At 9:30 pm on May 15, 2012 “Sing for Workers”, a New Workers Art Ensemble, arrived in Fuyang, Anhui Province.
Fuyang is a city with a population of 10 million. Notorious events such as the “White House death sentence”, tainted-milk scandal, and farmers petition, have caused high public attention. On the other hand, the struggles show the local people’s admirable courage to fight against injustices in society.
It did not occur to us that our planned public performance was canceled by the government without any reason. The performance had been approved by Anhui Province Non-government Organization Administration and Anhui Province Social Work Association. It was noted as a non-profit and positive public activity. What did the government think?
We had prepared and looked forward to our performance for a long time, but when the unexpected result came to us, we were very disappointed. We sang in the street and it felt great, no one could stop us from singing.
On the morning of May 16, we were invited to participate in the 14th anniversary celebration of Nan Tang Xing Farmer Cooperative. We decided to put our stage here. The construction site, firm, and farmlands belonged with our image on stage.
Yang Yunbiao, director-general of Nan Tang Xing Farmer Cooperative, made a speech. He recalled the struggling history of our cooperative. He had mobilized all the members and villagers to build a cooperative monument which was used to remember the history of fighting for dreams.
Cooperative monument- Cultural history requires the carrier record, or it will not enter into history. The history of labors created cultural history, and we also need to record our history. There is no history if there is no culture and there will not be a future if there is no history.
At 9:00 am on the morning of May 17, the performance of “sing for labors” commenced in the activity room of Nan Tang Xing Farmer Cooperative. They also performed several original songs.
Duan Yu sang a song called “They Say”. The song reflected the situations of villages and it made us sad. Young people go out for work and only children and aged people stay in villages. But this is the reality of the industrial development of China’s urbanization, our sacrifices and costs, but who can understand our feelings?
Jiang Guoliang, a drummer from the group, sang two songs written by himself. The art team of Nan Tang Xing Farmer Cooperative also brought a wonderful opera performance.
A classic opera’s excerpts from "Mulan" was sang for years and continues to bloom.
The art team performed “work song”, which was popular in villages during the 1950s. It was very humorous. The serious performance of aged people deeply moved us.
Yang Yunbiao made a speech to thank hosts: Beijing New Worker Art Ensemble and Anhui yigongyi service center. He also thanked support unites: Anhui Province Non-government Organization Administration and Anhui Province Social Work Association.
We really appreciated villagers of Nan Tang Xing Farmer Cooperative for they were the support for us and they were the source of power.
We sang from our hearts and we sang for our hardship, our life, our pains, and happiness. We sang songs which belonged to laborers.
More than 200 villagers joined the activity. From beginning to end, several aged people gave applause with the beat. The smiles on their faces were the greatest encouragement and strength to us.
It was such short and happy time and we were sad that we had to leave. Thank you villagers of Nantang, we will be back.
At Fuyang railway station, we were going to next station: Hefei
Original article written by Yunbiao Yang, translated by Shishi Ma, and edited by US interns Isabel Auyeung and Janna Wang.
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