China is burdened with history and that psychology of legacy is impossible to shake off for most people, myself included. Thus it would be unfitting, or even rude, to talk about myself without some coverage, or homage, to my elders.
My grandparents were, and have been, quite illustrious. From privileged backgrounds, the landed literati, they rebelled and fought for a new China. My parents have been less illustrious but have achieved fulfilment in their own ways.
As for me, I was born in Beijing, shortly after the market reforms started in China, and one of the first brood following the One Child Policy.
I have always loved Chinese culture, from the dynastic past, the exotic north west where my ancestors came from, to Red idealism.
And like many children of the Red Establishment, I wanted to be a scientist but was too dim, or a soldier but was too weak, or a scholar but was too worldly. Instead of following my forefathers' glorious footsteps in soldiery and governance, I somehow landed in rural England, studied Economics in a Roman city and then ended up in the metrop, working with some numbers and charts, and the like.
However, every so often and increasingly so with age, my mind lives in another land, where the air is subtly perfumed with the smell of incense, a misty yellowish glow through paper windows pouring into a room, where on a long teak table rests a brush, ink, soft paper, and I am alone, to the gentle music from the Peony Pavilion first performed in 1598...