Interview with 陈淑萍
Hi! Let’s start off by you telling me the connections with you and the culture revolution.
Interviewee: 我是一九五二年出生的， 是在新中国成立3年后。 我在初中没上完就被下放到农村里去了，在那里一直呆到21岁。
I was born in 1952, 3 years after “The New China” founded. I was forced to work in farms when I haven’t finished middle school yet and stayed there until I was 21.
what are some similarities and differences that you hold with Ji Li?
Despite that she had worst situations than me, I think we are almost identical. Same age, same city and same opinions about the revolution.
Did you face major conflicts during the revolution, if so can you give me examples?
The two main conflicts I faced was because the technology in the farms were not advanced enough I had troubles communicating with my parents, brothers and sisters. That caused our relationship to slowly change as time progressed. My second struggle / conflict that I had to face was Just like Ji Li’s, choosing between what I believed and what others did. The choice for me was either to blindly follow people who surrounded me and write “Da Zi Bao” or “Pi Dou” or to do what my heart told me to do, study hard in school and hope to get an education in a university.
How did these conflicts effect you? How did you solve it?
The first effect on my life later on was my relationship with my family got effected. Secondly caused by my decisions to follow my friends at school, I didn’t pay attention in classes and that resulted in me not getting a higher level of education, what has always been my dream ever since.
If you can rewind time, what decisions will you change?
Haha, life is life. There are always things we regret, but our decisions make up who we are. I won’t change a thing.
Thank you for your time and generosity, hope you have a great day!
interview with grandma over WeChat call, March 24,2018
Girl with grandpa riding around in Pu-Xi, Shanghai, 1967
“One afternoon, ……. In a few seconds, they were all gone. I thought about my beautiful dreams and wondered if they would drift away just like those lovely soap bubbles” (18, Ji-Li Jiang) Before even reading the book, just by scanning through the introduction I instantly thought of my own grandmother. She simply just has too much in common with Ji Li, the main character in the book “The Red Scarf Girl”. Same age, same district and even conflicts they had to face during The Cultural Revolution or The Great Proletarian Revolution, as they called it back in the days. Some conflicts they had to conflicts they faced was not being able to get properly educated and decisions between the country or your family. Grandma lives in Shang Hai so I set upped a video call with her to begin my interview process. I greeted her first and then introduced The Red Scarf Girl to her. After letting her know Ji Li’s story I asked my question in Chinese and translated it back to English. Through this whole interview I learned a lot more about the revolution in detailed, first-person perspective and the conflicts people like Ji Li and grandma encountered.