Not only is it necessary to introduce myself, but it is also necessary to introduce Mr. Lu Xun, whose story “Diary of a Madman” (狂人日记) was the inspiration for the title of this blog.
Lu Xun was born in China in 1881, and wrote during China’s Revolutionary period. As a young man he studied medicine in Japan, in order to learn the Western techniques that would have saved his terminally ill father, had his father not been such a firm believer in Chinese traditional medicine. But while at university, during the Russo-Japanese War, his class was shown a slide that changed the course of Lu Xun’s life. The slide depicted a Chinese man about to be executed by the Japanese for acting as a Russian spy. Around him stood a crowd of Chinese citizens, gazing on apathetically as the man’s fate was decided before their eyes. Lu Xun suddenly realised that it wasn’t the bodies of the Chinese people that needed healing, but their minds. From that point onward he resolved to become a writer, to change China with words, to wake its people up to injustices that were being dealt to China during that time and call the country into action.
In my opinion, it still remains to be seen whether Lu Xun’s dream will come true, if the people of the world (not just China) will ever completely wake up to the suffering of the world, to even have the guts to sympathise with others, let alone take action. We all find it so easy to hide away, to turn our backs and say, “That’s not my problem.” I know it, I’m guilty too. But if each one of us took the time once a day to be kind to a stranger, maybe the world would be a little bit brighter. I don’t have big dreams like Lu Xun, but if by spreading understanding I can bring people closer together, then I’d consider my work a success.
I encourage you to read the works of Lu Xun, and from there, whatever takes your fancy! Don’t be afraid to try something different, or learn something about another country’s culture. Happy reading, and happy sharing~