Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Student Remarks

Our students have just completed their last writing project. Writing an autobiography. Here are some nuggets I culled from them. They paint an interesting picture of China. Most happened within the last 23 years.

"What my favorite are painting and doing handwork. Many people like my parents they thought it wouldn't make me to be somebody by art. So they didn't allow me to learn. Maybe many children, like me, shelve their dream. In fact, we need to chase our own dream."

"It was in the village that I spent my wonderful childhood which I treasured most. When spring came, children in the village would go to the river bank to by kite and catch locusts. What impressed me most was pulling up a kind of plant which was edible and delicious. Those adults regard it as weeds, but we children regard it as our treasures. Once springs comes, the smell of it seemed to invite us to take them. Nothing was more attracting to me than going to the riverbank to pick and eat those green plants. At about seven o'clock in the evening, you would see thousands of light shining in the darkness on the riverbank. Under the trees there were groups of children with flashlights in their hands. They were looking for cicada's pupa. Cicada;s pupas were our favorite food in summer. Just think of the golden fried cicada's pupas makes my mouth water."

"My hometown was a poor and small village the time I was born, and my family, as well as most of the other families, lived a tight and simple life. With less than 100RMB ($15) income every month, my parents even found it was hard for them to afford my milk powder fees. To make a living, many children had to help their parents with their work or house chores. At that time, every first month of the lunar year, my parents would sell fireworks to make extra money just as many people would do in the street market. But to cut budget, most of us did not have a trading license, so I became the watchman and every time I saw a police far away, I would shout and then almost the whole street was cleared out before his reaching. Nowadays, only fireworks sold by legal merchant can be found in our market, some unique experiences of that time will never be forgotten."

"After the grain was transported home, farmers had to consider how to avoid destruction by rats. The war between human beings and rats has begun since the latter lived int he world. As a countryside girl, I witnessed the evolution of mousing tools. Initially, villagers took methods of poisoning. The poison contained wheat, puddings of apples and toxicant. Unexpectedly, it led more chickens to death which took considerable interest in the strange-smelled food than the rats. Later, a mousetrap called "iron cat" was invented. It was made of metal with several strings and two clips. Under pressure, the clips shut quickly and clamped tightly everything which touched either of them. In the corner of my ard, my mother once laid a 'iron cat'. We all had great confidence in catching disruptive rats. However, in a autumn afternoon, a big cock was trapped. It flew around the yard frantically and cried in desperation because the 'iron cat' bit its right leg firmly. Because of the risk of injuring fowls, gradually the 'iron cat' was replaced by sticky cardboard, which was just like a marsh where the harder the rats struggled, the more tightly they would be stuck."
"You may wonder, now that these tools have so many shortcomings, why not raise a cat? In fact, not all cats are diligent and clever. sometimes they usually make trouble for you. When I was in grade three, my cousin gave me a kitten. It was so lazy that eating and sleeping were all its life. Its habit got my mother vary worried until one day a prestigious woman in my village told my mother her secret of training a cat. Every time I recall the thrilling training scene, my hair will stand on end. According to our custom, idle behavior is caused by a laziness tendon. Once the tendon was pulled out, the animal would become rather hard-working. That seemed true. The woman covered the tail of my poor cat with a patch of cloth and with a great bite, the tendon was entirely out. Losing a tendon, the cat, shrieking with sadness, suddenly rushed to the yard to practice hunting. Over months, it had been an expert at catch rats. Unfortunately, it usually killed my neighbor's goldfish and put them around the fish tank."

"On the premature death of the second kid, my mother was very sad. But soon she was expecting the next child, wishing it would be a lovely daughter. In the mid noon  of.....a male baby was born. Yup, another boy, that's me. Because of the 'one-child policy' I was delivered at home other than in hospital. The unregistered boy, was secretly told to the government by some we do not know, and my parents were fined two thousand RMB. Besides, my mother was sterilized."

"Due to the single-child policy, I was born in a relative's home, not in a hospital. Parent must pay a big price for children born outside of state plan. So did my parents. After paying the fine, I came a 'legitimate' Chinese citizen. After I grew up, when my parents make reference to my birth, I found myself pretty fortunate in comparison with other children born outside of state plan. At that time, fertile women who had already got a child got check-ups every month. once found pregnant, they would be forced to obtain abortions. In order to avoid the check-up, my father took my pregnant mother to a relative's house. It is said that before 1997 some family houses were torn down for breaching the single-child policy. Some people were dismissed from posts. After 2000, concerned authorities began to confiscate those 'extra' children.  

"Mom suffered a lot when she was pregnant. She stopped eating after 3 months and began to vomit 5 months; at first whatever she ate, soon the bile, then blood. It was terrifying...It was a cold morning after heavy snow.  Mom began to feel uncomfortable and knew it was the time. But the nearest hospital was 1-hour drive from here, and with such deep snow, undoubtedly no one would like to endanger their cars. Out of anxiety, dad decided to send mom my handcart. My dear grandparents and dad worked together to comfort mom on the handcart.
"It was snowy, even too cold to walk, not to say to push a handcart. Thus, it took them half a day to walk on the 1-hour drive road. The birth could not be called smooth, and mom fainted the moment I was born....They could not pay for the room, so they had to get back home that night. Snow had already ended. It was a starry night. Cool instead of cold. Little wind. Uncountable stars. Mom sat on the handcart pushed by dad, hugging her child."

"Both my grandparents were born in small villages in the south part of China in 1950's and then married each other after introduced by a matchmaker. It was a common way to get married in China in that time. Grandpa was a steamed bun maker and grandma went out to do farm work. They got three children, two daughter and one son. When the elder daughter was 22, a young man came to their house and wanted to marry her. However, she fell in love with another handsome man Sadly the young man turned around and decided to leave. Bt the younger sister, who was only 19, came out of her bedroom and said, "I will go with him." Dramatically, grandparents agreed. At last this brave girl became my mother and yes, the young man is my father."

"It was a tough period in 1960's because of the Great Chinese Three Year Famine and also the Cultural Revolution. People did not attach importance to education, and parents were skeptical of anything that took children away from their work on the farm. And Chinese education is characterized  by strictness and pay more attention to children's weakness."

"A snowy night witnessed my birth with the help of a midwife at home. It was lucky for me to come into the world because I was nearly aborted. Under the one-child policy, my parents wanted to have a son after my elder sister's birth. however, ultrasonic told them a piece of bad news that I was a girl, too. Disappointment drove them to make that kind of decision, but my grandmother cried and stopped them from aborting me. I think that moment was when my life began. Afterwards, my family often told me the story as if they were telling some funny things. Every time I laughed with them but from the bottom of my heart I felt sad and sympathy for myself."

1 comment:

  1. what memories they share. no vacations. no Disney. no water parks. no BBQ's. just, alive and almost glad for that.