I thought that I had such perfect timing to be in Beijing (北京) when the Military Parade was tight around the corner – I did not plan this, it was pure coincidence.
What is the Military Parade?
It is celebrating the end of the war China had with Japan, during World War 2 and Japanese Imperialism.
I had 3 – 4 hours till the Acrobatics Performance at Chaoyang theatre (blog post: http://wp.me/p7aoqm-51), so I decided to
hope on to the train and got off at Tiananmen East station. Right when I got out of the station, there was a line for people to go on and have their bags checked. After I was able to get into the area, I realized that the block where Chairman Mao’s picture is, was blocked. So this was the best picture I was able to get. In the opposite direction of this landmark was Tiananmen Square (天安门广场).
I remember having a conversation with my friend about how much I would love to be able to come to this place if I ever got to China because it has so much history. This was the place where the 1989 protest occurred, and this is why Tank Man exists! I think, reflecting back on this place and my experience, and what I know about China now, I am so glad to say that I am blessed to be able to have stood where the protestors stood. This is a big part of China’s past that I wish more Chinese people, especially Chinese youth knew more about, though I am not surprised why their extent of knowledge of this movement is not as detailed as what we would know because it is blocked in their search engines and in their education. I definitely did not feel a thump in my heart when I came to this place, but looking back at the pictures, and remembering what I saw while I was here gives me chills now, good chills.
World War 2 also has a big part in my life, as I am sure it does to many people, but that is the reason I exist and am in America. If World War 2 did not happen, my father’s parents would have never moved to Myanmar (Burma), and neither would my mother’s father. World War 2 was the pivotal point of my family’s history where we lost ties with our culture in China and our families. When I tell people that I am Chinese Burmese American – well first off, they always forget that I am Burmese, and always say, “You have to go back to China! So much has changed.” But the thing is, I was never there. There is nothing for me to go back to. While my Chinese American friends have relatives and ties still in China, China and me have a really thin and loose string that is attaching me with it. Thus I am fortunate, even though my grandparents are both from the southern China, that I was able to engage myself with a history so lost from my life because of World War 2.