以卵擊毛 – Egging Chairman Mao

April 17, 2007

Creative process behind the Chinese working-title of

Egging Chairman Mao – 以卵擊毛

The inspiration of the documentary working title 以卵擊毛 comes from the Chinese four-character idiom 以卵擊石 which differs with the title only by the last word, 毛 vs. 石.

First, a little bit of history. 以卵擊石 was used in chapter 53 of The Creation of the Gods (封神榜) and chapter 43 of Romance of the Three Kingdoms (三國演義).

And according to some, it was first used in Mozi‘s (墨子) Book 12 – Esteem for Righteousness (貴義) (segment 17 & 18) and it ended up being the usage that I love the most. It told the story of how Mozi logically refute the prediction or claim of a fortune teller and said,

My principle is sufficient. To abandon my principle and exercise thought is like abandoning the crop and trying to pick up grains. To refute my principle with one’s own principle is like throwing an egg against a boulder. The eggs in the world would be exhausted without doing any harm to the boulder.

The actions of Lu Decheng (魯德成), Yu Dongyue (喻東嶽), and Yu Zijian (余志堅) throwing paint-filled eggs onto the portrait of Mao Zedong (毛澤東, Chairman Mao) might have seemed like throwing eggs against a boulder. And Mao was acting like a king when he was alive and was treated like a god during and after his life time.

To some, the destroyed lives of the three men proved that Mao (毛) was the boulder and the three were merely eggs that were ruin. To those that are more optimistic, the word 毛 means feathers and throwing eggs onto a feather will sure makes it really messy and may even be able to lead to the decomposition of the feather in time.

Being a documentarian, I love the double meaning one can interpret from a title. Therefore I will leave it up to you to decide which one (or both) you like better. And as customary to directors, I won’t tell you which one I think is my favourite or if I have any favourite. (smile)


Egging Chairman Mao – Documentary series intro

April 7, 2007

1989-closing-of-the-mao-portarit.jpg

The life of 43 years old Lu Decheng (魯德成), a Chinese truck driver, was changed forever 18 years ago on 23rd May, 1989 when he and two friends (Yu Dongyue (喻東嶽) and Yu Zijian (余志堅)) threw paint-filled eggs on the portrait of Mao Zedong (Chairman Mao) that hangs over Tiananmen Square in Beijing days before the shockingly sad events. For this act of defiance, Lu was sentenced to 16 years in prison on the charge of counterrevolutionary sabotage and incitement. His two other friends, Yu Dongyue and Yu Zijian (unrelated), were sentenced to 20 years and life in prison respectively.

Since 1989, Lu Decheng has served nine years of Chinese prison (with treatment that were amongst the worst for people involved in the Tiananmen Square protests), experienced years of Chinese government surveillance & harassment and over a year in limbo in Thailand’s detention center. Now, Lu is finally a free man in Canada as a result of an emergency rescue by five generous and proactive Calgarians that sponsored him to come to Canada and the behind-the-scene effort of Canadian politicians and government officials.

A series of raw and short documentaries will be posted in the coming days, weeks, and months to tell the stories of the three young men – Lu Decheng (魯德成), Yu Dongyue (喻東嶽) and Yu Zijian (余志堅), whose lives were forever changed and even destroyed.

*******

Note: Someone actually took the time to count the number of paint splash landed on Mao’s portrait. I have got that number in my notes somewhere. I will update the number in the banner if it is not 19.