BLCS Blog- Villiage Headman By Hannah Kilroy

March 1971

Today is the day that we have received the two city youths that were sent to us. They are considered intellectuals by the state, and us villagers have been given the responsibility of teaching these boys how we live. When they arrived, I was given the responsibility of going through their belongings to make sure that they had no forbidden materials. Most of their possessions were normal necessities, but one toy caught my eye as suspicious. As I was inspecting it, the two boys told me that it was called a vi-o-lin, and that it was some type of musical instrument, used for playing state songs, such as the one they played for me, called “Mozart is Thinking of Chairman Mao.” The song he played was beautiful, truly representing the country and Chairman Mao with beauty and strength. These boys may fit in the village after all, and they can learn much from us peasants on Phoenix Mountain.

April 1971

Work has resumed since the arrival of the boys on the mountain. I must deal with the task of getting all of the villagers out of their houses to the fields to work each morning. It's always been such a hard task when I need to rouse these lazy bums out of bed. The boys have not been easy either, but the older one, Luo, has brought in a useful toy that supports me in waking up the village. It is known as a clock, and it is a fashion of all of the urban cities and larger village. We are the first village on the whole mountain to be in possession of a clock. Each morning I go to the house on the stilts, and consult the clock to learn when to whistle for the start of the workday. This clock is very useful to me, and let's me and the peasants know the precise beginning and end of the workday. I appreciate it for its usefulness, but sometimes I wonder if it is broken. Usually I wake up, and when I go and check the time on the clock, the short arrow is only a smidge bit before the big 9. But every so often I go, and it is only pointing at the 8. or sometimes, the day seems shorter than usual, because the clock strikes six but the sun has not set. I guess that this proves the words of Mao, that we should focus on real work, and not little toys, because nothing is as set as the rise and fall of the sun

May 1971

A few weeks ago, I learned that the boy, Luo, had some talent! He recited to me a wonderful story of a film that he had scene. His tale was so good that I decided to allow him and his friend a short journey to Yong Jing to watch the film of the month there, and to put on a show for me and the other villagers. In return, they would be given a few days off from work, for travel to go see the show. When they came back, Luo put on a show, retelling not only the plot and conflict of the story, but also the detail of the setting and the characters’ costumes. He acted out each character and their voices and actions very well. I decided that his talent was a true treat for our village on the mountain, and that we should have one experience each month. Therefore, the two city boys would travel to Yong Jing to see each month’s screening of the movies there, and I would pay him for this service the same wages he would be paid in the field. Finding this solution that is so perfect has marveled even myself!

March 1972

We have had some very busy times on the mountain. There has been so much rain that it makes the work take longer, so I have doled out extra hours for everyone to complete. However, there has been a thick blanket of snow that has descended on our village today, so I have decided to give the villages the day off out of the kindness of my heart. I have even allowed them to travel around the villages of the mountain if they'd like, as long as they are ready to work tomorrow. For me this also means a day of rest, one where I do not have to remind these pesky workers that during the work day, they must work hard.

July 1973

It is summer again, and traveling is always easiest without lots of rain and snow, so I have allowed the boys to return to Yong Jing each month to bring back new movies to tell to everyone in the village.them being gone results in two positive outcome. First, I don't have to watch those pesky boys every minute. And secondly, when they are gone, I get to have full control over their little clock. I truly believe that I am the master, because it always seems to work better when they are gone. As master of the clock, I get to call the start and end of the workday to minute. But then they come back, and the clock no longer works as well.

September 1972

Earlier this month I headed off to a Communist Party conference in the city of Yong Jing. It's a collection for the strongest people in this country, and I was excited to be attending such a prestigious event. I knew that those who attended would be prolonged to experiment the high life of the city, and I wanted to see what they had there. I even made the choice to go to the best hospital in the area and get a bad tooth of mine removed. But the doctor there was an idiot! He removed the wrong tooth from my mouth, and now I'm left with the bad tooth still in my mouth, a good tooth gone, and a haemorrhage that has swelled up my whole mouth. I'm unable to even tell the peasants what to do. When the swelling finally came down enough for me to talk, I headed over to the house-on-stilts. I knew that the father of Luo had been a dentist, and I figured that Luo would be able to at least put some melted tin into the crevice of my tooth to stop the pain. Even after promising a month off of work for success, he said that he couldn't because he didn't have the right modern tools to drill into the tooth and better place the tin. Oh I was so frustrated, but I knew he was right. I had seen the equipment he meant in Yong Jing. Damn that idiotic Doctor!

October 1972

I have always known that those boys were trouble. When the tailor asked to stay with them, I thought it was odd. I decided one night to go have a look at what was going on. And through the darkness I heard the voice of Ma, telling stories, western ones! As a devout communist, it was my duty to enter, stop the nonsense, and report him. I stormed in and pointed my torch at Ma. I demanded that he come with me immediately. He slowly got out of bed and put his clothes on, and then walked toward me. But as he moved closer, I realized that there was a deal to be made that would benefit all of us. I asked his friend Luo if he remembered the tin for my bad tooth, and stated that if he could fix my tooth, I wouldn't report his friend or throw him in jail for the reactionary trash that he had been spreading. He seemed frightened, but agreed, and asked me to lay on the bed so he could get the tooth at an angle. He stuck a cold sewing needle in my mouth, and attacked my tooth. It hurt horribly, and I was fidgeting all around. The boy Luo said that if there was any chance of him fixing my tooth, I would be strapped down. The nerve! I reminded him of my role in the commune, but he replied that my body wasn't cooperating and needed to be restrained. I resigned my position, and let myself get tied to the bed. It was humiliating, but I was in so much pain from this tooth that I couldn't sleep or eat. They worked through the night, and I suffered through every second of it, but in the end, my tooth pain was ebbing, and I could see my survival in my future. It took to much to get that boy to fix my tooth, but he finally did it. Although dentists are considered intellectuals and are bad for our society, we certainly do need them sometimes.

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