National Geographic : 1962 Jan
My guide and I peered in to other rooms. Always there were smiles of pride, or at least of friendly welcome. In one, twin foot-powered sewing machines buzzed as two wom en assembled shirts to earn extra money. In another an old man fluttered uncertainly in the background ("The old fel low's a heroin addict, by the look of him," my companion whispered), while two younger women squatted on the floor stitching together gay quilted Chinese jackets. Clothing wholesalers brought the ma terials and took away the fin ished products. Each woman completed one jacket a day, earning the equivalent of 86 U. S. cents. Everywhere there was this feverish activity, this end less capacity of the Chinese to keep busy. Everywhere, that is, except in one room, and we went there last. In it, on a simple bed, lay an old man with a sick, unhappy face. His wife, much younger, hovered over him. This was 71-year-old Gen. Yip Man Yee, of the Chinese One-man factory turns out quilted jackets on a foot powered sewing machine in a one-room apartment. Piece work earns small wages, but rent and food are cheap, too. Imitation pearls drop onto strings for costume jewelry. Working at home, the young woman adds to the family income. To make a living, some refugees toil as much as 14 hours a day. Mah-jongg tiles clatter in a bunk-lined room of one of the resettlement buildings.