Fred

Fred teaches politics at China Youth University of Political Studies

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Scattered lights

Reflections on a generation with no theme – by 'Fred' of Wish Lanterns

 

Ed: Something a bit different on the Anthill today. This week the US edition of Wish Lanterns was published, with a new cover, and an illustrated map by Beijing's own Liuba Draws. Instead of an excerpt here is an essay on China's young generations penned by none other than 'Fred', one of the people I write about – a Party official's daughter and politics student from Hainan. I gave Fred a copy of the book of course, and she surprised me by writing this fascinating reflection on its themes, which I translate here with no edits except for style (so references to 'Fred' are about herself, in the third person). – Alec Ash

 

In the south of China, kongming lanterns rise into the night sky on the fifteenth day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar. In the twilight they drift ever higher, until they become just bright dots far away, hiding in a sea of stars. The ancients believed that these lanterns can illuminate wandering ghosts on their way home. Today people believe that the lights carry their wishes up to heaven. They are not kites, tied to earth by cords of string; they float with the wind, scattering in all directions, just like the protagonists of Alec's book.

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