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My thoughts on reading the book “Oracle Bones”

Posted in Travel and Adventure by Administrator on the May 2nd, 2011

“Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China’s Past and Present” was written by an American journalist Peter Hessler. China from 1999 to 2004 was a period that sounded so familiar and yet so distant to me. I can very much relate to many things in the book.
Thought 1: When I first came to the US, I used to say “peasant” all the time because that was what I have learned in school, rarely did I say “farmer”. So when I said peasant to my husband whose parents were farmers, he said: “Do you mean farmer?” There are big differences between Chinese peasants and US farmers especially in the areas of education and farming tools/methods.
Thought 2: It is very true that false/fake (假的jiade) products are everywhere in China, so be cautious in things you buy or people you deal with. In China from the food we eat, to clothes and accessories we wear, to diploma and official documents, all can be faked. Even the author Peter himself had to write a false resume in order to get a journalist visa. Is it the Chinese system’s fault that makes people do what is necessary in order to survive?
Thought 3: About the Uyghur. My first encounter with the Uyghur language was at the Urumqi airport during our Silk Road vacation in 2010. My husband saw the language was written everywhere but he did not know what it was. I told him it looked like Arabic. Later, our guide told us it was the Uyghur language because Uyghur is the biggest group in Xinjiang province. I also discovered on the trip that Uyghurs look more like foreigners than Chinese. I know Uyghur is one of the 55 minority groups, other than that I know very little about this unique ethnic group especially its political and religious beliefs.
Thought 4: The Movie Red Sorghum and actor Jiang Wen. In the book, the author talked about visiting a movie set in the Gobi where famous actor Jiang Wen was shooting a movie. I remembered watching the movie Red Sorghum in 1989 when I was a senior at Fudan University. The movie was a huge hit because it was the first kind that was brilliantly directed by the director Zhang Yimou, and Jiang Wen and actress Gong Li truly captured the audience with their brilliant acting. Jiang Wen’s personality is so characteristic both on screen in all his movies and off screen in his real life, surely he is well liked.
Thought 5: How ironic! As I ended reading the book today, I found out at the news time that Osama Bin Laden was killed. In the book the author described Chinese people’s Anti-American feelings for the war American launched against the terrorists after the September 11 attack. I am eager to find out what the Chinese think now that the Americans are celebrating the big victory after nearly ten years. The Americans finally did what they set their minds to.

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