Thursday, March 21, 2013

Questionable Fact: Fu Ping's Childhood in Shanghai

The Original Story
According to Bend, Not Break, Fu Ping was taken by her Shanghai Mama, the sister of her biological mother (Nanjing Mama) when she was 11 days old. She grew up in Shanghai with her adopting family until shortly after her 8th birthday in 1966, when a group of Red Guards took her from the loving family and sent her back to Nanjing. She did not realize that her Shanghai parents were not her real parents until that day.

The Earlier Story
In Drifting Bottle, Fu Ping wrote (Page 15): 
It was different at home. One day, I suddenly announced to my Dad and Mom: my career plan is to be a driver of the small motor-tricycles. This shocked them. Chinese parents always wish their children grew up to do big things and have significant achievements. This is called "wish kids to become dragons." The motor-tricycles were used by small business people in transportation. It was very noisy and emitted black smoke in the rear. We called them "farting bugs."
I grew up on a university campus, right outside of the campus is the famous Yudaojie of Nanjing. In ancient time it was a road dedicated to the emperors, thus called Yudaojie (Emperor Road Street). Nowadays there are huge traffic on this ancient street, anyone could wander on this wide emperor road. In my childhood memory, the most proud people are those who drive the "farting bugs." 
在家里就不一样了。有一天,我忽然对爸爸妈妈宣称,我的理想是做一个开三轮车的司机。这可把他们吓了一跳。中国的父母都希望自己的子女长大干大事业,有出息,所谓望子成龙嘛。这种小三轮车是很多个体户跑单帮用的。行动起来不但蹦蹦蹦地吵声不断,屁股后面还冒黑烟,我们叫它“放屁虫”。 
我是在大学校园长大的,校外那条有名的南京御道街是古代皇帝经过的道路,所以才叫御道街。现在这古老的御道街可是车水马龙,谁都可以在宽阔的御道上徜徉。在我童年的印象中,最神气的莫过于那些开“放屁虫”的司机。
And also on Page 88:
This is Wuchaomen, very close to my home. I played here often when I was little.
这是午朝门,离我家很近,我小时候常在这儿玩呢。

The Debunking
The differences between the two autobiographies is striking. Besides the direct contradictory above, the Shanghai parents, who were heartily described in Bend, Not Break as much more of parents than her biological Nanjing counterparts, were not even mentioned at all in Drifting Bottle. Instead, we read that she not only grew up in Nanjing but she also did so with her biological parents on her side.

Drifting Bottle was written when Fu Ping was not yet famous. Her Nanjing mother had helped her copying and proof-reading the manuscript. Therefore that version met her mother's approval.

Fu Ping could claim that she neglected the Shanghai story and her true affection to her Shanghai parents in Drifting Bottle to avoid hurting the feelings of her biological mother. But would that be necessary not to mention the parents who had allegedly raised her and influenced her a great deal?

Someone claimed to be Fu Ping's childhood friend has emerged to testify that Fu Ping had indeed grown up in Nanjing instead of Shanghai. But since the individual chose to remain anonymous, the testimony, however credible it appears, could not be taken as a solid proof.

But there are other holes in Fu Ping's new version of her story, which we will continue to debunk in more specifics.

1 comment:

  1. This should be changed to a Broken Fact. There isn't a single FAMILY picture 全家福 (a family picture means a picture of all the family members) of her shanghai family where she claimed to have spent her first eight years. But there IS a FAMILY picture of her Nanjing family where she claimed only visited a few times.

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