The Uninvited

Sunny-Side-Up is a new weekly column celebrating clear blue skies, fancy bookmarks and the snooze button. In other words, expect book/film reviews, DIY crafts and easy recipes for a lovely weekend.

Just tell him there’s no right or wrong in China; it all depends on who you know. Will you tell him that?

Dan is an unemployed factory worker who discovered that by posing as a journalist, he could eat at banquets… and get paid! So he became what others call “a banquet bug” in hope that he would stash away enough money for a decent apartment with his wife Little Plum. But he soon uncovered the ugly side of China and found himself embroiled in dirty scandals, corruption, and lies.

Look, these banquet eaters here are just cogs and gearwheels in a propaganda machine. They say anything you want them to say, as long as you feed them a feast and stuff their pockets with ‘money for your troubles’.

Every day the trains enter Beijing loaded with country girls, and the pretty ones like Old Ten form a city underneath the real city, establishing a life that is in secret symmetry to the actual life.

It was a good theme with much potential, but with great pity, the novel failed to expand on it as much as I’d have hoped. Like waiting for a climax that never came. The protagonist struggled through the novel, hoping for change, but was far too weak to bring about any possible progress.

As if he were a real journalist, with a formidable pen that could defend the truth. He has never felt that the title of “journalist” to be as sacred and as hopelessly beyond his reach.

She is like an instructor of Marxism, teaching beautiful ideas of communism, helping you see things far beyond the way they appear now, so you can enjoy them in advance while they are still beautiful ideas.

In the end, corruption and lies prevailed. Poor peasants had no right nor power to fight against the officials. And most tragically of all, Dan gave up his right to speak the truth, and succumbed to authoritative powers.

“While you’re on camera, don’t say anything about the powerful person who helped you publish your reportage.”
“I’ll say whatever you want me to say.”
“Good.”

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