Mo Yan shares inspiring stories with China's youth

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, May 6, 2022
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Nobel laureate Mo Yan read a special letter he wrote in a video for China's young people on how to tackle difficult situations in life.

Chinese writer Mo Yan in a special video for Chinese young people posted on May 3, the eve of China's annual Youth Day. [Photo courtesy of Bilibili]

The letter, titled "Don't be blown down by strong winds," tells two simple stories from Mo's own life. "Some young people asked me a few days ago on my WeChat blog about what they should do when they experience difficult times in their life? This really is an important question that we must face. I can't offer a one-size-fits-all answer, but I can share with you a couple of stories."

The first story was about a book — "Xinhua Dictionary." The 67-year-old writer said he felt extremely lonely after he had to drop out from school to herd cattle and cut grass, while his former schoolmates studied and played together. But at that time, he luckily received a copy of the dictionary, which is where he learned most of his Chinese characters rather than in school.

"During those years in the lonely and impoverished environment, it was this reference book that accompanied me through the hard times, and also laid the foundation for me to pick up a pen and write novels in later life," he revealed.

The other story was about a man — his grandfather. Mo recalled one time when he was little he went with his grandfather to cut grass, and they encountered a tornado on the way home. Mo was blown down to the ground by the wind and firmly grabbed hold of two clumps of goosegrass with deep roots to prevent himself being blown away.

But when he looked at his grandfather, he saw the old man tightly grasping the handlebars of the cart and standing firm against the wind, looking like a statue. "He didn't move forward, but he also didn't back down. The image is forever imprinted in my mind," Mo said, adding he felt they were winners somehow as his grandfather had stood firm against the wind.

Mo Yan hoped his simple but commonplace stories of his own experiences could help inspire young people, which they really did according to the later positive feedback and comments.  

"An ancient saying goes, 'The road before us is long and winding. Depart now and we shall be arriving.' My young friends, when we encounter difficult times, don't be discouraged, don't be frustrated. As long as you work hard, you will be rewarded. Hope always arises in times of disappointment and even despair, and calls on us to regroup and move forward."

He concluded, "One may encounter defeats in life, but one cannot be destroyed by them."

The video was posted to Bilibili, a video streaming giant popular with young people. Bilibili, along with its media partners, releases a special video every Youth Day to inspire the country's young generation. This year, they invited Mo, whose video has attracted more than 3.25 million views and 280,000 likes on the website alone by Thursday since debuting on May 3.

The website also announced on May 1, Labor Day, that it will offer thousands of documentary films and series for free to viewers in the first week of May every year, for the benefit of young people and all China's workers.

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