In China during the Cultural Revolution, they were trying to get rid of the "four olds". Certain things people wore, or did, was no longer accepted. They were trying to become something new and different. This student was telling An Yi that face creme and long hair is part of the four olds. I think this is the point where An Yi and Ji Li realize that some of the things China is doing isn't right and that it doesn't make any sense. I think that having long hair shouldn't matter to anyone, it is what you like. People shouldn't be able to tell others that they can't where their hair a certain way, or their outfit represents the "four olds", so they can't wear it.
"That is an investigation into the class status of your ancestors and all members of your family. Ji-Li, the fact is that our family will not be able to pass these investigations." (pg. 9)
I think this quote is a little bit of foreshadowing to what will later happen in the book. As soon as I read this I knew that their is some political problems that have happened in the past to her family. I think it will later affect their whole family. I don't think Ji-Li knows anything abut her families past, and that is why she is very confused about why she cannot go to the audition. I am wondering if her some of her ancestors were high up in the government at a time and then did something that they weren't supposed to do.