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English>>China Society

Street vendor's diary narrates life of underdog

(Xinhua)

14:57, September 07, 2012

BEIJING, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- Yao Qizhong supports his family of five by selling vegetables at an open-air grocery market in downtown Beijing.

His stall, however, is often unattended as he is always busy writing his diary and, more ambitiously, a play based on the real-life experience of his family. His manuscripts, he says, are currently being perused by a Beijing publishing house interested in releasing them if they are "up to standard."

If that proves to be the case, readers will discover a heartwarming tale that captures the hard toil for success common to many migrant workers.

Yao named his diaries collection "Simple Life" and the play "The Dream of My Future."

In three years, he has written more than 200,000 Chinese characters, mostly about how he and his family have struggled to earn a living in the city, and how their three children have been encouraged to pursue their dreams.

"I took a slow train to Beijing in 1997, taking my family and all the 180 yuan (28 U.S. dollars) we earned by selling home-grown sesame that year," one of his diaries reads.

Yao, 40, also recalls how his father and grandfather toiled in the fields in his home province of Anhui throughout their lives, and how they narrowly escaped being starved to death in the famines of the 1960s.

"When we arrived in the capital, we thought it was paradise," he adds.

The good life he and his family thought they had begun, however, got off to a rocky start.

"I started by selling homemade pickles and earned 28 yuan on the first day," Yao wrote. "But I was then an illegal vendor and often played hide-and-seek with the market watchdogs."

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