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Farewell gift for a Chinese girl / subversive literature

LocklockLocklock Registered User
edited August 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey folks! So, for the past three weeks I've been studying in a class with this cute Chinese exchange student. We've become really good friends, but she's leaving this weekend and I wanted to buy her a farewell present.

Now, she hates the Chinese (PRC) government. She also loves books. So! My idea was to get her a few books on being all anti-establishment and cool.

I bought her a copy of Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience" but I got it for only a buck so now I'm looking for other books to get her.

So I guess what I'm asking here is, imagine you met someone who is living under an oppressive authoritarian regime. And they hated it. What literature would you have them read? What do you think would help them most?

Locklock on
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Posts

  • EshEsh Tending bar. Eating out. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Now, I could be totally talking out my ass, but mightn't you want to be careful what she goes back through customs with? I don't know how pissy the Chinese government is, but they might not approve of some things...like anti-authoritarian books.

    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."

    Final Fantasy XIV:Lilja Sunblade
  • FletcherFletcher Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    1984 is always a good choice for "fuck da system" goodness

    animal farm?

    brave new world?

  • LocklockLocklock Registered User
    edited August 2009
    There could be risks, sure. But I couldn't live with my conscience if I sent her back with a tacky souvenir rather than dangerous subversive literature.

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  • Robos A Go GoRobos A Go Go Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Brave New World and V for Vendetta work too, but if you want her to remember you you should also get her a picture frame and make sure you have a photo of you two together that she can put in there. That'll have way more sentimental value than some books, even good ones.

    Also, you could put a ton of public domain books on a flash drive for her. That'll get around the customs issue and give her a lot more stuff to read.

  • LocklockLocklock Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Oh, also she picked up Animal Farm during a layover in Tokyo to read on the flight over. She loved it. That's also why I want to get her more stuff like that. :D

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  • TaGuelleTaGuelle Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Confessions of an Economic Hitman is a pretty good read. She might dig that.

  • ascannerlightlyascannerlightly Registered User
    edited August 2009
    children of men. it's a double-whammy: anti-authoritarian and also ironic.
    Spoiler:

    armedroberty.jpg
  • furiousNUfuriousNU Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Esh wrote: »
    Now, I could be totally talking out my ass, but mightn't you want to be careful what she goes back through customs with? I don't know how pissy the Chinese government is, but they might not approve of some things...like anti-authoritarian books.

    If the book is in English it is really not a problem, I've bought in English books with a giant "BANNED IN CHINA" banner stamped on the front. The authorities don't really give a crap. I however would not bring in a copy of charter 08 though.

    Recommendations:

    Rivertown by Peter Hessler (it's about an American teaching in China for two years and it has a really interesting/sensitively written critique of all things China)

  • DarwinsFavoriteTortoiseDarwinsFavoriteTortoise Registered User
    edited August 2009
    The Iron Heel by Jack London.

    Really underrated.

  • KotenkKotenk Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Locklock wrote: »
    There could be risks, sure. But I couldn't live with my conscience if I sent her back with a tacky souvenir rather than dangerous subversive literature.


    But you could if she gets randomly searched and detained...?


    Obviously theres the possibility it won't happen, but the whole thing sounds really risky, of the stupid type.

  • Robos A Go GoRobos A Go Go Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    All the classic literature you could want. Just put it all on a substantial flash drive and then put the flash drive into a teddy bear or something.

    Unless she doesn't own a computer, of course.

  • FletcherFletcher Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    you'd probably be safer just carrying a drive than stuffing it in a teddy bear

    x-ray of a teddy bear with a flash drive in screams "please detain me, i'm hiding child porn"

  • Robos A Go GoRobos A Go Go Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Fletcher wrote: »
    you'd probably be safer just carrying a drive than stuffing it in a teddy bear

    x-ray of a teddy bear with a flash drive in screams "please detain me, i'm hiding child porn"

    Ha, you're probably right. Nix my awful smuggling idea.

  • SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Fletcher wrote: »
    you'd probably be safer just carrying a drive than stuffing it in a teddy bear

    x-ray of a teddy bear with a flash drive in screams "please detain me, i'm hiding child porn"

    Ha, you're probably right. Nix my awful smuggling idea.

    No, this is what you do.

    You take a condom.

    Put a micro sd in the condom after cleaning and drying it.

    Tie it off.

    Swallow said condom.

    You will be reunited with your beloved microsd in due time.

    sig.jpg
  • TinuzTinuz Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Kotenk wrote: »
    Locklock wrote: »
    There could be risks, sure. But I couldn't live with my conscience if I sent her back with a tacky souvenir rather than dangerous subversive literature.


    But you could if she gets randomly searched and detained...?


    Obviously theres the possibility it won't happen, but the whole thing sounds really risky, of the stupid type.

    Yeah, this....you couldn't live with yourself if she went back with a tacky souvenir? Could you live with yourself if she gets detained/has to go through a lot of crap for some books you got her?

    Quelreth wrote:
    .....when you made it sound like turning on a blacklight in your room would be like setting off a flashbang.
  • DeebaserDeebaser Lead Frog Rammer Fake Board GamerRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    Fletcher wrote: »
    you'd probably be safer just carrying a drive than stuffing it in a teddy bear

    x-ray of a teddy bear with a flash drive in screams "please detain me, i'm hiding child porn"

    Ha, you're probably right. Nix my awful smuggling idea.

    No, this is what you do.

    You take a condom.

    Put a micro sd in the condom after cleaning and drying it.

    Tie it off.

    Swallow said condom.

    You will be reunited with your beloved microsd in due time.

    much easier than putting it in your wallet, imo.

  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Ok, here's what you do. You download all that subversive literature that people have recommended electronically. You then get some micro SD flash memory, the largest storage space you can find. You put it all on there, along with a couple of adorable pictures of the two of you, and you throw it in her camera. It's less suspicious looking than any flash drive stuff you might have, and when they turn the camera on they'll see a few pictures to flip through. You have now given her personal pictures of the two of you, which will remind her of your friendship, and manifestos to drive her to try to overthrow her oppressive government which she can disseminate to her friends. Then you'll be a true rebel friend.

    "Well, look at this. Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What's that make us?"
    "Big Damn Heroes, Sir."
    "Ain't we just."
  • Robos A Go GoRobos A Go Go Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    That's assuming she has a camera.

    If not, you could also get a flash drive that doubles as an MP3 player and do the same basic thing.

    But really, they're probably not going to investigate your flash drive, right?

  • DalbozDalboz Resident Puppy Eater Right behind you...Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Assuming this is serious and you aren't getting her into trouble, I'm surprised that no one has yet mentioned Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie.

  • LocklockLocklock Registered User
    edited August 2009
    From what's she's told me, the authorities don't really check your carry on luggage. They poke around through any checked bags, but they really don't care at all unless you're smuggling in a gun or something.

    I mean, a male friend of hers is going to bring back a few bottles of whisky and a bunch of tacky souvenirs all dolled up in American flags. That'd probably raise a few more eyebrows.

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  • OrestusOrestus Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Hopefully you've already ignored any suggestions that involve concealing flash drives in stuffed animals/cameras/bodily orifices. You could have a blank new one in the packaging hidden like that (well hopefully not the orifice way) and it would get her in alot of trouble w/ the authorities, much less one with a bunch of english writing that most of them won't read.

    Just give her some books in English on whatever you want, don't include anything obviously pornographic and no one will care.

    And drop subtle/not subtle hints that you want to visit her, and start saving for the airfare. China is an incredible country to see, go there!

  • LocklockLocklock Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Yeah, the teddy bear mule idea is really cool, but will not end well.

    Thank for the suggestions so far guys! They've been great!

    And yeah, already looking into a possible exchange program between our universities. :D

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  • manjimanji Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    stick out your tongue by ma jian. short stories about tibet. banned in china and i can also confirm a damn good read:

    http://www.amazon.com/Stick-Out-Your-Tongue-Jian/dp/0099481332/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1250163969&sr=8-5

  • saggiosaggio Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Gulag Archipeligo by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

    3DS: 0232-9436-6893
  • Gandalf_the_CrazedGandalf_the_Crazed Vigilo ConfidoRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    In my experience, luggage is not examined as closely as some in this thread seem to be afraid of. Even in China. :P

    Don't put any electronic stuff in a place where it looks like you're afraid of it being found, and they won't care.

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  • Raoul DukeRaoul Duke Registered User
    edited August 2009
    I don't know if books by Naomi Klein would fit the bill, but she might be interested in something like the shock doctrine. The author's exploration of how the free market works is something a lot of people find contentious, but I thought she got more right than wrong. I thought the torture metaphor streched things a bit, but her chapters on reconstruction in the former soviet union, poland and iraq were really interesting. I don't think it's too much of a strech, from what I've heard the chinese goverment has marginalized many poorer people for economic progress.

    This wouldn't be quite the same kind of revolution, but I liked the Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf myself. Maybe that might interest her?

  • Q_PrimeQ_Prime Registered User
    edited August 2009
    if you really wanna do this, find the smallest flash drive you can find with the highest capacity, micro sd would work if her phone has a slot for that, but she'll need a reader. load it up with bootable linux, and store some books on it. i know 1984 is public domain in Canada it might be where you live too, find all the books you want, load them onto the drive and then when she gets back she can boot her comp into linux and read them.

    i know some computers in china are required to have monitoring software or some such thing which is why you'd want to use bootable linux

  • lunasealunasea Registered User
    edited August 2009
    What? You don't have to smuggle books into China...I've made about a 100 trips there and back and have never heard of such a thing. Just put it in your baggage and check it at the airport or hell bring it on the plane and read it. Don't be so paranoid, it's modern day club hopping strippered out China not Soviet-era Russia. You can get most books in China...I have a half Chinese half English copy of Animal Farm and you can by V for Vendetta, the movie, on nearly every street corner in every major city. Get her something she's going to remember you by, not how good it is or what its place in history was. She should be able to see you in the words.

  • Q_PrimeQ_Prime Registered User
    edited August 2009
    lunasea wrote: »
    What? You don't have to smuggle books into China...I've made about a 100 trips there and back and have never heard of such a thing. Just put it in your baggage and check it at the airport or hell bring it on the plane and read it. Don't be so paranoid, it's modern day club hopping strippered out China not Soviet-era Russia. You can get most books in China...I have a half Chinese half English copy of Animal Farm and you can by V for Vendetta, the movie, on nearly every street corner in every major city. Get her something she's going to remember you by, not how good it is or what its place in history was. She should be able to see you in the words.

    actually i just looked it up and you're right. there are hardly any banned books in china.

    although if you wanted to smuggle something in it'd probably be something on Tienanmen square anything else would probably be permitted.

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