chapter  10.1
9 Pages

A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step

WithAlbert E. Dien

In high school the focus of the author's interest shifted to Asia, for two reasons: one was the book March of the Barbarians by Harold Lamb, a thrilling story of the life of Genghiz Khan and his conquests of Asia and Eastern Europe. The second was the translation by Mathew Arnold of the tragic Persian epic of Rostam and Sohrab, which is more like a Greek tragedy. The author's ultimate goal was Central Asia – the first area that had captured his/her teenage imagination, and he/she thought with Sanskrit at one end, and Chinese at the other, he/she could move to study the area in between. Studying Chinese at the University of Chicago in those days meant learning classical Chinese by the so-called inductive method. Teaching at the American school was an interesting experience. The students were mainly the children of the military stationed in Taiwan, and their social standing depended largely on the ranks of their fathers.