By Sang Ye, Miriam Lang, Geremie Randall Barmé
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I was crazy. Man, I went out and bought an electric cart, you know, the kind disabled people use. The top speed might have only been thirty kilometers or so an hour, but I felt like I was on top of the world. Later on I couldn’t get a license for the damned thing, so I was always being stopped by the police. Since I wasn’t disabled, they said I shouldn’t be driving it. I took the hint, and I knew a bit about cars anyway, so I got myself a real one. We were so clueless back then; like we thought the best car in the world was a Toyota Crown.
I had absolutely nothing to show for my sixty thousand yuan. Some price to pay to be fucked over like that. Had no choice but to accept the mess. I couldn’t very well carve myself out a chunk of sorghum fields from the old peasants and take it back to Beijing as payment for my share, now could I? It was a lesson I wasn’t going to forget in a hurry, though. No matter who spoke to me about how much money you could make by setting up a business, I simply wasn’t interested. Sure, running your own enterprise sounds more serious than being a profiteer, but fuck me dead if you don’t actually have to produce things and then get entangled in all of the shit that goes with production, and all the people who have to get a piece of the action.
I’ve bought my own, and I can go wherever I want in it. It’s only right that they’d want to suck up to a God of Wealth like me. I deserve it. To be honest, when I was an angry young man, my only fault was that 14 C h a i r m a n M a o’s A r k I loved a good fight. And, believe me, I was damned good at it. I wouldn’t say I could beat all comers, but there was no one in South Beijing who could stand up to me, take my word for it. Back in ’82, outside Yongding Men, I had a run-in with a pack of Northeast Tigers,1 though if you ask me they were a bunch of pussies.