Help yourself from the past
Take care yourself at the present
Improve yourself in the future
Survey for ten years while walking around China
In the end of the year, I wrote an article named “A Father who Helped His Daughter via the Internet.” Until now, many people are still verbally abusing that father who named Luo Er. Even though his child already passed away in the morning on December 24th.
I tried to sort out and restore this story, showing how the human nature changes with the ups and downs in life, and how we adapt to it.
I have left media for six years but I now start media survey again. I am curious and want to know every single step of the story. But is it only because of my curiosity? The answer is no. This story reminds me of myself in the past.
In the 1980s, I lived with my grandparents in a village besides Dongting Lake. I grew freely and happily in the green field of the countryside, but my parents brought me back to town soon after. Like other people at that time, my father was vigorous and wanted to change our fate by getting out of village and stay in city.
It is hard for a child from countryside to integrate with other children in city or even a small town. I kicked one of my classmate down when I was in forth grade. And I didn’t know what to do but just seeing him crying on the floor. In the mess, my enraged father almost hit the principal who wanted to expel me. As a result, I transferred to the school in my grandfather's village and had to walk a long way with my sister to go to school.
I could not go back town for middle school, so I chose to go to a boarding middle school in suburb. It was the darkest time in my life: starved and trembled in the shabby dormitory; and there was no hot water. I had scabies, frostbite, athlete's foot, trachoma... I ran back home on a winter night and crouched besides a small coal stove, eating rapidly. My mother hugged me and cried. The next snowy morning, I went back to school.
Afterwards, I believed that people’s career is related to his childhood. Therefore, we worked on a series of organizations for children welfare. But I want to say that I am not a hero, let alone a moral model. It is just those children in village remind me of my past. I am helping the past-me.
We moved to Yuanjiang town when I was in high school. But the factory that my father worked at had a bankrupt. Like Luo Er, whose child is suffering from blood cancer, my father was anxious. He had to find different ways to raise money to pay the tuition for me and my sister.
One night, my father came back with a sweaty face and took out a few cartons of counterfeit cigarettes from Guangxi out of his coat. Later, he went to Yueyang and stole fish in the South Lake with his younger brother.
In the hot summer of 1996, my father took me to Hunan University with a Flood Victims Proof held tightly in his hand. I had less than 300 yuan with myself though my tuition was waived that year. My father said he would go home to raise money so he left away.
In order to survive, I also began to make money on campus through every possible way. I had crammed onto the Peng Lishan Line (a bus line in Changsha which was firstly donated by Yu Pengnian, also named Peng Lishan) to Xiahe Street across the Xiangjiang River, picking up New Year postcards to sell on the campus. Once I was chased by a campus security guard who wanted to catch me. I ran instinctively and so did he, then after an inestimable chasing distance, I was caught finally.
Perhaps knowing that I was only a student who was earning my living expenses, or thinking that he was from the same stratum as me, he was rather angry and out of breath but didn't lay hands on me.
At many nights, I always think of a young man whose eyes were filled with tears and the grievance, stubbornness, prostration after exhausting his strength, trembling as was the time of the cold wind howling dormitory, waiting to be taken back by his counsellor.
It was poor but it was not too miserable to lose all my hope that forced me to learn, explore, develop better and solve my problems with higher efficiency. For instance, I had charged for writing superior love letters for my roommates, roughing justified accusation files for the relocated households around my campus while studying law books to seek legal relief for them. I worked as a trainee for a newspaper office in the third year of college and grew up avidly to become a reporter travelling around the whole province with a backpack.
Luo Er is like a mirror in which different person sees different self indeed. Some will yell that liars are hateful and their death is not to be regretted after being cheated by loan sms, prize winning messages, old generals and silvers, Vietnamese brides, female Internet users who overdo picture beautification and so on. The middle-aged will feel moved as a fellow sufferer when thinking of their hard life, which almost leads to a mental breakdown of them to support the old and the young of their family. Those who can not afford a house will condemn Luo Er for not taking plenary self- rescue actions when he can depend on his three houses but only asking the society for help. Some will show sympathy because they have also craved for all of the world's property to fight against the disease of their children when nobody know how much it would cost but certainly the more, the better.
Luo Er, the man who was nervous with a dark face, reminded me of my father. I could understand what he did for his daughter who suffered from the illness. Of course, he must pay for his faults and undertake corresponding responsibilities, but that’s another question.
I always believe that a person’s empathy is more valuable than his cleverness or incisiveness. Luckily, the empathy, which is as warm as its original state, accompanies me no matter how I change and wherever I go, and we smile at each other.
In 2011, after seeing many children endure the torments of hunger at schools in mountain areas of Guizhou Province, I was motivated to change it.
Without money, without power, and even without the capability to do charity, I was an ordinary journalist just like the ignorant boy who was at the foot of Yue Lu mountain many years ago.
Nevertheless, I had no fear this time.
In addition to persistence and determination, in my mind there were new powers-----love, softness and warmth.
We presented children’s troubles and our determination on Weibo, which surprisingly triggered immense flow of love. We saw countless branches of love accumulate, and finally converge into a great river, surging high and sweeping forward.
We helped people and the whole world helped us.
Ten years of being an investigative journalist constantly trained me to perceive, to break through and to explore the truth, and unexpectedly helped me to peek and collect the secrets of many people’s failures.
If we decide to do a significant thing, we have to dispense isolation, corruption and autocracy, because they are doomed to result in failures. We should try to be transparent, public and accept surveillance, to set up an open and fair framework.
People play the essential role in each enterprise and every person is of value. Therefore, it’s necessary to link them, to motivate them, to equip them and to develop them. Things go well as people make right decisions and make progresses.
Step by step, to promote the equality among people, the free criticism, the democratic autonomy and the operation of laws. Then, we are able to raise funds, to perfect our projects and to share the benefits together.
Friends from different places get together through Weibo and Wechat, consecutively promoting seven projects of children, forming an united commonweal community of countryside’s children, raising money of nearly 0.4 billion yuan, which better severs the children.
We noticed that there were more challenges. If parents are not with their kids, the root problem of love and companion will not be solved. Therefore, we started to build an E-commerce platform and volunteers opened up stores to sell produce, helping demonstrating and selling quality produce. We hope this could help produce coming out from villages, which brings daddies back home.
Thoughts on mountains in Yunnan
When we started to work in villages, the new challenges came – we didn’t have enough people. So we organized and trained young people in the county. We provided the opportunity of welfare and businesses, making young people to fight for themselves and grow. They will become “engines” for the county’s development.
There are continuous upcoming volunteers and donators in areas of children welfare, rural areas economy and human resource training. Some children who received assistance are devoting to society and starting to get back to us. We built our fourth area—virtual social network. It is like a reservoir that accumulates people and connects people who are related by any chance, making any kinds of connections.
I actually expected that those kids who received assistance will become new welfare activists and help people who have helped them before. Love will make them people with love.
At the beginning of 2015, we moved to Hangzhou. It is because that we think Shanghai-Kunming and Shanghai-Chengdu high speed railway is going to connect east and west in China.
If we take Beijing-Kowloon high speed railway as Ren Channel for China, then these two railways would be Du Meridian. If we see each city as an acupoint, meridian will be clear when acupoints are activated. Any diseases will also be cured by themselves.
With the help of our partner network, we built standard procedures and modules for public welfare tasks, and then distribute them to different cities along the high speed railway. Next, we will give more work and power back to the society. We focus on making a supporting system and help organizations dealing with local social problems.
Let us connect all be connected. Donate if you have money, get involved if you have time, help if you are skilled. Also, we will collaborate with the government, business and society to make each party work on their parts and receive what they want.
In the Shanghai meeting, a host asked me a question “Deng Fei, what is your future?” This question momentarily stumped me for an appropriate answer.
Most time, we are busy solving many specific questions, and we have no time to settle down to think about ourselves and the future.
In 2009, at the ruins of Yushu earthquake, I stopped at roadside and opened a gas station gate, I saw a dozen Tibetan mastiffs lying there. They looked at me, and there were two Tibetan mastiffs walking toward me, I suddenly want to turn around and run away. But, I heard a voice from my heart, “Do not run”, these three words are so clear and powerful, which keeps me sane. I quieted down, kept looking at the Tibetan mastiffs and walked back step by step, I finally get out of this. I always thought I was lucky to get some god of refuge. But recently, a teacher told me that the one who helps you is not God, but it is your own, your future self.
So, what is my future self? What will it look like?
Sometimes, standing in front of the mirror, I will occasionally think of this problem, but I only saw the color of my hair turned into white in five years.
Luckily, I had a doctor friend called Liu Qianyuan, who gave us the foot bath, massage and cans to nurse our body, so that we can clearly see the physical hazard in the body. I have two cousins also became physical therapists, they opened a store and help us nurse our body.
My father was the first person who gets benefits from physical therapy. He was 65 years old, the oldest of the family. At this age, he had the fear of death, he always uses alcohol to get rid of the fear, but alcohol lets him have violent temple and have conflicts with family members. Message helps him nurse the body and restore health, he also successfully give up drinking and become a pleasant and respectable person.
In the community, a friend called Hongfei helped us build a small canteen, his mother cooked traditional Hunan cuisine to everyone, she treated us like her children, and gave us a feeling at home.
Gradually, I like Hangzhou more and more. Besides its generosity and technology, it has a calm beauty that I obsessed with. We located our new house near Xixi wetland. I named our little yard Zhuoxiandong. I created a vegetable garden within, and my parents planted some vegetables and fruits. Our children like to stay in the garden and help do some work such as catching the insects and getting rid of the weeds. They also like to observe the daily changing of the vegetables.
Sansan is still trying to adapt to the new environment. Beijing might be her best memory, but she’s trying hard to pull out of it--- just like me when I left my village. Xiaoyi and Xiaosi go to kindergarten now. An elder boy joined the family---his mom left their home without leaving a message---more and more children are undergoing the same situation in Chinese villages. These three little kids grow up together. Xiaoyi and Xiaosi sometimes recall their father, and they would go get their mom’s phone to send their father a voice mail or an emoji. They think their father can see it, and they believe that he would come back one day, and hug them one by one.
Child is the biggest treasure
The losing of two relatives in a month made me look back at my family. I needed to love, really love, my family members. I started to shorten the time I had to spend on long trips. Instead, I enjoyed myself running with the children in the morning light; I started to like the simple and unadorned clothes; I fascinated in watching the lotus blooming in the pond; I learned to control the fire to make a pot of Hunan dark green tea, which smells like longan pulp.
Hundreds of meters away, is where our office building locates. “Cleanness, kindness, powerful” are written on the wall. I invited a teacher named Wang Kaichao, who’s from Jingdezhen, to write these words down. I wished that my partners and I could live like this.
The weather is always cold in winter; everything seems stern. Many things might make us surprised or frustrated, but our lives should be continued. So please love yourself and take care of your relatives and friends.
No welcoming, no refusing, no bewildering, no anxiety. We move along with life slowly, like a stream that continues on its way with happiness.
However, I know where I derive, and I know where my destination is.
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