Reading Vice Chairman Ye’s Poetry

China, 1977-1978

“Who attacks a city does not fear the use of force, learning to read is difficult. Science has obstacles, hard work is the way to surpass them.”
Recently, this poem by Vice Chairman Ye has been on my mind. It has inspired me and given me the strength to break through foreign language barriers and fight my way to the summit of technology. Because of requirements at my job, I decided to teach myself English. Leaders and comrades were very supportive, and some also sent me handy study materials and books. However, I quickly realized that a lot of time is needed to master a language, and I became discouraged. On Sunday, my mother came over and saw me frowning, and she said, “I knew that you would have that look on your face. Come now; I will give you a gift”. Mom opened her bag, and I saw a calligraphy piece with the name “Li” on it. It was a quote from Vice Chairman Ye’s “Research”. After dinner, Mom talked about this poem. She talked about past battles, the difficulties of today, the ideals of the youth, and the strong will of the revolution. Mother and I stayed up until midnight talking all about it.
There is no time for sleep. I have to get up and keep pushing forward. The moon is shining in the sky and the stars are shining as I turn around and listen carefully. Downstairs they seem to still be reading. Looking off into the distance, it seems that I can still see the lights of Zhongnanhai… Ah, but it is just a fleeting sight, like the waves of the sea. I thought of Chairman Mao, Premier Zhou, and Commander Zhu. I thought of Chairman Wang and Vice Chairman Ye, the older generation of proletarian revolutionaries. The revolutionary volunteers were established in their youth. In order to seek the truth of the revolution and seek the liberation of the people, they struggled through countless hardships and so many battles. When the revolution encountered a defeat, they were not discouraged. At critical junctures in the revolution, they committed their lives to the cause and were desperate to move forward in exchange for the happy lives we have today. How could they go forward so bravely? It is because their purpose was so clear. The lofty ideals gave them amazing perseverance to overcome difficulties and obstacles.
The difficulty now facing us is the need to study and improve science and technology. Why is it so hard to face of this difficulty? The key point is that there is no clear meaning of “study” and no revolutionary cause is established. Therefore, it is impossible to have an indomitable will when trying to overcome the obstacles involved with science and technology.

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