A Construction Migrant Worker’s Notes

Feb 01, 2010
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A young migrant worker updates a post of his raw, yet I found to be truthful and insightful notes while working at a construction site of soon to be multi-million luxury homes in Sanya, Hainan.


i never speak out. i am a migrant worker.


I never speak out. I am a “diving” migrant worker.

(潜水: Diving means lurking here, it is Chinese internet slang, meaning someone who reads forum posts but never replies, never expresses their views. It is like underwater diving, never popping their heads out of the water.)

I used to have very low self-esteem, just because I am a migrant worker working at construction sites every day. Maybe it’s because I went to junior college for two years, our manger Yang made me the publicist, so I got the opportunities to take photos.

Migrant worker is the synonym of low-quality in the society. I admit that we are the people living in the lowest level of the society. Even if we were paid attention to, we were seen as the weakest group.

But now I do not feel worthless anymore, in fact we the migrant workers are also human beings, we are proud, all of the high-rise buildings are built up with our blood and sweat; we also are educated, I can write posts; we also know how to live. The reason I write this post is so everyone can know how we build a block of high-rise buildings, and also to show you our lives as migrant workers.

This photo is recorded while we are working, the person in the photo is not me, I am a reinforcement metal worker, he is a structure worker named Wang Zhigqiang, as for how a structure worker works, I will tell everyone later.

The place we are working at is Sanya, Hainan. Wang Zhiqiang’s home town is Leshan (I am from Suinging). He has not been home for a year and half. His wife and kid are still at his home town, he misses his home very much. During lunch we all go down to the cafeteria to eat, he does not go. He brings lunch, sitting at the site, watching the ocean, homesick.


a construction migrant worker in china


First, posting a working picture of me, Laohu took the picture for me. My head was almost not in the picture! I am 24 years old, went to junior college, I chose to be a construction worker that is also the job for migrant workers. Our construction site is at Sanya in Hainan province, a very beautiful city ~~~ I always liked the ocean since when I was a kid, I also like this place Sanya, the real ocean makes people feel broad-minded.

This year my home town is now every cold, and I am very worried about my mother, her poor health. I am here at Sanya which is one of the China’s only tropical cities, is actually very warm. Unfortunately I can only build building here, but cannot afford to buy a home! Take this building I am working on as an example, it’s named Phoenix Island Health Resort, I heard it will cost 80,000 yuan per square meter. How wonderful would it be if I can let my mother come and live here?

But my monthly salary is 1,600 yuan, if I don’t eat anything and just work, in about 5 years I can buy 1 square meter.

Sanya is indeed a beautiful place. Our company is constructing the best building in Sanya, named Phoenix Island. This picture is taken at the gate of the site. It will look like this when it is done! The main building is 200 meters tall. Is that not beautiful?!