Friday, March 30, 2007

Against the Odds 天生我才必有用 (5/3/07)

This is Guo Yi Hong (郭乙鸿 ) ,the son of a farmer, a former chef from Shandong. There was a freak accident in his restaurant. A gas cylinder exploded and blasted off both his arms and part of his head. He's lucky to be alive but this is how he looks now.

He was in intensive care for months and chalked up a huge sum of medical fee of 300,000 rmb (S$60,000). From the photos displayed, he was quite a good-looking lad. His wife left him after the accident and he was made homeless when he couldn't pay his medical fees.

He has resorted to begging on the streets of Shenzhen with his Dad, a little wizened old fellow who is attentive to his son's needs and looks on lovingly at his handicapped son.

It breaks my heart to see the poor elderly father taking care of his son. He prepares the writing paper, gives his son a drink, cleans him up.... He must have been through Hell when such a terrible thing happened out of the blue.

Yi Hong is cheerful and has learnt to use both his feet to do his daily chores. He can feed himself and as you can see, writes beautiful calligraphy with his right foot! It puts me to shame because my Chinese writing is so bad. I have a normal right hand, although it is temporarily disabled for a couple of months, I can't hold a candle to this guy!

I took out all my rmb and gave it to the father. When I pressed it into his hands, he was unprepared and was speechless for a moment, then tears started streaming down his wrinkled face. Suddenly he knelt down and kow-towed several times to me, by this time he was howling. I was startled and had to pull him up from his knees.

Feng had to intervene and managed to bring me away from the scene. He said there are many such cases on the streets of Shenzhen and by giving away a huge sum of money on a busy street I could put the old man and his son in danger. And I could be in danger too. The bad guys would follow me and then robbed me.

Feng and I had been out for a short walk after lunch to a nearby mall that day. We decided to go home as I had no more money to go shopping then. :(

We were walking up an overhead bridge when at mid-way, knelt an elderly man with white, long-flowing beard and dressed in tattered clothes. He was bowing to all passer-bys for a few rmbs. I made Feng give him 100rmb.

When we came to the bridge, there was another elderly and sickly man sleeping on it. He was covered with plastic bags and newspapers. It was 18 degrees Celsius and I was warmly dressed in 3 layers of thick clothings. He looked hopefully at us with such sad eyes, that I had to force Feng to give him some money. Feng gave up and made me took a cab back home. He wasn't gonna give away any more money.......


  1. You know..ECL, i would have done the same too..! i'm very much like you .. i can't see ppl suffering.
    My ex.. who went to Bangkok with me.. about 15 yrs ago.. was angry.. that i gave .. 100 bucks.. to the tour guide's g/f.. who had to feed her kid.. single mother.. and all.. trying hard to feed her elderly parents too. He chided me.. and told me off.. saying.. that if i were a man.. i would have given all my money to the prostitutes..!!!! Unbelieveable right..??? i wasn't using his money..!! And that was the reason why .. i said good bye to him.. because a man who has no compassion... will not make a good husband or a good father.. in 1000 yrs.. and we were together for a long time. I could tolerate alot of stupidity from him.. but when he told me.. off in Bangkok airport.. i said my goodbyes.. even before we arrived in singapore. And that was the best decision i've ever made.

  2. Wow! You did that! Cool!

    I do agree with you, a man who has no compassion will not be a good husband and father.


  3. Eastcoastlife... I tagged you d... tell us your dream travel destination. :-)

  4. You have a really good heart.. I am overwhelmed by your story. I am also lost for words now.

  5. OMG! Albie's 48 concubines?!!!!


  6. i would have done the same if i were u and i would have been told off too by my hubby...all guys liddat one ar?..

  7. So sad that in a world of such wealth there are so many in need..wht a wonderful spirit!

  8. Doc Bernard!!!!
    Aaahhhh! Another tag! Can bring a partner along or not? Especially a man... hahaha....

  9. LB,

    Why pengsan?!! *resuscitate Albie without a second thought*

  10. Hi Eve,
    Welcome. Thanks for dropping in.

    ya, why guys liddat wan arh? But then hor, if it's a young, pretty girl who manja manja to them, they would turn lembak (limp) and take out all they have, including tat one. hahaha......

  11. Hello Tom,
    Thanks for coming by. Welcome.

    There are many such cases in China and it is common to the folks there, so they are numb to all the less fortunates. It's sad.

  12. Compassion is great to have.

    On the more macro side of things, it looks like the social and welfare policies in China needs to be reviewed so that those who need help can have access to it.

    I am sorry that I am more on the wary side. I have heard enough stories that syndicates in China actually abuse people's compassion and cripple people just so that their victims can be out on the streets and overhead bridges to beg for money for the syndicates. I fear that giving money may actually encourage those syndicates to thrive.

    I am at a lost. To listen to the heart or the mind. I hope that there is more kindness in the world.

  13. There are so many tragic people out there; sometimes we come across them and it tears the heart.

  14. Is there a very huge gap between the rich and poor there ? Aiyo...even the less well-off gets "preyed on"....sigh!
    Where is the Ma-Tar?
    Maybe over there, you must pay the Ma-Tar? undertable to get "protected" izit?

  15. ECL,

    You have done a really good deed. Sometimes, it really shames mankind when I know someone is obviously begging when they are too lazy to work, with all their limbs intact.

    In addition, welcome back home to your family. Hope you are recovering well.

    Been rather busy with work this past one week. Madness!


  16. Having lost the control or use of a limb is just a reminder from the Almighty,though how cruel it is, that we should be thankful for what is bestowed upon us, however horrible it may be.

    It may be just something big for us, but a small part of the huge masterpiece He is creating....just remember to take a few steps back and see the bigger picture and you shall understand.


  17. oceanskies & jean-luc picard,

    It is true there are syndicates who control beggars, not only in China, we have them in Singapore too.

    At the busy border of China, Luohu, you can see many young children and babies, some disabled and some deformed, begging for money. At close look, I discovered they were not born with these disabilities. Were they abused? I have no answer. What should I do? Sadly, I cannot do anything. There are the syndicates lurking nearby, when I asked the kids questions, or tried to take photos, they circled me with threats.

    I could only buy some food and distribute to the poor kids. I left them with much sadness and grief. Their helplessness haunts me whenever I think of them. I'm tearing as I write this. It is so painful that you cannot help.

    There were times when I struggle with the heart and the mind, but now.... I help first, then ask later. If they want to cheat me, it's only one time.

  18. tigerfish,
    In China, the gap between the rich and the poor is VERY big.

    The very poor, of course, comes from the villages. Many of them come to big towns like Shenzhen to find a living. They are despised and looked down upon. To find a living, they are willing to be exploited & abused. Some would eventually turn to crimes.

    The mata (policemen) don't do much. You can guess what is required to make them work. There are some good ones but they are the rare gems.

    There are many problems in this vast country. Something I don't get used to. I am constantly shocked because of what can be done there. Lawlessness.

  19. yo Ed,
    Thanks for your prayers and well wishes.Thanks for your concern despite your hectic schedule. I am deeply touched.

  20. Dear Azrin,
    I am thankful for the lessons the good Lord is constantly teaching me. I was really worried about my injury but when I saw Guo Yi Hong, I felt ashamed and realised that I am obviously much better off than him. I wasn't thankful enough for the blessings I have.

    Guo Yi Hong was clearly leading a life more meaning than me. And I wish you could all see him. He was cheerful and bantering with all the people around him. There was no self-pity when he spoke of his unfortunate incident and the series of bad things that happened. He has a mountain of debts. He choose to look forward. He was very happy despite his handicap. He has parents who love him without reservations. Could I not help such a man?

    I realise that I am but a small fry in this ocean. But if every small fry can contribute a little love and kindness, this ocean would be a better place to live in.

    I humbly await the Lord's calling.

  21. heartbreaking story!

    girl Feng is going to have to put a lock on your wallet with that BIG heart you have!

    much love!

  22. Hi hot babe Tisha!
    haha... I emptied my wallet, it's his which he has to hide from me....

  23. You have at least yr full body to work with dearie...and well, God has His ways to make us realise that HE is WATCHING and NOTICING WHAT WE DO. For 13 (out of 20) of his characteristics are loaned out to us, and He at times test us, knowing we can take it, and when we pass,we get to the higher level.

    The higher we go, the more cruel the tests be, and the better the remuneration it shall be. Yikes I said when I had to be turned back at the gates when I was happy to reach there,only to be known that there are still lots of tasks I have yet to fulfill. That feeling is ever scaring the bits out of me, esp when I was told I flat-lined a few times on the table.

    Take a bit at a time,and remember to pay our dues, cos if we forget, then the penalty can be worse off.

    Thus darling, remember that you have been reminded by Him, and that the Lord never sleeps,and He is ever Mercy. 'Had I not created Man and Genies to pray (praise) Me?'....'Perform your Solat (prayers/praises) and pay your Zakat (tithes/donations @2.5% fyi)'

    For He is ever happy with the oath of man , that There is Only ONE GOD, for He has no child and was not born.

    Love You, and wish you the best.
    (generally speaking,nothing to do with faith or what not, but just as a philosophical sense...U noe what I mean)

    azrin,and thanks for the linky!

  24. We cannot save the whole world, but we can help in small little ways. You got a good heart.

  25. Well, one has to find it in their heart to respond to such scenarios. I used to give generously until I one fine day found the lady begging for money earlier to be a rich lady and another guy begging using the money to buy more alcohol drinks.

    I have now stopped almost to 95% of giving money to beggars especially those who use children to beg. I would happily donate to a welfare home or a charitable organisation where the actual change would come from.

    It is not about compassion! Donating some money to individuals will not solve the issue but encourage it. Might as well give the money to an organisation which may be able to do more help to more people. My 2 cent worth opinion

  26. fleck,

    We cannot save the whole world, but we can help in small little ways.


  27. Hi George,
    Finally back from your diving trip! I saw the photos - awesome!!
    I wish I could dive, so that I could see the beautiful sea bed and creatures.

    sigh.... I can't even swim. hahaha.....

    I don't usually give to charitable organisations and welfare homes. I would have to write a post on them, I have too much insider info.

  28. Thats good to see he makes the best out of life that he can. So many people would just give up. Pity the lack of love from his wife. Thank goodness his father can help.

  29. SA,
    The poor guy's got a mountain of debts. I believe he did it for his old parents' sake.

    I can understand his wife's decision. For a young woman, it would take much courage and strength to go through life like this.