Kangxi's first problem had been the power of the eunuchs. They developed the taste for politics during the Ming Dynasty. And nothing seemed to get done without bribing them. Kangxi turned them into servants again. All the emperor's eunuchs were volunteers; all had been given a last chance to change their minds when the knife came out. Kangxi said that they babbled like babies. But they did guarantee the chastity of his women.
Emperor Kangxi had a low opinion of his eunuchs.
They are quite different from ordinary people; they are equivalent to the meanest insects. I keep them working at menial jobs but ignore their frowns and smiles, and make sure that they stay poor. If too much grease are shown, they become uppity.
Instead of politics, for Kangxi, they press(ed) silk, chase(d) rodents. They kept the flies off dried fruit. And they sang falsetto in the court operas. It was a far cry from what they might have once expected.
I was castrated by my own choice. It seemed a little thing to give up one pleasure for so many. My parents were poor. Yet by suffering that small change I could be sure of an easy life in surroundings of beauty and magnificence. I could aspire to intimate companionship with lovely women unmarred by their fear or distrust of me. With good fortune and diligence, I might have grown more rich and powerful than some of the greatest officials in the empire. Are we happy? How could that be? We have no wives, no sons to bear us grandsons and sacrifice at our tombs. We dare not ask for happiness.
menial: of or relating to work or a job regarded as servile
uppity: self-important; arrogant
falsetto: A high, light, artificial voice used to sing notes that are above the normal register 假声