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Viewed 769 times 2019-10-6 13:26 |System category:Life

  Peggy Noonan, who's a well-regarded columnist in America,  once said  the trajectory of life is unfathomable and no one seems to be  able to  foresee what's in store down the road or how many hurdles we have to  overcome before we finally reach the destination. But one thing most people know is you have to take it on the chin or be positive when faced with assorted difficulties ; otherwise, you won't be able to go through the wringer and end up becoming the victor of your own life.

 That's also a message another  writer is trying to convey to us in his recently-published Chinese novel featuring  the ups and downs of his  writing career, his love affair with a girl and his tribulations.

  Set in the 80s, the novel begins with a chapter about his childhood and his carefree days with his grandma who cossets her self-indulgent grandson just like most elderly folk would treat their grandsons.  "My younger cousin, my grandma and I would go to an open-air market-it's located close to my digs- every day to buy fruits, vegetables and ice cream. Then my cousin and I would bop off to a nearby park where you could find boys playing soccer, old-geezers practising taiji and lasses dancing together with thumping music.  Sometimes, we would join them or even  make a spectacle  of our ourselves by messing with them for fun. Having done that, we  would go home to watch  a Kungfu drama aired on TVB.   It could be argued  it was  the best time of my childhood. And I won't forget it forever, " writes the author ebulliently.

  The author also mentions a small story that happened to him during this time. "As we were walking towards the open-air market, we  found  someone  flogging mini- billiards in a store tucked away in a corner. Seeing this, I  walked into  the store and picked it up, asking the store owner about the price. Then I told my grandma that I wanted to buy it. " You sure you want to buy it? It seems to be poorly made. It's not worth buying it even it's cheap," my grandma said

. "Nope, I want to play it with my cousin and you have to buy it for us,"  I insisted.

  "Not this time, " my grandma said, and got upset, walking out of the store with my cousin, leaving me standing there like a discarded bag.  Infuriated, I yelled at them and strode towards the opposition direction.  

  "Where are you headed? Are you going home?" My grandma blurted out behind me as I ran like a shell-shocked horse towards the direction of my abode. Minutes later, my cousin  caught up with me  as I  bounded up the stairs . " Grandma is looking for you downstairs, brother. You shouldn't hide on the third floor. She is getting nervous," my cousin said, looking at me with a worried look on her face. 

  " Shut up !  I'm in no mood to talk to you. Just don't tell grandma I'm hiding on the third floor, got it?" I told my distraught cousin. Then I heard my grandma yell like a nutcase downstairs." Where are you hiding? Come out. I have bought  billiards for you."

  But such good days end in the next chapter when his grandma heads off to another city while the author has to enroll in school. "It was utterly terrible that I had to deal with a bunch of scamps who yearned to roughed their classmates up and a smattering of tetchy, hoity-hoity teachers mistaking themselves for alpha males or  bright minds. And I once even spotted one of my classmates being beaten up by a male teacher who was acting like an exponent of fascism. He was like" never talk back, you guttersnipe. I'm eligible to lecture you as your teacher. Is that understood?"  Refusing to show his timidity, the classmate looked at the teacher in the eyes and pursed his lips. 

  "Personally, I also didn't like my teachers, including my English teacher, who once remarked that I had made progress in English studies in terms of my English pronunciation.  "That was funny. How could you say a thing like that?  You are the one speaking English like someone who hails from Africa, not me."  I told myself in my heart, making a big face as my teacher left."

   "Indeed, my school life then was not that bad considering that I met a likable girl who's also my classmate; you could even call it calf love. She's a slender girl with porcelain skin, beady eyes and short hair. Beyond that. she's also a genuine "swot" who loves to study and read. She even told me that she's totally preoccupied with Greek myths. Hearing this,  I decided to borrowe a related book from her in a bid to get palsy-walsy with her. Yet  it didn't do the trick because Greek myths totally went over my head.  Accordingly,  I couldn't even find  a chance to compare notes with her.   I didn't give up, coming up with another way to buttonhole her. I told her that my home's located not far from her home, thus we could walk home together after school. And she said that's okay.  I was over the moon and felt like proclaiming that I was the luckiest man on earth way back  after hearing this,  albeit my strenuous efforts to disguise my excitement in front of her. I must have been a stupid boy for her," writes the author wistfully.

  In the next six  chapters the author starts talking about his writing career as a reporter working at a lesser-known newspaper, and how he gets into a bate  with his toffe-nosed editors  and fawning colleagues , who often pander to the powers that be  and trade their self-esteem for personal financial gains. " I think I must be an ignoramus  or basket case for them. I just don't know how to rub elbows with such nobs and self-respecting sorts. I simply abhor their antics and hypocrisy. Darn! What am I supposed to do? I'm not a youngster anymore and  still have to earn my keep no matter I like my current job or not.  Merde! I still have to put on a mask every day and smile like the logo of Walmart  even it rends my heart.  Can you feel it? Does anyone care about my real emotions?  How good if I could find a way to vent my spleen on someone. How good if I could simply tell these pseuds, paternalists, bon vivants, cage-rattlers, and gunslingers to  take a hike  when they are around. Fuxx them, " writes the author.

  In the final chapter he talks about another girl he,  his life goals and his perception of our  society, which is chock-a-block with box-ticking, social decadence, cultural declination, moral turpitude, income equality, regional disparities, patronage, and injustice. " I know I have been a bottom-feeder in the eyes of a white supremacist I met last year.  But what of it? I have no intention to fob my own  thoughts off on the destitute like them.  I just want to live  my life in my own way.  Yes, sometimes I feel compelled to shake off such seemingly childish thoughts and start acting like a con artist striving to hornswoggle the needy while cozying up to the wealthy. But I just can't bring myself to do it because such thoughts run afoul of my own my beliefs and principles.  . You know what do I want most now? I wish I could still hide on the third floor like that day. So I would have a chance to see my grandma looking for me downstairs again. I would hug her and tell her I miss her. I would tell her I should have been an indefatigable student. If I had been a tireless student,  I would have able  to secure a chance to work with talented folk . If I had studied hard,  I would be living in a desirable place everyone fancies.  I would say sorry to her. I led her down.  I'm a sinner and no one is waiting for me in reality," writes the author.

  The author also shows his readers some lyrics from a song sung by a Taiwanese singer named 李宗盛 in the final chapter, saying he cries every time when he hears this  mushy song.  The name of this song is called Dune or 山丘 in Chinese.

  It's so sad that no one is going to wait for you behind the dune when you are skint. Only a lonely figure materializes as  the dust eddies and the wind whimpers in the sky overshadowed by patches of scudding clouds. It's a world of blackness and nothingness for the poor.

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




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Reply Report tatata69 2019-10-6 14:28
I seem to have made some typos. It should have been if I had been a tireless student,  I would have been able  to secure a chance to work with talented folk.   In the final chapter he talks about another girl ,  his life goals and his perception of our  society.
Reply Report tatata69 2019-10-6 14:52
Who yearned to rough their classmates up.

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