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Excerpts – Chapter 6

Father was a controversial figure in his teaching.

His students loved him regardless whether his political views were correct or not.
I was too little to understand what was a political criminal.
There were many dark nights when I overheard mom begging him to be careful with his words, especially in the classroom. 
Some other teachers were imprisoned because their “incorrect” teachings. 
Father was almost “mad” in some people's eyes. 
He would let his class debate about whether or not Communism was good for Chinese society. 
This was extremely dangerous in those times of "spy alerts…”


Father would tell mother to stop being fearful: 
" Future generations have to learn how to think with their own minds. “ 
He said, 
“ – One of the reasons that communists took over mainland China 
was because most farmers could not think 
with their own minds. 
They were easily led by propaganda. 

I have fought for my Country since my teens. 
What I am teaching now has 
nothing 
to do with opposing the government… 
The future generations
are
new blood 
for us all.
They have to be taught well." 


I would pray, whenever policemen came to our street, that they would not come to take my father away . 
I had Nai-Nai's blood in me of being "wise". 
Nai-Nai said that father was not as intelligent as he thought himself to be. 
Father told me that Nai-Nai was cold-blood and only understood political power... 
Mom told me that father was too “ innocent “ to protect himself. 
Deai-Deai said nothing. 
He gave father those Buddha looks… 
Somehow father and Deai-Deai began to talk to each other, deeply, in silence. 


Sometimes father would take me on a long trip to the airport
- changing many buses on the way-
" Look at these iron-birds! 
They fly to different Countries around the world. 
You will be able to get on these birds someday!
Look at those glass doors
– the area behind those doors 
do not belong to this government...
It is international...
One day you shall walk through those doors ...
then you shall be free. 
You shall be able to speak your truth and you must fly high and fly far away."


Holding his hand, 
wiping the sweat from his forehead, 
watching people got off the planes, 
and watching those who hugged their family for a long goodbye
...I knew that one day I would walk beyond those doors and leave the island that was the only place I knew…
But how about father? 
Would he come with me? 
Would he be lucky enough to avoid being taken by the policemen? 
Would he die someday?
I cried again
...telling father that 
the dust 
in the wind 
made my eyes dry, 
I said: 
"Let's go home now!" 
What was a home if
you could not speak your truth?


Father did not have any problem with speaking his truth. 
People around him had problems hearing him
--including me. 
I did not understand what he was talking about ...
I only saw the fear in people's eyes, 
knowing 
that few people would want to have further discussions with him. 
I wondered 
why 
my father was so different than all my friends' fathers. 
They all seemed normal, everyone except "my father". 


Perhaps the only people who could hear him better, better than mother, were his students.


-I was there in his class witnessing the debates about communism...
The class was filled with intense fire mixed with roaring laughter. 
My heart quivered so fast… as if I knew what was going on. 
No, I did not understand what was the "point" at all. 
-I was in love with all those big boys. 
They all looked brilliant and handsome with their eyes firing like King Arthur's knights. 
- I knew that one day I would know how to debate 
and I would have my eyes spark just like them.


Believe it or not, I was trained by father to deliver lectures to these big boys: 
First, I would spend days memorizing his writings -mainly about ethical values.
Then came the -accents, gestures, and eye contacts- 
Then the breaths between sentences… 
"Remember to cherish the silent moment, look into their eyes, scan their minds -don't rush..." 
Then… 
walk down from the stage slowly 
after the “ discourse “ ...


This was the way I knew how to share love with the boys I adored. 
Later in life when relationships turned "unexpected", it was because that little girl with pigtails came out to say: 
"Greetings to you all, my dear brothers, today I am going to share with you the ethical value of being …"


Debating?
Gee
– I was good! 
Nobody has any idea about how many awards I got from those lecturing and debating – 
As soon as I got on stage, 
all I saw were wise loving eyes 
shining brilliantly, 
just like those of the 
King Arthur's knights. 


First love 
is 
the first rite 
of
passage. 
Everybody 
has 

tender place 
for it. 
I am still trying to figure out 
which one was the
“real first one”
-my ballet class or the shinning eyes of those 
King Arthur’s Knights.


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music credit: Sound Track from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Composer: Tan Dun