Author Topic: 大江大海 - 1949  (Read 10697 times)

Offline Lap

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大江大海 - 1949
« on: 07 March 2010, 21:11:47 »
Following is my short comment on aNobii,

大時代,小故事.用很多不同的小故事去帶出一個大時代/大改變.對了解國共戰史, 如長春圍城等有小量幫助.不過有1/3是有關二戰時台灣人的情況, 跟1949關係不大.

The time is different and world is changed, but when you read the book and compare with our kids' life today, it just like hell and heaven.

Offline chin

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Re: 大江大海 - 1949
« Reply #1 on: 26 December 2010, 22:21:30 »
I did not remember reading Lap's comment here. No wonder I found the book name familiar when I saw it in Taipei. Anyway, I read about 1/4 of the book in the Eslite Bookstore. And read another half on the flight to Hong Kong. Like you said, it's a collection of smaller stories in a time of monumental historic change.

The wind had changed few years prior to 1949. But that year Kuomintang lost all hope to turn around the wheels of history - almost all battles resulted in total collapse, and town after town were lost to the Communist army. Families were split when running away from war, as they hedge the family survive by splitting and run to different directions. Kuomintang soldiers lost their will to fight, when they saw that they had lost the the support of the people.

At several places in the book, the author tried to present a "balanced" picture, that in war, both sides were capable of, and did, do evil. Yet in her own little stories, there was no mistake that the Communist army had the "hearts and minds" of the general populace. For example in the stories about drafting, the Kuomintang army draft young men at gun point, while the Communist attract recruit by providing cares. When the Kuomintang army pass a town, people hide themselves as well as their food, but when the Communist army came, people came out to help and provided food (as reported by a captured Kuomintang general.)

When I read this book, I couldn't help to compare to a book I read few weeks ago - The Korean War, a History by Bruce Cumings. In both China and Korea, the governments emerging from WWII were supported by the US politically and militarily. Both governments were oppressive, corrupted, unpopular and ineffective. In both countries, it was the opposition Communist party who brought hopes to the people. Yet the irony is that after 60 years, it was the loser (in the case of China) or the unpopular (in the case of Korea) government who had turned around and brought prosperity and a fair society to the people. (In the case of Taiwan, their preserved a large part of Chinese culture as well.)

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I am about 3/4 through 大江大海, and today I asked my parents of their stories of 1949. What did they saw? What was the mood like?

I always knew a little bits and pieces of my parents childhoods, but I never knew their stories could be as dramatic as those in the 大江大海 book. (OK, almost as dramatic, but no one died.) I will need to organize and write down the details later, perhaps in another place.

But basically, my parents were from two different worlds - one from a wealthy merchant family and the other from a farming family who had no land. In 1949, one of my grand uncles was part of the Kuomintang team that blew up the Pearl River bridge to stall the advance of the Communist army, while at the same time, another uncle of mine, who was not even 16 and a strong supporter of the Communist Party, was busy sawing day-and-night the new China flags in anticipation of the liberation.

Although the families political preference were very different, one thing seemed to be clear for everyone at the time - Kuomintang was losing fast, and people were looking forward to the regime change. On the day of the Guangzhou liberation, my parents did not see any fight. They only saw people on the street welcoming the PLA.

For my friends whose parents experienced 1949, perhaps you should ask them their stories.
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Offline kai

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Re: 大江大海 - 1949
« Reply #2 on: 27 December 2010, 11:03:09 »
I read this book.  It is really good, really touching.  Know much more the things happened in 1949.  The history from 1945-1949 when Communist party took over the power in mainland is very important for young people to study.  I mean studying in a very serious way.  But our school hadn't let us know much about this.  Why so many people support the Communist party at that time?  And turned out that the Communist party did even poorer than the former government?  Why one party claimed that they are fighting for democracy and freedom, could be even more 'dictatorship' later than the former one?  Was the majority of the people blinded by that time?  What made them to have such decision? ??? ??? ???
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Offline chin

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Re: 大江大海 - 1949
« Reply #3 on: 27 December 2010, 13:08:30 »
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People were not blind. I think for the people living in or just before 1949, the Kuomintang government was really bad and corrupted. The Communist Party at the time genuinely caring for the people.

But just like almost all stories in history, once in power, things changed... In my parents' experience, the start of the change to bad was the Great Leap Forward.
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Offline hangchoi

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Re: 大江大海 - 1949
« Reply #4 on: 27 December 2010, 14:27:47 »
I heard someone said this before : 政治嘅轉變係由烏托邦開始,由歷史終結......
「吾心信其可行,則移山倒海之難,終有成功之日。吾心信其不可行,則反掌折枝之易,亦無收效之期也。」

Offline kai

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Re: 大江大海 - 1949
« Reply #5 on: 28 December 2010, 10:34:13 »
At that time, not only the lower class people, but many educated and middle class people supported the Communist Party.  It was not only true in China, but also in many other countries like Korea, Vietnam, etc.  Many people were attracted by those 'fancy' and 'theoretical' ideas from the politicians, and followed them blindly.  So, crictical thinking is very very important.  Now, I found many young people/politicians are doing/promoting something which is very very similar to that of 1949's!  I always believe that there is no 'free lunch', no 'absolute equality', don't ask what your society can do for you but just ask what you can do for others.  These are all personal opinions, just forget it if you don't agree.   :(
The only limit is your creativity.