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Hometown Visit (6) - Communist's Advanced Sex Education

Popularity 2Viewed 11034 times 2016-3-13 12:00 |System category:News| reasonable, continued, explained, anywhere, outside

When Ling's parents went outside again, we were also done with the lunch. Kara-okie followed and drinking continued. I was excused for not joining them as I was so out of date that I didn't know those popular songs in China though I used to beat them in singing. I explained that I would like to take a look around. It was totally a whole new world to me now. They were very reasonable and tried to offer me a ride to anywhere I would like to go. I politely turned them off with great appreciation for I didn't want to affect their kara-okie passion. To my joy, Ling asked me to ride her bicycle out - a super cool mount bicycle for professional athletes. She even emphasized that the key part of the frame was made of titanium and aluminium alloy, not just aluminium alloy, and that she had ridden it along lakes and rivers, over hills and heights, through forests and groves, across valleys and gorges, as well as around post-harvest corn and wheat fields. I was grateful and excited. But there was a problem though not big - the colour was pink.

The pace of urbanization was fast. I could hardly recognize the places I used to be so familiar with that I could tell every trail, every tree, and every blade of grass. I decided to go farther and go to the country. With my pants' legs rolled up, I pedalled harder and harder like I was going crazy as a teenage rider. People could see a pink mount bike on its fast shift run quickly and overtake one motorized scooter.

About 50 minutes later, I was far outside the verge of urban area and came to a T-junction. As I could see, there's a pond by the side of the left path not far ahead and there's a bridge and possibly a creek as well near the right path far ahead. When I was trying to figure out which path I'd better choose, a slogan during Mao's regime hit my mind - to choose left rather than right. Accordingly, I decided to choose the right path as I believed it's the right path.
When I came nearer and nearer to the bridge, I saw a railway and a river simultaneously. It was a railway bridge across the riverbend, a short distance off to the right-hand side of the way I was coming. The water level of the river was quite low because of the season. Suddenly, an alarm sounded and a red light flashed. At the same time, two cross bars lowered down slowly either lane at the road-and-railway junction. I stopped pedalling and let the bike roll forward on its own inertia before it came to a full stop in front of the bar. Now, the train was in sight. Like a teenager, I moved to sit on the rear seat of the bicycle and looked around, my right foot on the pedal and my left on the ground. The train came close, the big locomotive rumbling and growling. Flocks of the birds flapped their wings to take off from the farmland and the trees along the river shores. It was a military freight train. The noise was loud enough to tell you that it was much heavier than passenger train. It kept coming, the second car, and the next and the next. With each passing car was a loud thump as it hit the bridge. The first six or seven were enclosed ones. Then open cars followed. Tanks, self-propelled guns, armoured vehicles, howitzers, reconnaissance SUV's, radar wagons, rocket gun trucks, military helicopters with folded blades, everything and even something I couldn't name.  Car after car it came thumping by. The train was really long. Just when I was thinking whether I should return and take the other path, the caboose was in sight. I moved my butt back to the rider's seat. Stuck to the side of the caboose was a banner with the slogan of 6 Chinese characters that interested me - born to fight, born to win.

I stopped when I was about to pass by a small restaurant. It looked quite tidy and clean though a stove with a big wok on sat at the frontage. Nailed to the wall over the door was a plaque with four Chinese characters in gold color -姬记面馆 (ji ji mian guan). Across the bottom ran the English inscription in Gothic lettering: Ji's Noodles. Jizz noodles, serious? Further to my strangeness, there was a couplet hanging on the sides of the front opening, which read Sounds of Wind, of Rain, of Book-reading, I Am All Ears on its right and Affairs of Family, of State, of World, I Am All Eyes on the left. What on earth did that have to do with noodles?
 
"What would you like to have?" asked the cook with strong local dialect, kneading the dough behind the stove.
"May I have two bowls of pull noodles please? I'm a big and fast eater." I was so starving now as I actually hadn't eaten the lunch.
"Come on in. Take a seat."
I picked a table nearest to the entrance and sat down. "Excuse me. Are you the owner of the restaurant? Sorry, my question is, Ji is your surname?"
"Co-owner. And yes, that's my surname."
"That's an old old old surname."
"Yah. But there are quite some people under this surname in our province because it's Zhou Dynasty's emperor's surname and Shaanxi is the centre of Zhou."
"You know it well. The reason I asked the question is I want to tell you that Ji is the surname of the kings of Zhou Dynasty, but it turns out that you don't need to be reminded at all. And I don't even know there are quite some people under this surname in Shaanxi province."
"Direct or indirect, people carrying this name are related to each other, like relatives, at least, most of the people are so."
"Very nice, very nice. I wish I could be related to many many people in kinship. Oh, by the way, I saw a slogan on the wall. It's something like Vigorously Develop Communist's Advanced Sex Education. What does that mean?"
"Where is it?"
"It's painted on a wall at the village I passed by, about ten minutes bike-riding after crossing a railway back there. The paint is discolored and fainted and it must be kind of old. But at least I could still tell the characters."
"Old Courier Station?"
"No, that village is in rural area. Old Courier Station is no longer rural area, it's now urban area. And it's on the other side of the railway."
"On the way you come here?"
"Yes."
"Ten minutes bike-riding after crossing the railway, uh, is that the first village after the road-n-railway junction?"
"Yes. The first village past the railway. And just for your reference, there's a bus stop at the second village past the railway."
"It's Li's Village."
"Oh yah?"
"Yah. The second village with a bus stop is Wang's Grange."
"I see. Seriously, the road is very good and well paved. I'm surprised that it's only a road linking villages and tiny towns in the countryside."
"You know what, it's really much much better than before." He looked pleased.
"But what's the meaning of that slogan?"
"That I don't know. Look, I'm not a Communist. But the slogan is quite old now. I saw that slogan before. It used to be hung at the entrance of our town office."
"Where's the town office?"
"Oh, it's actually a sub-town office, quite small, just a 2- or 3-story building. It's not far. About 1 kilometre apart. That small building is not just for our village. Ding's Hamlet also has an office chamber in it. But anyway, it's the countryside here. Everything comes slowly, everything leaves slowly. That's where the difference between urban area and rural area lies."
"I guess you are right. What's the slogan now? I mean, on that sub-town office."
"Uh, China Dream something. Oh no, China Dream something was also old slogan. There's a new one, it's Four something, wait, uh, uh, how can I not for the life of me recollect what it is? There're also many slogans before China Dream, like Science Development View something, like Three Represents something, like Society of Harmony something, just too many to memorize. It's a slogan country anyway. Look, I'm just a peasant and a peasant is a peasant. Those slogans don't have much to do with a peasant like me."
"But, you are no longer a peasant." I tried to remind him.
"I still consider myself as a peasant." A sincere smile swept over his light brown face.
"Well said. We are all peasants or peasants' sons or peasants' grandsons. Whose else grandfather or great-grandfather or ancestor is not a peasant in China after all? Even someone like Premier Zhu Rongji, his ancestor is Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang," I explained, "but before becoming an emperor, what was Zhu Yuanzhang? A leader of rebels. Before becoming a leader of rebels? A monk. Before becoming a monk? A beggar and a farmland-lost peasant, right? Like those emperors of the last dynasty in China, their ancestor Nurhaci was a hunter or a herdsman on the grassland, equivalent to peasant. People are proud of being peasant, especially proud of being a peasant carrying the noble Zhou Dynasty's king's name like you."
"If you like more chilli sauce, it's on the table next to yours."
"Thanks. Oh, I mean, is it possible that you could manage to do a quick job? Because I hardly ate anything for my lunch. And right now, my belly button is kissing my spine."
"No problem. You know what, my work is nice and quick, and I can do it so quickly that no one else around can. I won't go pussy even though a whole bunch of guests come."
I knew the words he mentioned should mean go sissy, but that's not the one a Shaanxi native like him was using.
"You see, everything is well taken care of." He added, pulling the dough into noodles skilfully.
The noodles were getting thinner and thinner in his hands and between his fingers.
Just when I was about to make a great comment on the noodles he pulled, he spoke again in joy. "Almost done. See? You eat, I poo, you eat again, I poo again. Wait. Oh no. Should be, I poo, you eat, I poo again, you eat again. You eat quickly, I poo quickly, you eat slowly, I take time to poo. So don't worry."
I wanted to have a word with the first man in China - "President Xi, our political system needs to be reformed, so does our hometown's dialect."
(Notethe words poo and pull in English only sound similar and close, but in Shaanxi dialect, they share the same pronunciation "la" and share the same character "")
 
The poo-out was now served on the table. I picked up chopsticks.
Mmmmmm... Yummy! To quote McDonald's commercial slogan - I'm loving it!
 
"Keep the change." I put the money on the counter.
"Thanks a lot."
"Oh, I saw another slogan on a military freight train when I got across the railway. It's 'born to fight, born to win.'"
"Yah, I saw that slogan on TV too. On CCTV military and agriculture channel, there are many military exercises and inter-theatre manoeuvres ongoing these days, especially after Xi became the president."
"No wonder. Hey, you also pay attention to those things?"
"You see, I'm a peasant, so sometimes I watch the agriculture channel for certain information I need, but the military channel  is bundled together with the agriculture channel. So, it's like, buy one, get one free."
We both chuckled.
"Plus, Affairs of Family, of State, of World, I Am All Eyes. Right?"
"Oh yah, why did you guys hang a couplet like that on the front opening?"
"Oh, that's Ming Dynasty scholar Gu Xiancheng's maxim."
"Yes, I know that. And the calligraphy is wonderful. I can see that as well. But what does the content of that couplet itself have to do with noodles?"
"See? It's countryside here, but it's not a place without culture. Many other guests proposed the same question. This is what the teacher we had invited from Northwest University wrote for us. He even helped us create the English name for this noodle restaurant. Did you see it?"
"Yes, I saw. A very special one indeed. But what's the relation between that couplet and this noodle restaurant?"
"Look, when you see something some cultured one did, you need to think, need to run your brain."
"Sorry, I don't get it."
"All right. With what do you hear sounds of wind, of rain, of book-reading? Your ears, right? With what do you observe affairs of family, of state, of world? Your eyes, right? So you use your ears, you use your eyes, and what else sense organ do we have on our head? Mouth, right? And you come here to use your mouth. So it's a  metaphor, the answer underneath, to this couplet goes: Pull Noodles, Stretch Noodles, Biangbiang Noodles, I Am All Mouth."
"Then what about my nose?"
"Get out of here! Get out!" The cook jabbed me in the arm, walking back to the wok and laughing loudly.
(NoteBiangbiang noodle is President Xi's favourite noodle and was introduced by himself to the honorary chairman of Nationalist Party from Taiwan. In Shaanxi, biang is a very special Chinese character and it can't be typed out on computer)
 
Wang's Grange came into sight. I sped up riding. The roads were new, the houses in the village were new, those small trees were new, everything were new to me. Suddenly, a small ball rolled onto the road ahead. Followed a kid aging around 2 trying to catch up with the ball. At the same time, the chug-chug of a tractor was heard behind me. I looked back. It's a big farming tractor and it's incoming fast. I raised my right hand up high and waved, but the driver wasn't looking ahead and his head was lowering down instead. Was he on Wechat? What the heck! I turned over and pedalled as fast as I ever could. Many thanks to Ling's mount bike. The wheel tyre screeched on the asphalt pavement when I gave a sharp brake 10 metres ahead of the child. I didn't know how I dismounted the bike on the roadside. But I knew I was like a ferocious kidnapper when I grasped the kid to take him off the road and gave a kick to his ball at the same moment. When I turned over, the tractor switched the lane and bypassed my bike - Ling's bike, left on the road, and then switched back to the original lane ahead.
"Where is your mom?" I squatted myself down. The boy had a pair of big eyes.
A woman came out from behind a wall 10 yards away. A very old granny with all grey hairs sitting on a stool against the wall apart mumbled in local dialect, to the woman, something I didn't quite get.
"Is she your mom?"
The boy nodded.
At thought of the heart-rending tragedy of Little Yueyue, I really really wanted to yell - "where the f uc k have you been? This is tantamount to committing crime!" But when I stood up, when she got close, and when I found it was a fairly pretty woman, my anger changed into - "we can't leave the underage unattended, especially let him play alone beside the road." And these words were not yelled out, but were spoken out, sincerely.
I didn't hear the woman's explanation and appreciation words clearly because I was looking at her and wondering how our country women became prettier and prettier day by day and almost even forgot the bike was still lying there. But at least I got the clear confirmation that I was on the right way heading back to the city and Li's Village was straight ahead.
Ling was right. I was such a hopeless weirdo. I didn't know why I was so. But I knew being hopelessly weird was neither core value of socialism, nor core value of capitalism. Change, must be made.
 
When I bade them goodbye, I noticed the boy's cute smile was as impressive as the country woman's prettiness. As I got on the road again, I began to whistle Miss Xiang's favourite singer Willie Nelson's song, the very song. Then, another favourite of hers John Denver's song, the very song, followed. Whistling and humming, I felt as if the kid's smile were mine, fragrance of pull noodles were mine, soft sunshine were mine, light breeze were mine, pinkie-pinky mount bike were mine, hometown's clouds were mine, and after all, the whole hometown were mine. No matter I was weird or not, or how weird I was, no matter which corner I was hanging around in this world, my soul, my very soul, was never a single step away from this land.
 
I took a glance at the clouds in the sky and then raised my left wrist. Four thirty-ish! Looking ahead, I pedalled up - next stop, Communist's Advanced Sex Education!
 
Notes:
01. to choose left rather than right - 宁左勿右(毛时期的口号)
02. Tanks, self-propelled guns, armoured vehicles, howitzers, reconnaissance SUV's, radar wagons, rocket gun trucks, military helicopters with folded blades, everything and even something I couldn't name.: 坦克、自行火炮、装甲车、榴弹炮、侦察越野车、雷达指挥车、卡车载火箭炮、旋翼已经折叠起来的武装直升机,应有尽有,甚至还有些我连名字都叫不上来的装备。
03. caboose: 守车厢(货物列车的最后一节车厢,供列车长或乘务人员使用)
04. born to fight, born to win: 能打仗,打胜仗
05. there was a couplet hanging on the sides of the front opening, which read Sounds of Wind, of Rain, of Book-reading, I Am All Ears on its right and Affairs of Family, of State, of World, I Am All Eyes on the left. What on earth did that have to do with noodles?: 门面的两侧是一副对联,上联是“风声雨声读书声声声入耳”,下联是“家事国事天下事事事关心”。这跟面条到底能扯上啥关系?
06. pull noodles: 拉面
07. Vigorously Develop Communist's Advanced Sex Education: 大力开展党员先进性教育
08. Old Courier Station: 十里铺
09. Li's Village: 李家村
10. Wang's Grange: 王家庄
11. Ding's Hamlet: 丁家堡
12. Zhu Yuanzhang: 朱元璋
13. Nurhaci: 努尔哈赤
14. I won't go pussy even though a whole bunch of guests come.: 邹思来上乙活坦人,鄂都补怂。(就是来上一河滩人,我都不怂)
15. I knew the words he mentioned should mean go sissy, but that's not the one a Shaanxi native like him was using.: 我知道他是说的话应该指“不怂”,但是那不是一个陕西人用的词汇。(另注:陕西人的词汇中的“sóng”字,上面是“尸”,下面是“从”。当中国人用普通话说“怂”的时候,对应的英文是go sissy,当陕西人用陕西话说“尸从sóng”的时候,对应的英文是go pussy)
16. Almost done. See? You eat, I poo, you eat again, I poo again. Wait. Oh no. Should be, I poo, you eat, I poo again, you eat again. You eat quickly, I poo quickly, you eat slowly, I take time to poo. So don't worry.: 窟埃号咧。刊?腻齿,鄂喇,腻哉齿,鄂哉喇,欸,补堆,迎改思,鄂喇,腻齿,鄂哉喇,腻哉齿,腻齿得急,鄂喇得急,腻齿地换,鄂颟油油喇。(快好了。看。你吃,我拉,你再吃,我再拉。哎,不对。应该是,我拉,你吃,我再拉,你再吃。你吃得快,我拉得快,你吃得缓,我慢悠悠拉。)
17. I wanted to have a word with the first man in China - "President Xi, our political system needs to be reformed, so does our hometown's dialect.": 有句话真的想讲给中国第一先生听——“习主席,我们的政治体制需要改革,而我们的家乡话也需要啊。”
18. The poo-out was now served on the table. I picked up chopsticks.
Mmmmmm... Yummy! To quote McDonald's commercial slogan - I'm loving it!
拉出来的东西上桌了。我拿起了筷子。唔……好吃啊!引用一句麦当当的广告词——“爱我所爱!”
19. You see, I'm a peasant, so sometimes I watch the agriculture channel for certain information I need, but the agriculture channel  is bundled together with the military channel. So, it's like, buy one, get one free.: 腻刊吧,咱思农民,又时糇许邀个啥心系,鄂酒刊农耶频叨啥地,单思农耶频叨思亘菌丝频叨困邦哉乙块儿地。卧揪湘,迈乙松乙。(你看吧,咱是农民,有时候需要个啥信息,我就看农业频道啥的,但是农业频道是跟军事频道捆绑在一块儿的。那就像,买一送一。)
20. Ming Dynasty scholar Gu Xiancheng's maxim: 明朝学者顾宪成的座右铭
21. "...Pull Noodles, Stretch Noodles, Biangbiang Noodles, I Am All Mouth."
"Then what about my nose?"
"Get out of here! Get out!" The cook jabbed me in the arm, walking back to the wok and laughing loudly.:
“……拉面扯面比盎比盎面面面俱到。”
那鄂鼻子炸班聂?”(那我鼻子咋办呢?)
奏仁!奏仁!”(走人!走人!)那位师傅一边照我胳臂上来了一下,一边笑着朝大锅边走去。
22. At thought of the heart-rending tragedy of Little Yueyue, I really really wanted to yell - "where the f u c k have you been? This is tantamount to committing crime!": 一想到小悦悦的撕心裂肺的悲剧,我就想大声骂出来——“你特么的死哪儿去了?!这等同于犯罪啊!”
23. Ling was right. I was a hopeless weirdo. I didn't know why I was so. But I knew being hopelessly weird was neither core value of socialism, nor core value of capitalism. Change, must be made.: 阿铃说得对。我是个没救了的怪咖。我也不知道为啥会这样。但是我知道,做没救了的怪咖既不是社会主义核心价值观,也不是资本主义核心价值观。改变,势在必行。
24. When I bade them goodbye, I noticed the boy's cute smile was as impressive as the country woman's prettiness.: 当我向他们道别的时候,我注意到那小孩儿笑起来的样子和那农村妇女的美一样的动人。
25. Willie Nelson's song, the very song: people know which song as I was on the road again.
26. John Denver's song, the very song: people know which song as I was on country roads.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Comment Comment (10 comments)

Reply Report Italy 2016-5-11 21:53
Did you really save that boy? Wow, you are such a great person.
Reply Report Igo 2016-10-2 01:47
Italy: Did you really save that boy? Wow, you are such a great person.
Ah? You dare to doubt me? Doubting me is equivalent to doubting Duce, doubting me is equivalent to doubting da Vinci, doubting me is equivalent to doubting pizza is not indigenous to Italy. (你敢怀疑我?怀疑我,就是怀疑“领袖”;怀疑我,就是怀疑达·芬奇;怀疑我,就是怀疑披萨不是原产于意大利。)
Reply Report Lynn16 2017-1-22 20:58
Hey ,I have to say that I doubt myself if I really got your point .It seems that you have left your hometown so long ,so you miss her deeply from the last but one passage .You're for the policies ,but still thought the policy is but a slogan?
Reply Report Igo 2017-1-23 13:33
Lynn16: Hey ,I have to say that I doubt myself if I really got your point .It seems that you have left your hometown so long ,so you miss her deeply from the  ...
Thanks for your perusal. Yes, I missed my hometown deeply and nostalgia hit me hard. You are right. The last sentence in the last but one passage is the point. By the way, did you figure out the meaning of the last sentence in the last passage ("Next stop, ......")? It is: "Next stop, Li's Village." (“下一站,李家村”) But if I put it that way, no fun, and not stunning, right? Look, I came across the country woman and her kid at Wang's Grange (王家庄). According to the information from that young mother and the conversation with that cook, Li's Village should be the next. Because I saw that slogan on the wall at Li's Village, so, "Next stop, ......!"
Reply Report Lynn16 2017-1-24 21:57
Igo: Thanks for your perusal. Yes, I missed my hometown deeply and nostalgia hit me hard. You are right. The last sentence in the last but one passage is t ...
God knows that the past two days my heart was like a rabbit-like ,so uneasy .What if I misunderstood you ,would you laugh at me stealthily .Thankfully ,I was right about little of it at least. I have no idea what I thought the first time after I finishing reading it ,just vaguely remembered when I saw the title or ,rather the world "sex",I dared not reading anymore .You know talk "sex" color change    ,now I realize how shallow I am !
Reply Report Igo 2017-1-25 09:16
Lynn16: God knows that the past two days my heart was like a rabbit-like ,so uneasy .What if I misunderstood you ,would you laugh at me stealthily .Thankfully ...
Your heart was like what? Rabbit? Bunny? Ha! That's funny. You must have eaten some special spicy stuffs in the past two days. Kidding. Why would I laugh at any readers? No. Any point of view or opinion is welcome. I'm all ears and grateful.
Reply Report Lynn16 2017-1-26 21:51
Igo: Your heart was like what? Rabbit? Bunny? Ha! That's funny. You must have eaten some special spicy stuffs in the past two days. Kidding. Why would I la ...
Like rabbit .Certainly ,you don't know how much carrots and vegetables I have had the past days .I am not a little white rabbit for sure ,just like ...how they walk ..
By the way ,happy Chinese Lunar New Year ....
I am gonna to cry secretly ,do not ask me why .
Reply Report Igo 2017-1-27 13:02
Lynn16: Like rabbit .Certainly ,you don't know how much carrots and vegetables I have had the past days .I am not a little white rabbit for sure ,just like .. ...
You like rabbits because they like to cry secretly? Hmm... Anyway, Happy Lunar Chinese New Year!
Reply Report Lynn16 2017-1-27 20:38
Igo: You like rabbits because they like to cry secretly? Hmm... Anyway, Happy Lunar Chinese New Year!
Ah ,I don't wanna do any further explanation , hmmm ,but I am really not a rabbit ....
Reply Report Igo 2017-1-28 08:49
Lynn16: Ah ,I don't wanna do any further explanation , hmmm ,but I am really not a rabbit ....
Right, right. It's not the year of rabbit, but of rooster. We are not rabbits this year. We are all roosters. So, let all us China Daily forum members and bloggers go quack, quack, quack, cluck, cluck, cluck ... Sorry, should go, cock-a-doodle-doo ... Happy New Year!

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  • Hometown Visit (2) - Are you from Mars? 2017-7-11 12:06

    jaseminsibo: Haha, this blog made me laugh and well done for writing such a long interesting piece! You can be a scriptwriter!
    Thanks a lot for your comments. Well, I also regard myself as a scriptwriter. Sorry, scratch that. I regard myself as a great scriptwriter. Ha!

  • Hometown Visit (2) - Are you from Mars? 2017-7-9 20:17

    Haha, this blog made me laugh and well done for writing such a long interesting piece! You can be a scriptwriter!

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