Friday, May 6, 2011
Ephemera Exists EVERYWHERE!
Turns out I was WAY wrong - see for yourself!
My friend Suze was lucky enough to spend two weeks in Beijing with her partner Lindsay (he does business over there and this time she went along). They saw the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, temples, and many open-air markets. They ate rice three times a day (but passed on the fried scorpion-on-a-stick). They experienced the rush of being in a taxi, China-style (I will never complain about Milwaukee traffic again). I've only heard the beginning of the stories and have only seen a few photos - I can't wait to hear more!
Yesterday we had our weekly "lunch ladies" date and Suze handed me a colorful bag - inside were all of the little books you see here. Aren't they INCREDIBLE?!? Not one word is in English but judging by the photos some are tales of ancient dynasties and some are Communist propaganda. My absolute FAVE one is this one:
Even though it looks older the copyright on the little pamphlet is 1970. I'm only guessing here, but it seems to me like it's showing how brave and strong the Chinese worker is. Then again, perhaps it's a tale of a young Chairman Mao and his superhuman traits? I just don't know (can anyone here read Chinese?)
Suze said one of the most interesting things about China was how the people really weren't at liberty to talk about certain things. One of their tour guides was too young to remember the Cultural Revolution and apparently they don't teach it in school, because the guide had no idea what Suze and Lindsay were talking about. Days later, when they had an older tour guide, she talked about it at great length - whether or not she was actually allowed to do so is another story.
Can you imagine trying to piece together a country's history based solely on their propaganda? If I knew nothing about China and only had these little books as a reference, I'm sure my view would be skewed!
The next time you're in a foreign country, see if you can't discover some vintage ephemera of your own. What a great memento of your trip! In the meantime, I'll have to use this space to thank Suze again for her amazing generosity and be grateful for thoughtful friends who travel to exotic locales. :D