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When Snobs and Suckers Rule the day
Red Song from the Pearl Tower

8 March 2012
 

Chinese New Year's Painting: The Pearl Tower - Fang, his cousin and the maid all in traditional Chinese costume with brilliant Ming fashion. His cousin handed him a box of cake with a priceless pearl tower secretly concealed in it.

The Pearl Tower is the most celebrated Xiju Opera and the most cherished work of Xiju maestros Mei Lanzhen and Wang Binbin. It is a comedy drama slamming some "up-class" elites who could be so heartless towards the poor and powerless even when they are their own extended family members.

20-year old (or even younger, who knows) Fang was the grandson of a former high official, but in a social hierarchy highly fluent Chinese society (thanks to a revolutionary social system purposefully invented 2,000 years ago by emperors and intellectuals of the Han dynasty based on Confucius teaching), after his grandfather and father all passed away, Fang's family quickly fell in status to the very bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. The only way for him to get to his desired position is through intellectual competition, i.e. to pass the national scholar examination held once in every four years. But he was short of fare to take a trip to the capital, so his mother sent him to his aunt for help.

The poor guy walked days (or weeks?) to his aunt's town. When he arrived, a grand birthday-party for his uncle-in-law, a retired regional inspector (省纪委离休老干部), was in full swing, and his aunt was holding a media conference, attended by ladies and maids from neighbouring households, bragging the economic achievement of Fang family. It's too bad that this shallow and vain woman didn't understand one crucial factor of life: The benefit of a dual retirement arrangement system (退休双轨制), in which the government officials would be handed a large lump sum of money as superannuation while the ordinary workers - peasants, tradesmen and vendors - received no age pension at all (by the way, for 5000 years, China's economic system was chiefly based on private ownership until 1949), would not extend beyond the retired officials' mortality, hence when Fang emerged, she was shocked at his ragged appearance then felt humiliated by her association with him and eventually became outraged for his daringness to ask for help. Consequently, Fang received no assistance but a load of insults.

On his way returning home "empty handed" (as what he thought), Fang was robbed and beaten half to death, but rescued by a family friend. With the help of the friend, Fang collected his academic prize in the capital and got a job as national law-enforcement inspector (巡按). (It seems that material wealth not necessarily delivers you a good fortune; it could bring you more troubles too. So, those greedy elites who believe in "举贤不避亲" and love to promote their own sons, brothers, teachers, students and colleagues of three or four years to prominent positions to collect or even steal national assets, should you think again in terms of what kind of legacy is really worth handing down to your offspring?)

Back to Fang. After he became the imperial inspector, the first thing he decided to inspect was his aunt's consciousness. He put on a humble street singer's robe with a Chinese guitar in his arms and knocked at that snober's gate again. With the noble spirit of "惩前毖后,治病救人 "(helping the sucker to learn the lesson from the past and be a better person in future), he communicated with the old lady by singing 道情 (daoqing, Sing & Saying, a classic street audio art) and hoped she could get the massage (寓教于乐) thus reflect on and redeem her sucking behaviour. The following aria is one of the educational daoqings (红歌) that Fang (played by Zhou Dongliang) sang for his aunt:

锡剧《珍珠塔》
人往高水往低(周东亮)

叹精英,势利心,
视同胞,如浮萍,
穷在京城似陌路,
富在外国认远亲。
雪中不送碳,
锦上偏添花,
欺贫爱富缺人性,
误国害民实可恨。

Zhou Dongliang (周东亮), dubbed by his fans as the Prince of Xiju Opera, is a superstar in China's opera stage. Apart from his top singing skills and the ability to interpret whatever the characters he portrays with remarkable emotional and spiritual subtlety and depth, he can also perform startling kung fu stunts. And above all, he is a dignified and compassionate guy, just like Fang, which makes his stage presentation truly convincing and appealing.

Finally, here is the pearl tower part in the Xiju Opera the Pearl Tower:

Despite having a mean and heartless mother, Fang's cousin was a passionate and generous young lady who placed the pearl tower in a snake box and gave it to the unsuspected Fang as her parting gift.

The priceless treasure did not help Fang but nearly destroyed him, however, that's another story. The lady's noble spirit should not be undermined for untoward consequences, because, what really counts is our INTENTION - it is our thoughts and feelings about other people that shape our long term fate.

And the young lady's fate is good. She eventually married her sweetheart and the pair happily live together ever after (until now ... on Chinese opera stage).

 
 
RELATED:

What A Chinese Sucker Says

The below are the words from China's top government consultant:

Is the wealth gap between rich and poor in China too big? Certainly not, in fact, it’s still not big enough. Only when we further increase the gap, socioeconomic advancement of the nation can then be achieved. (中国的贫富差距还不够大,只有拉大差距,社会才能进步。 )

The hallmark of China’s modernisation is that the professors in the Beijing University owe cars and holiday villas. (中国现代化的标志是北大教授拥有轿车和别墅.)

Why are the poor people in China poor, because they hate rich people. (中国穷人为什么穷,因为他们都有仇富心理。 )

If national assets were a bowl of rice, we should spit on it. (国有资产就是一碗饭,要往上面吐吐沫.)

In order for the economic reform to succeed, we have no choice but to sacrifice an entire generation, that is 30 million old workers. (为了达到改革的目标,必须牺牲一代人,这一代人就是3000万老工人.)

800 million peasants and redundant workers are China’s huge assets, since their consistent presence under the current condition is necessary for the happy lives of the rich few. (8亿多农民和下岗工人是中国巨大的财富,没有他们的辛苦哪有少数人的享乐,他们的存在和维持现在的状态是很有必要的.)

The poor should view the riches as their big brothers. The big ones wear new clothes, and the little ones get their hands down, which is only natural. (穷人应该将富人看成自己的大哥,大哥穿新衣小弟穿旧衣,天经地义.)

China is in the middle phase of the development. We’ll have to go through the heavy industry stage, during which the pollution to the environment is unavoidable. But so what, we’ve gained the economic benefits. (中国处于发展中阶段,重工业化是必经阶段,对环境的污染势必难免但我们获得了收益.)

I call for the full abolition of old-age pensions, unemployment benefits, compensations for work-related injuries and all other welfare payments, that's the way to make people stick to their jobs. (我建议取消所谓的养老保险、失业保险、工伤保险等等福利,目的是保持大家的工作热情和能力.)

Let redundant workers live in rural areas (下岗工人到农村去!)!

The man who made the above anti-humanity statements is Li Yining (厉以宁), the top consultant for Chinese government and the teacher and mentor of China's vice premier Li Keqiang who loves to let public know that he is soooooooooo proud of being Li's student.

The following are some comments from bbs.people.com.cn:

China Watch

Who Is Li Yining (厉以宁)?

全国人大常委会委员,财经委员会副主任,北京大学光华管理学院院长,中共党员兼民盟副主委。

何玉春,厉以宁老婆,1997年3月任深圳延宁发展有限公司监事。

厉伟,厉以宁之子,中共党员。1992年调入深圳宝安集团工作,曾任深圳市安信投资发展公司和深圳市安信财务顾问有限公司法定代表人总经理,宝安集团总经理助理,1997年离开宝安集团。同年3月,任深圳市延宁发展有限公司董事长兼总经理。

崔京涛,厉伟老婆。原在工商银行深圳分行信托投资公司工作,后任神华期货经纪有限公司董事长。

又一个举贤不避至亲,全家共同富裕的光辉典范 .


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