"Gateway to heaven" - Tiananmen Square


"Gateway to heaven"

"Ouch, je je I'm telling mamma!" I yelled in agony, rubbing the imprint her book left on my head.

"No you're not, she won't believe you; I'm older," snickered my sister, and with that she ran up the crowded walkway; which in the morning hour, looked much like a stampede of bulls. As I walked toward school, I listened to the distinctive chatter of my fellow civilians, smelled the exhaust fume filled air and listened to the bells and whistles of another pristine day. This was Beijing, China on another busy workday, no time to talk, money is to be made, there is always somewhere to go and some place to be. It seems that this is the ideology of all Chinese; as I looked ahead, all I can see is a sea of black hair moving from side to side, up and down, in unison, everyone trying desperately not to drown. I tread toward the edge of the curb and am taken into a world of raging machine's, streetcars, bicycles, and automobiles, racing down the street carrying even more people to some important place. I see a void in the racetrack and take a chance to run across the street to school.

I am in my last year at Mao Tse-Dung Middle School, it is full of long maintained rivalries between its top students, all of us are supposed to be the best, we are to make our families proud in any way possible and build a prosperous future; because our parents and previous ancestors worked so hard so that we could have this exclusive chance.

I have always been an exceptional student, always attending the after school classes and always being at the top of my class in all the major subject categories. After the examination, when my fellow students and I had swarmed the student standings list, I always would read my name in the top three; endlessly hearing criticism from my competitors.

"Mei Ling, first in Maths, second in Science and first in technological studies, it is because of her guanxi!"

Amused, I would simply reply, "Haha, my guanxi had nothing to do with my success, maybe you should all try studying; maybe one day I might have some real competition!" Guanxi is something that I definitely have, my father is a senior member of the Chinese Communist Party, and he more or less can 'make things happen? for my sister and I. Next year, because of this, she was going to study in the United States, she does not have to go through all of the unnecessary obstacles that the government makes all university students go through; sometimes living with six per dorm room. She does not have to spend 5 years slaving away at a substandard job provided by the government, whose main emphasis of which is on the working class and how much money they can make for the economy to lift China into the Modern Western World.

"Mei Ling, what are you doing?" yelled my best ?pong yo?

I looked up in shock; I hadn?t realized that I was standing in front of my locker staring at it all this time. "Umm, nothing" I answered in a daze.

"Well anyway, did you hear about Hu Yao bang?"

"What about him?"

"You mean, you don?t know?"

"No, just tell me!"

"Well, he died of a heart attack today."

I froze: this man was one of my sister?s hero?s, he was an actual respectable Chinese dignitary, and he understood China?s need for change. I stumbled and replied, "Oh really? It must be all over the news, Ching Ching, I will probably hear about it later."

With that, I slouched away looking like a wilted plant in the desert on a hot summer day. Class seemed to have dragged on for hours and hours, each teacher's lecture droned on and on and I could not concentrate. I felt as though I were a rice farmer, counting every grain of rice I had harvested. I could only think about what my sister would do. She is the wild one of my family, the more ?American one.? She dresses in their fashions, she talks in their ways and she even listens to their music. She is a free spirit, if anything. She has her own opinions and she chooses to