Eventually, we went back to our old hometown of Sha Pa and lived with our parents. My parents were still considered "suspect" by the communist factions and were not allowed to return to their former jobs. Anytime some communist organization wanted them, my parents had to go where they were told to receive public criticism.
The entire town looked down upon our family. None of the other children would play with us. Wherever we went, other children were allowed to hit us and insult us anyway they wanted. We were not allowed to fight back in anyway. Our parents warned us that fighting back would only make it worse. So, we just took it. We were allowed to go back to school but quite often I got home with my school bag torn, or clothes torn, or bruises on my arms or face.
The schools were not modern, nothing like the schools in the United States. We sat on long benches at tables, which were nothing but long boards laid on support posts. The boards weren't even attached which would prove very painful for me.
It happened one day at school while the other kids were out playing during a break. As usual, I remained in the classroom studying. I had nothing else to do. I was sitting at my table doing my work when a group of kids, some in front of me and some in back of me, smashed the two table boards together catching me in the middle. I was severely injured by this.
It was also the last straw. I couldn't bear the abuse anymore so this time I fought back. I hit one of the kids in the eye. That night, the boy's mother brought him to my home. She yelled at my mother and me. She said my mother was a 'devil mother' who raised a 'devil kid' to kill good people's children.
She demanded my mother pay for medicine to treat her child's injuries. All he had were some bumps and bruises, nothing compared to what they done to me. But that woman stood there shouting and demanding my mother pay her five Chinese Yuan. It was an outrageous sum. Eight Yuan was enough to feed a person for an entire month. My mother, of course, was stunned by all this.
I hadn't told my mother what had happened. She did not know what was going on. She became so mad that she grabbed me and gave me a good hit. I did not cry at all. I only held my fists tight and just took it.
Later, when my nanny helped me to wash and change clothes for bed, she found huge bruises on my back and chest. She asked me what happened, then I told her the truth. The next day my mother took me to see a doctor. The doctor said that I was greatly injured internally.
Then my mother felt so sorry. She held me tight to her chest and cried and cried. I suffered from those injuries for many, many years.
Despite this incident I was allowed to continue in school and to go to high school. The insults and abuse never stopped. I was still considered a 'devil kid' by many people. I was seething inside but I focused on my work. I always got the highest marks in school and was even made a class leader.
When I was little I heard stories about Qigong masters and miraculous healings. I loved those stories and wished that one day I could become a healer like that. During the Cultural Revolution no one taught Qigong openly. The government did not sanction Qigong and anyone caught teaching or even practicing Qigong would have been arrested. I wanted very much to learn and finally I found my first teacher.
Early on in high school I met a man who was a Qigong master. He agreed to teach me in secret. The Cultural Revolution was over but it was still dangerous for anyone to teach or practice anything that wasn't sanctioned by Chairman Mao and the communist government. My master taught me some very basic Qigong movements and meditations. He also taught me Kung Fu and Tai Chi.
I really enjoyed this, especially the Qigong. I found that when I did the Qigong part I felt so peaceful. I felt so good about it that whenever I felt miserable I did Qigong. It always made me feel better. I didn't understand why and I wouldn't learn the true power of Qigong for many years to come.
After high school, many of the students like me were sent to live in the country to work as farmers. Chairman Mao said we were being "called upon" to serve our coun try. We weren't "called." We were forced to go. Soldiers took us.
We were told that we would be "warmly received" by the country people but we weren't. They didn't want us there. This was a poor and lonely, hilly country. People had not enough land to grow food for themselves. Now they were forced to receive one hundred and seventy-five more young people. That meant that they had to give up some of their own land to help us to survive. So we had conflicts. We were given the worst of everything.
Soon, the local government took us to a place that was even worse. The land hadn't been cleared. There was no place to even grow any crops. We worked like slaves, sixteen hours a day, to open up the land for farming. We built our own shelters to live in.
We created the paddies for growing rice but there was no water nearby. So, we carried the water to the paddies in large wooden jars. The closest water was a mile away. When that supply ran low, it was two miles to the next closest water supply. We carried in thousands upon thousands of gallons of water. Still, the land was so poor that no matter how hard we worked we couldn't grow enough food to feed ourselves. Some of the girls became prostitutes in order to survive. If they were caught they were severely punished. Quite a few of the young people nearly starved to death.
In order to survive, I risked my life to catch poisonous snakes to sell in the farmer's market. Poisonous snakes were used to make medicine and they brought a pretty good price. I found that if I could catch three or four snakes a month, I could make enough money to eat.
Whenever the weather was hot, in the early evening, I would take a bamboo stick and sneak off down into the valley near the stream and search for snakes. I took off my pants, tied knots in the legs and used them as a bag to hold the snakes. Then, very early the next morning I would take them to the market to sell.
I would often sneak off at night to be by myself so I could practice my Qigong. Somehow it always made me feel better. It helped keep me going.
The work was very hard and I suffered many injuries and diseases in the country. One time, we were hauling wood, very heavy loads, which we had to carry for miles. There were two of us carrying this huge log down a mountain trail through heavy forest. The log was probably 20 feet long and weighted at least 500 pounds. We carried it on our shoulders with one man carrying the front end and the other the back end. I was the man in front.
The man behind me, just a teenager like myself, stumbled and fell dropping his end of the log. Without any warning, the entire weight of the log came crashing down on my neck, shoulders and back crushing me to the ground. It's amazing that I wasn't killed. My back was so seriously injured I was in bed for two months. From that time on, my back was in constant pain. My feet were in constant pain. I had an infection in my eyes. It was a miserable life.
But, I also learned a lot about traditional Chinese medicine during those years. I learned more about how to use herbal medicine and acupuncture. This was the only kind of medical care the peasant farmers had. It served them well. That and my Qigong and the poisonous snakes I sold for food are what kept me alive.
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