Monday, September 14, 2009

Be Loyal to Chairman Mao

Learning Chinese is a ridiculous endeavor to say the least. I though I knew what I was getting into, but at each step, I'm still realizing how challenging of a task this language is.

That's not to say that it's not without its rewards. Every now and then you'll overhear something hilarious, read something amazing, or have an incredible conversation that reminds you why you're doing this, and makes it all worthwhile.

I had another experience like that a few weeks ago when I visited the Great Wall for the 6th time this summer. We were at a part of the wall that I had never been to, and I saw in the distance 30 ft. letters, Hollywood-style on the side of the mountain. It took a few seconds to sink in, but I  realized that I recognized every one of the characters. As I started to put it all together I was overcome with joy upon my discovery. The sign read: "Be Loyal to Chairman Mao". After talking with some folks on the wall, it turns out that this was a remnant from the Cultural Revolution, and has been up since.

As I passed the hundreds of other foreigners on the wall who had no idea what the sign said, it made me think about how they didn't know what they were missing and how happy I was to be able to read such an amazing piece of history.

Propaganda knows no bounds.

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