So, our dad wrote a book about the ten years he spent in the countryside of Jiangxi province during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. It’s a series of small stories in Chinese. Here we will attempt to translate them into English. Our goal is to post a new translation every 2 weeks.
If you already read Chinese, you can download the original book at his website.
Apologies for the not-fandom post, but in case you’re interested in short stories about Chinese village life during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, my brother and I are starting to translate our dad’s book. We’ll be posting 3k words every 2 weeks or so. I just translated the foreword.
Anyway, follow tenyearsapeasant if it’s something of interest???
(Sorry no sad boys kissing. None. My mom does show up though. And my dad almost dies 3 times. There’s also a lot of tractors.)
I’ve heard a lot of these stories from potofsoup over the years and they are always interesting.
If you haven’t studied Chinese history, you might not know that during the Cultural Revolution, millions of teenagers were sent out of the cities and into the countryside, where they were supposed to learn from the peasants. One day you’re in high school, then suddenly you’re packing up, leaving your family, and moving out to the boonies to try and be a farmer. (Admittedly, the “in high school” part wasn’t exactly normal either, unless you too can denounce and possibly kill your high school teachers as class traitors if they assign too much homework.) Anyway, these teenagers had to somehow learn enough farming to keep themselves alive, and also avoid political pitfalls. When they had been in 10th grade not long before. They gave up their urban residence permits when they left, so they couldn’t move back to the cities— it was illegal, it would have marked them as traitors and made them subject to mob violence, even if they could avoid arrest, and since urban food was rationed and only available for people who held urban residence permits, they would have starved anyway.
Ten years later, these no-longer-teenagers were allowed back into the cities, and they had to try and figure out what to do with their lives. For many of them, it was their first chance to see their parents in a decade. They were now in their twenties, with little or no high school education or job training (except for farming) in a country that was rapidly removing its social safety net. For anyone to pull together a successful career out of this is impressive, and I am constantly amazed by all the people I know from this generation who have managed to become successful academics, educators, and business owners. potofsoup's mom is an expert in math education, and she and potofsoup's dad run a Chinese school and textbook empire. They are cool people, and if you are at all interested in modern Chinese history, OR just stories of smart people in a pretty crazy situation, you should definitely follow this tumblr.