Chinese Whispers

I read in the Irish Times last weekend that the Thoughts of Chairman Mao in his Little Red Book were actually written by his secretary….

She had worked for Chairman Mao for many years, and was loyal and devoted . She saw him as a true visionary and had originally set out to faithfully record his sayings, believing that the whole world should read his wonderful thoughts. However, as more and more of his time was taken up with fighting Japan, fighting Russia and trying to control the world‘s largest population his sayings became more of the “Fucking peasants! Are they never happy?” variety, so she started to do write “his” thoughts for him.
She was absolutely besotted with him, but he was a man and she was a woman, so sometimes of course he drove her mad.
All of this would have been discovered earlier if anyone actually ever read the book (do you know anyone who has?), as the signs are all there. Here are some extracts:

  • The west is a vile pit of decadence and debauchery. This I firmly believe, and feel it should be visited to confirm that it is true. We could start at Victoria’s Secrets.
  • Capitalism crushes the soul, though not as much as filing.
  • A peasant should always be told she looks nice, even if the suit she is wearing is exactly the same as yours.
  • We have launched the Great Leap Forward. A true leap forward, of course, would have been a typewriter with Chinese characters on the keys. Taking shorthand in Chinese is a bitch.
  • We peasants should be content with rice. With a bit of invention I could think up about eighty foods that could be eaten with it that the greedy capital west would kill for after the pub on a Saturday night.
  • The west is evil and we are just and fair. The west has chocolate, television and motor cars, while we have paddy-fields. Oh, and nine million bicycles in Beijing. This is proof that there is indeed no God.
  • Since it is Valentine’s Day, would it have been too much to send a card, even anonymously? We peasants have feelings too, you know.
  • We invented fireworks and gunpowder, yet are unable to design a nice sling-back shoe. This is a mystery.
  • Materialism restricts the freedom of the individual, though not as much as not getting paid at all.
  • In a truly communist society the boss and his secretary would eat together occasionally. In a candle-lit restaurant, perhaps.
  • A war against the west would indeed be just. Would it not be better, though, to pump our athletes full of drugs and thrash them in the Olympics.
  • Having to collect one’s master’s dry-cleaning is not service, it is slavery. I We peasants will not put up with crap like this forever.
  • The Cultural Revolution should embrace the Beatles, cocktails and chick-lit.
  • We should have one child each. How you achieve this while your beloved doesn’t even acknowledge your existence half the time is not clear.
  • The sound of one hand clapping is a whooshing noise. There. Why do people keep asking themselves about this, it is a load of pork balls, with or without boiled rice.
  • A true communist does not have secret bank accounts in Switzerland. I’m just saying.
  • All the people will never be equal while Deng Xiaoping’s secretary gets to go on secret weekends with him while other, more loyal, servants spend their weekends at home with their cat.

Her name, by the way, was Twi Ting, and has become synonymous with pithily expressed though often inane thoughts ever since.

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