Teacher Gui: Buy It or Get Out

In this video short, 93 year old Teacher Gui (Ms. Gui Biqing, 桂碧清) talks about her experiences with customer service in the times of government-assigned jobs and the “big rice pot,” a cousin of the “iron rice bowl.”

This video series will be sharing short excerpts from ongoing interviews with Teacher Gui, who is working with Chen Yi (陈怡), a reporter at the Shanghai Service Platform for Science & Public (上海科普资源开发与共享平台), to write her memoirs; a yet-to-be titled autobiography published sometime in 2009.

Fortunately, Teacher Gui was kind enough to allow one of her students (i.e. your correspondent) to sit in and film these sessions. Unfortunately though, the invitation came a bit late in the process, as she has already finished talking about most of the cultural revolution period in China (1966 – 76).

This video is also available on Tudou for faster loading in China (and without the disappointing “skip” in the YouTube version above), and on 56minus1, where it was originally published.

Teacher Gui is 93 years old and has been a resident of Shanghai since she was a late teenager. Born in 1917, she spent her early years growing up on the campus of Qinghua University where her father was a professor. When the Japanese came too close for comfort, Teacher Gui and her family fled south to Shanghai, where they were shorty thereafter again inconvenienced by the Japanese.

Teacher Gui has lived through some of modern China’s most turbulent and interesting times. Through it all, including an 18 month stint locked up during the cultural revolution for being accused of espionage, she’s never stopped working. She was a radio news broadcaster (with the Soviet Union broadcasting station in Shanghai), a kindergarten headmaster, and Chinese language teacher. She’s been teaching Mandarin to foreigners in Shanghai since the early 1940’s, and still teaches to this day.

For more on Teacher Gui, feel free to Baidu or Google her; there are plenty of interesting articles and interviews from over the years.

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