Crape Myrtle, an Old Man and the Communist Party

PureInsight | February 28, 2005

[] I remember fondly the school I attended with its beautiful surroundings. There were tree-lined groves, perfect for studying. Flowers were everywhere. There were stately crape myrtles, century plants, oleander and Chinese parasols in front and behind all school buildings. There were rose bushes, chrysanthemums, a variety of red flowers, and many potted flowering plants.

The person who was responsible for all the beautiful flowers and trees on campus was an old handyman. He had a weathered face and a crippled leg. Every day he arrived very early on campus, and swept the roads and walkways before everyone else arrived. He always carried a rusted steel watering can and carefully watered the flowers and plants that made our campus beautiful. He had a wonderful laugh and his eyes lit up when his flowers were praised.

When it was time for class, he loudly rang a copper bell while walking around the buildings, holding one arm behind his back. After a rain, he diligently repaired the campus paths. He brought sand from who knows where and filled in the trench near the back entrance to the school to prevent people from careless accidents. He took it upon himself to take care of many projects on campus. All the students loved him and affectionately called him "Old Wang."

Nobody expected that an ordinary person like him would suffer under the CCP's rule. During the time of turmoil, he was chosen to make a speech about how he was abused and taken advantaged of by the ruling class in the old days before the Chinese Communist Party took power. The school officials picked him because he was poor and they figured he would have a good story to tell. He did not know how to handle giving a speech in public. When he got on the stage, he repeatedly murmured that the Communist Party was great. However, when he was asked to attack the evil old society, he said that a rich landlord had saved his life when he was faced with a hard time. That did not sit well with the Communist Party officials in attendance. They were going to punish him. But since everyone liked him, they decided to give him a break and allowed him to go back to his old job. He went back to sweeping the paths, ringing the bell and watering the flowers.

Then the Cultural Revolution officially started. The school was closed. The students became the Red Guards. The principal and all the teachers were rounded up and frequently verbally and physically abused by the students. Red flags covered every inch of the campus. All the walls were painted red with Communist slogans on top. It seemed that the sea of redness had made everyone go out of his mind.

Old Wang changed, too. He was no longer the happy-go-lucky person. The trees were cut and the grass and flowers were pulled because they were considered signs of capitalism and had to be eradicated. He fell into a deep sorrow over the plants and trees that he had so lovingly cared for over the years. His crippled leg got worse and he frequently wandered on campus like a lost child. One day, he secretly tried to plant a few bunches of crape myrtle on campus. The Red Guards found that out, pulled the plants, and beat him. The suffering was too much for him and he fell ill. He struggled for a couple of days in his small dark room, and then left this world in sorrow.

During the next several decades, when my life and its suffering seemed to overwhelm me, I often thought about my old school campus and the good old days before the madness took over the entire Chinese society. The happy face of Old Wang frequently appeared in my mind.

Today, when I read the "Nine Commentaries about The Communist Party," about the Party's history and the blood-debt it owes to the Chinese people, the memory of the old man came back, the man who was kind and thankful for his life until his death. How many millions of people have suffered and died under the CCP's rule?

In that land of China where unspeakable suffering is still visited upon its people, the Communist party has unleashed numerous political movements since it came to power. Those movements completely destroyed the spirit of the Chinese nation and the beauty and kindness of the Chinese populace. The Chinese people are not naturally cruel. It is the CCP that has chosen cruelty as the tool to maintain its political power.

On the other side of the Ocean, I can feel the breeze of the wind and I see wild geese fly to the north and back to the south as the season changes. When I see new branches grow on a tree, when I see flowers blossom, I'm reminded of Old Wang and my far away homeland. The new leaves and flowers bring a deep ache into my heart.

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