China in Ten Words

514ihybjg0lJust getting into the book, China in Ten Words, by Yu Hua. Loads of marvelous stuff. Insights not only into China and the culture, but a much broader insight into universal behavior. Some highlights off the top:

[the word is “Leader”]:

“Historically, emperors have always cut the kind of figure and spoken the kind of language expected of an emperor, no matter how exalted or how humble their origins. Mao was the only exception.”

“Mao understood very well how to whip the masses into a frenzy, and by appearing on the Gate of Heavenly Peace in the early stages of the Cultural Revolution and greeting fanatical “revolutionary students” and “revolutionary masses” there, he impelled the high tide to ever greater heights.”

“What other political figure would make a point of waving to his people in a swimsuit?”

“During an interview with an American reporter Mao groped around in the crotch of his pants, catching lice, as he confidently predicted China’s victory over the Japanese.”

“Just as today no famous actress would ever appear in public without makeup, the leadership in those days would never show their faces without the Little Red Book in hand. It was their political makeup kit.”

“Although there are many varieties of beauty contests, they ultimately are all somewhat confined in scope. For example, there’s the Silver-haired Beauty Contest for women over sixty, the Tipsy Beauty Contest for pretty girls who have knocked back a few shots, and the Artificial Beauty Contest for veterans of plastic surgery.”

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