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Opening the Door to Hope By Peter Wu


Author’s Note During the Cultural Revolution in China, which started from the mid 1960s to mid 1970s, scholars were discriminated and humiliated. All colleges and universities were closed down. After this perilous era, Deng Xiaoping took control over China, and helped the country reform. China’s economy, and educational system were developing rapidly. People gained more freedom and the country was more engaged to international affairs. After my father graduated from high school, he didn’t know he could actually go to college; it wasn’t until he was told by a schoolmaster that he knew a new life waited for him. He left the small town called Chang xing in Zhe Jiang and went to study about foods at Rutger's University in New Jersey, U.S.A.


Family tree This is my family tree, there is more to it than just that, but here is the important part.

My dad

Me


Opening the  Door  to  Hope I  kicked  a  pebble  across  the  deserted  schoolyard.   It  bounced  off  against  the  old  China  tiles  on  the   cracked  walls.  I  wondered  what  it  would  be  like  if   knowledge  was  adored  in  this  country,  maybe  my   parents  wouldn’t  have  to  where  “tall  hats”  a  few  years   back.  Why?  Because  they  were  teachers.  Everyone  was   forced  to  work  in  the  Fields,  yet  everyone  was  starving.   Furthermore,  none  of  us  high  school  students  get  to  go   to  college,  where  you  explore  amazing  things  and  Find   out  how  to  make  it  useful  for  you  and  others’  life. I  heard  footsteps.  “Kejian,”  I  turned  around  and   saw  the  square-­‐faced,  shorthaired,  schoolmaster.  Even   though  he  was  only  in  his  late  40s,  he  looked  so  frail  


that if  the  wind  today  was  any  stronger,  he  might   collapse. “What  are  you  doing  here?”  he  inquired,  “Don’t   you  know  what  happened?” “Know  what?”  my  eyes  widening  a  little.   “Young  man,  you  are  very  lucky.  You  are  one  out   of  a  hundred  people  that  get  to  go  to  college.” “Since  when?”  I  thought  he  might  just  be  joking. “Since  Deng  Xiaoping  declared  the  Open-­‐door   Policy.” “How  come  I  didn’t  know?”   “Maybe  you  were  too  busy  working  in  the  Fields,”   mused  the  schoolmaster.  “Now  why  don’t  you  bring   the  news  to  your  family?”


Is he  just  pulling  my  leg?  But  in  my  image,  the   aging  schoolmaster  was  always  wise,  honest,  and  kind-­‐ hearted,  so  why  would  he  lie  to  me?  So  I  set  on  the   perilous  10-­‐mile  trek…  to  the  high  school.  I  took  a  long   walk  to  the  high  school  board  of  college  admissions   and  there  it  was.  It  was  as  if  those  three  characters   were  carved  in  diamonds:  Wu  Kejian.  I  rubbed  my   eyes.  It’s  still  there;  it  really  was  true!  I  get  to  go  to   college!  In  America!  A  new  place!  A  new  life!   The  next  thing  I  knew,  I  was  soaring  across  the   dirt  path  back  home.  I  wasn’t  tired  at  all.  Even  I  was   surprised  by  my  crazy  speed.  The  farmers  nearby   stared  at  me,  saying  things  like  “Don’t  run  too  fast!  You  


could get  hurt!”  But  I  didn’t  care.  All  I  wanted  to  do   was  Fly  back  home.   I  blasted  the  door  open  and  shouted,  “Mom,  dad!   I’m  going  to  college  in  the  US!”  My  mother  sprang  up.   She  ran  into  the  kitchen.  I  started  hearing  sizzling;   she’s  probably  preparing  a  feast  that  only  comes  once   an  year.  Dad  was  standing  there,  lips  trembling.  He   looked  like  he  was  going  to  run  around  in  circles,   crying  with  excitement.  But  instead,  what  came  out   was,  “Son.  Soon,  all  of  us  in  the  country  would  not  have   to  worry  about  starving.  We  will  become  a  strong   nation.  But  you  must  study  hard  at  college  and  exceed   in  subjects  that  will  be  useful.  Then,  you  have  the   ability  to  help  this  country.”    


In a  blink  of  an  eye,  the  day  I  anticipated  arrived.   My  head  hurt;  my  stomach  churned.  I  was  so  glad  that   the  Flight  was  over.  So  here  I  was,  JFK  airport.  So  they   really  weren’t  exaggerating.  Towering  buildings  poked   the  sky.  Taxis  were  like  hives  of  bees.    Noisy  vendors   were  chanting  out,  “Hot  dogs!”  No  wonder  why   America  is  called  the  “new  world”,  It  feels  really   strange,  where  you  First  Find  yourself  in  a  village   where  buildings  are  no  taller  than  5  meters  and  the   next  day,  you  suddenly  Find  yourself  surrounded  by   gigantic  industrial  structures,  cars  everywhere,  and   lights  gleaming  like  stars.  My  new  life  begins  here,   now.


Interview What happened during the event? After event? -the “bad guys” in the government were convicted and locked in jailed. China develops economy, education, freedom of people -starts in late 70s -Stop ideological debates, class struggles stop, Focus on economy, start opening the door, keep china engaged to world affairs, improving the justice system. -permits foreign products, such as McDonald’s, KFC etc. -First McDonald’s in Guangzhou, Line half a mile long How did it affect you? -Got opportunity to go to college, in USA -met Mom in US How did the event start? -Deng Xiaoping thinks over, figures out why China isn’t catching up with the rest of the world How did this event change your perspective of life/world?


-Opens everyone’s eyes gets broader understanding, more information of the world, meet people from all over the world. -People appreciate knowledge. New slogan “Knowledge is power” Were other family members affected by the event? -Mom, Dad, grandpa and grandma become well respected. Who was with you during the event? -Everyone in China. Family, Classmates. What was your most unforgettable moment during the event? -Was told by school master that he got a college permission, first didn’t believe, and went to high school to see college admissions poster and saw his name. -Next day, took a 15km walk to the college to study. -Friends envious. -In a countryside school. -Leaving China on airplane, arriving at JFK airsick, First time in New York -Feels that New york is Big, well developed, people friendly, straight and honest.


How did you feel that time? -Disbelief, surprise, excited, anxious, looking forward to starting a new life in a whole new environment.


Bibliography "Chinese Economic Reform." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Jan. 2012. Web. 07 Nov. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Chinese_economic_reform>.


Reflections What specific  challenges  did  you  face  during   this  project? It  was  hard  to  get  much  important  details.     What  did  you  learn  about  your  family  member?   (personality,  character…) He  was  a  hard-­‐working,  down-­‐to-­‐earth  country   boy,  who  yearned  for  knowledge. What  did  you  learn  about  yourself  (as  a  learner,   as  a  family  member)? I  learned  that  I  was  very  fortunate  to  be  in  this   genera=on.  I,  along  with  my  brother,  were  the   first  people  in  this  family  to  be  born  in  America.   How  have  you  grown?  (as  a  writer…) I  am  a  small  step  closer  to  becoming  a  good   writer.


Why do  you  think  doing  a  project  like  this  is   important? In  the  future,  if  we  interview  someone,  we  will   know  how  it’s  done. What  part  of  this  process  did  you  enjoy  most?   Why? Wri=ng  the  porBolio.  I  got  to  put  many   interes=ng  things  like  my  fathers  old  photos   and  my  family  tree. What  part  of  this  process  did  you  least  enjoy?   Why? Wri=ng  the  narra=ve.  I  had  to  make  a  lot  of   correc=ons  and  it  s=ll  isn’t  perfect. How  do  you  plan  to  share  this  project  with  your   family/  family  member? My  family  members  can  read  it,  and  give  their   perspecCves

peter01pd2018 Identity Portfolio  

A historical narrative based on my family's experiences.

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