“Model Factory Man” by Jimmy Chan

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Imaginechina/REX (4301626b) 19-year-old worker Wei wearing a face mask and a Christmas hat covered in red powder Christmas decorations being made at a factory in Yiwu city, Zhejiang province, China - 15 Dec 2014 The city of Yiwu is known as China?s massive Christmas market. From 2001 till now, the booming Christmas production industry there has grown from a mere 10 factories to more than 600. The village produces 60 percent of the world's Christmas decorations. 19-year-old factory worker Wei says he knows that Christmas is a festival, but doesn't really know what it's about. Wei and his parents came to Yiwu from their home province after their friends told them that they could make up to 4,000 RMB a month working in the factories. Wei and his father spend 10 hours in this factory every day producing plastic snowflakes for about 3,000 RMB per month. Red powder used as colouring hovers in the air, and the two get through about 10 face masks a da. Although he wears a Christmas hat at work, Wei?s father doesn't intend on celebrating the holiday. The hat protects his hair from the red dust which covers them from head to toe like soot after several hours of work.
Credit: Photo by Imaginechina/REX (4301626b) | 19-year-old worker Wei wearing a face mask

His altar was at a food factory.
His piety was rated satisfactory.
There he performed rituals and pushed buttons,
Where he devoted himself to make more muttons.
Suddenly the Machine snarled and growled
That cowed the acolyte to cower and bow.
Then the bell rang a deafening ring
And the lights painted his altar with a maddening red.
He was afraid the offerings were not enough
Or that the Machine wasn’t fed fast enough.
Finally he pulled himself together and stood up—
He must investigate the blasphemous madness.
He quickened his pace to race against his heart’s thumping rate
Yelling “Make way for the ma’Sheen’s guard” on his way
To sate those who watch and rate and decide his fate.
And there he found a trifling but arrogant lamb
Pulling the plugs to rebel against the Machine.
“You will burn for eternity you blasphemous tramp!”
The lamb was hauled away and lights were back to green.
And thus was the end of a grand feeble dream.

“O’ good boss will give me more than a satisfactory!

The law was restored and none shall be spared,
“Cave Cave Deus Videt” for those who dare.


JimmyJimmy Chan is a final-year student at the Department of English and Department of Education. He is an avid video gamer and he has learnt his vocabulary by playing video games excessively. “Modal Factory Man” is a finalist of the English Poetry Contest 2015. [Read other poems from the 2015 contest.] [Click here to read all entries by Jimmy.]

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