This is a quite fascinating book. Actually I started to find myself always fascinated by early first-person account of China. I have this curiosity of what this country was like, and everytime I read a book like I always found myself keep thinking how similar peopel then to people now, and how unchanged this place has been. This actually bothers me because I think I am being biased against them, that I have already drawn a conclusion and am therefore seeing evidence (and seeking evidence in haystack) everywhere.

    The conversation between Bea and her Russian pupil is just funny:

    Speaking of saving for a rainy day, one of my Russians met that expression in his reading the other day, and wanted to know what it meant. I said he might be sick and need money for doctor or hospital.

    "But doctors and hospitals are free."

    "You might want to save to send your child to college."

    "But all education is free."

    "Your house might burn up."

    "The I would be given another."

    "You might want to travel."

    "If the government allows me to travel, they will pay my expenses."

    I felt uneasy at the thought of a culture in which there is no motive for thrift, and in which one may not make one's own decision to travel.

    So even in the time of such, she had an acute sense of disillusion of utopia however well its golden cage may give its captives. But again, I start to wonder whether it is just a matter of choice of life style, like belief, is completly subjective and opinionated.

    — by Feng Xia


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