China for Kids: Cultural Revolution, Books for Kids and More
I thought I’d finish up my family history and then I promise to move on from Asia for a while! I covered my mother’s Japanese aristocratic Daimyo history here, and my husband’s royal Yi Dynasty ancestry here.
My father immigrated from China before the Communist Revolution and like most Mainland China expats, he has his own Joy Luck Club tale to tell. But first, isn’t it funny/strange that most everyone seems to be related to a royal or an aristocrat if you just go far enough back in time? Is this because that is the history that people take pains to preserve? Or maybe these family trees are immense?
In any case, my father’s Chinese side of the family is not related to royals (though with so much history and shake ups, you’d think almost everyone in China had a shot at that) or aristocrats; his family were silk merchants. I don’t exactly have all the details but I would imagine that his family did soup to nuts — raising silk worms, spinning thread, weaving fabric and then selling it. I would also guess that they were prosperous but not moguls in that I know that his relatives suffered greatly during the Cultural Revolution.
In China, most opportunities for advancement are based on standardized tests, particularly in education. My father did well and went to the top university in China and then he went on to teach math at a university. He was later sponsored by the Chinese government to study in the United States, and he went to U.C.L.A. to get his PhD in math. Rumor has it that he fudged his age a tad to appear younger in order to qualify. Read more…