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The untold spy story of WWI

In 1910 a proposed Alliance between Germany and France (See New York Times Article ) worried Britain so they sent someone to 'sniff around'.

The story is a personal journey of discovery set in the vibrant energy that is Zanzibar. Susan finds herself in the palace of the great Sultan of Zanzibar as private tutor to his children. She immerses herself in the heady experiences of that rich island. From making friends with her personal servant, Subira, to falling in love with Asim, a senior member of the Sultan's court. Susan delights in the discovery of Zanzibar and the discovery of herself. The only shadow being that she was recruited by British Military Intelligence as a spy. That compromises her love for Asim and will eventually cut the silken thread that is her journey into the exotic.

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zu jiao jiang


Growing up in China

zhu jiao jiang


I was born in 1966 at the beginning of the cultural revolution. I grew up in China and lived there for forty-one years before moving to Australia.


I want tell you many stories about my life in China. About my experiences and about growing up in China through profound change; from the heart of Mao’s China to the Olympic Games. Maybe you can, from these stories, to understand about Chinese life, understand China.


I was born in Guangzhou city, Guangdong province. Guangzhou was my mother’s hometown. My parents both grew up in Guangzhou. At the time I was due to be born both my parents worked in Nanning city, Guangxi province. The cultural revolution was just beginning and all the Chinese people had stopped work. Society was in rebellion. My parents did not want to get caught up in the violence so they went back Guangzhou and stayed in my grandparent’s home. The house still exists and is in a street that has been preserved as part of the cultural heritage of Guangzhou. I was born in a small hospital which is in the next street to my grandparent’s home.The photo is of my grandparent's house. It was taken Christmas 2007. It is five stories high. The front door is behind the middle of the white car. It was taken from my family after Mao came to power. They were allowed to live in one floor and the other flooors were given to separate families. The house was returned to my family in the early 1980's.



My parent told me that when I was born a nurse held me in her arms, and said, ‘come, look at this girl, she is so pretty, her eyes are so big’. Another nurse who was in the room, standing in front of the window, said, ‘come here and look at the people marching down the street wearing high caps!!!’  They were the people the Gong Chan Party (The Communist Party) had branded as counter-revolutionary. They were being marched down the street as an example.

I had been born into the heart of Mao’s China and I was to grow up to see China host the Olympic Games in Beijing. As my husband says, I grew up to see the dragon awake and stir.

After a week, my mother with me left the hospital and went back to my grandparent’s home. In Chinese old culture, the daughter cannot go back to her parent’s home with a new born baby and “zuo yue zi” ( zuo yue zi is the practical custom where Chinese women are confined in bed for recuperation for one month after childbirth), but my grandparent didn’t mind, they looked after us. My grandparents still worked in that time, and they arranged for at least one of my five uncles to spent time at home when they weren’t there. They made sure there was always someone to look after my mother and me; we were lucky.

In Guangzhou, women who had just given birth must eat “zhu jiao jiang”. This was pig’s feet and pig’s legs cooked in dark sweet vinegar with some ginger and eggs. It was very good for the mother’s health.

My grandparents asked my youngest uncle to go to the butcher’s shop at six-o-clock in the morning and wait for it to open. He was always the first person to buy meat and he was able to buy some pig’s feet and pig’s leg. At that time the Chinese people needed food stamps that were issued by the government. We had rice ticket, meat ticket, cloth ticket, bicycle ticket. If you have money but no ticket you couldn’t buy these things. So this is why my uncle needed to go the butcher so early and wait. It was made more difficult because my parent’s family book was for Nanning. In China, you live in which place, you must get the familybook for that place. Now, we still have familybook, but we use ID card a lot. The familybook is now just used for you to a buy house or for your children to go to school. At that time, however, my parent didn’t have any food tickets to buy meat in Guangzhou, they just had Nanning meat tickets. My grandparents used the whole family's, who lived in Guangzhou, meat tickets to buy pig’s feet and pig’s legs and gave my mother to eat. I remember my mother told me that my youngest uncle for a long time hadn’t any eat meat to eat. He had given all his ration to my mother. One day, he asked my mother can I eat your ‘zu jiao jiang?’ My mother gave him a large bowl of the meat dish. My mother said she couldn’t forgot my uncle ate that bowl of meat in just ten minutes.

In the world any parents are the same. They always love their children and look after them a lot. My grandparents used all the meat tickets and bought some meat tickets from other families and bought a lot of meat and made sausages. They gave these to my parents to take back to Nanning. In 1966, in China , no one family had refrigerator. How to keep the meat? Just make sausage, put more salt and white wine in and then can keep a few months before the meat go bad.

When I was fourty-nine days old my parents bring me and sister and went back to Nanning. My mother found an old women to look after me. The old woman was paid RMB20 per month. At that time 20 yuan can feed the whole family. 20 yuan was 70%  of my mother’s income each month.  My mother went back to work when I was fifty-four days old. At that time the government’s law was that the women have fifty-four days holiday after childbirth.

The photo is of the street where my grandpartents house is. Taken christmas 2007. I used to play in that street as a little girl. There were no cars then.



Growing up in China

List of stories