finishing, I realized I was going to miss Ms Chang s company, telling me the story of these girls and their surroundings through the filter of her own wonderfully insightful mind sometimes with gentle humour, sometimes subtly scathing, sometimes admiring of the girls, sometimes seeing right through their words and acitons While picking up on unusual and fascinating details with a reporter s careful eye, Ms Chang also showed just as good a feel for understanding the bigger picture and going to the heart of the matter in her analyses It would have been difficult to read about some of the chinese style self help gurus, the cult style English teachers and the like without touches of Ms Chang s scepticism and wit It was useful, after reading about the flimsiness of business standards in Dongguan and shallow ethics of the Dongguan workplace, to have Ms Chang anchor the story in the context of a larger picture of Chinese values and history I appreciated the honesty, open mindedness, humour, courage, and wisdom with which Ms Chang researched the book, lived her life in a very intense environment without losing her own perspective, and narrated this fascinating story.


  5. says:

    You might expect a book about the lives of migrant workers in China to be incredibly depressing, full of tales of abuse This book isn t like that at all it s informative, and doesn t gloss over ugly things, but nor does it beat you down.Factory Girls focuses on the lives of young women living in Dongguan, a huge city in southern China filled with factories and inhabited mainly by migrant workers The author spent several years getting to know workers there, and most of the book tells their stories But there s a lot of the author in the book as well not just recounting her interactions with the migrant women the migrant population in Dongguan is estimated at 70% female , but also tracing the history of her family in China, before they left for Taiwan and eventually the U.S.This book is certainly worth reading if you are curious about life in modern China it s full of stories from the lives of the people Chang meets, as well as some broader factual information to give them context Chang gets to know a couple of the women very well, meeting their friends and traveling home with them to visit their families In a way, their stories are surprisingly positive they seem very in control of their lives and able to pursue what they want from life, which is quite different from the typical industrial revolution story of oppressed workers They change jobs frequently in search of better opportunities, they date, and they send home enough money to gain a voice in family affairs But in other ways, the picture is hardly rosy relationships don t last, everyone is obsessed with money, bosses often cheat their workers and corruption abounds.From a writing standpoint, the book is good it s a smooth, easy read without feeling dumbed down, and the organization is clear However, Chang made a couple of tricky choices that may impair some readers enjoyment of the book.First, there s the decision to include so much of herself in the book, and stick scrupulously to events she witnessed and stories she was told rather than trying to draw broader generalizations Sometimes I felt that the book could have used breadth or depth, but ultimately Chang seems very careful to limit it to what she can discuss with authority So, for instance, we get detailed accounts of events and conversations for which the author was present, which aren t necessarily earth shaking, but which allow the reader to see where her information is coming from Toward the end, she even admits that the two women she focuses on most may not be representative of most migrant workers, without suggesting how they might be different for Dongguan, at least, both seem atypical in that they quickly moved up from assembly line work.Second, there s Chang s decision to write so much about her own family history and her quest to discover it, including her visits with long lost relatives She justifies this by pointing out that, like the workers stories, it deals with migration perhaps a better justification would be that it provides a historical context, and a contrast between people like her distant cousin who are stuck in the past and the young, ambitious women of Dongguan who are focused on the present and future While I found the family history reasonably interesting, these sections ultimately seem a little too removed from the subject matter of the book, and cause it to be longer than necessary.Overall, an interesting, readable and worthwhile book If you like this and are interested in a fictional take on the lives on young female migrant workers in China, I recommend Miss Chopsticks.


  6. says:

    La Cina maoista morta Al suo posto, a partire dalle riforme economiche varate da Xiaoping negli anni 70, sorta in poche manciate di decenni la fabbrica del mondo , una nazione capitalista sempre pi industrializzata e globalizzata, che si colloca alla sorgente di ogni commercio manifatturiero, ipercompetitiva e apparentemente onnivora Tassello fondamentale di questo processo, dagli anni 80, stato il surplus di popolazione che dalle campagne povere, non pi necessarie alla produzione nazionale, si spostato nei nascenti centri produttivi urbani, generando un flusso migratorio interno di quasi 300 milioni di persone la stragrande maggioranza donne, giovanissime, povere, non istruite ecco la fibra dell ascesa cinese E sono proprio queste donne operaie le protagoniste del monumentale romanzo inchiesta di Leslie Chang L autrice le segue perdendole, molte ritrovandole, alcune per circa tre anni, restituendone, con disinvoltura e una certa dose di freddezza, l affannosa ricerca di una vita migliore, prese nelle maglie di un capitalismo spietato, di una cultura in dolorosa e conflittuale trasformazione, di una morale che stenta ad essere, ma che le vede innegabilmente protagoniste e artefici del proprio destino Resta la domanda, inevitabile, pensando all evoluzione storica del paese libert , questa Chang incerta, non risponde Vale anche per chi legge Un libro illuminante, denso, divertente, costruito con la maestria di chi sa osservare fenomeni eccendenti e macroscopici, capirli, e farli capire Conoscere la storia della mia famiglia cambi il mio modo di vedere le citt industriali del Sud C era molto per cui provare fastidio nel mondo dei migranti di Min e Chunming il materialismo, la corruzione, la grossolanit della vita di tutti i giorni Ma ora c era anche l opportunit di lasciare il villaggio e cambiare il proprio destino, di immaginare una vita diversa e renderla reale Il viaggio tentato da mio nonno era quello che milioni di giovani oggi facevano ogni giorno lasciavano la propria casa, andavano in un posto completamente diverso, lavoravano sodo Ma il loro scopo non era pi quello di cambiare il destino della Cina Li preoccupava il loro destino personale, e prendevano le loro decisioni personali Poteva essere un mondo brutto, ma almeno era il loro.


  7. says:

    I am truly at a loss for how to rate this book It was entirely new information, I vacillated between fascination, horror, and awe And then complete boredom This book could have easily been 150 pages shorter, there were times that it was excruciatingly repetitive, and at one point I actually thought tom myself, Hasn t she already told this story The pacing for this book was entirely wrong The setup and presentation of information was wrong It seemed so helter skelter The stories felt like they were vignettes, which I feel would have been a better choice for presentation, because they never felt like they flowed together And then, then the book just ended I couldn t believe that it just ended No summation No wrap up It felt like the end of just another vignette At no point did I feel that the author had a thesis, or a guiding point, other than to tell these stories, and it left me, as the reader, feeling like I was just wandering through her book These complaints aside, I think it s or maybe an abridged version is an important read China is huge, a vastly expanding commercial market, and producers of real to the most elaborate fake products ever It s a complete enigma to most Westerners, but its arguable a world power with an expanding military power We need to understand where China has come from, where she and her citizens want to go in the future It s definitely an eye opening work that will make you think twice about American standards of construction, work ethic, production, and consumption, and as we enter the holiday season these are not bad things to think about and be grateful for.


  8. says:

    Uno dei libri pi interessanti dell anno e di sempre questo saggio reportage L autrice segue le vite di due ragazze emigrate dalle zone rurali della Cina verso una delle metropoli industriali del sud e contemporaneamente racconta la Cina contemporanea che ti distrai un secondo ed gi cambiata.La citt Dongguan, 10 milioni di abitanti, parte della provincia di Guangdong, un immensa megalopoli industriale di 100 milioni di abitanti pi 30 milioni stimati di migranti non censiti Di cui il 70% sono donne.Come cambia la vita di una ragazza che abbandona il villaggio per cercare lavoro in una megalopoli industriale Si passa dall inerzia del villaggio alla frenesia metropolitana, dal non avere un lavoro a cambiarlo ogni 6 mesi, dall essere parte di una comunit all essere un individuo, dal non avere un soldo ad averne tanti, dal non poter scegliere al dover scegliere continuamente, dall avere amici e parenti a poter contare solo su di s e abituarsi a perdere periodicamente ogni riferimento Si scappa dal villaggio, si pensa sempre al villaggio, si torna al villaggio e si scopre che il villaggio non ti appartiene pi la migrazione un viaggio a senso unico, il cambiamento che la metropoli impone rende impossibile il ritorno.La cosa curiosa che non si parla di democrazia e del passato violento O meglio l autrice ne scrive, ma realizza che la cosa non sembra interessare ai cinesi, che assomigliano a una massa di individui concentrati sul presente e il futuro.


  9. says:

    Some people, when they travel, are most amazed by the differences they find the donkeys, the tuk tuks, the rat on a platter, the strange drinks and weird foods Others are most taken aback by the unexpected similarities the corn farmer with a cell phone, the slum dweller playing Grand Theft Auto 4, the kids who rock out to punk and metal The best travel writers and foreign reporters, though, simply see This is a splendid, splendid book It s not only better than I expected, it might even be better than it has any right to be, because it so easily could have been awful It so easily could have been another why China will rule the world book, or another how the West is ruining the East book, or even since the author weaves the story of her own family s immigrations into the larger story of the current mass migration from farm to factory another ersatz Joy Luck Club wannabe about how tough it is to be Chinese Instead, it s a perceptive, funny, sympathetic, and often deeply moving story of forgotten people and forgotten histories Chang, in profiling the women who come from rural China to the bustling factories of the southern provinces, provides a compelling narrative of the way that the people of China are trapped between the excesses of the Cultural Revolution and those of unfettered hyper capitalism, and she does so in a way that is critical and clear eyed, yet refrains from easy potshots and sweeping judgments If Factory Girls is a little short on analysis, it is full of insight It is also surprisingly well written The houses of Liutai sat amid rolling hills, each one set apart from the next and facing a different direction, like a fistful of dice flung across the valley its final paragraph reminded me of nothing so much as the lovely, elegiac ending of A Bend in the River, also a fine book about being far from home I expect good things from Ms Chang She is a writer who sees.


  10. says:

    I was very disappointed in this book It was very disorganized The way it jumped from one thing to another with no transition beyond some extra space on the page was quite disorienting E.g., one section ended with a statement about an old relative laying in bed waiting to die and the next paragraph started with a description of a table loaded with food The descriptions and conclusions also seemed very superficial I chose the book because I was very interested in learning about life in China today I stayed with it to the very end hoping I d learn , but nothing ever came When I finally finished I felt I d wasted my time and wished I quit sooner.


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