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A Real Tale of Rags to Riches
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The public sanitation department of Zhuzhou in Hunan Province is just about the last place on earth one would expect to find a millionaire. Yet, toiling away in a road cleaning section, 53-year-old Ping far more than meets the eye.


Nicknamed Auntie Ping, she lives in the Tianyuan District of Zhuzhou and spent much of her life, raising pigs and growing vegetables. However, in 1992, Tianyuan District was turned into a development zone and Ping’s family was compensated 1 million yuan for their land and home. This move catapulted them overnight from poverty to affluence.


With this new income, Ping had been expected to enjoy a peaceful life without work but boredom soon took its toll. In 1994, a friend in the local public sanitation department told her that people were needed to fill in odd jobs and Ping leapt at the chance. Thirteen years on, she is still working there, drawing a monthly stipend of 550 yuan.


“My work should be respected. I am proud to be a sanitation worker. My growing love for the job makes me keep to it,” she said calmly.


Her family revealed that she rises at 5 AM, to be at work an hour later. She does not return until 7 in the evening by which she is too tired to take part in domestic chores. Her relatives grumbled that “she is as stubborn as mule. Nobody can drag her away from her work.” Her daughters seem rattled by their mother’s unflinching love for her job but both seem destined to follow in her footsteps with both having now become public sanitation workers.


Ping is proud of her offspring, explaining that “my elder daughter is now my colleague, and my youngest daughter was named ‘Provincial Model Worker’ by the public sanitation sector last year.”


(China.org.cn by He Shan, June 22, 2007)

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