Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sweatshops & Kwok's Girl in Translation

From Tuesday's BBC article "Bangladesh collapse: Thousands hold prayers for victims:"
Thousands of mourners in Bangladesh have held prayers for more than 1,100 people who died when a garment factory building collapsed last month...
At least 1,127 people died when the eight-storey Rana Plaza collapsed on 24 April. The collapse is the latest in a series of deadly incidents that have focused global attention on safety standards in Bangladesh's export garment industry, which is the second biggest after China's.
Hundreds of factories have been forced to close by recurrent worker unrest sparked by the disaster, officials say. The government has since announced steps aimed at improving conditions. That includes raising the minimum wage for industry workers and making it easier for them to form unions.

For a novel about sweatshops (in the US), try Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok:
When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life -- like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family's future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition -- Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles.

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