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Joe Y (Blacksburg, VA United States)

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Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds
Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds
by Ping Fu
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PF's early experience in the US is as IN-credible, 19 Mar 2013
Much has been said about how fake her China stories are. Here is a copy of what I wrote about her early US experience in Amazon.com.

*************(For your amusement, 2/13/2013) This will be the latest and hopefully last addition. Some of the stories in this "memoir" are too entertaining and too comical not to share.

----
TITLE: My First Days, in the US of A

ABSTRACT: A Chinese Woman Landed in Albuquerque of USA, into a Soviet Prison with Three Child Inmates, Gift of a Chinese-speaking Viet Cong-victimized Refuge.

STORY LINE (Condensed from excerpt freely available on Amazon, click on the book icon): A wife walks out on her husband and their three children. The man needs a baby sitter if he goes to work. He drives to the airport and abducts a woman. He locks her up in his apartment as a babysitter. The police come and rescue her from captivity after three days. This woman is..... none other than our now (in)famous extraordinaire heroine.

DECONSTRUCTION: Oh yeah, what man looking for a babysitter would not thinking of going to the airport and kidnapping a woman fresh off the plane. You must be insane if you don't recognize the brilliance of this man's brain. I am sure he just wakes up in the morning and voila, he has a plan: today, I will drive to the Albuquerque Airport and kidnap the most extraordinary woman to babysit my three (somewhat retarded) children. I would give her some cookies and she would take care of my lovely children for however long with those cookies. It would be so much safer to lock up my children with a stranger I kidnap than by themselves. Oh, yeah, this will work beautifully because the law says you can't leave young children by themselves. I can't do that as a law abiding citizen! Who says a loving father can't trust a stranger to take care of his children, especially if he knows that the stranger had been a parent at the tender age of 3 to her 4 year old younger sister (sorry , I don't know what younger means as I only know three English words "hello, help and thank you"). My children of a few years old are so easy, smart and funny. They would immediately call this woman "Mama" and cling to her big and fat lies (oh, wait, I mean legs). What a great father I am! With this wonder woman as the babysitter, I can work then for however many days and not return. (Lessons learned by me: Next time, my wife threatens to leave me and my baby, I will tell her: "Yeah, you do that. I will drive to Roanoke Airport and pick up a newly arrived Chinese woman. Our baby will call her Mama in no time". That will teach her!)

What an apartment it was in the center of Albuquerque! It has concrete floors, windows up high, and metal bar not to allow the red sand of the desert in. The doors are so amazing and a paddle lock is all you need to lock anyone in. Those government subsidized apartments are so well build and so isolated, nobody would hear people scream. How wonderful these living quarters are! Every UNM professor should be provided one so they can lock their students in :)

What a bunch of characters too! There was this Chinese man conveniently behind the ticket counter (or was that a ticket vendor?) as an interpreter at the SF airport. There was this kind and probably handsome American (oh, I am sure he is not black) standing behind her rear end with a $5 bill. There was this Vietnamese-Chinese law-abiding immigrant in government low income housing with a paddle lock. There were the two burly NM policemen busting into a Soviet prison. No, these are not stereotypical, these are just typical Americana! Oh, did I mention this kind $5 man was an accomplice of the communist Chinese government in sending her to exile in NM? Oh, yeah, I am sure all these happened. Eh, one more thing, by the heroine's logic, this Vietnamese-Chinese is in a US labor camp in the center of Albuquerque. It is after all a government controlled apartment without hardwood floor and a refrigerator!

--------Other funny itty bitty to share
1. The heroine said in her own words she witnessed multiple incidences of infanticides with her own eyes in an interview with Sir Evans. Now imagine that! Imagine someone witnessing the few seconds of a female infanticide in action with her own eyes, imagine she did it multiple times, then imagine the perpetrators are parents, relatives and committee members (whatever that means). Forget about these Chinese barbarians as human beings. I am sure they are not that kind of animal with thousands of years of civilization. Just imagine what type of character you have to be in order to run into someone tossing babies into rivers, some even with umbilical cords attached, in remote villages and countryside. What do you come up with? Dark, faceless, invisible, shadowless and shapeless souls roaming around the dark skies, smelling blood and imminent death? Lord of the Ring? Harry Potter? Star Wars and Darth Vader?

2. English, oh, English, English is a funny business. We park on our driveway and drive on the parkway! Now imagine this: a father sends his daughter to America penniless but armed with three words: Hello, Help and Thank You. What kind of life is the father envisioning for her daughter in the US of A!? Yeah, which loving father wouldn't prepare her angel so thoroughly, especially an Engineering professor with an MIT degree (this was leaked by the heroine in an interview with Taiwanese news media). With such cultured sets of parents, of course, they would think that English is so trivial in American. No worries, everybody there speaks Chiglish. Penniless, no worries, we will feed you a lavish meal (with pictures to prove it in the book) to send you off and it should be good for months. Besides, Shanghai Mama has prepared a can of your favorite dish (Shanghai Mama, how cute! Why not Dancing With the Wolf? Calling someone adopted parents is so lame, America!). You can take it with you and even share it with those stray kittens on the Albuquerque street corners (I mean, if not for the kidnapping, where would she stay when penniless or $5 in the red? There is another story line: a kind American let her sleep in the master bedroom). Besides, you can wait table and babysit kids. The no working rules for student visa holder? Don't worry, the US is the land of the free and the home of the brave. When you interview for a babysitter. Don't forget to mention that you are so good with children that the first time they see you they will call you Mama!

*******************

ADDENDUM (2/8/13):

Could you imagine if someone, for money and fame, had perpetuated and published outlandish tales along with the collective story of the horrific experiences of all Holocaust survivors as one's own! I can't even find words to describe how ungodly such a despicable act would be to the real survivors and the millions who perished! Please, please do not tell me you are honoring them with your lies! (In response to the allusion that the author is feeling like a Holocaust survivor reliving the nightmares of the Holocaust. How shameless and outrageous! Dear readers, please also ask yourself why the very survivors of CR who now live in the US have come out in droves to question the authenticity of the author's story. If one were dare to substitute CR with Holocaust, God Forbid, who would you believe, the story teller or the survivors? This enrages me).

I suggest "Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution" by Ji-li Jiang which is still available on Amazon.
***************************(more stars for the heroine:)

ADDENDUM (2/5/13):

There have been a few promoters of this so-called "Memoir" in the last couple of days. Common threads in their "reviews" include labeling the critics as agents of the Chinese government propaganda machine, Chinese patriots ashamed of their country's history of the Cultural Revolution, or even computer robots under China's control. In reality, these critics are human being of flesh and blood; most have advanced degrees from reputable US universities and they reside in the States by choice and for the love of this country; there is little love lost between them and the Chinese government, past or present.

Still raw, however, are their memories of being force-fed stories of manufactured heroes and other kinds and even being forced to lie for survival while in China before, during and after the cultural revolution (CR). Countless lives were lost during the infamous famine right before CR. Yet, the author described a lavish life style in Shanghai even when all the communist leaders at the highest levels were cutting their own food rations. Many who lived through CR are rightly incensed by the story for her blatant fabrications and fact bending. The emotional response by many may be rooted in the feeling that her imaginative ordeal so very much cheapens the real suffering of millions during that very dark period of China's history.

There is a telling sign about these positive reviews as rarely have their authors disputed the charges of falsehood of the story. Instead, many attempt to discredit the messengers based on the Chineseness of their names. While they are quick to insinuate the connection between the critics and the Chinese government, at least a few never disclosed their close ties with the authors or the authors' interest when they obviously existed.

I personally find the whole episode to be comical and sad at the same time. The comical part should be obvious from my glowing 5-star review. I am sad because many in the US and the media worldwide so readily accepted her tall and outlandish tales for reasons deep in their psych; I am sad because I believe that this Chinese woman, with similar experiences with many of us growing up, needs professional help of a different kind from what she is paying or provided for.

------------------Original Comment (2/3/2013)
This heroine's American experience started with a UA flight from Shanghai to SF that didn't exist at that time (January, 1984). The Chinese government was sending her to NM for intentions unknown to her. Yet they were so considerate to give her a traveler's check so she could buy a ticket from SF to NM. She was so obedient that the first thing she did in the land of the free was to use the money for a flight from SF to Albuquerque.

At the airport in NM, she was picked up by a strange Vietnamese-Chinese man who kept her captive for 3 days. She was then rescued by police and sent to her school she didn't know she was supposed to attend. In about half a year, she mastered English, got into a graduate program in literature at UNM, figured out the poor employment prospect with such a degree, heard a professor talk about Asian grad students not connecting with American culture by not starting at the undergrad level and decided to start her education anew as a freshman, applied to UCSD and started her computer science program there in the Fall.

Now the story gets even better. In the same Fall, the same woman took a seat on a driftwood log on the beach at Del Mar and looked out to sea. A man named Len Sherman with a software company happened to walk by and started the conversation by "Why so pensive, young lady?". She was hired as a programmer just a few weeks into her freshman year by this entrepreneur. This man begged her to stay in his company and offered her a 5% stake in his company worth millions, but this brilliant woman turned him down. Instead, she moved across the country to work as a technician at Bell Labs in Illinois after finishing her degree in two years at UCSD (1986). But that made sense because it was all part of a more grandiose plan to get a doctoral degree from UIUC and to mentor a freshman named Marc Andreessen, who would develop Mosaic at her suggestion.....

So, what an American experience to start your new life! I didn't make any of these stuff up. They are all here in the Feature Article by John Brant "Entrepreneur of the Year: Ping Fu" ([Apparently, Amazon doesn't allow links to other sites, but a Google search easily locates the article]).

IN-credible stories, indeed! What if one's nose could really grow longer as Pinocchio's?


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