.. for video


  1. Yitaitai, The Last Concubine (Yitaitai is concubine in Chinese)
  2. The Last Concubine (2 same names, 1 in 2008 abt Jap and 1 in 2012)
  3. The Concubine ( 1 same title in 2008 about Nigerian ..)

Hi this is Irene Eng, the author of Yitaitai, The Last Concubine. This memoir is about my grandfather’s last mistress and my guardian Qian, who overcomes impossible odds to forge a life-long journey of her own design. Born into poverty, her uncle sells her to a top grade brothel in Shanghai in 1928 when she is only 7 years old. Qian is well trained by her madam, who sells her virginity to the highest bidder, setting a record for its time. A few years later, she is re-sold to a Beijing brothel. When my grandfather sets his eyes upon her, it’s love at first sight. She is 17 and he is 34 with a household of one wife, two parents, three concubines and four children.
Joining a well-established high-society family isn’t easy but Qian is determined to find her way. She is as cunning as she’s beautiful. This story is about Qian’s many escapades that border on charlatanism. With no children to call her own, I become her singular devotion. Growing up with Qian and grandfather in 1960s Beijing, I feel privileged and loved. My world crumbles, however, during the Cultural Revolution, when my mom commits suicide and dad takes me away from the family. Finally reuniting with them a decade later in 1978. Qian and I used to frequent a bathhouse together near our home. During our last visit there she would tell me her story.

(some pictures of her here)

外公的虞姬/外公的妾/外公的姨太太 (?)这本回忆录是关于我的”奶奶”钱若华的一生。她不是我的亲奶奶,而是我外公最后和最爱的一个姨太太,她一直陪伴外公到他去世. 种种原因妈妈决定让我把她叫“奶奶”。

她出身苏州一贫困之家,1928年只有7岁的她,被舅舅卖到上海做书寓. 几年后,色艺俱佳的她,初夜卖到了当时的最高价。淞沪会战开始不久她被卖到北京八大胡同的一家清吟小班. 34岁的外公看到17岁的她时,一见钟情,为她赎身,收为最后的姨太太。她踏进了这个上流社会的家庭,除了一位正房太太-我的外婆、还有二位公婆,三位姨太太和四个孩子。她的处境相当困难,但聪明美丽又狡黠的她,应付得头头是道,得心应手.

我自1961年出生就和她及外公生活,没有儿女的奶奶,视我为掌上明珠也是她的宠物. 我的幸福世界在文革开始后不久,随着妈妈的自杀和爸爸带我远离家人而瞬间崩塌了. 十年动荡,直到1978年我才又跟奶奶团圆. 可是我们的结局并不像温情电影那么简单。

儿时奶奶常带我去离家不远的新华园澡堂. 最后一次去那里的时候她给我讲了她的故事


Hi, this is Irene Eng, Beijing born New Yorker and author of From the Red Door to a Blue Court, recounting my journey on how I fought depression with sports.

Picture a 25 year old naïve Chinese woman coming to New York to learn and enjoy the ways of freedom and justice for the first time. Then, in a snap, it’s taken away from her, right here in the Big Apple.

People are wronged all the time, even in this great nation that is the spiritual home of justice and liberty. So when discrimination occurs at the hands of the US Tennis Association, I’m completely caught off-guard. Even more so, I’m taken aback by my own anger. Struggling to come to grips with my strong reaction, I begin to delve deeper into my psyche, starting with my childhood in Beijing, China.

When I was seven years old, I lost my Mom to suicide during the Cultural Revolution. My serene life turns tumultuous, and during the ensuing years of bouncing from home to home, I suffer abuses. Escaping to the US in 1986, I soon start to experience feelings of loneliness, sadness and anger. I visit a therapist who diagnoses me with severe depression. After trying and failing with traditional therapy, I somehow stumble upon the game of tennis. I discover that the game allows me to release my anger, frustration and sadness.

New York is the place I now call home. The US has its shortcomings, but it’s a place that makes me feel worthy and empowered. Amidst the confusion and anger at the USTA’s blatant acts of discrimination, I penned a letter trying to right the wrong. And then another letter… and another. But at each and every encounter, I discover more fodder for self-examination and social exploration, until ultimately, I realize that there are more similarities between China and US than there are differences.

您好,我是张凝,“从红色大门到蓝色球场”的作者,这本回忆录讲述了我是如何借助运动战胜抑郁症的过程。[the red door refers to my family home, a siheyuan in Beijing]
促使我写这本回忆录的原因:1986年我来到纽约,觉得一切都很赏心悦目 似乎来到了最自由、公正的地方。三十年弹指一挥间,这里成了我的第二故乡,我觉得有了自尊和自信,真理和正义也唾手可得。但两年前,一件美国网球协会对我不公正甚至歧视的事情,令我感觉美国崇尚公正的神话瞬间破灭,我愤怒地一封接一封地致信美国网球协会求公正,但美网协的不公和国内的一些事情如出一辙,令我开始反思一些社会问题,不敢也不想触碰的一些童年往事也变得清晰在目,对理清现在的一些困惑有很大帮助。不堪回首的往事变成了动力,我下决心写这本书,从我在北京红门四合院里的童年开始。

Hi this is Irene Eng, author of Heathen Son. (the website)
An armada of British gunboats had descended upon imperial Chinese waters with an ultimatum, demanding the head of one man: the Viceroy of Sichuan province. It was under his governance that “an unprecedented anti-missionary riot” broke out for which the New York Times accused him as the instigator. Breaking the camel’s back was the bloody Gutian massacre, which claimed the lives of eleven British and Australian missionaries and sowed the seeds for the Boxer Rebellion five years later.

This is the biography of my great, great grandfather, the most influential and controversial Mandarin of Late Qing. To the Chinese, he was an intellectual, a decorated warrior and incorruptible official, but to the West he epitomized the worst elements of the Yellow Peril. ‘Stubborn Liu’, as his loyal subjects knew him, was the only Chinese leader willing to stand up to the encroaching western powers. A Jinshi of 1860, he was also a highly successful general who stamped out the Taipings in 1864, quashed the Nian uprising in 1868, and won the only battle of the Sino-French war in 1885, Liu survived to face his greatest test of all: the invading Christian missionaries. He would put a long and distinguished career on the line in order to preserve his nation’s identity.

1895年,一支英国海军的舰队浩浩荡荡的开进了武汉,气势汹汹的带来了- – 日不落帝国要挟光绪皇帝的最后通牒:罢免四川总督刘秉璋的职,否则大英帝国将军事介入。之前,在刘总督治理下爆发了所谓“前所未有的反教士骚乱”,纽约时报指责刘为煽动者。夺去了11条英、澳传教士性命的福建古田命案更成了压垮骆驼的最后一根稻草,也直接播下了五年后义和团的种子。

刘秉璋是我的曾曾外祖,晚清最具影响力和争议的重臣之一. 在中国人眼里,他是清廉的士大夫,久经沙场的淮军名将封疆大吏。但在西方人眼里,他身上集中了“黄祸”最糟糕的元素。他以倔强著称,在当时是少数愿意公开站出来阻止西方列强的高官重臣。咸丰 十年(1860)年进士,他还拥有非凡的军事才能。从太平军, 捻军 到 1885年赢得了中法战争的唯一的一场战役。这之后,他又面临一个此生最大的考验:基督教传教士践踏中国主权的行为。他冒着葬送自己显赫仕途的危险,决心挺身而出维护国家的尊严。


About The Kibbitzer

bio info .... mmmm ... still working on it ... will add soon ...
This entry was posted in View from Bottom. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *