Dr. Chen was working at Foshan Electronics, the first time I meant him in 1983. He and his wife were educated In the United States and spoke very good English. At the time I meant him he was about 60 years old. Sometime after world war two in early 1960 they returned to China to be a part of the new China. His Wife was a Medical Doctor and he had a PhD in Chemistry. He is known as the Father of Television in China. Foshan Electronics made the first color TV in China with his help. Foshan City is located in Guangdong province in southern China a few hours from Hong Kong. Years ago this was also known as Canton Province. It is now known as Guangzhou which is the provincial capital of Guangdong province. Foshan is a small city of about 2 million people in Guangdong province.
Upon his return to China he and his wife found out China was going thru the Cultural Revolution starting in 1965 or 1966. To their dismay educated people where not viewed as good people by the Red Guard. They were sent to the farm lands for ten years to grow rice and to be trained in the new Communist ways. They were taken by force, losing everything they owned to the government. Chen told me it was a terrible time for the country and it was very difficult for him and his wife. He advised me many people died in those so called re-education camps.
The new communist training would make everyone equal and no one would have more than his neighbor. He told me during this time China had no schools open. All schools were closed as education was considered to be bad. Of course the communist did not want educated people who may question what they were doing. He told me people who where 10 years younger than him were not educated and this made a serious problem for China as most the people were very ignorant of the outside world. They had no Engineers to develop new technology, build bridges or buildings. After the Culture Revolution he and his wife were moved to Foshan and told to work in the areas that they had studied for many years ago. Dr. Chen is the only person who ever talked to me about the real Cultural Revolution.
Dr. Chen however, was proud of China and I learned a lot from him and the thinking of Chinese people. Chinese people are very loyal and proud of China. I could tell he was indeed brain washed. At the time he was making about $100.00 per month. He was going to retire from Foshan Electronics and take it easy. So, I unofficially hired him to be my interpreter in China as he could pretty much go anywhere in China at the time due to his high status in the Foshan City government. Foshan City owned the TV factory so he could travel anywhere he liked in China. Common people in China had to have travel passes issued by the government to travel from one province to another. I paid him in $1,000 cash each time I went to China and used his service. I always gave him the money in a white envelope. I would shake his hand and pass it to him during the hand shake so no one could see what I was giving him. If he got caught taking money it could be a serious problem, so it was better not be noticed. This money was put to good use as it helped pay for his sons’ education, who is now the President of a cell phone company in China.
Dr. Chen liked spring time and loved to eat deep fried baby birds. In the spring they take the birds just hatched while they still have no feathers and then deep fry them into little pop corn type treats. They are quite good. Another thing Dr. Chen believed in was Chinese herbal medication. One thing he stressed was always sleep with your head to the magnetic north. This aligns you blood in the correct magnetic order to keep your body functioning correctly. Your blood does contain iron so in a way this makes some kind of crazy sense. Iron is magnetic so maybe there is something to this idea. He was also a Tai Chi Master and I learned some Tai Chi moves from him. Tai Chi is done each morning by many people as a more or less a national exercise. This slow motion movement can be speeded up to obtain a deadly series of punches, strikes, and kicks.
Once we went with some customers to the Animal House Restaurant in Foshan. Upon walking in the building you see cages in the center of this large square room which had no ceiling. Along the outside walls were the rooms. Each room seated up to 10 or 12 people. The first thing you do is walk around, look in the cages and pick out what type of animal you would like to eat. These were all live animals and there was a very large selection of dogs, rats, snakes, monkeys, all kinds of birds, and baby pigs. I picked out 3 doves to eat. I ordered them grilled and well done.
The others ordered snake, monkey, and pig. The doves came out cooked well done with a skew thru the mouth and out the butt. It was good but the heads were still attached with the eyes still intact. Those eyes keep looking at me thru dinner. During dinner we had a lot of discussions on what type of food Chinese people would eat. Dr. Chen said we are Chinese and we eat everything. That was certainly true in my opinion. I have not had any contact with Dr. Chen for about seven years so I do not know if he is still alive or not. Dr. Chen was a kind gentleman and a good friend.
In those days there were two ways to get to Foshan from Hong Kong quickly. One was by train and the other by boat up the Pearl River. Both methods are very interesting as you will see many interesting sites along the three hour trip. By boat you see many san pan boats and people fishing all along the river. By train you see the farmers out in the field planting rice and other crops. Take you camera as some of the sights are very worthy of taking a picture for your future memories.
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