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xiaoman
May 29th, 2015, 11:11 PM
Secondment

Writer: Zhu Xiaoling (China)
Translator: Xiaoman (Canada)



Dante said: you come to a painful place
you should pay attention how you come in and who you trust,
Don't let the spacious entrance deceive your eyes.

----Preface

One

Fan was laid off.

After having been transferred to the Bureau, and working there for a half year, and during that period of time having received awards and honors for the entire system, Fan was laid off.
This bad news really surprised all her friends.

It was a sunny, bright day when Fan received the notice of being laid off. Not a single bad omen had shown when the bad luck came along the way. It was a hectic day, everyone was as busy as chickens with their heads cut off: all the powerful and respected leaders from the government department and other key sectors, such as the Police Department, the Public Prosecutor's Office, the Court, and the Anti-Corruption Authority, were busy bailing out a legal representative from a level two bureau, who, not long ago, was detained for interrogation by the City Prosecutor's Office.

In fact, Fan knew the legal person from the level two Bureau quite well. He was a veteran transferred from the Army to the local in 1993, a strongly built man with a wide forehead and square face, who was strong and charmed with great aplomb. Although he had been working for the local authority for a few years now, he still reserved a special majestic temperament that particularly belonged to soldiers. If it was not for the fact that the irrefutable evidence piled up before the world, Fan would not have believed her eyes, that this awe-inspiring man had been extremely involved in grand corruption. But, the question was, why do some leaders still tolerate such government officials like this man?

Seeing such an example, Fan got lost at times: I work conscientiously every day, but I still cannot be compared with those who have evil character, who live a fast life, yet are considered to be valuable and important before leaders.

It had been the middle of last October that Fan was transferred to the Bureau, which was another branch under the same government department, to work on a special issue of a journal. She was sent back to the factory by the director of the Bureau Office without a reasonable explanation: she had been given a very simple excuse. Such an outcome was not what she had expected. Thus, she felt so insulted and irritated. Now Fan realized that it must have been deliberately planned, that in the afternoon when she completed her work for the morning, Li Lianying, who, worked in her office, coming from an unknown organization, whose name was exactly the same as the chief eunuch in the Qing dynasty, even his looks were similar, came to her and took her keys away and told her that he would get a spare key made for the office. Without a second thought, Fan gave him the key. When the afternoon came, Fan asked Li Lianying, "Did you copy the key?" "Oh, I am so sorry I forgot. I will do it tomorrow and then return your key", said Li Lianying, with strong expressions of apology.
 
But Meng Bai, the director of the office talked to Fan even before the next day. Fan was so angry with Li Lianying and Meng Bai, for they were not being honest and aboveboard. She was so angry that she even wanted to have a fight with someone, and she even wanted to find a place to cry out of frustration thoroughly, but who to fight with? And where to cry? She was not sure. She had no clear goals. Fan thought that to go home to cry was not possible, and to cry at the office of the factory was not a good idea. Same as the fields and woods: both seemed not to be an ideal place to hide and cry. The factory was out of business since the end of last year(Chinese lunar year). The factory gate lock had been badly rusted, it must be hard to open. Fields and woods seemed not to be good places either. "If I am found crying in those places, people around me watching would think that I am insane. Just thinking about finding no place to cry made her feel like weeping but had no tears. She simply decided not to shed a tear, instead, she just gave a strange laugh.

Finally, in the state of being angry and frustrated, Fan walked homeward. After returning home, she went straight to the study. As she sat down at the writing desk, her heart became quite calm and felt at ease. She took out two dictionaries, one was a small Xinhua Dictionary, another was very big, flipping through them (This was her habit: whenever she had trouble, she would find some books to read, so as to control her bad mood). As she took out a dictionary and a Cihai, again, she thought that her actions today were sort of topsy-turvy. She had no idea what she had hoped to look for in these two dictionaries. Before she flipped through the Xinhua Dictionary, (which, her deceased father bought her) she wrote countless Chinese characters on a piece of paper which had turned yellow : transfer, transfer, withdraw, withdraw ...She particularly hated the character 抽调, wholeheartedly. Yes, she wanted to see the exact definition of it today. On Xinhua Dictionary, page 57, the annotation of 抽 is, " To select a small part; to decide by lot; to deploy cadres; to take time." The Xinhua Dictionary didn't give further explanation of 抽调, Which, either was not clearly defined by the Cihai. On page 668 in Cihai, the definition of抽 is: (1) to lead and vacuum, such as pumping and smoking. (2) to pull out. In the poem Farewell to Shu Shuyun at XieTiao Tower, Xuan Chuan, by Libai: 抽刀断水水更流----drawing one's sword to stop the water only makes it flow even more...(3)extract, make, take time. (4)to touch, contract. like a cramp. (5) whip. In the Romance of One Hundred Chants, The Little Taohong " raindrops as if sticks, rapidly hit on the head of the matchmaker." She found more definitions of 抽,such as抽丰、抽头、抽身、抽象、抽签、抽簪----but 抽调 was certainly not found. When Fan spotted the phrase抽簪, she grabbed a vocabulary card, on which she put down抽簪: to resign the position as a government official and become a recluse. 簪: A hair connecting tool which is used to connect hair: in the ancient times, government officials needed to wear hat and tie hair, so to resign a position was called抽簪’ (to remove the hair connecting tool).

Writing all this down , Fan was embraced by a sad feeling: she pictured a life of reclusion in her mind. On the other hand, that was a great relief to her painful heart, too. It was, as well, one of her habits: if, unfortunately, whenever she experienced hardships or things that were hard to deal with, she would, do her best to look for and read stories of celebrities and heroes from ancient to modern times. Such inspiring stories were about how protagonists managed to retain their independent personality while struggling to overcome difficulties and fight against authorities with high power, so as to encourage herself to get through tough times. Ah! Since ancient times, all sages must undergo many tribulations. When God is about to place a great responsibility on a man, He always tests the man's heart, exhausts his body and makes him suffer great hardships... Fan liked to search quotes about life to inspire herself, which, too, was one way she sought solace inside her heart. Of course, Fan had no intention of comparing herself with philosophers, but she was always trying to seek a kind of power, a lesson, a direction or even a comfort from the remarkable experience of those sages. However, those unreal spiritual soothers didn't last long, which, were, inevitably shattered by the cruel reality relentlessly, and she was, again left in bitterness.
When Fan pulled herself back to reality, the endless distress and helplessness started to invade her and haunt inside her once again, endlessly...


(To be continued)