Two days of being sick led to something good: I was able to finish Wild Swans while wrapped in a blanket, in bed. I had meant to finish the book, which is all of 700 pages, before the year ends. But then again, I am ten years behind since my notation on the jacket said I bought the book in the U.K. in 1994 yet.
Anyway, time is of no object when you read a classic and Wild Swans is up there on the list of my greatest non-fiction reads.I decided to pull it out of the shelves because of all the hype about China these days. It seems the former Middle Kingdom is on every cover of Time, Newsweek, Fortune, and anywhere you look.
Wild Swans tells the saga of three generations of Chinese women as seen through the eyes of its West-educated author Jung Chang. The book chronicles the brutalities suffered by the Chinese during the Japanese occupation, the struggle for supremacy between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party, and the disastrous reforms (such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution) implemented by Mao Tse-Tung during his megalomanic rule. The book is certainly an eye-opener on the blind faith and political intrigues at work in the Chinese Communist system. It seems the Filipinos’ People Power grievances are no match to the extreme hardships, poverty and cruelty experienced by the Chinese under Mao. Read Wild Swans and weep. Read it also if you want to understand the bitter past behind today’s ‘prosperous’ China.