Pittance Quotes

Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Categories: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
to let the actions of a deluded dictator shape your very notions of what this nation was, is and will continue to be, is to give that dictator far more power than he ever stole for himself. To allow the unconscionable dealings of a minority deform and mutate what it means to be Egyptian is just as great an unconscionable act. A nation is its people, and we're 85 million strong. Even if you were to fill the high walls of Tora with every last fraudulent being to have ever roamed the land, as a percentage of the total population what you'd probably end up with is, well, a footnote... is it not pride-pride in our nation and nationality in our history and heritage-that catalysed the revolution? Without it, why even bother? Deep down, beneath the national disappointment, depression and devastation, there must have been an unshakable pride. A pride that was hurt by the regime. And when that hurt got so bad, the nation acted out. It collectively said, 'Screw this and screw you... What we witnessed in Tahrir [January 25, 2011] was a protective instinct that chased the British out of Egypt and gave the Square the very soul-stirring name we know it by. The same pride that had us wrench back control of our Suez Canal and the same sense of patriotism that, in 2011 BC, had the ancients rise up against a fearsome ruler who had reigned supreme for 94 long years. Not bad considering the Pharaohs didn't even have Facebook... And even if, God forbid, scary men-with excess facial hair who insist on sporting clothing in that terribly unflattering midi-length-were to somehow wrench control of this nation, I would still be proud to be an Egyptian. Although I'd probably sulk off to some city where the authorities allowed me to attract men using only the power of my hair. The term to revolt 'against' something only tells half the story. you don't just revolt 'against' a regime or an oppressor. You revolt for freedom, for democracy, for a better life. You revolt on behalf of a deep-seated faith that things should be better. And in that sense there were millions revolting long before the nation descended upon Tahrir. Those who insisted on staying in Egypt and investing their skills in the homeland, despite daily difficulties... they were revolting. Those who fought against red tape, ignorance, ingratitude, and evil temptations to build clean and credible businesses, however big or small... they were revolting. Those who worked for a pittance, even though they knew their education and skills entitled them to so much more-the doctors, nurses, teachers, and the civil servants... they too were revolting. They could have given up and said, 'Why bother? It can't be done.' But the very act of waking up each morning and getting down to business, the very act of survival, was a revolutionary one. Those-to paraphrase the poem-who held on when there was nothing in them, except the will which said to them to hold on... they were all revolting.

Amy Mowafi
Cixi's lack of formal education was more than made up for by her intuitive intelligence, which she liked to use from her earliest years. In 1843, when she was seven, the empire had just finished its first war with the West, the Opium War, which had been started by Britain in reaction to Beijing clamping down on the illegal opium trade conducted by British merchants. China was defeated and had to pay a hefty indemnity. Desperate for funds, Emperor Daoguang (father of Cixi's future husband) held back the traditional presents for his sons' brides - gold necklaces with corals and pearls - and vetoed elaborate banquets for their weddings. New Year and birthday celebrations were scaled down, even cancelled, and minor royal concubines had to subsidise their reduced allowances by selling their embroidery on the market through eunuchs. The emperor himself even went on surprise raids of his concubines' wardrobes, to check whether they were hiding extravagant clothes against his orders. As part of a determined drive to stamp out theft by officials, an investigation was conducted of the state coffer, which revealed that more 'than nine million taels of silver had gone missing. Furious, the emperor ordered all the senior keepers and inspectors of the silver reserve for the previous forty-four years to pay fines to make up the loss - whether or not they were guilty. Cixi's great-grandfather had served as one of the keepers and his share of the fine amounted to 43, 200 taels - a colossal sum, next to which his official salary had been a pittance. As he had died a long time ago, his son, Cixi's grandfather, was obliged to pay half the sum, even though he worked in the Ministry of Punishments and had nothing to do with the state coffer. After three years of futile struggle to raise money, he only managed to hand over 1, 800 taels, and an edict signed by the emperor confined him to prison, only to be released if and when his son, Cixi's father, delivered the balance. The life of the family was turned upside down. Cixi, then eleven years old, had to take in sewing jobs to earn extra money - which she would remember all her life and would later talk about to her ladies-in-waiting in the court. 'As she was the eldest of two daughters and three sons, her father discussed the matter with her, and she rose to the occasion. Her ideas were carefully considered and practical: what possessions to sell, what valuables to pawn, whom to turn to for loans and how to approach them. Finally, the family raised 60 per cent of the sum, enough to get her grandfather out of prison. The young Cixi's contribution to solving the crisis became a family legend, and her father paid her the ultimate compliment: 'This daughter of mine is really more like a son!' Treated like a son, Cixi was able to talk to her father about things that were normally closed areas for women. Inevitably their conversations touched on official business and state affairs, which helped form Cixi's lifelong interest. Being consulted and having her views acted on, she acquired self-confidence and never accepted the com'common assumption that women's brains were inferior to men's. The crisis also helped shape her future method of rule. Having tasted the bitterness of arbitrary punishment, she would make an effort to be fair to her officials.

Jung Chang
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