Wei Liu: My Life in China 1.4: What’s the Point of Being Strong?
Wei Liu: My Life in China 1.4: What’s the Point of Being Strong?
Wei Liu May 2013
One day I lie in bed and my Mom comes in and says to me, “Old Wei Wei, you must listen to me. An 8-year-old child just got killed.” My home is at Lianglukou, Urban District, Chongqing, China. Those years are 1973 and 1974.
“Then what did he do?” I ask.
“I don’t know much either,” my Mom pauses a while and then says.
I’m frightened. What bad things can a 8-year-old child do? Kill somebody? Burn down a building? I cannot imagine it. What I imagine most is he walking unsteady. I still believe in my Mom. Every day the broadcasting announces more anti-revolutionary enemy have been caught by the revolutionary people and get shot by gun. Every day is a victory. I don’t know why, but I feel there is something formidable in those laudatory words. I’m not too scared for I’m 4 years old any way. Nobody notices me. My Mom says so to me in the dark room, with the dark green curtain covering the window, nobody is around. Then she leaves.
“hua—hua—hua—,” the sound of mixing the mahjong pieces by hand drags my thought back to the mahjong table. Yes, playing mahjong is much more pleasant than doing the class struggle. Now I feel I have some appetite. I take a candy out of my pocket, remove its paper cover and put it into my mouth. The candies in my pocket will be reduced by one for every one I eat. I have brought 7 or 8 candies with me every time I go out at night, but I do not eat them all. My Mom and Dad often do not replenish the candy jar in the flat closet in time. They never play mahjong. They must feel it is time wasting. What are they doing now? They must be reading books by the desk lamp. I don’t know why they like studying so much. Can that bring more candies? Can that bring more food? Can that bring more happiness? I don’t see it. But as adults, they may have some reason beyond my comprehension.
“hua—hua—hua—,” another game of Mahjong is over. The one sitting opposite to Lady Wang wins. I don’t know what is regarded as winning. I just like standing there, watching them playing, and eating my candies now and then.
When it is 9:00 pm, my Mom comes and brings me back home. I put the candies I didn’t touch back to the candy jar in the flat closet. Lying in the bed, I see my back of my Dad sitting by the 9-drawer desk, reading. He calls it that way for it has 9 drawers. The yellow beams of the desk lamp circumscribe his studying figure. He’s in a blue shirt with 4 pockets, 2 on the chest and 2 on the waist. Now his back faces me, not his front. I fear to see his front, which often assumes fierce. He seems to have absorbed by some complicated medical problem and is unlikely to strike me. There is no sound in the room. My Mom must be in the room too. Usually she does not go to other people’s home to have a chat, though we are surrounded by the neighbors. I like my Mom to be at home.
“Mom, come—” I call.
“Yes, Wei, wei. Mom is here,” my mom comes to my bedside. I guess she comes from the space right behind my bed board, where she may read a book by the round table, our dinner table. She sits beside my bed and I lie beside her, cozy, lovely. When I close my eye, I can fall asleep and forget about the world, but she cannot. She hasn’t lied on the bed yet.
Hold a hand of my mom, I say, “Mom, before I sleep, can you tell me a story?”
“OK. Once upon a time, there is a wolf and a beautiful girl called ‘Little Red Hat’. One day Little Red Hat goes to see her grandma……”
“No, mommy, you have told me that story the day before yesterday. Can you tell me a new one?”
“How can I tell you new story every day?” my Mom replies.
“Wei, sleep well.”
I know my Mom is not going to tell me a new story today. Alas, so disappointing. I need new stories. Otherwise, what pleasure can I have in my life?
The yellow beams of the desk lamp circumscribing my Dad’s big stature enter my eye. I narrow my eyes and see the yellow beams, interesting. In my scope, it looks different from usual times. I relax my eye and the yellow beams disappear, only the yellow light. I narrow my eye again and see the yellow beams again, interesting. After quite a while, I close my eye.
“Hua—hua—hua—,” I get awakened by the sound. Lady Wang and the other three people are still playing mahjong downstairs. I look at the clock on the flat closet, 11:30 pm.
“Let’s play the last circle.”
That is Lady Wang’s voice from downstairs. Playing one circle means each of the four players opens a game, which will be 4 games. They started off playing right after the supper, which is about 6:30 pm. They have been playing Mahjong for 5 hours. They must feel it lots of fun. I truly feel Mahjong is a great activity of people. It does not cause people to hurt each other, to compete for material/wealth, or to spend a penny, and it brings so much happiness to people. All people in China should play Mahjong instead of hurting or competing each other. The yellow light still enters my eye, circumscribing the big stature of my Dad. He is still reading. Does he feel fun? I don’t know, maybe. My Mom is not in bed yet. I fall asleep.
My life when I’m 3 or 4 is like that. If I can one day pass peacefully, and can watch people playing mahjong, life is so good to me. My Mom does not tell stories to me and does not protect me when my Dad strikes me. She seldom buys toys to me and seldom talks to me either. I feel both she and my Dad like reading books, like to be strong. I don’t know what goodness being strong can bring to people. What’s the point of being strong? Defeat other people? Are other people bad people? I don’t believe most people are bad people. If being strong is to defeat others and most of whom are good people, then being strong is just to hurt people. The broadcasting always eulogizes the strong people, the strong army, the strong nation. I see no goodness of its promoting the struggle and hurt among people. It looks that in the future people around and I will be victimized. My Dad and Mom want me to listen to them, listen to them, listen to them. I don’t know what on earth they want me to do? Do the home chore? No, they don’t require that. Want me to be quiet? I’m not always noisy. I don’t know.
The end of “My Life in China 1.4: What’s the Point of Being Strong?”
From Birth to the Graduation of Elementary School of My Life in China to be continued.
U. S. Government Should Step Away from People’s Family Life,
Legal Involvement in Education and Medical Issue
I also want to write something to benefit the United States. I have thought of this a long time. In the 2010s, the United States suffers 1 trillion dollars of debts every year. Counting its population of about 300 million, every person from infant to over 100-year-old suffers $3,300 of debts every year on average. I try to make this short. In order for this country to survive, we must cut out all those programs not wanted by most people and the according personnel and budget. As I observe, there are 3 areas that the government should step away completely to save the budget.
1. People’s family life. A pastor says, “You don’t know how selfish a person can be until
you enter a relationship called marriage.” I don’t think most people want the government to step in to define marriage, to define divorce, to define happiness. Different people’s understanding of these things may be quite different. A child should live with each parent equal time if divorce and no child support should involve. Some state even orders the richer parent to pay the poorer parent, saying to erase the disparity of families. What are they doing? Many people like travel, but what is the longest distance in the world? That is the distance between people’s heart. It is a golden chance for a child to live with different environment especially in different economic levels. That way he can understand the world much better than one who lives in a single environment. On the one hand, no one should make a child’s life hard on purpose; on the other hand, I disagree of making the first 18 years of a person completely free of hardship. Without any hardship, how can a person grow up? The government involvement in people’s family life is disastrous. The current economy is not done by a few people, but by the whole one or two generations raised as children in the past. The current kids get way too much money. Every one moves on vehicles, and every one has cell phone. Smoke, drink and drug are the serious problems among the kids. And most of the 15-year-old students, as I see, don’t like walking and don’t cook either.