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Barry from Australia is a questioning soul who looks at social issues from an alternative point of view and instead of asking, “Why?”, he asks “Why not?” He’s convinced that many of his previous incarnations were spent in China. He feels drawn to the people there; attracted by their rich culture and way of life. If given one wish from God, he’d reply, “I want everyone on Earth to be the same colour, speak the same language, and treat each other as they themselves would like to be treated.”
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My China Trip - Day 22, Part 6 我的中国之行-第22天,第6部分    

By Barry Pittman
2485 Views | 9 Comments | 1/18/2015 4:23:26 PM

“Why did you wake me up?” Tina had cried out.  “I was eating MEAT!”  This was the last sentence of my previous article.  It had described how Tina as a youngster had been brought up in tough conditions, often with a minimum of food to eat.  Meat in particular was a special treat for the family to be enjoyed only occasionally.



Upon hearing these words from Tina, I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry.  In the end, I did both.  I laughed outwardly with her, but inwardly cried.  I still do to this very day, thinking about not just her, but about the thousands - probably the millions - of Chinese who have been and who currently still are, living in extremely poor conditions.  Starvation was not uncommon just forty or fifty years ago in China.  I’m sure in some outlying and forgotten sectors, it freely and tragically still exists today.



As we strolled around Shawan on this day, Tina loosened up and told me more about her early life.  She recounted how she was close to her younger sister, more so than her two older ones.  Together one day they made a pact, that when they were older and had jobs, they would sit beside a river each day and do nothing except eat masses of meat.  Oh, what a glorious, indulgent and wonderful dream this was to them.  Yet simultaneously, what a sad and despairing indictment of her poor early life it was.  



“Barry – come on.  Let’s go home.”  Tina interrupted my reflections as we stood silently in front of the forlorn notice about the missing Chinese woman.  The depressed soul who’d probably jumped off the Shawan Bridge a day or two previously into the muddy, swirling water below. The Shawan River was rather rough and fast moving, certainly not one to be leaping into the middle of and expecting to have a nice swim. A small group of people were standing with us, also reading the plea from the lady’s family who were asking for help in locating her remains.  She’d been a mother and had left a child.  I sensed by their silence that they also were moved by seeing what was written here. 



This in turn made me think more about Tina.  I’d never met anyone like her before.  She was a very sincere lady who disliked idle talking.  Yet the look in her eyes sometimes spoke many hundreds of words.   I marveled at what a fine person she’d turned out to be, despite her impoverished upbringing.  In a moment of complete honesty, she’d described that neither she nor her three sisters ever really liked their father as they grew up.  Due to their poverty, food was often scarce and in his frustration, he’d frequently take it out on the girls, belting them.



"Didn’t your mother intervene?  Didn’t she stop this?”



“No Barry, often she wasn’t there, she worked away from home.  But many other times, she felt powerless and could do nothing.”



During this long Chinese dating process, it’d taken many months of discussion to draw out from Tina such incisive memories as this.  Up till now, no such painful admissions about the rigors of her early life had ever been made to me.  But during just the past few days, increasingly I was learning more and more about this gentle soul who like the mythical phoenix, had triumphantly risen from the heartaches and hunger of the ashes of her early life into the wonderful, sensitive woman of China she was today.



Sometimes I felt an almost telepathic connection with her, in that if she wanted to say something yet couldn’t find the right words in English, I knew what she was wanting to communicate.  As time passed, we palpably drew closer and closer together. I think one reason for this was finally she was sensing in me someone she could trust.  Someone who genuinely cared.  Not someone who simply wanted good times, laughter and generous dosing’s of sex on the side.  As nice as fun times such as these were, we both subconsciously sensed there was much more to a fulfilling relationship than this.



“Barry, I think I’d like to help the little girl.” Tina said to me as we stood by the riverbank.



“What little girl?”



“I was on the bus this morning to do some shopping before you got up.  A little girl was on it and I heard her say to another lady there “Can I call you mom?”



“I began talking to this lady She said the girl was eight years old.  Her father was a gambler and her mother had disappeared somewhere, abandoning her.  The lady said the young girl was now being cared for by her grandmother who was barely coping.  The lady on the bus said that she tried to help the child, giving her small gifts whenever she could.  And now the girl was asking if she could call her mom.”



Tina continued.  “I feel that I need to help this child.  I know her name and which school she goes to.  I will go there and speak to her teacher.  There must be something I can do to help.”



Of course, I encouraged Tina to do what she could.  This sad little story about a despondent little girl was just one of many such wretched stories in China.  I know the middle class there is rapidly growing, but due to its sheer size, many hundreds of thousands – possibly millions - of impoverished people of all ages were being inevitably brushed aside, falling through the cracks into lives of deprivation and desperation.  This was particularly heart breaking when such victims were children, suddenly becoming trapped into harsh lives and unforgiving circumstances they had absolutely no say in or control over.



China still was the land of the haves and the have nots.  Visit many of the larger cities such as Hong Kong, Shanghai or Beijing and you’ll see many modern skyscrapers, with sky high real estate values often running into the millions of yuan for each of the apartments.   Yet step out of these swanky places, walk a few blocks and invariably you’ll enter into a totally different landcape filled with hustling and bustling activity.  Mainly comprised of street vendors, impatient shoppers, cars, motorcycles and bicycles.  Plus street sweepers, other workers and many small, interesting looking shops.  Plus of course, the hungry looking beggars, vagabonds and other poor folk who you’d rather look well away from.   



The best way many Westerners tended to deal with glaring humanitarian problems as seen in China was to ignore them completely.  They didn’t realise though that this was just a big cop-out. Too many people gave up their power because they didn’t think they had any - but they were wrong. One person if he or she wanted to, could make a positive change to at least one other person’s life, if they really wanted to.   Our time here on Earth was limited, why should we selfishly waste it entirely on ourselves?



“Come on, Barry.  Let’s go!”  Tina was becoming a bit antsy, wanting to go home.  She had no idea that this China trip was mystifyingly proving to be one of the most profound learning experiences of my life.  I was thinking more deeply about issues that up till now, I’d always superficially glossed over.



What did this all mean?  Where was all this leading to?



To be continued - Day 22, Part 7




“你为什么把我弄醒?”蒂娜大叫。 “我在吃肉!”

这是我上一篇文章的最后一句话。它描述了蒂娜作为一个年轻人在恶劣的条件下的成长经历,经常是食物不够吃,尤其是肉类只能是家里在特殊节日里的偶尔享受。

听到蒂娜这些话,我不知道是该笑还是该哭。最后,我又笑又哭。我对她大笑,但心里在哭泣。我想着即使到了今天,不只是她而是成千--可能是数以百万计的中国人,过去或现在的生活状况仍然极其恶劣。饥饿在中国不只是四五十年前的常见事。我敢肯定如今在一些边远和被遗忘的区域,饥饿依然肆虐存在。

这一天我们沿着沙湾漫步,蒂娜很放松,告诉我更多她的早期生活。她说她和妹妹比和两个姐姐更亲近。有一天她们做了个约定,即等她们长大有了工作,她们每天会来到河边坐着什么事都不做,就吃好多肉。哦,这对她们来说是多么荣耀美好而又任性的梦!然而同时,这对她们的早期生活是多么难过和绝望的控诉!

 “巴里,走吧,我们回家。”我们静静地站在这位失踪中国女士的凄凉的启事前,蒂娜突然打断了我的思索。抑郁的她很可能是一两天前从沙湾桥跳进泥泞的漩涡里。沙湾河水流湍急,别指望谁能跳进去游泳。和我们站着一起的还有一小群人,他们也读了她家人张贴的帮找寻遗体的请求。她是一个母亲,留下了一个孩子。我感觉到他们的沉默,也为所写的感动着。

这又使我更多地想到蒂娜。我以前从来没有认识像她一样的人。她是很真诚的女士,不喜欢闲谈。然而有时你从她的眼神能读到千言万语。我惊叹尽管出身贫寒,她如今成为一个很优秀的人。有时她很坦诚的说,长大后无论是她还是三个姐妹都不是很喜欢父亲。由于贫困粮食经常短缺,她们的父亲很挫败,经常拿她们出气拿皮带抽她们。

“难道你的母亲不干预?她不制止?“

在这漫长的中国线上交友过程中,花了好几个月的交流才使蒂娜触及这些深切的记忆。到目前为止她从来没有向我提及她早期生活的严酷。但在刚刚过去的几天里我越发了解这温柔的灵魂,就像神话中的凤凰一样,从她早期生活的心痛和饥饿灰烬中,成功蜕变成如今这样优秀而敏感的人。

有时我觉得和她有种心灵感应,即使有时她想说点什么,又找不到合适的英文单词来表达,我也能知道她心里所想。随着时间的推移,我们变得越来越亲近了。我想其中一个原因是最终她感觉到我是一个值得信任的人,一个真正关心的人,而不是私下只想一时行乐,来点欢声笑语或为了性。有如这般美好快乐的日子,我们都下意识地觉得我们之间的关系比这更充实。

 “巴里,我想帮助一个小女孩。”我们站在河岸,蒂娜对我这么说。

“什么小女孩?”

今天早上你起床前我外出购物了, 我在公共汽车上听到一个小女孩对另一位女士说“我能叫你妈妈吗?”

 “我开始和这位女士交谈,她说小女孩八岁,父亲是个赌徒,母亲已经失联,抛弃了她。这位女士说小女孩现在由祖母照顾,但她也是勉为其难。公车上的女士说,她想帮助这个孩子,力所能及的送她些小礼物,现在小女孩就问她是否可以叫她妈妈。”

蒂娜继续道, “我觉得我需要帮助这个孩子。我知道她的名字,知道她去哪个学校上学。我会去学校找她的老师谈,一定有什么我可以帮得上忙的。”

当然我鼓励蒂娜去做力所能及的。关于这类令人沮丧的可怜小女孩的小故事,只是中国很多类似的凄惨故事之一。我知道中产阶级在快速增长,但由于其人口规模庞大,数十万 - 可能数以百万计 - 所有年龄段的贫困人口正不可避免地被甩下,陷入贫困和绝望夹缝中生存。尤其是对自己突然陷入恶劣无情的生活处境中完全没有话语权或控制力的儿童受害者,特别让人心碎。

中国大地既有富人也有穷人。参观许多较大的城市如香港、上海或北京,你会看到许多高耸入云的现代化高楼大厦,每套公寓市值数百万元人民币的房地产。然而,走出这些奢华区域再步行几个街区,不可避免地你会进入一个完全不同的世界,充斥着忙乱繁华的活动,主要包括街头小贩,心急的顾客,汽车,摩托车和自行车,再加上街道清洁工,其他工人和许多外观有趣的小商店。当然,还有你宁愿不看的饥肠辘辘的乞丐,流浪汉和其他贫困的人。

试图应对在中国所看到的明显的人道主义问题的最好办法,许多西方人倾向于完全不理会。他们没有意识到这是一大逃避。太多的人放弃自己的力量,因为他们认为自己不具备任何力量 - 但他们错了。一个人,--如果他或她想--可能至少会为个别人的生活作出积极的改变。我们在地球上的时间是有限的,为什么要自私的完全浪费在自己身上呢?

“来吧,巴里。走吧!“蒂娜是变得有点烦躁想回家。她不知道,这次中国之行令人迷惑的,证明是我一生中最深刻的学习体验之一。我更深入地思索目前为止我总是肤浅掩盖着的问题。

这一切意味着什么呢?又通往哪里?

未完待续 - 第22天,第7部分


Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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#2015-05-17 16:13:10 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

I realize there are readers of the blogs who are not Barry's biggest fans, and there is someone out there who loves to click on the "boring" button to no doubt aggravate Barry a little and signify his or her distaste for Barry's writings. I am not one of those readers, and generally the worst I can say of Barry's blogs is that they occasionally tread upon being so bizarre that I am left shaking my head in wonderment. But on other occasions they tread equally close to brilliance.

This blog falls into the latter category. This blog is bloody profound in the way it captures the unbelievable complexities of modern China, the exact complexities that have been faced by Chinese women, shaping how they grow, shaping how they think, shaping who they become. This blog is profound in how it takes all of that and distills it into a few moments in time, distills it into a single Chinese woman who perhaps represents the best that Chinese women can be, distills it into a picture that with just a little imagination you can see right before your eyes.

And what a beautiful picture it is!

I have 2 things to say:

To Barry: you have said a few things of Tina before that suggested admiration for her, that hinted at compatibility, that even indicated strong feelings for her, but today, for the first time, you seem to me to be clearly coming from a place of deep, heartfelt, abiding love. And I must say, you have described in Tina a woman who is truly deserving of such love. I am immensely happy for you because it is rare for a person to find such love, and I am just a little proud, because like many couples before you, you and Tina found each other here on CLM. Cheers, Mate (beer)

To that person who constantly clicks the "boring" button: if we see a 1 in the "boring" button on this blog, then you are clearly and demonstrably an IDIOT!!! (headbang)

#2015-05-18 08:46:31 by Barry1 @Barry1

@JohnAbbot

Thanks for your kind words, John.

I hardly know how to respond to them except to say that I'm recounting a tale that no doubt has been shared by many others in the past. I just happen to be lucky enough to have the means and the opportunity to write the clamoring memories down, before they're inexorably swallowed within the swirling mists and mushrooming fog of relentless time.

This helps me as much as anyone else, as hopefully in a few years time, I can reread what I've written and exultantly relive again what to me was the trip of a lifetime.

Thanks must also go to chinalovematch.net, that should stand tall and proud as being one of the very few genuine, honest dating websites available on the internet. (clap)

#2015-05-19 16:16:47 by surpurisena @surpurisena

Barry
你的文章提及过去和现代,今昔相比,中国已经 发生了很大的变化,中国政府现在着力拉近城乡差距和贫富差距的工作,我相信再过几年十年你来中国时又不同现在你所说到的看到的了,我相信中国的政府工作会越来越好。

#2015-05-19 20:46:19 by Barry1 @Barry1

@surpurisena

"中国政府现在着力拉近城乡差距和贫富差距的工作"

是的,你是正确的,谢谢你的评论。

目前中国政府正在努力改善中国人民的生活质量。

但不幸的是,中国确实有一个很难解决的大问题。坦率讲,中国人口太多,14亿左右。对比一下,例如,澳大利亚有2200万人,所以中国的总人口是澳大利亚的63倍。这个 数据显示中国政府努力帮助每一个中国人将面临着巨大的困难。

#2015-05-21 14:34:44 by Barry1 @Barry1

@JohnAbbot

"the worst I can say of Barry's blogs is that they occasionally tread upon being so bizarre that I am left shaking my head in wonderment. But on other occasions they tread equally close to brilliance."

I must say you gave me a laugh with this, John.

What you said after all, is akin to the following:

"apart from on occasion being an ax-murderer, Barry all the rest of the time is a most law abiding citizen". (rofl) (y)

#2015-05-23 22:19:06 by Macchap @Macchap

Reading Barry's latest post reminds me once again that China - the main land - is work in progress, construction ahead.

#2015-05-24 16:39:40 by Barry1 @Barry1

@Macchap

"China - the main land - is work in progress, construction ahead."

Well spoken, Macchap, I couldn't have put it any better myself. It succinctly describes the situation currently there very well indeed.

#2015-05-25 20:01:45 by Macchap @Macchap

@Barry1
Barry, have you considered changing your picture to one where the Misses gets some viewing space too? You see her in the distance trying to get in focus but you're blocking the view. Just a suggestion.

#2015-05-26 15:44:21 by Barry1 @Barry1

@Macchap

"have you considered changing your picture to one where the Misses gets some viewing space too? You see her in the distance trying to get in focus but you're blocking the view."


I agree wholeheartedly, Macchap.

It was lucky that I was able to include at least a partial view of Tina in my profile photo, which was quite deliberate. How many other profile photos on this site actually show two people, I wonder?

Tina is much better looking than me and if I had my way, I'd erase my picture altogether and just have a photo of her beaming face under the handle "Barry1". What a great idea!

But somehow, I think the management here may not approve of this. They may think I'm either trying to delude or confuse people - or else I've had a sex change. (rofl)

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