Br, Joche-Albert Ly

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7-School works
They wake up with the sound of the trumpet at the break of the day, and five minutes after washing with cold water (an unintelligible absurdity among Chinese), they would come out loaded with their knapsacks, to the pagoda courtyard or to the road that leads to the town of Lai Yang, where they spent three quarters of an hour on gymnastics, rhythmic marching and military walks. No one was exempted, neither obese men of 50 and 55 years who had led a sedentary life, nor women, married or single.
At about nine in the morning there was the reading of the communist newspapers by a sergeant of the squad with his own commentaries; then followed the assignment for the day or the admonitions regarding the behaviour of some individuals. Next, at ten, the first meal of the only two a day was sped through with insuperable speed and dexterity, for there was no time to waste eating the few common tarts. This breakfast was followed by half past eleven by a new reading of magazines and newspapers, or rather their editorials selected and commented upon by some of the professors. This actually was the main lecture, and after it ended, everybody in their respective groups got together to discuss the suggested points, take notes, etc. There were no textbooks and it was most tedious to have to copy notes. Thus was time spent until two o’clock in the afternoon, at which time, all had to read basic books on Marxism.
At half past four the second and last meal was taken, after which started the new cycle of studies by the groups until six o’clock. Here the doctrines heard during the day were discussed, personal notes were compared, corrections were forcibly introduced, doctrinal notes were collated and checked, etc.
In the evening they would grant a rest of an hour and a half. A day or an afternoon of complete rest was never granted. During that time they could converse with themselves, exchange their impressions, take walks within the courtyards, but without noise or disturbance. This was a great relief, in spite of the secret vigilance of the university nosy-parkers and directors present. They all behave among themselves like comrades, and the above-mentioned professors bragged of their openness, spontaneous in some of them.
At about eight o’ clock at night, a singing lesson, repetition of martial marches, revolutionary hymns, praising the glories of Mao Tse Tung, the victories of the Soviet democracy over the reactionaries, the imperialists, and singing the luck and the future prosperity of a new and great China, thanks to the efforts of the democracies. On certain days those songs were replaced by rural dances and scenic performances. “Yang Ko” was the name of the rural dances.
The time to go to bed fluctuated, as we can guess, between nine and eleven, because the games and the theatrical performances, and at times speeches and discussions delayed the time of rest. Before this a hymn in honour of Mao Tse Tung or Stalin was infallibly intoned. And under their paternal auspices, the students would go to rest by groups in their respective so-called dormitories, sleeping on the floor.

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