Friday, December 21, 2007

The Mysterious East

Just read a long and very boring essay about China's "Long River," the Yangzi. The two things that stuck out:

[My Chinese wife] had warned me that the more conservative Chinese -- particularly those in the countryside -- would look askance at any public show of affection or solicitude, such as my holding her arm when we crossed a street. Though she promised not to walk behind me, in traditional Chinese fashion, she did make me agree not to help her up if she slipped and fell, explaining that it would be far more appropriate for me simply to stand by and laugh.
More amusing was a passing reference to one of the categories into which people in China were classified during the Cultural Revolution (and probably before then as well, as the categories may have predated it). In the 1980s, as economic reforms took hold, the reputations of various categories, such as "capitalists," were being "rehabilitated." They were able to "recover former assets and properties as a result," but not so for "the 'stinking ninth class' -- the intellectuals, who possess little beyond what's in their heads ..."

Stinking ninth class. How's that for a résumé-builder?

--Quotations from "The Long River," by Robert Shaplen. The New Yorker, August 8, 1988.

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1 comment:

Martin said...

Sounds like a blog title to me!