Mao's Last Dancer- Li Cunxin Mum Point of View

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Li’s Niang.

I have seven sons and our family has lived in terrible poverty in Qingdao, China. I am proud to be a mother of seven and I am especially proud of Li for being part of the Beijing Dance Academy, not only am I delighted to have a son like Li but I am also full of pride because of my other six children who have helped me through everything.

When I was little my niang tried to bind my feet. Only some woman bounded their feet, even though my niang and my friends had bound feet it felt painful, it was an excruciating pain. I ran away every day from my niang because I didn’t want her to bind my feet, eventually I got away from it. When I thought about this I thought that Li my 6th son was special, he was as strong as me when I was little and he had determination to do the things he wanted in life. Even though my family now and back then were both in appalling poverty my life was still full of happiness and love. I tried my best but I always thought that my niang wasn’t proud of having a girl in her family, she would have been happier with a son to help her and to support the family. My niang would always tell me that she loved me and that it was good to always be myself, no matter what other people would think. Even though these things during my childhood were a horrible experience for me, I still carried on with a happy childhood. My life now has a similar story; I feel like I was always starving my husband and children, we basically lived on dried yams. Only sometimes did we have small fatty pieces of pork from the butcher. This was a treat for my family. This was the life for many peasants in china such as us, I worked all day, just like my niang did when I was a child. Even though I did overwork myself, it was better for the children to have a better childhood than I did. My children did in fact have a similar life to me when I was young but Li was special and had determination to learn ballet and to be known around the world. I have had five...
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