Migrant workers—let’s face it, you either love ’em or hate ’em. There’s just no in between. It seems that lately, they’ve been getting some love from the people, what with Chongqing’s official Migrant Worker Day and now with the recent announcement by none other than Premiere Wen Jiabao himself that the popular “Migrant Worker Song” (or “Ode to the Migrant Worker” as we prefer to translate it when we’re feeling poetic), a song written by workers and popularized over the internet, will be performed at the annual CCTV Spring Festival show.
We had heard about this song before, but never bothered listening to it until just now, where we found the music video for it on your typical Chinese video-sharing sites. It’s a catchy tune about the vicissitudes of life as a migrant worker in China, featuring many a real migrant worker doing what they do best: take care of children, serve you at restaurants, build your skyscrapers, carry heavy loads of stuff, etc. They tend to smile and look awkward, which is just so cute because it reminds you of what plain, simple. and un-Paris Hilton like these people are. China’s migrant workers—compromising their dignity so you don’t have to!
The whole idea of the song came about after Wen Jiabao visited Chongqing in 2006 and met with some actual migrant workers. He told them that their situation was one of his greatest concerns over the last few years. The migrant workers were moved by this true man of the people and took some pictures with him. Later, after the song became the popular, they hatched the idea of letting the premier hear their song, so they got together over a thousand people and had them sign a letter, and sent this, along with the song, to the premier. A few days letter they got the reply and what seemed like a promise to let the song be performed during the Spring Festival concert. And by now, you’re dying of anticipation. Check out the tight little “rap” in the bridge of the song in the video above.
For more on migrant workers and music, here’s a link that might be worth checking out. There’s news and video clips relating to migrant workers in China.