a migrant worker’s house in zhuhai

faceless ©papa osmubal

faceless ©papa osmubal

a migrant worker’s house in zhuhai
cathy huang siying

If you take
the number 70 bus
get off at the Jin Ding Market Station,
go across the smelly, bustling street,
then five minutes’ walk will lead you to a quiet lane.
To the right side a green field to rest your eyes,
a fresh breeze to caress.
but the houses’ mouths
are shut.

Keep walking.
A few minutes more
and you come to an alley
where dwell
Zeng Xiaomei’s family.
Call Xiaomei,
and knock at the door,
a smiling face
will greet you,
welcome you with Cantonese or Mandarin,
or a Hunan dialect. This will depend
on your face.
Green trees brighten
the tiny yard,
There’s a hand pump
under a tree,
a rare article in this age.
A two-storey cottage faces the entrance,
wherein dwells Xiaomei, her sister-in-law
and her sister’s family.
Two kids’ laughter
and shouting fill the house

Quite a nice cottage! Is it your home?
Yes, and no. We rent it
for 550 yuan a month
I’ve been working in Zhuhai for thirteen years.
Just moved in here
a half a year ago.
Never know when it’s time to leave.
We came here, but we don’t really belong here.
We’re always
just getting ready
for whatever it is that’s coming next.


cathy huang siying


Cathy Huang Siying is a native of Ningxiang in Hunan. She likes music, reading and walking without a purpose. Currently she is a fourth year undergraduate in the English Department of the University of Macau.