Sunday, 31 August 2014

Kind farmer widow looks after the child of her husband's killer

A smiling village mother feeding her two
children amidst free roaming chickens.
This condemned prisoner was led away after
being sentenced to death for murder.
Zhou Mei Zhi, a 40 plus year-old Chinese farmer woman from a remote village of Yunnan, became a widow when her husband was killed in a brawl during a well-water ownership dispute with a neighbour. The perpetrator was sentenced to years of hard labour, leaving his only son Xiao Fei in the care of his old mother. Just about a year later, Xiao Fei’s grandmother died of old age while his father lamented his remorse in jail. Instead of bearing hatred and garnering anger for the loss of her husband, Zhou brushed aside rumours and puzzled attention from curious neighbours to care for the helpless kid. She rendered unselfish attention to provide him with basic needs for living.
A tribal farmer woman feeds her chickens and ducks.
Waiting for buyers at the morning market.

Zhou had her own children from her marriage; they were in their early twenties. Due to abject poverty in the early years, her son and daughter were forced to quit school after their primary education. Both had found employment in larger cities and were self-sufficient. Zhou persisted to remain in her village to earn her meagre income by rearing poultry. She did not mind to have another mouth to feed even she could hardly made both ends meet. Knowing very well the misery of illiteracy, she provided the little boy education as he reached the school going age and was raving to go to school. Came the fateful day for the kid, prepared with some cash raised by selling few chickens, Zhou Mei Zhi brought the 6 year-old boy to the village school accompanied by curious villagers. She had bought new clothing as well as a new school back-pack for the fortunate boy. Zhou told the reporter interviewer of a local press media: “Xiao Fei told me that he was eager to begin schooling. No matter how tough it’s going to burden me, I have to find fund to send him to school”.

BYOCD-Bring your own chair & Desk to school.
It's a common practice in rural, remote schools in China.
To some ruthless neighbours, this was way beyond logic and their comprehension. They cornered her to remind her that the kid’s father was the murderer of her husband. She replied meekly that the kid was totally innocent and he was not at all the cause of her husband’s death.  She also expressed her comfort that Xiao Fei was willing to be close to her, calling her “Mama”. The kid's biological mother had died when he was in infancy.

Hard working children are determined to learn at school.
Their parents have always inculcated the importance of education.
Zhou’s benevolent act earned widespread praise throughout the village and district after reports of her kind deed was published in the local papers.  Innumerable and generous compliments from hundreds of thousand netizens surfaced on China's social media to comment on her selfless care for Xiao Fei.  Someone wrote in the net: “Being benevolent, kind hearted, and most importantly, forgiving in nature is a rare breed. It’s really very difficult to forget the intense grief for the loss of a dear one, let alone a spouse.  But it’s even much harder to forgive the person who took away the life of her husband. It was easier said than done to declare forgiveness. Zhou Mei Zhi had proven to the world that she was significantly different. She's a great, honourable lady!".

Burning candle  flame marks a passing life.
Life for a life-it will never end.
Sweet vengeance and retribution,
 vindication and forgiveness,
it's hard to make a choice sometimes.
for reading

The article was translated by
Alan CY Kok