My Birthplace Stays Green Green

You know? Since ever China opened the door to the world, many of the poorest and the most remote Chinese villages began to die one after another. So has my home village.


This is the house which was built exactly the year I was born in 1986. It still looks new from the outside, doesn’t it? It was built up with rough mud and stones with black tiled roof. Outside the house, is a small shelter without a door. It’s the toilet made of two giant wooden buckets with only one short stepladder, and two pigsties. Between them, there is small space to store the pig shit and any other shit that could be used for fertilizer. Beside it in a small corner, there was a home for many lovely rabbits. But not now, not when I visited back in September 2014.

There are only my uncle and my auntie still living inside the house. All my side of the family moved out in 2008. Now all the wooden furniture has been eaten by bugs, all the metal farm tools rust in the damp, all the wooden floors are spread with rat shit and dead bodies of cockroaches, all the rooms are covered with a certain smell of dust, all the doors, windows, poles, beds and each corner have spider webs with different spiders building their homes. And because of frequant strong windy storms coming with big floods in summer, the mud walls gradually lean towards the right side. God knows when, the house will break and collapse to the ground, and if ever anybody would afford to build another one or just let the village completely die in silence.



No matter what season and no matter where, there are always many places with dark green, light green, grass green or pure green. But due to less and less people using the wood burning stove, the chimney with the purple smoke gradually becomes more and more attractive to me. Living for about 15 years in a house surrounded by green fields growing rice, green trees rising to the sky, green wild plants and flowers and green wild fruits, with the smoke moving freely in the air, I feel the conception of freedom, much like a baby coming to the world naked. Unfortunately, it’s the high technology and money that drives the villagers away from their original place. They live far away from their birthplace. They now mostly live somewhere in a city with pollution, sighing to the cold wall made of concrete with grey or white paint falling now and again. They would question themselves, “Where do I belong?” Maybe many out there have some money, own a house out of downtown, buy a car driving around, marry to someone blindly and carry their family lines by having another son or even another illegal child. But really, are they all happy in the city? Happier than the old time when there was no single bridge to connect to the big cities?



See the road? It’s a place located at Xiadang Township(This link -released old photos reveal Xi’s experience in Fujian, my hometown),where the current chairman, Xi Jinping, had work experiences before and visited again last summer, there is still corruption and corrupted feudal thinking. It has taken so long to build a proper road and it is still not finished. It’s definitely not lack of money but where the money has gone.


As a village on the edge of China, any idea for the good of its own might go nowhere. Just like no one knows how the cock communicates with the hen and how it is possible that the oldest woman still survives in my home village with her bound feet. Look at her, isn’t she like a model or something for a painter or photographer?

Look at the chickens, it seems they don’t even bother to talk to each other. They are the victims, just like those villagers who have moved to big cities and who also don’t bother to talk like they did before in the village.

9 thoughts on “My Birthplace Stays Green Green

  1. Donald Braswell says:

    This is not the first time I have read your “My Birthplace Stays Green Green”. I Find it interesting that you remember the nature surrounding the town and how you see the house you used to live in deteriorate. Most young people like yourself leave your hometown and don’t look back. you have a special place in your heart for your hometown even though you know it will go away in history soon. I see it as progress we don’t want it to come but it does. For example I wish my hometown would have stayed the same when I was a little boy one would not have to lock the doors at night it seemed crime free. I also remember neighbors helping each other with the work for the day everybody would look after one another. Not anymore though. Now time has made us all think of ourselves and not our neighbor. We have grown apart and started our own lives in different cities through out or country (USA) or living in different countries but we still have the memories that we grew up with and that is special. I will personally hold these memories and cherish them good and try to forget the bad. I also say don’t forget the bad they are what makes us strong. Very good blog look forward to reading more in the future.


    • Heather Cai says:

      I am so glad you found my blog interesting, making you read more than once! I am also fascinated by your side of hometown story. And that’s true. Even though we live in totally different world, but we see and feel the same, so dear.

      It was sad when I returned to the nearly empty village. Everything was green green yet only thing dying helplessly was the village itself. Nowadays, many people look forward to living a better life with making more money and staying in a bigger place. The village is no longer the choice. People leave, the rest of the villagers keep wondering where and not sure where is better. The more they wonder, the less people stay and the deader the village will be. Eventually, the wild grass grows into the house and black tiled roof will disappear soon. Then the whole place will turn into a piece of memory. This is sort of civilization – one eat of another. Sigh sigh….


    • Heather Cai says:

      Indeed they were both very happy to see me back with several of my English friends . All the side of my family’s land, forests and other properties were given to my uncle and auntie as they are still the farmers there, growing everything they need for life. I know “How Green Was The Valley”? I really appreciate your comments dearly! 🙂


  2. Behind the Story says:

    I really enjoyed seeing the pictures of your village and reading your commentary.

    The year you were born I visited China, traveling from Guangzhou to Changchun with my husband who was on a business trip. Three years before you were born, my husband, who was born in Gulangyu, a suburb of Xiamen, took me and our three daughters to visit his hometown. It was a quiet city then with no skyscrapers and no cars on the streets. Now it has completely changed. So much change in such a short time is bound to cause problems and for the people affected feelings of dislocation. Something so profound deserves to be written about by people like you. Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heather Cai says:

      Hi, thank you so much for such a great comment! I am amazed by your story in China. I am sor of relieved that you can see and feel the same way like I do. I have visited Gulangyu in late August,2014. The views are great but I couldn’t enjoy much because the interesting places were packed up by tourists completely. I should visit there much earlier, like you mentioned the old time when it was a quiet city. Now no longer be quiet in any cities but the dying villages. Somehow, I realize things change so fast that even no time given to us to realize, and this is haunting me. I wanna see the “original” thing before it’s destroyed or to be destroyed. Otherwise, soon China will have the same look and will be boring in my heart. Thank you for the encouragement really! I wish you and your family Happy Spring Festival and have a great another year in 2015. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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