Start helping out with the household finances at a young age, translated…
Summer is the season for part-timing work, but, part-timing isn’t something that’s set up for modern-day people only, back in the early sixties to the seventies, I’d started out, as a young part-timing worker already!
In my childhood years, whenever the autumn breezes came, the longan on the trees up on the hill became dried into dried fruit pieces, and, there were, the counters set for the shelling of the longan, and, that sweet aroma took over the air.
Every weekend, the kids would carry their small stools out, with a small tin jar in their other hand, with a wiping cloth inside, and we’d, followed our mothers or sisters out to peel the dried longan. As we arrived at the site, everybody quickly stood by their separate counters, and we’d sat down, started, peeling the shells off the baked up longan, placed them into our palms, then, into that bucket where our mothers sat.
From morning ‘til noon, after lunch, we’d, started at it again, until sundown, we’d, taken our fully shelled fruit to the owner, to get weighed in, at which time, that joy and expectation shone from our eyes. Back then, we’d received two dollars per kilo of longan meat, and, as we worked together as a family, we could manage making over twenty kilos, and mom would give each of us a dollar as allowances, and save the rest for the household needs, and the remaining amount goes into our schooling costs.
This is seasonal work, regularly, however, we’d tagged alongside our mother, sewing the gloves to get sold, each glove, with the five fingers stitched on, we could get five dollars for every dozen we’d sewn, and, other than going to school, as we have spare time, we’d all placed one of our hands into that hot and thick glove, with the needles and threads. Although the money was measly, but, it’d still helped out with the household economics more or less.
When I went to teacher’s college, in the summers and the winter breaks, I’d worked at an electronics factory. But, doing the exact same things all day long became, quite boring, gladly, there was, music playing there, to pass the time quicker. The pop music I’d picked up on during that time period, I can still sing them now, it’s just, that they’d all become, oldies. I’d also gone as far as Chiayi with my younger sister, to peel the skins off the mangoes at the canned mangoes factory, every day, we’d stood, and battled hard, with the sticky mangoes. And this time, from the conversations of the other older workers I’d caught, I’d realized, how blessed I truly was, to have a complete family.
The summer I’d graduated, I’d followed my parents to Pingdong, and picked the mangoes on the plantations out in the scorching sun. But, in just one morning, I’d already, become tanned, like coal; on my clothes that got stained with sweat, dried by the sun, and stained by the sweat, dried up by the sun, over, over, and over again, I can find those, salt crystals on there. In my memories, this was, the hardest working experience I’d ever had, and, caring about my looks, I got really stressed out about how tanned I’d become too.
Most of my part-timing work, I’d worked alongside my family, and so, I’d not felt that it was, too hard, being able to give to the family’s economics, I’d felt accomplished, and blessed to do.
So, this, is how you grew up, you’d had to help out with your family’s finances, and, so you’d started working at a very young age, and, you always went with members of your family, that, was why you didn’t feel that work is grueling, as it’s always best, to share the hardships that you are weathering through with someone you loved.