Wei was a flyweight equestrian
With an impressively hefty mount.
A vaudevillian on a forklift truck,
He juggled pallets, crates and machinery
Like picking a riff to Johnny B Goode.
With an affirmative “yes, can do”,
He could bring you anything from anywhere
In little to no time at all.
Although Wei had dented not a bumper,
Nor had he nicked anybody,
Health & Safety should have roasted him
For a hundred million occasions:
For instance, you should run away quickly,
If you heard Wei honking out a siren,
For he would drift the 3-tonne Hyundai
As though rallying her motorsport sister.
But, there once was an exception
To Wei’s perpetual lead-foot hurry,
Which was when he drove by the packing station,
Where his heart somehow betrayed
His hefty Hyundai baby
And crawled itself to one packing lady,
Who then wrapped it and strapped it unknowingly,
Before packing it away to who-knows-where.
From a poor town down in rural Guangxi,
Tiny Wei was neither handsome nor hunky,
While she’s a tall northern lassie
Who spoke a Mercurian language
From 1,056 miles away;
Clearly, the odds were a hundred to one against him.
Still, with a little patience and “yes, can do”,
Blimey, his dream did really come true!
Even though her parents did not approve,
The packing lady told him “yes, I do”
And sent the forklift driver over the moon.
While they both put on a bit of weight too soon—
His from his bliss, and hers from her bump—
Wei sank quickly back into reality:
What was he but a rustic from Guangxi,
With little money, and little guanxi?
Mrs Wei’s worries grew like her belly,
But he reassured her with a “yes, can do”.
Then, on top of his gruelling 12-hour duty,
Wei moonlighted as a night-shift cabby.
Before long, his Hyundai blared an angrier honk,
And its fiery drift mark was hardly droll.
An overworked Wei lost his new-gained weight,
Appearing a little paler, and a lot more morose.
A pricey caesarean delivered their girl.
Thankfully, her face was prettier than Wei’s,
Which I glimpsed before her mum was confined
For a month of postnatal recovery.
What happened next I didn’t know exactly,
But, with her husband working two jobs straight,
I supposed the new mother didn’t take it well,
Or a spell of baby blues got the better of her.
One day after work,
Wei was shocked to find
His baby girl wailing, alone in the flat:
His packing lady had packed up and left!
She didn’t pick up her phone
And was nowhere to be found.
It was a sheer nightmare
For three days and a half.
But the nightmare did not end there,
For his mother-in-law rang and said,
“She won’t talk to you ever again.”
“I take it she is safe,” responded Wei.
“What have I done wrong now?”
“There’s nothing you can do,” she sneered.
“But you can keep the baby, because
I’m marrying her off to someone else.”
Someone with more money, and more guanxi—
He could hear the unspoken truth
Behind the busy tone of the hung-up phone.
Feeling all was lost, Wei consulted his boss.
And the manager didn’t waste him a second.
“What are you waiting for?” he cried,
Blaring louder than the forklift’s honk,
“Go and bring her back, right now!”
With the most uncertain “yes, can do”,
Wei packed a suitcase and a nappy sack,
And strapped the baby to his back.
He poured out his savings for the long journey
And boarded the first train towards destiny.
When he and the baby returned in a week,
Immediately we knew,
For once, this load was too much to fork or to lift,
As Wei sniffly uttered to us, “No, can’t do.”
After Twinkle and Old Mai, this is my third entry to this month’s special collection, provisionally titled Sweatshop Stories. The featured pictures for this series are all snapped in our factory in order to accompany these real-life tales of real people I have worked with. Today’s image is Wei’s tool of the trade; apparently, the old girl has endured some unflattering history, much like her jockey.