Personal Essay: My Experience Of Attending School

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Attending school was not a laughing matter. China’s education system formed a pyramid, bottom-up from elementary to middle to high. With each step, drastic thinning took place. Your chances of going up shrank while getting next level grew more difficult.
When I graduated from junior high in 1959, it was a pivotal moment. If I entered a drama school, a tragedy could play out. Many entertainers suffered even more than others, especially those with a high profile. Inseparable as their occupations were from politics, the cultural and art circles became easy targets. Many young talents ended as scapegoats.
My instincts told me, “Stay away from politics. I don 't want to play with fire.”
With outstanding merit in
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The youth league leaders assigned two to a pair — one good at academia, one loyal to the party — each to improve the other’s “weaker” area. Ting, a Youth League committee member, had difficulty in math and science classes. To prove my sincerity to the party, I could only comply.
Evening school hours allowed students who had poor conditions at home to have a well-lit and quiet place for homework. It became mandatory for me. In our classroom, Ting and I shared a bench. Her responsibility was to help me denounce my “bad” family and made me criticize my parents when I interacted with them, and then, I had to report to her, and confess my wrong thoughts as well.
I tried earnestly, but it was hard to find anything to say to her. To meet her expectations, I gave away my naiveté to sophistication and to be duplicity and pretending. I had to make up things to say. For instance, I criticized my mother for being too fond of nice-looking clothing and a capitalist way of living, and I condemned my father for having worked for the National Party. Neither of these represented my real thoughts. Racking my brain, I criticized myself for my “arrogance,” and allowing my parents to pamper me. It was agonizing. By doing so made me sad, because I betrayed my parents, and also
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