Queji Nima: 'Most stubborn yak' on Kangba Plateau

By Zhang Ming'ai
0 CommentsPrint E-mail China.org.cn, June 9, 2011
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Queji Nima is one of the best firemen of the Sichuan firefighting force, an outstanding member of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and the head of the Luhuo fire brigade of the Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. His devotion to fire fighting on the Kangba Plateau and deep and passionate love for people are widely known among local Tibetans.

Queji Nima takes a photo with his wife and daughter.

Queji Nima takes a photo with his wife and daughter. 

He is reportedly famous for his stubbornness. Local people kindly call him the "most stubborn yak" on the Kangba Plateau. 

Nima's father was an orphan. When he was a child, he was fed and clothed by local people. Later, the local government sent him to the Kangding orphanage. He then lived and studied there until he started to work. Because of his father's experience, Nima has had a passionate love for the land and people since he was a small child.

In 2004, Nima was appointed as the head of the fire brigade of Luhuo County. Despite his title, he was actually the only member of the brigade. There was no fireman suit. The brigade had a badly damaged firefighting vehicle and an annual budget of 500 yuan. "That was my most desperate period. Lack of equipment made fighting fires on the plateau extremely difficult," said Nima.

"Firefighting is extremely important to Luhuo. When a house catches fire, a family's efforts for decades are reduced to ashes. If we had just one faster firefighting vehicle and one fire hose with enough water pressure, we could save homes from such destruction," Nima explained.

Lacking funds and gasoline, he uses his own money. But it's not enough. He can only ask related government departments to help him deal with the shortage of men and equipment.

With his painstaking efforts, Nima finally got a new fire vehicle for his brigade in early 2005. The fire control fund has been increasing year by year, and his fire brigade recruited six retired servicemen. The plateau county finally got a professional fire brigade.

"Queji Nima really loves Kangba Plateau and firefighting," said Ma Tao, commissar of the Ganzi fire brigade Party committee. "As long as he thinks what he is doing is right, he will stick to it to the very end."

One day in July 1999, Nima went to share firefighting knowledge with locals in a herdsman area. He suddenly realized that he did not know how to express "fire prevention" in Tibetan language. He could not explain the term clearly in Tibetan. This gave him the idea of translating China's fire prevention law from Mandarin to Tibetan.

The first step was to get a clear understanding of the original Mandarin version of the law. Nima devoted a lot of time to studying the law. When he came upon something he didn't understand, he would call to ask his superiors. One senior official, Lu Yancheng said, "During that period of time, I was constantly bothered by Nima's phone call. But considering that he was just doing his job, I knew I should support him."

When he could not find appropriate counterparts in Tibetan language for terms such as "fire hydrant" and "automatic fire alarm", he consulted Tibetan dictionaries and called on former teachers and classmates to ask their opinions. He also went to the herdsmen-inhabited areas and temples to read the Tibetan version of the fire prevention law to people sentence by sentence, soliciting their opinions.

After three months of hard work, Queji Nima finished translating the law into Tibetan. With the help of his classmates and his own money, Nima printed 50 copies of the law. In the lead-up to Fire Prevention Information Day on November 9 the following year, Nima went to sought help from the county forestry office and animal husbandry bureau and published another 500 copies of his Tibetan translation. Hundreds of local Tibetans learned about fire prevention for the first time.

Nima also organized the first voluntary Lama fire brigade in Ganzi autonomous prefecture with this same stubbornness.

Devoted fully to his job, Nima left little time for his family. "Our life is very hard," his wife Zehua said in an interview in Kangding. "I was asked why I chose to marry him. He loves his cause and I firmly support him." But when she talked about her daughter, her eyes welled up with tears.

Zehua said that Nima's leave each year provides a rare opportunity for a family gathering. Each time he is with their daughter, Nima buys everything she wants. And at night he holds his girl tightly in his arms. Zehua is very strict with their daughter. She always complains that Nima is pampering their daughter. "He loves our daughter and only feels sorry for her," said Zehua.

Last Mid-autumn Day, Nima and Zehua were both very busy and their daughter had to stay at school in Dujiangyan. Fireman Qimai Gongbu said, "Nima called his daughter on the Mid-Autumn Day and burst into tears after a few words. And he kept comforting his daughter on the other end of the phone: 'My dear girl, I love you too. I will come to visit you after a while'."

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