The Story of My Father（13-15) 我的父親（13-15）
When I was in the sophomore class, I received a letter from my father saying that he had joined the Party. His tone was very formal, with a little bit of excitement.
I was very surprised by this. Because of the special political environment in China, I remembered that my parents never discussed politics or state affairs at home. Nor would they ever discuss their political views with their daughters. When I chose my future major in high school, my father’s “famous” sentence that “1+1 always equals 2” was the only statement I ever heard that included a little dose of politics.
Why did my father join the Communist Party? Did he still have hope for this Party? Or was it because he wouldn’t be treated as a different species afterwards? Sadly enough, I never had a chance to discuss this with him.
When I was in my junior year of university, mobilized by the political instructor, I also handed in my application to join the Party. Recalling the motivations now, I found there could have been two.
One was my father’s move to join the Party. Ever since my childhood, my mother always said that I was my father’s favorite, and that he liked me most amongst his three daughters.
Accordingly, I also held my father in high esteem. I cared a lot about what he thought and chose. I thought to myself: after experiencing so many hardships, he was still willing to join the party. It must because that he still had hope for the party.
Another reason was that I was somehow convinced by this saying: even if the Party was not good enough, it could be changed for better if more good members joined it and improved it from within.
If we explore further, there could actually be a third reason. I had always been a so-called “student-of-three-excellent-qualities” since elementary school. Living in a society where everything was under control of the Party, I had always thought that one should be excellent in everything, and to join the Young Pioneers, the Youth League, and then the Party was a “natural” path that a good student and a good citizen should take.
Thus, I became the first Party member in our class. When we graduated one year later, there were only two Party members in our class of 30 students.
Later on I graduated, began my career, married; and had a child. Everything went smoothly on the path that was designed and hoped for by my parents. I had not only entered the best university in China, gained a master’s degree, but also successfully entered the Development Research Center of the State Council, a workplace that many people wanted to get into but couldn’t. At the same time, I also enjoyed love and a happy family of my own.
At that time my parents were so proud of me; and they had good reasons. My photo was part of the “Education Achievement Exhibition in Mianyang in Celebration of the 35th Anniversary of the Establishment of PRC [People’s Republic of China],” which was held at the People’s Park in the center of the city. It was said that every day thousands upon thousands of people visited the exhibition, and my photo caused quite a sensation.
There was an old saying in China that “Inside an embroidered pillowcase was only grass,” which means that good-looking people are usually very stupid inside and have no wisdom. So people felt it was hard to believe that a girl who was as attractive as an embroidered pillowcase could actually be admitted by Peking University.
I had already left Mianyang when the exhibition was on; and didn’t know anything about all this until letters of strangers from Mianyang suddenly flooded me. Some people expressed their admiration, and some asked me to share tips on how to do well in school. I didn’t understand why all these letters arrived until my family told me about the “Education Achievement Exhibition.”
（To be continued 待續 ）