A Wake for the Adolescence of Mine #1


I would like to tell you my personal story, even though you will think it is not worth being told. However, it is very important to me. I am longing to do it, with a passion arose from the deepest part of my heart, overwhelmingly.

I was born in a small town which is located in the southern part of Guangdong Province. And Guangdong is also located in the southern part of mainland China. The small town is called Yi Rong ‘義容’. I should warn you that all your efforts will be in vain if you try to find out any significance behind this meaningless name. According to some old folks, this town originally, without any literature, called Two Banyans ‘二榕’. These two words are pronounced the same as Yi Rong in Chinese. Hence, it was believed that the name was changed simply because of homophone.

In the early 1980s, Yi Rong was still a lagging place surrounded by mountains, farms, cracked roads and thin wood electricity poles. There had no difference between the so-called urban and rural area as houses in both districts were built of red clay bricks and rotten wet woods and green roof tiles. The roof looked green as it used to cover by a layer of moss. But the people who had been lived in here for generations never complaint to these poor conditions, and seemingly never try to move neither. Since their ancestors settled down in this place hundred years ago, some families claimed that they could be traced their origins back to the Song dynasty. Well, as this was too far from now, we got no evidence either. This is not the point, of course. What I want to say is that once the Chinese settled down in one place they would be attached to the homeland and unwilling to leave it ever, as if the plants rooted in the soil. Sociologists invented a term ‘Local Complex’ to depict its cultural basis of traditional Chinese rural society.

All of that has been gone, nevertheless. If history is a video tape and we play the clip of last thirty years fast forward, we will see everything has totally changed within a very short term: farms become factories, hamlets become hostels, rivers become roads and the communities that primitively consisted of intimate relatives now filled with strangers from other provinces. Those transformations were started at 1978, the crucial year that Deng Xiaoping, the real helmsman of Chinese Communist Party, announced and implemented the ‘Reform and Opening-up’ policy in order to rescue the economy of China from the edge of bankruptcy. The voice of Deng resonated in the whole country, but Yi Rong had not responded to the great sound until the wave of transformation flooded into the town and swept the old things away during the early 1990s.

At that time where the stories begin.