PLEASE NOTE:

MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24.com. The stories here come from users.

 
IanMartin
 
Comments: 8
Article views: 320
 
 
Latest Badges:



 
View all IanMartin's badges.
 

Mao's Little Red Book

09 November 2012, 15:15

My copy is 40 years old. I was 21 when I got it in London in 1972. I bought it partly out of curiosity but mainly as a gesture of defiance, like the way I had chosen, on arriving in the city; to go straight to Soho and descend a flight of grimy steps to a strip club, pay my fee, and in the company of half a dozen other men in raincoats watch a bored female take her clothes off in a decidedly unsexy performance. It had done nothing for my libido but, in her defence, it was only 11 o’clock in the morning. I left the club in a more flaccid state than when I had entered, and feeling more than a little disappointed. I had hoped to come out of there morally corrupted and ready to embark on a year of drink and drug crazed orgies that would involve all manner of deviant sexual behaviour. No such luck. I was no different to the wanker who had walked in.

 

Same thing with Mao’s little red book. It was nothing like the revolutionary call to arms I had expected it to be. In fact, it was just plain boring. I skimmed through it, looking for something to fire me up, something that would inspire me to throw a Molotov cocktail at …at … Well, yes. But instead, all I could find in that long stream of tiresome drivel was stuff about party structure, revolutionary struggle, imperialism, reactionaries and paper tigers. In frustration, I threw the sayings of Chairman Mao into my suitcase and never tried to read it again for four decades.

It did give me a bit of a thrill, though, when I arrived back in ons Suid Afrika in 1973 after my year of unrequited debauchery. Along with publications like “The Communist Manifesto”, “Portnoy’s Complaint”, “Naked Lunch”, “Playboy” and “Penthouse”, Mao lay concealed under a layer of religious pamphlets. When the thug from the Thought Police told me to open my suitcase on a trestle table in the customs shed at Duncan dock, I knew I was living dangerously, man. But when the Dutchman’s eyes fell upon all those images of dear sweet Jesus with little children gathered about him, he immediately lost interest and I was allowed to go. (In those days they were only just learning how to spell paedophilia.)

The years went by, the white supremacists were defeated, and the struggle heroes set me free. I had done nothing to be granted the dubious privileges of apartheid, and I certainly did not deserve to be liberated. However, it takes a fool to look a gift horse in the mouth, and in 1994 I accepted my freedom with unstinting gratitude. Only now, after eighteen years, have I begun to wonder about the trustworthiness of this steed that was thrust upon me. Dark thoughts throng my waking hours, and my nights are interrupted by the thunder of hooves. The mare rears with a deafening whinny and I smell the stench and see the huge teeth, black with rot, and the entire oral cavity is alive with maggots.

It was on such a night, too agitated to stay in bed, that I cast about for something to read. Sandwiched between “Varieties Of Religious Experience” and “Pilgrim’s Progress”, it caught my eye because it was in the wrong section of my library. What the hell was it doing there, I thought, taking it down? I opened it at random, expecting to be confronted by a desiccated slogan caked in dust.

“The comrades must be helped to remain modest, prudent and free from arrogance and rashness in their style of work. The comrades must be helped to preserve the style of plain living and hard struggle.”

The words jumped out at me like a tiger – a real tiger, not some paper imitation. It snarled ferociously, eager to sink its teeth into the fat rump of an ANC politician.

“Well, I’ll be fucked!” I thought to myself. Turning the pages, I found passage after damning passage that shone like a search light in the faces of our self-serving leaders. Every page condemned them.

“Our point of departure is to serve the people whole-heartedly and never for a moment divorce ourselves from the masses, to proceed in all cases from the interests of the people and not from one's self-interest or from the interests of a small group, and to identify our responsibility to the people with our responsibility to the leading organs of the Party.”

This was the book that had inspired hundreds of millions of Chinese to strive for the greater good.

“Thrift should be the guiding principle in our government expenditure. It should be made clear to all government workers that corruption and waste are very great crimes.”

Man, this was hilarious! The book served its purpose in bringing about the Revolution in China, China moved on, and billions of copies of Mao’s Little Red Book have ended up in landfill sites, of no more use and reduced to garbage. But the Chairman’s words live on here in South Africa.

“A dangerous tendency has shown itself of late among many of our personnel - an unwillingness to share the joys and hardships of the masses, a concern for personal fame and gain. This is very bad.”

You don’t say? I closed the book and sat looking at it. Its message had been maturing for 40 years, and only now could the full-bodied relevance of it be appreciated. I turned to face my shelves. What other ageing texts were now ready to be sampled?

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.
 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
8 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Howard Feldman
Seriously BDS, Get a Grip

The BDS need to acknowledge what a monumental failure their South African Woolworths campaign has been. Read more...

113 comments 4114 views
Submitted by
Pierre Willemse
Boks vs Wales - the final stretch

What an enthralling year of ups and downs it has been and in my opinion a lot more ups than downs. Read more...

0 comments 376 views
Submitted by
Craig Pedersen
Thoughts of Freemasonry

Founded in South Africa in 1756, Freemasonry is South Africas oldest fraternal organisation - if not the oldest established organisation.  Read more...

151 comments 4014 views
Submitted by
woadstress
Melancholy Madness

 Read more...

4 comments 220 views
Submitted by
NotSoMysteriousBrony
The folly of Labour laws

Recently I heard that government wishes to up the minimum wage requirements for domestic workers. This got me thinking about the increased strictness of labour laws in our country.  Read more...

42 comments 1959 views
Submitted by
Kalos eidos
The Rasputin behind Vladimir Puti...

Although appearing to embrace conservatism, today’s Russia seems to be a mass of contradictions especially with the emergence of a so-called Bolshevik party and its admiration of both Stalin and Tsarist Russia. Read more...

7 comments 1000 views

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

24 hour sale – Up to 70% off

Its black Friday, save up to 70% on a wide range of awesome products at kalahari.com. Offers valid while stocks last. T&C’s apply. Shop now!

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

 

services

E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

Calais Website keywords automated by OpenCalais.

 
Interactive Advertising Bureau
 
© 2014 24.com. All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.