While I was reading the reviews on Amazon of the memoir Mulberry Child, I thought that many critics in the West that crucify the Chinese Communist Party due to Mao’s Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976) seldom mention similar suffering that is happening somewhere else in the world every day.
For example, in India, between 6,000 to 13,000 children die of starvation daily (depending on the source/study you read). Tens of millions have died of starvation and malnutrition since India became a democracy in 1947—constantly repeating a history of suffering generation after generation.
In fact, Mao’s Cultural Revolution is now history as slavery in the United States was (past tense—slavery has returned) history due to the bloody American Civil War (1861 – 1865) and the Civil Rights Movement in the US (1955 – 1968). Parents should learn from the mistakes of history and teach the children so they may avoid making the same mistakes.
Jian started writing the “Mulberry Child” memoir in the year 2000 when her daughter Lisa was still a teenager. The reason she wrote the memoir was because she was having difficulty communicating with her daughter and did not want her to forget where she came from (Lisa was born in China and came to the US at age four years six months). It took eight years for Jian to finish the memoir due to her demanding work schedule.
The memoir focuses on the past but the documentary focuses on the present—the relationship between a mother and daughter.
At first, when the documentary of the “Mulberry Child” went into production, Lisa, the daughter, resisted getting involved. Today, she is proud that she was part of the process, and she is still discovering what her Chinese heritage means.
However—it is obvious from watching the YouTube interview (above)—Lisa is more of an American member of the “Sex and the City” generation than she is a Chinese immigrant to the US.
Therefore, it is the duty of mothers/parents that love their children—that do not want them to repeat the mistakes of the past—to take them on this journey of discovery that Jian Ping took her daughter Lisa on.
Once the next generation forgets the suffering of the past, history may repeat itself.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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