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Migrants see bigger world

0 CommentsPrint E-mail CCTV, February 12, 2010
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From farmers to city dwellers, millions of migrant workers have become an inseparable part of Chinese cities. While many are struggling to get a decent job, some have found better opportunities. In today's episode of My Migrant Life, our reporter meets one of the lucky ones.

Wang Ke starts his day with a language lesson. Staff at this supermarket are required to know all their commodities in English, to better serve customers from around the world.

Wang started four years ago as a stock boy, his very first job. He worked all the way up to shop supervisor and now makes three thousand yuan a month.

Wang said, "I'm quite lucky. Most migrants working in the service sector have a hard time getting a job or making enough money. I think if you work hard enough, your efforts will pay off. Shanghai is a city that never stops trying and it's very tolerant. This spirit works as a guide for me."

Not everyone is as lucky. Li Li has experienced frustration in looking for a job. And so have many others.

Li said, "I used to be a hotel housekeeper. It was a very tiring, low paid job. So I quit and waited several months for employment agencies to find me a new job. During that time, I went back home and wondered if I should come back at all. Now working here is so good. I can learn different things."

Shanghai has over four million migrant workers being employed, mostly working for manufacturing and service sectors. But there is often limited room for development.

The City Shop tries to make its jobs about more than wages.

Chen Juan, manager of a city shop, said, "We offer promotions to our migrant workers to encourage their growth. We create various learning opportunities to equip them with more knowledge and skills. Migrant workers account for more than half of our employees, so their ability is the company's asset."

Wang Ke also looks beyond the workplace. He's a registered volunteer for the Shanghai World Expo. The title gives him a sense of pride.

Wang said, "The entire nation is preparing for this event. I never thought I could be part of it. My experience here gives me confidence. And I'm happy to know I'll be more connected with the world."

Living in the city has opened up Wang Ke's mind. He plans to return home in several years, and open up his own shop.

Filling a niche in big cities is life-changing for migrant workers. And they, in turn, are changing the urban landscape and culture. Shanghai and these workers are becoming more and more interdependent. Wang Ke is just one of the many who have gone through urbanization and are now seeing a bigger world.


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