memoir

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My Girl

The race to save an orphaned Chinese child – by Lao Ye

 

Another emergency phone call. This time, a child needed to be accompanied to the hospital. Abby was maybe three years old, I guessed. She had what looked like severe eczema covering her face, eyes forced shut from the crusty skin. Someone hailed a taxi and we were on our way.

The first minutes were calm, but halfway across town that changed. She began crying hysterically, then screaming. I tried to talk to her but she was too far gone. I settled for holding her on my lap while the taxi driver complained about the noise. We stopped to see if she needed to use the bathroom – she did not. After much too long, we made it to the hospital and Abby had some tests, revealing the source of the reaction.

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My Father

Family history of the first gaokao after the Cultural Revolution – by Karoline Kan

 

For years, I despised my father. In my eyes, he was the most irresponsible dad in the world. He wasn’t earning money to support us. He didn’t enjoy family gatherings, and was always the first to leave the table. He didn’t care whether his kids were happy in school or not, but would be angry if we didn’t perform as well as he expected. He often quarreled with my mother, for reasons I didn’t understand.

“Who can you blame? It’s your own fate!” My mother would shout at him. Father would just stay silent, turn to the other side of the room and light a cigarette, while my mother again repeated the story from more than thirty years ago which in her mind led to father’s bitterness.

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Made in China

Laszlo Montgomery’s other life in Chinese manufacturing

 

In my China History Podcast series I have touched on China trade going all the way back to the times of the Han Dynasty adventurer Zhang Qian. Trade with China has always been exotic and unique. Silk, tea, lacquerware and other valuables ware sold along the fabled trade routes to all points between Rome and Asia. Zhang Qian, Marco Polo, the Silk Road, the Tea Horse Road, Zheng He, Macao, the Canton System, the Noble House. For an old China hand, what isn’t there to love about this world of China trade?

But when I first started out as a China watcher, back in the day, I didn’t realise that in my professional life I would become part of it myself.

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Talkin' Toisanese

Coming to terms with a stigmatic linguistic identity – by William Poy Lee

AN EDITED EXTRACT FROM THE EIGHTH PROMISE

Suey Wan is an innocuous farmer’s village nestled among remote hills in the backwater heart of the fertile Pearl River Delta in Guangdong province. My people’s six counties are collectively known as Toisan. Toisan’s origins are more legendary than historically established, but the first Chinese settlers are said to have arrived here during the chaotic last days of the Tang Dynasty, hoping to find peace in this then far-off corner of the expansive Chinese empire.

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The Kwan Family Chronicles

A diary of old Hong Kong – translated by Rosalyn Shih

 

From the translator:

A few months ago, an old newspaper article about my great-grandfather resurfaced, leading to a huge family discussion. To make sure the family record wouldn’t slip from memory, my grandmother, Kwan Yuek Laan, began writing our family history at the ripe age of 93. She was born and grew up in Hong Kong but currently lives in Toronto with her daughters, who immigrated decades before Hong Kong’s handover. I’m delighted to share my grandmother’s writing with the Anthill, and here is a translated, fact-checked and edited excerpt.

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