Monday, November 27, 2006

The Long March

Last week, the entire school visited (over three days) the National Army Museum to see the Long March exhibition. Let's not get into the rationale behind this trip which comprised of 4 hours on buses, 1 hour queuing in freezing temperatures and 30 minutes in the museum!

The interest for me was to compare the informatoin I had gleaned from a semi-fictional novel I read about a British pastor who had got caught up in the march and the reality as presented by the Chinese government (which one was less fictional?).

Museum; Walking in Circles

To give them their dues, the museum was actually pretty good. Multimedia, interactive. Unfortunately 100% Chinese! The pictures told part of the story for me though. I was surprised about how much the march had moved in circles. I remembered the description of the marsh and the mountain from the novel.

Through Marsh and Mountain

Altogether I felt almost inspired by the exhibition. Consider the motivation driving these people to put themselves through such a painful and difficult experience. Imagine the force of character that the leaders of the march must have exhibited to get these people following them.

Mao's words; Mao and Later Chinese Leaders

I suppose my personal position is that it was, like so many things, an incredible idea that drove people. The idea that everyone can be equal and better off. Unfortunately, the reality was somewhat short of the idea.


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