Sunday, February 5, 2012


This entry talks about Singform (SF) which is the company Don is contracted with to do this job. SF bought the tufting machines from Victory Mats, Dalton, GA. (Victory Mats is owned by our friend, Harry Davis, and who Don had been working with in GA.) I will introduce you to the people I mention in this journal entry. Cherry, Johnson and Jesse are siblings who own SF. Jerry works for SF and is the operations manager. A-tai also works for SF and is the plant engineer. All 5 of them have been to GA. Jerry spent 21/2 months, the longest of them all. All of them have "American" names that they seem to pick at random, except A-tai, and go by them even here in Taiwan. (We don't know if "Johnson" is aware that his name is a family/last name in America.)

Jerry and Kelly, another worker, drove us straight from the train station to Singform to get the keys to the house where we are going to be staying. We were greeted enthusiastically by A-tai as soon as the car pulled up to the company’s front door. Jerry originally asked us to wait in the car, but A-tai was too excited to leave us there. He opened the door and invited us into the lobby of the plant to wait. I noticed a number of shoes sitting outside the door, so I removed my shoes before entering even though it had been sprinkling rain. Don did the same. We were immediately ushered to the lobby couches and introduced to several other employees, including Jane, who works in the office. She scurried off to fix us Chinese tea and returned with pretty china cups of tea with bits of leaves in the bottom. The tea was noticeably aromatic but too hot to drink. I let mine cool before sipping it down. Johnson, the owner of SF, came to visit with us. He is somewhat sophisticated, an average height, not small and short like one pictures a Chinese man (that is Jerry!), and his body language is very casual. He was draped over the chair, one leg pulled up under the other, as he visited with us sitting on the opposite couch. The lobby of the building is deceivingly attractive: full-length windows across the front, white ceramic tile floor and white walls with an open staircase going up to the second level of offices. Aside from the lobby area, the main floor has office cubicles, a conference room and enclosed offices not unlike you would see anywhere in America. However, to view it independent of its surroundings would be to view it out of context.

Let me describe what you would see upon approaching the Singform office and factory building.  First, you would drive from a paved city road onto a narrow road that has been cut through a sugar cane field. Singform’s main entrance would appear on the left at the end of this road. The area in front of the building is a messy mix of a road that used to be there, a road that has seen much rain, wear and tear. To the right is a parking lot of the same condition with scattered shrubs here and there, growing more wildly than having been planted there on purpose. There is a mess of old vehicles and junk lying around. I can’t even recall what in particular, just a bunch of junk. When we were there, one of the containers of “rolls” from Victory Mats was being unloaded into the docking area in front of our car. The factory section of the company is attached at that corner of the office building. Therefore, when in the attractive lobby, one looks out on this array of sloppy parking lot, industrial factory docking area and a sugar cane field. I have no opinion of this picture, but I could not leave the impression of a lovely company building without it’s actual setting to make it what it really is…a factory in a rural town of Taiwan.

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