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My Life as Emperor,by Su Tong

>> Saturday, 7 July 2012

I finished reading a 300pages chinese classical novel, My life as Emperor, by Su Tong in merely 3 days. I slept late last night, reading in melancholy towards the final chapters, which ended around 5am ;)

Duanbai - the main character
Suddenly I heard the Funerian speak my name, the gravity of his voice deepening~ Fifth son Duanbai, succeeds to the throne as Emperor of Xie. (he is 14 years old)

Swallow - Dutiful and obedient servant, buddy and lifetime friend. 
What is your name
How old are you
~12. I was born in the year of the ram
I wanted you to sleep by my bed, then whispered in his ears: we can be playmates
Duanwen- Step brother
An unanticipated indecent has occurred near the marketplace. An old beggar known for roaming the cities streets in tattered materialised in front of Duanwen's horse, reach out with a cane he used to ward off dogs, and flicked the black cloth off Duanwen;s face. It happened so fast that it caught everyone by surprise. People discovered 2 words has been tattooed on his pale forehead, which was exposed in the sunlight: Xie Emperor

Lady Hui - a concubine and true love
She was clever, intelligent and quick-witted. A women of ethereal beauty and celestial fragrance. The birds have flown away, I said, somewhat puzzled. Her arrival has frightened off all the palace birds.

Calamity befall the Xie Empire
Now the empire has undergone great changes, chaos reigns among the populace, and it's too late to do anything about it. I don't have to be told that a sword aimed at my neck is inching, and All I can do is sit around and sign. Tell me Swallow, just what kind of dog-shit Xie Emperor I am?
Then came the sad parts

Emperor - the commoner
In that hot, muggy summer I began life as a commoner. No one recognised me. Who could have imagined that a young  merchant wearing a conical bamboo hat was in fact the deposed Xie Emperor? When we reached a hill five li north, I turned to look back at the Xie Palace - The majestic imposing home of emperors was nothing but an empty yellow shell, blurry as a mirage, calling forth illusory memories

Emperor is now a tightrope walker
I knew only up there could i confidently scorn all living things below me once again; only then was I the master of my own fate. 
One drizzly morning, I walked effortlessly from one end of the rope to the other. Finally i could fly like a bird.  Watch me all of you, watch me I shouted at the people below. Who I am? I am not the Xie Emperor. I am a tight rope walker. Emperor of the tightrope walker.

 Last Word from Swallow
I recall Swallow pushed me into a haystack. Don't be afraid jade locket, I ll hide you in this big vat. Those were the last worked I heard from swallow.

The burial
 I buried Swallow and Locket Jade together in the deepest and largest hole. By the time the last spadeful of wet earth covered Swallow's ashen face and the balancing log in Jade Locke's hands, I collapsed like a toppled Wall, totally spent. With Swallow dead, I was truly a man alone. I lay down on Swallow and Jade Lockets grave and slept. The sky and I were so close that I had one dream after another about birds. The sky I dreamt about was transparent and boundless. All the birds I dreamt about flew into that sky. I dream of a new world.

Lady Hui
The last time i saw lady hui was in the changzhou secondhand market. Ratty hair, grimy face,muttering constantly - was a sign of madness or not. She is selling some colourful finely trimmed slips of papers with poems written to the passersby. Authentic love poems written by the fifth emperor of Xie. Odour seemed to float above the street on that afternoon, and i knew that could have come from the peotry slips she was tring to sell, not from the body of that ill-fated prostitute. That was the last day I spent on the city The next day I joined a line of salt porters on my way out of the city of sadness.
 Bitter Bamboo Monastery and Juekong
 By the time i made roundabout way to bitter bamboo mountain, Joukong had already passed from this realm. Jeukong arrived here 8 years before me, He left me an empty mountain monastery and a weed-infested vegetable garden.
I found a wolf-hair writing brush with which i had practise calligraphy as a boy in the palace. All this indicated that Jue kong had waited for me those 8 years.
on clear morning they have clear view of bitter bamboo monastery midway up the mountain. They can see strange monk standing on a rope strung between 2 pine trees. either walking rapidly or striking a one-legged crane pose.

 The Analects
Many nights I have been studying the Analects. sometimes i feel that this sagely book holds all the wisdom of the world; sometimes i don't get anything at all out  of it.


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Ros Ros
Passionate about sewing, embroidery and crafts, love to read and write, to give and receive, and to self-nurture. 
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