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Roses on a blue sea: The women of China's Navy (2)


14:11, March 17, 2013

Female sailor Kong Xiangyun works on her combat post. [Photo by Wang Changsong]

Sailor Li Mengdi used to be a car model before joining the navy. She once dreamed to stand on deck in the beautiful white uniform and feel the cool sea breeze on her skin. But soon she found that most of the time she and the other female sailors have to wear the navy combat uniform to exercise, clean and do maintenance. Copper oil, paint, brooms and rags are their daily work partners.

Of course, the biggest test comes from the sea itself. Last September, they met the power of the water during their first patrolling mission to the Diaoyu Islands. There were strong winds and huge waves ten days out of the 17-day-long mission. All the girls suffered from seasickness. Kong Xiangyun, from Shaanxi Province, called her father after one episode of severe vomiting, crying. "Daddy, I cannot make it. I want to go home!" Her father replied, "I am busy now. I'll call you when I have time." Upon hearing these words, Xiangyu could not help but cry. She knew, however, that her father must have felt more pain than she did. Now Xiangyun is no longer afraid of the sea; on the contrary, she thanks that unforgettable experience for making her stronger.

Life on board has its nicer parts, too. The girls like watching movies or TV shows at leisure. They beat the male sailors in speaking and singing contests. They share the snacks or delicacies from their hometowns with each other.

The young and lively female sailors add a splash of color to the boredom of life on a ship. They organize birthday parties for colleagues. Dance major Kong Xiangyun teaches other sailors to dance and can skillfully imitate Yanni's speech (a famous TV star who is also from Shaanxi) to make the others laugh. Li Mengdi organizes people in different teams and creates fresh performance styles with materials found on board. Liu Xuan is the doctor and broadcaster of the ship. She likes to collect different kinds of advice for life and share this with others.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:HuangBeibei、Chen Lidan)

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