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Heat, tears of sweat, exhaustion, sounds of heavy machinery; suddenly the light goes out and an ear-deafening, agonized scream echoes through the halls. Inherent in Midi Z’s spine-chilling depiction of illegal immigration, The Road to Mandalay tells the story of Liangquing and Guo, who are both aspiring to a better future in Bangkok. Soon their hopes and dreams are shattered and their philosophies on life gradually diverge, leading up to a climax of incessant desperation, madness and physical exhaustion, expressed in a hauntingly surreal manner; a factory’s oven door to Hell’s flames and a man materializing in the form of a lurking lizard. Midi Z eloquently observes the political, economical and social hardships of people who are desperately trying to find their place in the world; wanting to escape poverty and civil war; yearning for prosperity and love; trying not to be swallowed up by the anonymous masses of modern society and staving off the mental and physical abuse against the backdrop of illegal immigration. Their heartrending tale culminates in an allusion to the ending of Romeo & Juliet, though with a disturbing fatal twist; as Swiss author Max Frisch put it, “we asked for workers and we got people instead”.