No Small Tales - "Made in U.S.A."

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No Small Tales continues today with a heartbreaking story by author Chellis Ying. Set on the small island of Saipan, part of a U.S. Commonwealth that shares our American flag, but does not share American labor policies, Ying's story follows a Chinese garment worker.

Most people have never heard of Saipan, or the 60,000 people who live there, but it's home to some of our most controversial sweat shops, a place where Chinese families pay recruiters for the chance to eventually land a U.S. Green Card. These factories, which are allowed to put a "Made in U.S.A." label in the clothes, are expected to turn out about 15,000 garments a day, forcing workers to put the clothing together in terribly unhealthy circumstances.

Give Ying's "Made in U.S.A" a read and find out more, as much of her protagonist's tribulations are based on the sad facts. For more great short stories, head on over to apt23.com, our partners in this new feature.

Made in U.S.A

by Chellis Ying

Ling was told that she lives on an island in the pacific, below Japan and above Australia. A place called Saipan. Ling is an only child. She had never been a good student, and was often caught, by her teachers, daydreaming. She had one of those imaginations that took her other places and then snapped out of it the way a person wakes up from sleep. The recruiter told her parents she would find much success in America, even a white husband. He said, "It only takes one person to make a whole family rich." Her father borrowed nine months worth of wages, $7,000, and paid the recruiter to ensure Ling's one year contract. At $3.05 an hour, the island's minimum wage, she will pay off her debt in three and a half years. {click here to read the rest}

Check out previous stories on No Small Tales here>>

February 10, 2009 - 5:13am
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