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Bubba tea.

Selections from an unauthorized translation of Bill Clinton's memoir, My Life, published in China in July. Translated from the Chinese by Alex Beds.

My uncle Buddy was a little more educated than Papaw, and more knowledgeable. From him I learned about even more wonderful things. Buddy loved to eat ham. Lots of times, he'd buy a ham, bring it home, and call me and my cousins over to eat it together while we chewed the fat. It was from Buddy that I first heard that China was one of the world's most ancient cultures, that in ancient times its technology was already very advanced, and that very early on it had produced the Four Great Inventions. Take, for example, the cannons that were tested in Buddy's munitions factory. Originally, gunpowder was invented by the Chinese. Not only that, the compass, printing, and paper were also great creations of the Chinese people. Buddy said, "China's ancient inventions far surpassed those of all the other countries of the time, especially before the fifteenth century. There's lots of proof. In those days, China's science and technology left us in the dust."

I used to listen raptly to these stories all the time. I knew that the Four Great Inventions were extremely important. I said excitedly, "Uncle Buddy, where is China?"

Buddy said, "In the East, where the sun rises."

"Quick, take me to China to play!"

"It's too far away."

"How long do we have to wait before we can go to China?"

"After you've grown up ..."

Ever since I was little, I yearned to go to China. I thought it must be a mysterious and special place. Whenever I saw one of the cannons Buddy tested being fired, saw the force with which the shell came whistling out, I would think how incredible the Chinese invention of gunpowder was.

Hillary's mother could tell that her future son-in-law was a simple and honest man, likable and easy to get along with. She specially poured me a big glass of mineral water, and added some sugar, saying, "Now, can you tell me what you know about the philosophical traditions?"

Encouraged, I said, "Chinese philosophy, Indian philosophy, and Western philosophy, which later originated in Greece, can together be called the three great philosophical traditions." As it happens, I have a special love for Chinese philosophy, so I singled it out for a thorough explanation. "Ancient Chinese philosophical thought can be traced back to the Shang Dynasty (sixteenth century B.C. to eleventh century B.C.). The concept of the Eight Trigrams, documented in The Book of Changes, contains not only an embryonic form of the dialectical method; it also contains an embryonic form of materialism. During the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods (770 B.C.-221 B.C.), Chinese philosophy gradually took form, and produced the Hundred Schools of Thought. Afterward, the Qin Dynasty united China, and during the Han Dynasty, Confucian thought achieved dominance. In the course of the development of China's Buddhist philosophy--the successor of Indian Buddhism--and Taoist philosophy, many topics were explored, including the origin of the world, the difference between ancient and modern, and the relationships between man and heaven, concept and reality, form and spirit, knowledge and action, and movement and quiescence. Chinese philosophical thought has deeply permeated the Chinese people's spirit and tradition of thought, and has had a considerable influence on world civilization."

During my second term as governor, Arkansas made a great effort to attract new, advanced technology. Although I was in the smallest and poorest state in America, I was concerned about the entire world. I paid close attention to China's reforms, and deeply admired Chief Architect Deng Xiaoping's statements about science and technology. Indeed, science and technology are the number-one productive force. They are the power that drives economic and social development.

I said, "Backward and advanced are all relative. China's ancient technology was very advanced, and although they fell behind in modern times, according to reports they will be launching their own satellites very soon." (The first satellite was later successfully launched on April 24, 1970.) "I have a great appreciation for Mao Zedong's saying, 'Do you want to know what a pear tastes like? Then go try it. Eat it yourself.'"

Bush said that this year a record number of women are running for senator. Then he added, "Let's see how they do. I hope a lot of them lose." Right away, many women voters laughed at this incumbent President for failing to study and apply Mao Zedong's thought in everything we do, for Mao Zedong laid great stress on the role of women, saying that "women hold tip half the sky." Now that Bush has offended "half the sky," is there any hope of victory for him?
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Title Annotation:Adaptation; Bill Clinton's memoir, My Life, translated from the Chinese
Publication:Harper's Magazine
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Nov 1, 2004
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