Written by: Joel | Filed under:-mini-posts, culture, language, q&a | Tags:Chinese, english, foreign devil, foreign devils, foreigner, language, laowai, race, racial terms, racism, racist, translation, 外国人, 老外, 鬼佬, 鬼子
I’m on an extended visit back to my hometown, Vancouver, a Canadian city full of Chinese. Chinese is the second-most commonly used language after English. My wife and I were running around a Chinese mall for fun to practice Mandarin and buy some Chinese DVDs when we overheard Chinese people talking about us in Mandarin saying, “Those foreigners are speaking Chinese!” I thought it was funny that even in Canada, Chinese people would call white people “foreigner” (in this case: “外国人”
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One year ago, Buxi asked me to write something on 6/4, and I did not get around to do it, but promised that I would do so this year, the 20th anniversary. At the reminder of Admin a few weeks ago, I started to think about this “action item”. I pulled out a diary/report that was written within the weeks after 6/4/1989, the report was 50 some pages long. It did not have any dust on it since it has been sealed in an envelope. Twenty-year is a long time, the paper has turned completely yellow-ish, but reading through it still brought out a lot of emotion and a lot of memories.
After some thought, I decided that the best way to write about 6/4 is to simply translate parts of the 20-year old diary for it truthfully recorded what a 22-year old student experienced, observed, heard, thought, believed and felt at the moment. Twenty years has gone by, the author, like most of the 6/4 students, has moved on and has since lived a more or less fulfilling life unrelated to 6/4. Along the way, he has learned a few things, has had opportunity to reflect upon the past, and his political views may have evolved along the way. But in memory of the 1989 student movement, I felt that the best thing to do is to trace back to the time as it occurred. I am sure that we will then have a discussion as to how we look at the events in Spring 1989 today.
So here is – Part I, from April 15th, the day Hu Yaobang died, to the day of hunger strike.
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