1. This book is about China, and particularly about the author's grandmother, mother and herself during early 1900s to late 1970s. A lot of fascinating things in this book. A few of which I will post here.
It was considered one of the duties of a wife to help bring up her husband.2. During early 1900s, sons are valued.
My great-grandfather was the only son, which made him of supreme importance to his family.3. I am so glad I don't have to do this.
But her greatest assets were her bound feet, called in Chinese "three-inch golden lilies" This meant she walked "like a tender young willow shoot in a spring breeze..."4. More about bound feet.
In those days, when a woman was married, the first thing the bridegrooms family did was to examine her feet. Large feet, meaning normal feet, were considered to bring shame on the husband's household.5. Background on binding off feet.
The practice of binding feet was originally introduced about a thousand years ago, allegedly by a concubine of the emperor. Not only was the sight of women hobbling on tiny feet considered erotic, men would also get excited playing with bound feet, which were always hidden in embroidered silk shoes.6. Once bound, they can't allow the feet to grow again. This is the part of the part of the book where I was positively cringing.
Men rarely saw naked bound feet, which were usually covered in rotting flesh and stank when the bindings were removed.The author then tells us of her grandma always in pain, and how she would sigh with relief when she can unbound her feet, and how she'd set about cutting off dead flesh from her feet. The pain also came from toe-nails growing into her feet.
7. Interesting beliefs about hell.
..clay figure whose tongue was being pulled out at least a good while simultaneously being cut up by two devils with spiky hair standing on end like hedgehogs and eyes bulging like frogs. The man being tortured had been a liar in his previous life...8. During the reign of Japanese terror, eating rice could get your arrested for being an "economic criminal"
9. Mao , leader of nationwide peasant uprising who swept away a rotten dynasty and become a wise new emperor...
It was under Mao that China became a power to be reckoned with in the world, and many Chinese stopped feeling ashamed and humiliated at being Chinese.10. Chinese years so much for peace, they say
It's better to be a dog in peacetime than a human being in war.11. There was American terror
We were told that the Americans were waiting for a chance to invade and reinstate Kuomintang, and that in order to defeat an invasion by them Lei Feng had trained day and night to overcome his weak physique and become champion hand-grenade thrower.
12. Then the beauty goes out too... Mao had instructed that grass, flowers, and pets were bourgeois habits and were to be eliminated.
13. There's so much more in this book.
Books were major targets of Mao's order to destroy. Because they had not been written within the last few months, and therefore did not qoute Mao on every page, some Red Guards declared that they were all "poisonous weeds."
Like I said, this is an awesome book. While there might be a lot of uncomfortable truths in this book, it's a fantastic read. It's worth my time, and I'm more enriched for having read it.
Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
Thursday Thirteen Vol. 2
Written by Serendipity - 10/11/2006