Tuesday, July 25, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Ba Jin (1904 – 2005)


Chinese writer and anarchist; he was most famous under his pen name of Ba Jin.
Ba Jin
He wrote that the main mistake of his generation was having "said too many empty words" in the Maoist age to please the cultural bureaucrats.
Ba Jin quotes
This was a good beginning. All the outmoded rules of the hospital were broken. Minds which had been tied down by subservience to foreign experience were now set in motion. People began to speak, to think and to act boldly. A new world opened in front of them. They knew that what they were doing now was something unprecedented which doctors in capitalist countries had not been able to do. They were engaged in a battle to save lives and as the scope of the battle became wider an increasing number of people were drawn in. Later on when a difficulty occurred in the course of treatment they solicited the opinions of many doctors both within and without the hospital, depending on the wisdom of the many to tide over one crisis after another.
Ba Jin
I've lived on royalties all my life. It is the readers who have supported me.




Ba Jin quotes
I am a person always full of contradictions... It was hard to choose whether to devote myself to revolution as a soldier or as a writer.
Ba Jin
I have spent myself on all kinds of things I have advanced much politically but I have written little and moreover have written it badly.
Ba Jin quotes
The changes in the chief and the assistant chief surgeon were most noticeable. At first they felt that they were just fulfilling their duty to the injured worker but were very dubious about the result. But then, full of confidence they really began doing their best.
Ba Jin
The doctors realized very clearly that their minds and emotions were changing from day to day. On the one hand they were healing the patient, and on the other it looked as if they were healing themselves too. It was this chief surgeon who first volunteered to offer his skin when grafting began.
Ba Jin quotes
Lao Chiu's burns were so extensive that, with the exception of his scalp, two shoulders, the waist where his leather belt was worn and the soles of his feet, pratically his whole body was affected. His back and hips were burned deeply and his right leg was even worse. Every time it was necessary to turn him over and change his dressings ten doctors and five nurses were required and the process took several hours. Moreover, the patient suffered very much and was short of breath for a long while.
Ba Jin
The battle to save life is still going on. Up till now Lao Chiu has already lived for forty-four days. He lives on stubbornly and endures all suffering. Already he has become a banner, a fresh red banner. Many people regard him as a source of encouragement and as a model for them. Many consider him as a personification of the noble qualities of the working class and as a shining example of the great spirit of communism.
This battle to save life will eventually be won. The fact that Lao Chiu has lived until now is already a medical marvel. He has passed through one crisis after another and later he may face still more. But he will certainly live. Blind faith in established experience has been shattered, outmoded regulations have been smashed.
Ba Jin
Before my eyes are many miserable scenes, the suffering of others and myself forces my hands to move. I become a machine for writing.
Ba Jin
I believe in the future a new Dante will write a new Divine Comedy.




Ba Jin quotes
During all these days Lao Chiu was lying on the bed suffering continual pain. The doctors and nurses did their utmost to reduce his suffering to the minimum, but they could not completely relieve it. Even the chief surgeon said once, "When we were healing him I often thought that if another person was in his place he certainly would not have stood it so long, but Lao DChiu endured everything. When I saw him grinding his teeth to suppress his groans, I felt so touched that the tears feel from my eyes." Indeed he suffered great pain for a long period. While changing the dressings even laughing gas anaesthesia could not keep him quiet. Sometimes these pains were so intense that his whole body trembled uncontrollably.
Ba Jin
Only by not forgetting the past can we be the master of the future.
Ba Jin quotes
Later the assistant chief surgeon told people that he had been a surgeon for eleven years, had seen not a few patients die and consequently had become quite cold and indifferent. He was interested only in diseases as such and had no feelings for his patients as people. But what Chiu Tsai-kang had said impressed him deeply. Even after he left the patient's room he thought it over for quite a long while. Here was a man awaiting death who had to clench his teeth to endure the searing pain of his whole body, but who constantly had the nation's steel production on his mind and who wholeheartedly desired to return to his furnace. In the past, he had read of people with such public spirit and unselfish character only in novels. He had regarded them as nothing but ideal, imaginary creations of literary writers. Now he has seen such a hero in the flesh with his own eyes.
Ba Jin
Nobody would say the cowshed was heaven and nobody would say the inhuman torture of so many victims be called a revolution of the proletariat. ... A museum should be established to remind China of the follies and disasters that had fallen from 1966 to 1976. We cannot forget what had happened and history should not repeat itself.
Ba Jin quotes
Looking at this immensely swollen face in front of him the doctor gently consoled the patient, "Comrade, don't worry and you will recover." As a matter of fact, he was thinking quite the opposite, "You will die. I can be of no more help."
Ba Jin
When alone he secretly shook his head. But suddenly he recalled the analysis made by the Party secretary regarding "two kinds of social system, two attitudes, and therefore two different results." He felt as if he had seen a ray of light in the darkness. He said to himself, "Lao Chiu can endure pain of such magnitude, and in spite of his burns he is always thinking of going back to the furnace. He wants to live. Why should he not be able to live?" That moment, suddenly the doctor and the patient were drawn closely together. From then on, the doctor thought of the patient often and also tried to compare himself with Lao Chiu. The more he compared the more he felt ashamed of himself and the more eager he was to do his best for this worker. So, from the very first day the assistant surgeon learned something from his patient.
Ba Jin quotes
Now my education, life and consciousness are talked about by those who cannot understand what I wrote, what I think, what is my life. They make me up from their subjective imagination and attack me publicly as well as secretly. Because my novels completely obscure my behaviour and ideas, and result in a lot of misunderstandings, my name is related to nihilism or humanism, although I have written a book of over three hundred pages to explain my ideas (this book is very easy to understand and without a metaphysical term). Those who talk about me never read it. They judged my ideas according to one of my short stories, then deduced a variety of strange conclusions and decided which doctrine I belong to. I have been caught in this predicament all these years and cannot get rid of it...
Ba Jin
He had never disagreed with anyone in his life, no matter how unfairly they may have treated him. He preferred to swallow his tears, suppress his anger and bitterness; he would bear anything rather than oppose a person directly. Nor did it ever occur to him to wonder whether this forbearance might not be harmful to others.
Ba Jin
I felt a joy in my heart, which seemed filled with love, love for the sun, the snow, the wind and the hills, love for everything around me. It was in this mood that I walked down the snow-covered path dotted with black footprints. Further down the footprints mingled and made dirty little puddles. I picked my way over the thickest snow because I loved the crunching of snow underfoot. With the sunlight pouring down and a breeze in my face I felt that balmy spring was coming to meet me.


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