There is a superstition in China known as Ke Xing which says that the baby that causes the death of her mother during child birth is considered to have something stronger than the mother's spirit, which is considered bad luck. Adeline's mother died in giving birth to her. Falling leaves is the true story of Adeline Yen Mah. It told of a person that was discriminated and emotionally abused by her family for all her life since her birth, all her life she suffered and was punished by her family from something she was innocent of and didn't do. To understand this, a brief background of her family history should be known.
Adeline's Father Joseph Tsi-Rung Yen came from a rich family in Shanghai. He was born in 1907. During the time when Shanghai was divided into foreign concessions He was born and raised in the French concession where citizens were ruled by the French, under French law, French police, and French troops. He went to a French missionary school and became baptized as a Catholic. Everything around Adeline's father, Joseph was French. Adeline's father suffered from colonialism. To him, the lowliest French citizen was higher than the highest Chinese Mandarin. His Sister on the Other hand, Adeline's Aunt Baba never stepped into advanced education because it could be considered detrimental to the marriage prospects of young girls. Only the ignorant women were virtuous. - Confucius. Adeline's Grandfather and Grandmother played a great role in her life, just as her Aunt Baba did, for they were the ones that stood by her and encouraged her during her childhood. Adeline's Grandfather Ye Ye was successful during his time and many mei-po (professional female marriage broker) were constantly coming up to him, he was then arranged to marry Adeline's 15 year old grandmother who came from a suitable Shanghai family, Grandma. They were married in 1903. Grandma was a very witty woman though she had difficulty walking because her feet were bound, wrapped tightly with a long, narrow cloth bandage. This was done to force the feet inwards, which was very painful make it the feet tiny which was priced by Chinese Men during those times. The Grand Aunt of Adeline on the other hand, was different form her Grandmother, unlike her, she refused to have her feet bound and she was an achiever, she was fluent in English and had western friends, she set up a bank called Shanghai Women's bank which became very profitable, most often depositors were from women everywhere and it also employed women. Adeline's Father was a young business tycoon during the time when he met Adeline's Mother, Ye Ye had so much trust in him that he invested his life savings into Joseph's company. He was known to have the power of converting iron into gold for he handled money very well. Marriage brokers were swarming around him, but he wanted a woman from Shanghai, sophisticated, unlike girls from Tianjin that were provincial. He eventually married Aunt Baba's friend Miss Ren Yong-ping an intelligent, witty and attractive girl from a middle class Shanghai family where she worked at Grand Aunt's bank together with Aunt Baba. Shanghai during those times was an exhilarating. Modern and busy city.
Joseph and his wife Ren (Adeline's Father and Mother) had a happy marriage, their first baby delivered by Dr Mary Mei-ing Ting was a girl though it had a partially paralysed left arm due to a difficult delivery. She was named Jun-Pei. Then came three sons, Zi-jie, Zi-lin and Zi-jun. There was a gap of three years before Jun-ling, Adeline, came along. She was born on November 30, 1937. They lived in a very nice and modern house. After two weeks of giving birth to Adeline her mother died of complications from giving birth, she was 30 then. Adeline never saw pictures of her father because it was all burned by her father after the funeral. Aunt Baba was the one who took care of all the kids after the death of Adeline's...
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